Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Travel to Oman

If you are planning to travel to Oman in the near future, read on for details and tips to help you enjoy your trip even more. The first thing you will need to do is make a checklist. This should ideally include things like checking your passport for validity and getting a visa to visit Oman if required. For your visit to the Sultanate the passport needs to be valid for at least six months from the date of travel. For many nationals, Oman offers visa on arrival, so it may be wise to ask your travel agency for details or research the matter online. Another thing to remember while visiting a country like Oman is to carry your international driving license. You will be glad to do so, as driving and off-roading is simply a pleasure here.

Your personal checklist should also consist of things such as vaccines, travel insurance and health insurance. The most recommended vaccines for the Middle East are Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, typhoid and tetanus. Next, you should make the required bookings for accommodation, travel, rental car, activities, etc. You can do these through a travel agency or through online portals easily. Of course, it is always better if your have friends and family who have already paid a visit to Oman, to guide you better. Some of the things you will need to know about the country are its language (Arabic), population (2.8 million), the time zone (GMT +4), its currency (Rial Omani – OMR), and the dialing country code (+968).

The best time to plan a vacation to this scenic land is between the months of November and March, when the weather is much cooler. While there are no railways in Oman, public transport is comfortable and efficient. To travel from one part of the country to another, it is best to opt for a rented car for take local flights. Major ports and harbours of the country are Al Wajajah, Matrah, Mina al Fahal, Sohar, Duqm, and Mina Raysut, and a must-see. If you are starting your journey of the mystique land from its Capital city of Muscat, some of places you should visit are the Bandar Khayran Reserve, the Hawiyat Najm Park, Mutrah souq, mutrah cornice, and the old city. You could also book yourself on a Muscat city tour. These are organized by most leading travel agencies of Oman. The tour takes up only about 4 hours and showcases the best this world-class city has to offer.

No travel to Oman is truly complete unless you visit Muscat, so make sure you tell your travel agency to start you off from there. Other places to see in the country include World Heritage Sites, textured mountains, caves, villages, fjords, forts, museums, dessert, etc.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tourism in Oman

There is no doubt about the fact that this ancient Sultanate is amazingly beautiful. Tourism in Oman is picking up pace and world travelers from across the globe are excited about exploring this mystique land in the heart of Arabia. With the country’s government actively promoting its many sight treasures, the place is witnessing a marked boom in this sector. For those of you intrigued by Oman or planning a holiday to this leisure haven, read on for more details.

The country can be located between latitudes 16 and 28 degrees North, and longitudes 52 degrees and 60 degrees East. Being a widespread gravel desert plain with a vast coastline, Oman also encompasses several Wadis, mountain ranges and modern day cities. The main cities that you might want to list down and visit are the Capital city of Muscat, Salalah, Sohar and Sur. Many visitors that plan a short trip to Oman prefer only visiting Muscat, Sur and Sohar, as these regions lie in the north of the country, while Salalah is in the south. Other places worth visiting are Bahla having a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Matrah, Nizwa, Wahiba Sands, and Musandam Peninsula.

Oman has a lot to offer in terms of things to see and do. Some of the attractions not to be missed are Qurum beach in Muscat, Seeb Beach, kite surfing, diving, wildlife watching, trekking, whale watching, desert safari, overnight camping in the desert, dune bashing, caving, shopping at the Souqs, rock climbing, horse and camel racing, visiting forts and the four World Heritage Sites in the Sultanate. These are the Bahla Fort, the ancient settlements and tombs in Bat at Al-Khatm and Al-Ain, the Luban route in Dofar, and the five Falajs. You could even plan your trip in such a way that you can catch one of the many festivals organized in the country such as the Muscat Festival held some time in January or February, or the Salalah Festival held in the months of July and August.

Accommodation and food options can be found in plenty no matter where you plan to go in Oman, but it may be wise to get in touch with a reputable travel agency of the country and figure out the minutiae of your visit. Many tourists these days prefer hiring a chauffeur driven car to enjoy their vacation at their own pace and in comfort. Your travel agency can also help you find a good deal in this regard, in addition to preparing specifically designed itineraries, making hotel bookings, air travel tickets, etc. Tourism in Oman is fast developing, and you can rest assured to find a well-planned holiday that fits your budget as well as your desires for comfort and luxury.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

How to Choose Hotels in Oman

The best way to find hotels in Oman for your vacation is by searching for good options online and telling your travel agency to make the required bookings. The country is fast growing in the tourism sector, and in the last decade or so many new international hotels and resort chains have made their way into major cities. In view of the fact that accommodation is one of the primary factors affecting the fun factor of a vacation, it may be a good idea to take matters in your own hand. Since there are a large number of hotels and resorts in the Sultanate, given below are some of the best hotel and resort properties listed according to their star ratings. You can simply choose from these, depending on your holiday budget and places included in your itinerary.

