A few weeks back, Oman asked me what I would do if had a chance to visit this charming country. Today, I’m going to answer by revealing my wishlist for an unforgettable trip to this Arabian attraction. If you observe carefully, you will notice that each of my yearnings is closely linked to the next. Fasten your seatbelts as I take you on a flight to my Omani fantasies!
Arrive in Wadi Al Khoudh:
Removed from the big-city-bustle of Muscat, this pristine valley is unaffected by the ticking of clocks. Soon after landing at the Seeb International Airport, I would take a short drive to treat my eyes to the emerald waters of Al Khoudh, one of Oman’s several beautiful valleys. The trees lining the hills and reaching for the heavens would inspire my imagination to take flight and I would feel one with the citizens of the skies.Birdwatch in Barr Al Hikman:
The Omani east coast is a town square for migratory birds. I would never miss the wondrous sight of the white salt flats coming to life as thousands of herons flap away and squawk as they call out to each other… or that of the slender gulls swooping down on small fishes as they wade through the waters. I would observe how easily these creatures leave their homes to explore a foreign land… how they free themselves of worldly attachments and travel light, with nothing but their friends and family for company.
The pearly peninsula in the winter months is a wetland that doubles as a bird sanctuary. But just as the sun grows in the summers, the avian croaks and clucking noises give way to the soft sounds of salt crushing under the feet of the salt-harvesters. It is strange how so much salt can evoke such strong feelings of sweetness when you marvel at nature’s culinary gift that complements most world-cuisines.
Chew Kebabs while I Sip on Kahwa:
Oman can cook up a storm in its kitchens with dishes ranging from the sweet to the extremely spicy! Ever wondered what a vegetarian like me would do in the heartland of meat-lovers? Well, you’d be surprised with all the delectable veg options Omani cuisine offers us! Right from Sakhna, the unconventional sweet soup, to the cardamom-spiced coffee-Kahwa, their offerings are so aromatic and flavoursome that you, like me, won’t be able to wait to dive into the dishes!
Dive in Dimaniyat Islands:
If you haven’t done “it” before, you can always lose your deep-sea-diving-virginity in the calm waters of Dimaniyat. Only when I wetsuit-up in style and go below the sea-level, will I understand how meditative it feels to swim with the sea-turtles and witness marine-life in the layers of coral reefs. The depths of the seas, I’m sure, hold just as much promise as the heights of the tallest cliffs.
Explore the Arabian Grand Canyon:
The literal highs and lows of nature can be best appreciated at canyons where one can experience vertigo-inducing heights on the summits and deep gorges in the ravines almost simultaneously. Oman’s diverse landscape includes its very own Grand Canyon that I would love to trek up to. The breathtaking views on my way will only be the icing on the cake (a GRAND cake at that! 😉 )! And because I like to have my cake and eat it too, I would camp under the sunshine till the sky shows me some diamonds. There’s no better end to a day than to stargaze and wish upon a shooting star!
Look Fashionable while I Shop:
I can never resist donning the local attire when I’m on a trip. The colourful Omani dresses and the ethnic prints will tempt me to dress up and ask the local women to help me with the lihaaf. With clothes ticked off my list, I would next head to one of the many souqs for some retail therapy! The fragrant frankincense products will entice me first, and only after I’ve bought some for my home will I be able to move to the other souqs. I won’t forget to bring back palm-leaf and leather artifacts just as I won’t forget to indulge in some silver & gold shopping! 😉
Go Back in Time at the Bat Tombs:
These tombs have been existing since the 3rd century BC and are still far from disappearing! The Bat tombs in Al Khutum & Al Ayn are on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. While I delve deeper into history, I will do a detour to Bahla Fort and lose myself in its myriad alleys as I admire the 12km long Bahla Wall.
End my Trip on a High Note:
My last day in Oman will naturally sadden me with the thought of leaving this vibrant country of sun, sand and serenity. To keep my spirits up, I will shake a leg with the Omani locals at a Fann aṭ-Ṭanbūra performance till I enter a state of trance.
I have written quite a bit about this place that I have never seen before, but I have only been able to cover 8 letters of the English alphabet. (You’ll know if you’ve really been following this blog-post.) Imagine how much more there is to Oman – camel-rides on the undulating sand-deserts, dhow-cruises with a view of the Omani skyline, cave-tours near natural springs and learning the melodious Arabic language! Oman deserves a long vacation… so you can soak it all in.