Oman Travel Planner

After writing the ‘Oman Itineraries‘ page, I decided that I should also write an ‘Oman Travel Planner‘ is also worthwhile highlighting the number of days you could possibly expect to spend in each region of Oman, and what are some of the locations & attractions you could cover. Of course, there are many, many more beautiful places that I haven’t even had the chance to visit, but this should hopefully help you plan your travels around Oman – hope you find it helpful!

Keep in mind, this is just my personal opinion and thoughts 🙂

Quick links to each region:

Muscat: 2-4 Days

The beautiful capital of Oman, modern, charming, full of history and sitting on a beautiful coastline surrounded by stunning mountains history

  •  If its your first time here, I think its worth doing the main highlights of the city (Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Royal Opera House, Souq Muttrah, etc can be done in a day). You could spend another day doing the coastal road (there are some fishing villages along the way that may interest you, and the landscape is quite stunning – I wrote about some of those attractions on my Muscat Coastline attractions here). 
  • With the extra days you could either do a sea activity (diving snorkeling etc, if you like these activities) or use Muscat as base for quicker day-trips out (its <1.5 hr drive to Nizwa, ~1hr drive to Al Rustaq, etc). Or of course do some of the treks in our capital (see some of the places I wrote on my Muscat Treks series).

Al Dakhiliyah: 3-5 Days

This is the heartland area of Oman, where many of the large tribes of Oman came from. It is famous for its beautiful Al Hajar Mountains, numerous forts & castles – it is also the most conservative part of Oman

  • You should definitely visit Jabal Shams (where there are a number of treks you can do, definitely do the easier Balcony Walk up to the Hidden Lake. The trek to the summit is too tough to be enjoyable casually in my opinion, but if you have the time keep a full day for it). 
  • You should also visit some of our old forts (the oldest is Bahla Fort, which is absolutely huge, but my personal favorite is Jabreen Castle. Nizwa Fort is quite nice too, but the most popular/touristy and has a higher entry fee). 
  • If you time your visit to Nizwa on a Friday, then make sure to visit the Friday Goat Market which is early in the morning (~6 am start). 
  • Al Hamra village is at foothills of Jabal Shams, and the old part of its town is gorgeous and worth a visit (I have many contacts from the village if you have something you like to do in the area with a local family perhaps), from there Misfat Al Abriyeen is a gorgeous mountain village that is worth a visit even though it has become too touristy recently. 
  • Other possible locations:  Jabal Akhdar and possibly Salut archaeological site
  • Some of the adventures/treks you can do in this area:
    • Jabal Shams peak. ~26km round-trip over 10-14h depending on your fitness level. I usually do it with overnight camping in Jabal Shams
    • Jabal Shams Balcony Walk (Wadi Ghul) – ~8km round-trip ~4h, but add extra 1-2 hr for Hidden Lake. 
    • Via-Ferrata at Jabal Shams: The route is at the end of the Balcony Walk, requires gear (harness, attachment ropes for Via-Ferrata and Helmets)
    • Misfat Al Abriyeen Al Mazare’ Trek – Starts at village and goes easy but gets dangerous/scary once wadi narrows down as there are steep drops.
    • Village hikes in Jabal Akhdar
    • Al Sogara Village in Jabal Akhdar – a beautiful abandoned village that the locals have converted to a guesthouse. Highly worth a visit (but BBC recently did an article on them). I have contact from the village who can arrange hikes to nearby caves, stay in the guesthouse etc.

Al Batinah: 1-2 Days

Coastal plains and massive mountains, a beautiful region but one which I have not explored enough.

  • Sohar is a nice village (the Grand Mosque there is gorgeous, but it is obviously a modern duplicate of the old mosques in Isfahan/Uzbekistan etc.). 
  • Al Rustaq is place worth visiting in this area as it has two nice forts (Al Hazm Castle is quite nice), and in the vicinity is Wakan Village (where you can do Wakan-Hadash trek, and if you’re adventurous even do the unmarked trail to Jabal Akhdar).
  • Nakhal has also a fort (but it is closed for renovation) and a nice hot spring (Ain Al Thawarah) which is nice if you time your visit to avoid weekends and weekday afternoon time (it is not nice when busy), can be done as a quick stop-over on way to Wadi Bani Awf to Dakhiliyah region (which ends at Al Hamra village).

