Nature, desert and amazing hospitality. Your perfect family destination in the Middle East!
Oman is a stunning country, filled with some of the friendliest people in the world. From historic Muscat to the beauty of deserts and beaches, Oman is breathtaking! It has fast become one of our favourite travel destinations in the Middle East. The peacefulness and the character of the white low-rise buildings, the amazing scenery in every corner and the fact it is still an off-the-beaten path destination, makes Oman a true gem. So different from neighbouring Dubai and Abu Dhabi. What to visit and where to stay will depend on whether you prefer to stay close to Muscat or want to venture into the desert and nature. We focus on Muscat and the Wahiba Sands desert which will be a great start to your family’s Omani adventure!
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What to do
If you’ve ever been to other parts of the Middle East, one thing that will immediately surprise you about Muscat is the lack of skyscrapers. This is a direct order from Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, who wants the city to retain its character and architecture.
While in Muscat, a must-visit is the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. The building is absolutely stunning both inside and out and the kids will have a wonderful time exploring every corner.
Sassy Mama tip: Non-Muslims are welcome to enter the mosque between 8am and 11am from Saturday to Thursday. Children under 10 are not permitted to enter the main prayer hall.
After a morning at the mosque, kids will enjoy the colours and excitement of the Muttrah Souk. It is big but not overwhelming, and you will all love to get lost in the maze of laneways full of perfumes, handicrafts, shawls and souvenirs.
Sassy Mama tip: The market opens from 8am to 1pm and reopens between 4pm and 10pm. Also remember, the souk is stroller accessible in most parts, although some alleys are a little narrow.
A lovely way to relax after a long day of sightseeing is to enjoy a sunset Dhow boat tour. Kick back and enjoy this amazing perspective of the city and the scenery of Muscat.
A highlight of your trip to Oman will be a night in the desert. Wahiba Sands is the closest desert and it’s easily reached from Muscat in a few hours. You will have a full experience soaring through the sand dunes, watching the camels and enjoying the evening sunset from the top of the dunes. It will definitely be an experience you won’t forget! Most of the desert camps offer additional activities such as camel riding, dune bashing and dining experiences in the dunes. Dune bashing is probably the most fun activity, where expert guides will take you on a rollercoaster drive through the dunes!
Sassy Mama tip: To make the most of your time, aim to arrive at the camp around lunchtime to relax and explore for a few hours before sunset. Also, you will need a 4×4 car to drive into Wahiba Sands. Alternatively you can park and arrange a transfer through your accommodation.
Our pick for staying in Wahiba Sands is Desert Nights Camp. With 39 luxurious Bedouin-style tents and a fantastic on-site restaurant, it is a perfect family choice. Rates include a delicious breakfast and an evening meal.
Desert Nights Camp, Al Wasil, Sultanate of Oman, +968 9281 8388, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.omanhotels.com/desertnightscamp
Travel to and around Oman
It is very easy to travel to Oman from Hong Kong connecting via Dubai, Abu Dabi or Bangkok. Our recommendation is to make a stopover for a few days in Dubai where the full family will be able to rest and kids will be spoilt with all the family attractions.
While you are in Oman, the easiest way to get around with kids in tow is to rent your own car. The roads are high-quality, driving standards are generally good and fuel is extremely cheap.
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Where to stay
Muscat is really spread out so there is not a central place to have a base. If you are coming to Muscat for a family gateway and to relax, stay at the Shangri La Barr al Jissah. It’s one of Oman’s most family friendly resorts and offers a kids club, a children’s pool and lazy river.
Our favourite luxury destination is the renowned The Chedi Muscat which will give you an unforgettable experience (if your budget allows!). The Crowne Plaza is also a great choice, with stunning ocean views and a very relaxed atmosphere by the beach.
Shangri La Barr al Jissah, OM, Al Jissah St, Muscat 100, Oman, +968 24 77 6666, email@example.com, www.shangri-la.com
The Chedi Muscat, 133, 18th November St, Muscat, Oman, +968 2452 4400, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.ghmhotels.com
The Crowne Plaza, 112 Ruwi St, Muscat, Oman, +968 2466 0660, email@example.com, www.ihg.com/crowneplaza
Sassy Mama Tips
- You now need to apply for an eVisa in advance. You will find more information here.
- Ladies are not required to be covered but should dress conservatively to avoid unwanted attention.
- Outside the bigger towns, it might be difficult to find supplies of Western brand baby products. Stock up on anything you need while you are in Muscat.
- The best time to visit Oman is during the coolest months, October to April, when the temperatures are more enjoyable.
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