In Oman history is all around you; 6000 years of history and culture. The ancient ramparts of Bahia Fort, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the carefully preserved Jabrin Castle dating from 1670, or the art of Dhow building that has come down through generations of Omanis, all help visitors to relive the glory of an ancient civilisation. Explore a land where Shahrazad’s stories from 1001 Nights come alive and visit hundreds of castles, forts and archaeological sites steeped in mythology. 24 of the 500 Omani forts have been renovated including one currently being turned into a boutique hotel.
Frankincense – once considered more precious than gold; this aromatic gum resin was presented by royalty in ancient times. These resins make for ideal gifts and souvenirs and the Omani variety is considered the best in the world. Frankincense is a symbol of life, or it is life itself, for the Dhofari people. It is not a mere tree, but an embodiment of Omani culture, history, sociology and geography. Salalah, in the South of Oman on the Indian Ocean, is famous for its Frankincense trees as well as being a truly unique and beautiful place.
Muscat City Breaks – Muscat is considered the pulsating heart of Oman. It is linked to Port Sultan Qaboos by Muttrah Corniche where the visitor can view the wonderful variety of nature golden beaches, mountainous heights, and golden sand dunes. What is striking about Muscat is the breathtaking intermingling of ancient cultural heritage and modern style.
Luxury travel is met by The Chedi Spa Muscat with its award-winning spa and now building a new spa complex to be opened in January 2011. The Shangri-La Barr Al JissahResort has an extensive CHI spa themed around a Chinese wellness philosophy based on the five elements of earth, fire, water, metal and wood, and Himalayan treatments feature alongside Omani healing practices.
Desert Camping – the vast expanse, emptiness and silence of the desert is an antidote to modern living. Experience the thrills of dune driving and learn more about the Bedouin people. Glamorous camping in luxury tents is the best way to experience the culture and unforgiving sandy expanses with the comfort of a flushing toilet at the Desert Night Camp.
Oman has rigorous ‘green’ policy and a fascinating array of animals thrive in the many protected areas. Oman features and protects five of the world’s seven species of turtle, each year green turtles nest on Omani beaches; visitors can watch as these tiny creatures hatch between September and November in Raz al Hadd. Approximately 400 birds have been recorded in Oman including many migratory species. With 1700 kilometres of unspoilt coastline and beaches Oman offers many opportunities for adventure. Divers are rewarded with the sight of dolphins, whales, moray eels, corals and a spectacular array of tropical fish. There are many opportunities to participate in water sports, fishing, sailing, climbing, trekking, caving, horse and camel racing and off-road driving.