Photo Credit: Photo credit: Anfal Shamsudeen
This Middle East Gem Has Been Dubbed the New Dubai
Over the past decade, the popularity of Dubai has drawn more attention to the beauty and glamor of the Middle East. However, people have realized that there is more to the region than just the glitzy Emirati metropolis. There are many other amazing destinations waiting to be explored.
Located next to UAE on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, Oman should not be overlooked. Though it has been referred to as “the new Dubai,” the country is a star in its own right with much to offer. Beautiful natural wonders, a deep-rooted history, incredible architecture and lively nightlife are a few reasons it is worth a visit.
The next time you’re planning a trip to the Middle East, consider UAE’s neighboring gem and its top destinations: Muscat and Nizwa.
The capital and most populous city in Oman, only makes sense for you to start your trip in this modern hotspot where you can get acquainted with the people and their unique culture.
Muscat is home to numerous major hotel brands, like Hilton, Hyatt, Kempinski, W, Marriott, Crowne Plaza and more. There is no shortage of luxury or mid-range options to choose from. In terms of attractions and activities, there is something for everyone. Here are a few of the best things to see and do in Muscat, Oman.
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
Marvel at the stunning architecture of Oman’s most important religious site. Less crowded than many other mosques around the world, here you’ll be able to take your time enjoying the serenity and taking in all the intricate details.
Enjoy scenic views of the mountains and harbor from this picturesque corniche. It’s a great place for a morning or evening stroll, especially during sunrise or sunset.
Al Alam Palace
Witness the grandeur of the Al Alam Palace, which serves as the ceremonial palace of the sultan. The elegant palace features polished marble surfaces and traditional Omani wooden balconies. There is also a guest villa with its own spa, pool and gardens.
Experience Muscat’s nightlife scene at its numerous clubs and bars. Though Oman is conservative in many ways, alcohol is served in many establishments. Left Bank is a popular bar known for its live music and lively atmosphere. Polynesian-themed bar Trader Vic’s has exotic drinks and a fun vibe. Qurum Resort’s NV Nightclub is one of the best places to party in the city, with a DJ spinning a variety of international hits.
As a coastal city, Muscat has some of the most beautiful beaches in Oman offering golden sands, turquoise waters and amazing cliff top views. Some of the best beaches, include Pebble Beach, Qurum Beach, Bandar Jissah Beach and Yiti Beach. Each beach offers different activities, like snorkeling, sailing and adventure sports.
The historic town of Nizwa is a short and easy hour and a half drive from Muscat. Some of the accommodations offered include Al Bustan Inn, Bait Al Aqr, Omani Guest House, Golden Tulip, Old Town Hotel and Antique Inn.
Begin your time in Nizwa by touring the iconic Nizwa Fort. It is one of the most popular attractions in the country and an absolute must-see. It showcases old Omani architecture and defense mechanisms, like pitfalls and honey traps.
One of the oldest souqs in Oman, this vibrant marketplace is a great place to shop for handmade goods, souvenirs and antiques. Don’t go home without a khanjar, a traditional Omani curved dagger. Now found throughout various Middle Eastern, Balkan and South Asian countries, the weapon originated in Oman.
Oman Across Ages Museum
This museum showcases the history of Oman throughout the ages from prehistoric days to modern times. Designed to be an immersive experience, the museum’s exhibits use mixed media to tell the story of the Omani people. Video, photography, augmented reality, virtual environments and a moving floor help bring the story to life. Its permanent exhibit spans over 9,000 square meters and recounts the country’s technological, political and economic modernization.