A hidden gem in the Arab world and the Middle East's BEST kept secret: Oman
The fourth country in our #DrinkwineTogether RTW trip was such a nice little surprise. It was the country of Oman where we primarily visited and stayed in the Capital City of Muscat. It is hard for us to summarize our time in Oman as it was nothing short of extraordinary. We admittedly knew very little about the gateway to the Persian Gulf, but what little we thought we knew was quickly confronted with a beautiful reality. The reality is sadly we think we know a place when we really do not. The Sultanate of Oman challenges all preconceived ideas of what one may think this country is like. The truth lies in actually living there for a short amount of time, tasting the delicious foods, breathing in the clean Arabian air, talking with the generous and kind Omani people, and listening to the Call to Prayer from a chorus of eye-catching Mosque minarets lining the Muscat sky on a cool Arabian winter night.
Many do not know much about this beautiful country. Often looked over as people flock to the U.A.E and Dubai. Often mistaken for a place where only the desert lies. Too often discredited with wrongful accusations of being an unsafe place full of terror and extremism. Oman shatters what the mass mainstream media may lead us to believe. It is the very opposite of what many may think or even imagine. We know it was for us. Oman is indelible.
To date, the Sultanate of Oman stands as one of our most endearing places we have visited. We would encourage anyone and everyone to put Oman on a bucket list as a travel destination. It is a country which welcomes visitors with open arms. It is a region which has some of the world's best weather from December to February. It's coastline has the warm waters of the Gulf of Oman, the Arabian Sea, and the Indian Ocean. A place where cleanliness is a priority, you will find the cleanest streets in the world in Muscat. It is also the safest place we have ever been. Extremely safe... it was basically a giant safe zone for our children.
History and tradition comes alive in this magical place. Oman is a shopper's delight with the night markets, fish markets, and souqs which teem with vendors, sellers, and shoppers. The food is delightful and pleasing to the palate albeit, one must come with an empty belly because food is aplenty in addition to it's exquisite taste. If one wants breathtaking views, the Omani mountains are second to none. If one is looking for picturesque landscapes; a trip to Jabal Shams or Jabal Akhdar will blow one away. There are the surprising wadis with all their beauty and freshness. Family-friendly parks are near and provide fun for children and luscious greenery for a photographer's eye. Visiting old forts can be a great way to spend a day or one could drive inland to walk along narrow corridors of old village walkways, some villages cut into mountainsides.
All of the above are wonderful qualities and reason enough to visit this hidden gem on the Arabian Peninsula, However, the biggest selling point and most wonderful quality lies in the people of Oman. We have never met such caring, kind-hearted, hospitable, generous, and cordial people. We intend to return one day. Not sure when, but we are confident when we do, we will be able to pick up where we left off and smile, play, laugh, and dine together with our Omani friends. For it is in the people of Oman where the real beauty lies. Always greeting a guest with a humble smile, a warm welcome, and complete care for children; Omanis show their colors as people who are salt of the earth. If the southern United States is known for its "southern hospitality," then I am sure you can trace the history way back to some historical connection with a citizen from Oman. We are sure Oman wrote the book on hospitality and just how to greet and treat guests.
We are better for our time in Oman. You will be too if you ever have the privilege of visiting this magical place. It is a treat to behold, to savor. If "home is where the heart is," then perhaps the world's true home is in Oman. Perhaps, you need to return home one day. You will not regret it.