• Population: 3 million (UN, 2005)
  • Capital: Muscat
  • Area: 309,500 sq km (119,500 sq miles)
  • Major language: Arabic
  • Major religion: Islam
  • Life expectancy: 73 years (men), 76 years (women) (UN)
  • Monetary unit: 1 Rial = 1000 biaza

    The Sultanate of Oman is one of the oil-dependent countries in the Arab Peninsula. As a result, it sinks into a worldwide impression of clichéic barrenness that most oil-rich countries fall under. The monarchy, albeit, is middle-income, not oil-rich, with its dwindling oil resources. Thus, the world can expect new achievements to take place from what the Arab World calls the Land of Blue as it diversifies from oil to tourism for revenue. But man, Oman! Doesn’t it get hotter here with one of the hottest summer temperatures anywhere?

    Overshadowed by the political conflicts and oil-money of the Middle-East that are the same tedious headlines when watching news about the region, Oman’s nature is practically untouched and untainted. If anything, these pristine and diverse landscapes the country behold depict what the new frontier traveller looks for – off the beaten path and road less travelled. But Oman possesses a history greatly unknown to the world, particularly in southern Oman, but not just any history.

    When it comes to a little tranquil in the Middle-East, Oman is the traveller’s only choice, only destination. You will be simply blown away with what wonders await right here, right now. Echoes of the past ringing to the future, with a slice of green in the middle of the Arabian dessert, this is Oman.



    Oman (21 00 N, 57 00 E) is a 309,500 km2 area of land south of Saudi Arabia that is more than desert and sand. In fact, rugged mountain ranges like the Al Hajar Mountains stretch along the northern coast and other ranges along the southeast coast, which in turn provides the perfect scenery to its already breathtaking beach views. The highest point is the 2,980 high Jabal Shams of the Al Hajar Range. While it is true that central Oman is covered with vast gravel desert plains, desert shrubs and grass, Omar becomes home to a uniquely distinct biodiversity of flora and fauna like nowhere else. Leopards, hyenas, foxes, oryx, ibex, fox and wolf and amazing birds like the eagle, falcon, vultures (etc.) are the eco-regions clientele. As expected, with highly saline waters, inadequate water supply is Oman’s pressing impediment.


    The climate is by and large dry desert which credits to the hot and dry climate in the central gravel-covered plains, while humid along the coasts. Oman is rather infamous for its routine summer temperatures that break 50°C to its superior high of 54 °C. In this summer heat, Oman has a wonderful getaway in the character of the southern Oman where the slight cooling effect of the strong southwest monsoon winds offer the people tremendous relief from May to September.


    All 3.37 million residents of Oman, according to statistics of 2009, suffer the intense heat of the Arabian Desert, which include the 580,000 non-nationals from the Philippines, Jordan, Egypt, and South Asia. The Omans are an Arab nation, mixed with groups of Baluchi, Zanzabari (East African), Indians, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi. More than half of the population lives in the capital, Muscat, as well as in the coastal plains of Batinah, northwest of the capital. Sizeable populations also live in Dhofar (215,000) and Musandam Peninsula (30,000).


    The Omans differ not to its adjacent countries when it comes to religion, as around 95% are Muslims (Ibadhi, Sunnis, Shia, and Zikri) and less than 5% are Christians and Hindus. These are not official statistics, but for sure, the population is homogenously Muslim because of the unbroken influence of Islam since the 7th century AD. The working non-nationals define the non-Muslim communities. South Asians comprise the Hindu populations, and Filipinos, the Christian populations. Religion also plays the role of linguistic divider, besides being an ethnic divider.


    ARABIC is the de facto official language of the country and is the language used mostly by the Omans, the direct descendants of Arabs. ENGLISH is the international working language for most of the immigrant workers in the country. At the same time, languages and dialects exist for the ethnic enclaves such as BALUCHI, SWAHILI, URDU, HINDI, and FILIPINO.