Al Sharqiyah: 3-4 Days

Famous for its stunning wadis, coastline, and the Wahiba Sand Dunes

  • Some of the wadis to visit:
    • Wadi Shab – the most popular wadi in Oman, and the one that gets the busiest. Definitely worth a visit, but if you go try to go super early in the morning to avoid the crowds
    • Wadi Al Arbaeen – my favorite wadi, starts to see more crowds but it is not as busy as Wadi Shab. The main attraction is the huge waterfall after 3.5-4 hr trekking (one way) inside, which I highly recommend you try. Can be also done as day trip from Muscat (<1.5 hr drive one way)
    • Wadi Tiwi – adjacent to Wadi Shab but much larger (you need to drive ~30-40 mins one way to reach last village), definitely worth a visit and the pool inside is one of the most gorgeous. Trekking wise it is moderate and there are some shortcuts to reach the pools if you don’t want to trek too much. Also have village guides who can lead you through if you like
      • All 3 Wadis above are off the coastal highway and can be done in one day (but you obviously can’t trek all 3 of them) as day-trip from Muscat – which is one of the popular tours I offer.
    • Wadi Bani Khalid – another famous and very popular wadi in Oman, people go because it is super accessible with water year around but I wouldn’t recommend it (too touristy, I have personally been only once!). 
    • Wadi Hawer – very close to Wadi Bani Khalid and really nice wadi (although becoming popular with adventure groups now days), a really cool thing to do is to go through it one way and end up in Seeq village (will take ~5 hrs), but you need to leave car at other end.
  • Sur is large town in area, famous for ship building and close to Ra’s Al Had & Ra’s Al Jinz where people go for turtle watching (keep in mind turtles are less likely seen during the winter season).
  • Bidiyah and Wahiba sands – for sand dunes and desert activities! 

Dhofar: 3-(infinite) Days

Every time I visit Salalah, I continue falling in love and can see myself spending infinite days there! There are LOTS of attractions to visit, but some ideas below

  • Salalah City itself with its souq and coastline is nice, Mughsayl beach is off Salalah but can be done as same day you visit the city.
  • Western Part of Salalah is amazing, spend 1-2 days driving through Mughsayl first, then towards Al Fazaye’ beach (definitely drive down to the coastline through the zig-zag road). From there continue to Sha’at with its massive cliffs jutting out of the Indian ocean coastline, and continue further all the way to the small villagers near Yemen border (I haven’t personally been further than Sha’at though)!
  • East Part of Salalah: Taqah might be interesting, but Wadi Darbat is gorgeous, and there are also a couple of caves and sinkholes in the area to explore. Khor Ruri/Sumharm archaeological site is in the vicinity too (I liked it, but might be boring for some).
  • Further East of Salalah towards Mirbat could be interesting, but I haven’t explored it
  • Empty Quarter desert North of Salalah – I haven’t been, but meant to be amazing!

Al Wusta: Transient Days

A vast region in Central Oman, that has lots of interesting cool attractions but is the one I have explored the least due to the long driving distance involved. The areas below are some ideas of places to cover, and are best added if you do a road-trip to to Salalah breaking your trip over several days

  • Khalouf Beach – popular beach for camping with small fishing villages.
  • Ra’s Bintawt – white sand dunes right by beautiful beach (called also Sugar Dunes), very close to Khalouf beach.
  • Duqum – industrial city, but has a rock garden that is meant to be nice – I haven’t visited it unfortunately 
  • Ra’s Madrakah – another cool beach with mix of mountains and sand dunes surrounding it.
  • Oryx Sanctuary – long drive to get to it, but you get to see the Arabian Oryx and Arabian Gazelle. You need permit to visit (some say you could just drive in and they might let you).