Looking for a truly unique experience in Oman? Here's a quick guide to the most interesting things to do in Oman
26 November 2019| Last updated on 6 December 2020
From harvesting roses 2000m above the sea level to exploring Oman's naturally-formed waterpark...
Nicknamed the Switzerland of the Middle East, the Sultanate of Oman is a popular destination for visitors from parts of the Arab World (such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia), India, and Europe.
Whether you're planning your own trip to Oman or you're a long-time resident looking for something unusual and epic to do, here's our pick of the best unique things to do in Oman that belongs in your itinerary.
Note that timings, dates and availability may change due to the current situation.
Swim where a shooting star landed
The Bimmah Sinkhole (Hawiyyat Najm) in Oman is one of the most picturesque sinkholes in the world, making it a popular visiting spot due to its beautifully formed cliffs, turquoise waters, shape, and how the rocks eroded.
The locals believe that it was formed by a falling meteorite, but it was actually created by a collapse of the surface layer when the underlying limestone dissolved. The irresistible waters and gorgeous location invites people to go down to the sinkhole for a refreshing dip.
Where: Between Bimmah and Dibab, Muscat
Bimmah Sinkhole in Oman
Explore the site of an ancient Islamic city
Located on Al Baleed, a UNESCO world heritage site, the Land of Frankincense Museum allows visitors to delve into the culturally rich history of Oman and its frankincense trade.
Frankincense has been highly valued in the Arab world for centuries for its use in a range of religious ceremonies as well as the belief that burning it can dispel negative energy and evil spirits.
On top of this, Al Baleed is considered by archaeologists to be the remains of a long-gone Islamic civilisation. The location itself is a lush and stunning place, especially during the Khareef season - expect green 365 days a year, with lovely banana and coconut plantations from villages nearby.
Where: Al Baleed, Salalah, Muscat
Al Baleed site in Salalah, Oman
Venture into Snake Canyon
One of the largest valleys in Oman, the scenic Wadi Bani Awf is rich in postcard-perfect villages, ancient ruins, and natural sights.
Nestled in this valley is Oman's biggest all-natural water park - Snake Canyon. The area is made of colourful rocks, pools, waterfalls, natural waterslides, and high cliffs, making this the ideal natural playground for anyone who loves the outdoors.
Where: Hajjar Mountains, between Nizwa and Rustaq
Visit the famous Rose Water Distillers
Located high in the mountains of Oman, the Rose Water Distilleries can found within a beautiful village among the greens, and pomegranate and juniper trees. A must-visit - particularly during the month of April - as this is when the damask roses are in full bloom and are perfect for harvesting.
The villagers use traditional methods of extraction to harvest roses from the plots of land that they rent or own, using them to make their own rose water, rose desserts, rose drinks, perfumes, cooking, and sometimes, remedies for aches and pains.
Other than exploring the rose gardens and creating your own rose goods, visitors are welcome to use the telescopes for some stunning stargazing.
Where: Jabal Akhdar (the Green Mountain)
Stay overnight at Misfah Old House
Perched on top of the Jebel Shams mountains in Oman, the mud-village of Misfat Al Abriyeen boasts a 300-year history of human settlement, incredible architecture, and agriculture that attracts visitors from around the globe. One of these visitors includes the U.K's Prince Charles himself.
It's a fascinating development of shaded passageways, verdant gardens, historic homes that still have residents, open terraces, and painted gates. An overnight stay at the Misfah Old House in Misfat Al Abriyeen is the closest to an authentic local accommodation.
Where: Misfat Al Abriyeen, Jebel Shams
Misfat Al Abriyeen village in Oman
See an underground world at Al Hoota Cave
Oman is beautiful above ground, and a visit to the Al Hoota Cave will show that it's beautiful underground, too. It's a great spot for families and children to visit and learn about the various marine and underground life.
Find out more about Al Hoota Cave with our guide, here.
Travel to the rumoured home of Sinbad the Sailor
The peaceful little city of Sur was once the home of Oman's main maritime power during the 19th century, back when the Omani Empire stretched all the way to Pakistan, Mozambique, and Iran. The town is rumoured by to be the birthplace of the famous Sinbad the Sailor.
For a more relaxed trip, Sur the place to go as it's a tranquil location - you can watch the sunset or sunrise over the beach, tour the streets, watch workers craft wooden dhow boats, and climb up the Al Ayjah watchtower for a gorgeous view of Sur's white houses and dhows.
Where: Sur, northeast Oman
Go stargazing in Oman
Thanks to the Sultanate's diverse environment - from lush green mountains to refreshing wadis to golden deserts - there are heaps of fantastic places to stargaze in Oman. Some hotels and resorts in Oman offer telescopes to view the night sky, and the tall mountains offer great views without the obstruction of light pollution from cities. You can spot the plant Mars and the Milky Way the further you go from the crowded cities.
Here's where to go stargazing in Oman:
- Wadi Kabir
- Qantab Beach
- Al Qurum Beach
In Al Sharqiya
- Wahiba desert
In Al Dakhliya
- Jebel Shams
- Jebel Al Akhdar
Visit the island that drove soldiers insane
During the mid-1800s, British soldiers who were stationed at the now ghostly Jazirat al Maqlab or Telegraph Island were slowly driven mad.
Telegraph Island was once a communication hub that assisted in delivering the telegraphs between the British Empire and India. After telegraphy was decommissioned, British soldiers continued to actively man the outpost and according to reports, every single man completely lost his mind from months of the monotonous routine, the oppressive desert heat, and being isolated from the outside world.
Now, the buildings have long crumbled and the island transformed into a place for Omani locals and visitors to fish or to go snorkeling in.