    Regardless of the language or religious affiliation, Oman is everybody’s home. Locals and tourists alike, they enjoy equal opportunities to travel and chill its hotspots, with no direct reference to heat of course. With diverse landscapes and biodiversity, tourists have come here without caring about breaking a sweat. Muscat where most opt to begin their Omani adventures is not only a developing and futuristic vision of Oman. Aside from the first class, new-age, million-dollar golf course, Muscat also is the site for the oldest recorded settlement of as early as the Stone Age. But if luxury vacations aren’t your thing, perhaps something else could be. In relation to “stones,” let’s talk about rocks from outer space. The central grave-laden desert of Oman has been crucial to the study of the solar system with its abundance of meteorites for scientific analysis ever since 1999. Oman has provided the scientific community with 20% of the world’s meteorites. The rarest kinds hail from Mars and the moon. How about jump-starting a southern expedition to the Sharqiya Region and extreme jeep or quad challenge in the fine sands of Wahida?

    The nature of Oman emanates with great spirituality, and Muslim prophets Ayub, Saleh, and Umran living here manifests this. This far southern coast of Oman, Sur, will do just this with lush greenery creating a velvety cover on the mountain side, impressing a visual of the Scottish highlands really than the Middle East. The monsoon rains and way cooler temperatures also give an illusion of a terrain that is nowhere in the Arabian Peninsula, but London perhaps? Here in Salalah, it’s windy and it’s cold, and right in the middle of summer the temperature is a refreshing 28-30°C. This is in any way not what you’d expect of a country known for its desert heat and landscapes. Salalah is Oman’s desert oasis where locals and tourists flock to escape the inescapable oppressive heat.

    Salalah is as blue as it is green, with magnificent beaches and shorelines of the Swadi Beach or the turquoise blue of the Wadi Saab oasis. A different kind of adventure would be a visit to the ancient Manah and see the ancient houses in Al Fiqin or the legendary Az al Qadim Mosque where a 100-kg rock, a stuff of legends, is exhibited. Rocky cliffs and warm geysers naturally jumping off the earth and sea, the traveller can explore these risks of height and blowholes at their own expense. Another nature-slash-historical wonder is the Dhofar- a desert farmland that is fertile ground for the frankincense tree. Frankincense was written in the bible as an offering to the newborn Jesus, at a time when it used be worth its weight in gold.


    The Omani cuisine is one of the culinary world’s best kept secret. Surely, it is another attraction to look for, but not with much effort round these parts. Appealing to taste buds of all sorts, Omani cuisine is a blend of several flavours: Arabic, Lebanese, Turkish, Indian, and African. The cuisine falls under Arabic food but with regional variations. On the other hand, Omani cuisine, though liberal in use spices, herbs, onion, lime, and garlic offers less use of heat-inducing spices. Rice is a staple and is a component in every meal as are soups, salads, and curry. Seafood is a delighted common dish, but chicken, fish, and mutton are also Omani favourites.

    Sweets are a deep part of the Omani gastronomy. Perhaps, this is one reason why Omanis are fun-loving people. They get their regular dose of simple sugars. From Mediterranean desserts to pudding, everything is delectable and cooked fairly distinctly. Omani halwa has always been numero uno. This is a dessert made from brown sugar, honey, eggs, and spices, and there’s so much more.

    Oman is indeed the eco-tourist’s dream. More so, Oman has something for everybody, for foodies, for adrenaline junkies, and even science geeks. Old villages, fascinating nature, grand historic forts (Sur) and charming people, Oman prides of its spectacular views as it does its khanjar dagger that it features on its flag. Just perfect for a short winter or summer vacation. Please, don’t be the last to get here.

    Josh Boorman


    Backpacking Addictz



    Twitter: @backpackaddictz

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    Joshua Boorman

    Joshua Boorman

    Founder & Editor in Chief at Backpacking Addictz
    Come with me on a journey with me to various destinations throughout the world. We discuss all things Backpacking, Lifestyle Design & Online Business to help you achieve new found freedom and create a life of meaningful fulfillment.
    Joshua Boorman

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