The Sultanate is well-known for its five star properties that exude elegance while keeping the heritage and Omani feel intact. Some of the most preferred five star properties in Oman are Al Bustan Palace Hotel, Al Husn (Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa), Al Bandar (Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa), Al Waha (Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa), The Muscat Intercontinental Hotel, The Chedi Muscat, and The Grand Hyatt Muscat, all located in Muscat. Others include the Six Senses Hideaway Zighy Bay in Dibba, and The Hilton Salalah, and The Crowne Plaza Resort in Salalah.

The country has a fine selection of four star hotels and resorts too, designed keeping the visitors’ leisure and requirements in mind. Some of the recommended names for such accommodation needs in Muscat are The Crowne Plaza Hotel, The Radisson Sas Hotel, The Ramada, and Hotel Muscat Holiday. For your Barkha stay you can select from Al Nahda Resort & Spa, or Al Sawadi Beach Resort. The Golden Tulip Nizwa Hotel in Nizwa is also favored by foreigners. Other favourites are The Sur Plaza Hotel in Sur, Crowne Plaza in Sohar, and The Desert Night Resort for holidaying in Sharqiya Sands.

For those of you who are looking for a good three star hotel, some of the favourable options are The Ramee Guestline Hotel, The Golden Tulip Muscat, Al Falaj Hotel, The Falaj Daris Hotel in Nizwa, The Ras Al Hadd Beach Hotel in Ras Al Hadd, Al Sharqiya Sands Hotel in Sharqiya, The 1000 Nights Camp in Sharqiya, and The Jebel Akhdar Hotel in Nizwa.

Some of the mentioned hotels may not have their official websites online. This is the reason, it may be best to ask your travel agency for suggestions. Especially, if you have specific needs like handicapped facilities, spa treatments, swimming pool, pick up and drop facilities, etc. Another advantage of booking your accommodation through a travel agency is that they can book the hotels in Oman that are more convenient in relevance to your itinerary. Plus, a majority of travel agencies have tie-ups with hotels and can provide you with rooms at a better discounted price.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Excursions in Muscat

One of the most vital things to ensure that you have a fabulous holiday in Oman is to find a good local travel agency. There are many in Muscat and you can simply log onto some websites and select one that you think can help you best in making the required bookings and showing you around. If you plan on staying only in the Capital and still not miss out on the treasures this ancient Sultanate has in store, look for various excursions in Muscat available through such travel agencies. You can compare the choices online and make an informed decision and relevant bookings well in advance. Some of the more popular tours arranged by the leading travel agencies of the city are mentioned below.

A favourite is the Muscat city tour that offers a unique opportunity the glory, mystique and modernism of this city. This is a four hour tour that includes visiting the Grand Mosque, Bait Al Zubair Museum, the Al Alam Palace, the 16th century Portuguese forts Mirani and Jalali, the waterfront cornice, the fish market and the colorful Mattrah souq.

One is the Nizwa Forts tour, which aims to introduce visitors to the birthplace of Islam in the Sultanate of Oman. This excursion takes duration of 9 hours and covers sites like the famous Round Tower Fort and its souq, Jabrin castle, and the beautiful village of Birkat Al Mauz located at the foothills of Green Mountain of Jebel Akhdar, where visitors can enjoy a walk through its oasis and dense date plantations.

Another favourite is the Al Hoota Caves tour of 8 hours, as it covers Nizwa’s Round Tower fort and souq, the village of Birkat Al Mauz as well as the Al Hoota Caves, where visitors can see stalactites and stalagmites, and an underground lake.

For visitors that want to enjoy a special evening out, there is the Twilight Dhow Cruise that takes 3 hours. One can view the city’s coast and the change of beautiful earth colours to sparkling city lights as the sun sets, with a brief stop at a natural cove.

For marine-life lovers there is a dolphin and whale watching tour. This is an early morning tour of 3 to 4 hours, and while every trip may not have a sighting, it is a spectacular way to start your day in this country.

Other celebrated excursions in Muscat include the Batinah tour and the majestic mountains tour. Such tours are a great way to select parts of Oman. Many travel agencies even design tailor-made tours or private tours that can take you around in chauffeur driven vehicles. You can choose exactly what you wish to see and how. All you need to do is let your travel agency know of your desires and luxury requirements beforehand.