Moving from Chicago to Abu Dhabi I knew I was going to be exposed to new travel destinations I wouldn’t have dreamed of while back in the U.S. In the first few months living there, I’d ask just about everyone in the UAE his or her top travel destinations, and Oman was by far the most common answer. As I thoroughly did my research, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of positive articles published on Oman; articles describing Oman as the “Middle East with a Twist” or “Visit the most Beautiful Sinkhole in the World.” The short 45-minute flight from Abu Dhabi makes Oman a must-see destination for everyone in the region. After picking up my tourist visa at the airport in Muscat (make sure to check your visa requirements before booking a flight), I was greeted by a welcoming and friendly driver. The young Omani proceeded to point out Muscat’s biggest landmarks as I made the 20-minute drive to the Shangri-La Hotel.
After spending Valentine’s Day Weekend in Oman I was mesmerized by the rich natural beauty this unique country had to offer; big rock formations, waterfalls and white sandy beaches. If a romantic and relaxing beach day is your ideal getaway or perhaps you want to snorkel or scuba in one of the best places in the world with a hint of adventure, then Oman is your place!
1. Swim in the Gulf of Oman and enjoy it’s natural rock formations.
2. Visit and swim in the Bimmah Sinkhole described as the most beautiful sinkhole in the world. The breathtaking shades of turquoise make for an unforgettable experience.
3. Shop at a traditional souk and yes that’s outside and shop for traditional Arab souvenirs at the Mutrah Souq in Muscat, Oman.
4. Stay at a 5 star hotel like the Shangri-La Hotel where you can enjoy their private beach, and your choice between the family friendly property and a more romantic setting with their adult only hotel.
5. Arguably one of the most beautiful mosques in the world, visit the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque and learn more about the culture and religion of Oman.
6. Take all of Oman’s natural beauty in with a 45-minute hike around the Wadi Shab.
7. Towards the end of your hike and tucked between mountains are natural caves where rainwater has accumulated throughout the years. It makes for a great swim!
8. Don’t forget to visit the outdoor fish market, the Sultans Palace and the Royal Opera House in Muscat.