Ask the experts: Emma’s insider tips for Oman

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When you book an Oman holiday with us (or any holiday in fact), you’ll benefit from the first-hand knowledge and support of our incredible bunch of experts.

Emma ‘Higgo’ Higgins – there she is below! – has been lucky enough to visit Oman a number of times over the years. So, if you want to know the best places to stay, where to go, and what’s best to skip – she’s ready to help.

Below, Emma shares a handful of her top insider tips for your Oman holiday. And there are a lot more where these came from!

What to do in Oman: Emma’s insider tips

Spot the turtles

Nesting turtles in oman

Seeing the nesting turtles often features on my clients’ wishlists for their Oman holidays. But, the best season for turtle nesting is between the months of April and the end of September, when Oman is sweltering.

If you’re planning to visit outside of these months (when the temperature is much more bearable!), you can still spot them. Just because they’re not nesting doesn’t mean they’re not nearby! I once spotted one in the water from the coastal road between Muscat and Sur before.

And I hugely recommend heading out on a snorkelling trip to the Daymaniyat Islands if you want to get up close to them. This is definitely one of my favourite full-day experiences offered in Oman – particularly if seeing marine life is top of the bill for you! As well as turtles, there are plenty of vibrantly colourful fish, rays and even whale sharks to swim amongst.

Snorkelling off the Daymaniyat Islands, Oman

Get off the beaten track in Musandam

The main draw of visiting Musandam is stepping off dry land and onto a dhow cruise, which is brilliant and hugely recommended.

But, if you have a half-day free to play with, it would be a great idea to explore the lesser-visited interior of the peninsula on a half-day guided drive. This drive will take you to hidden parts of Oman that haven’t been touched for centuries. A true, off-the-beaten-track experience – and we love those here at HA!

Immerse yourself in Omani culture

If authentic experiences and learning about Omani culture is high up your priority list (and why wouldn’t it be?), you need to make sure you head to the countryside and the mountains on your Oman holiday. It’s here that you’re going to find the most traditional examples of authentic culture and Omani living.

Old town Al Hamra in Oman
Ancient Al Hamra
Hajar Mountains, Oman
Oman’s Hajar Mountains

For something interactive, Bait al Safah is a traditional Omani house located in the Hajar Mountains, in the village of Al Hamra. It is now a living museum that showcases Omani heritage and culture. Bait al Safah has several rooms that display traditional Omani items such as clothing, jewellery, pottery, weapons, and musical instruments. Visitors can also watch live demonstrations of traditional crafts such as weaving, pottery making, as well as preparing bread and understanding how they extract oil from nuts. 

Where to stay in Oman: Emma’s insider tips

Where to stay in Muscat

A lot of people want to stay at The Chedi in Muscat and I can’t blame them – it’s one of the most beautiful hotels in the city. However, for a high-end stay, it might surprise you that not many of the rooms have balconies.

So, if you’re keen for some outside space (and perhaps even a lovely sea view), I’d recommend opting for a Serai Terrace Room – they have wonderful big balconies, perfect for unwinding on after a long day of exploring.

Treat yourself to a stay at the Anantara Jabal Akhdar, if you can!

If you’re heading to the mountains (and you can stretch to it), I highly recommend factoring in a stay at the stunning Anantara Jabal Akhdar. Featured on BBC’s Life Beyond the Lobby programme, this place is really special, with stellar service and spectacular views over the canyon. It’s a treat for sure, but a worthy one.

If you do stay, I’d make sure you opt for a Deluxe Canyon View room. These rooms are found on the first floor and have beautiful views across the canyon. In contrast, the Premier Canyon View rooms are all on the ground floor. This means your ‘canyon view’ is predominantly just the view of the cliff at your feet – and we can do better than that!

If a stay at the Anantara is a little out of your budget range, you can still experience it! They take bookings in their restaurant, so if you’re staying elsewhere on the Jabal Akhdar you could always factor in a delicious dinner here as the sun sets over the canyon. Perfect.

Enjoy a truly authentic, mountain stay

There are a couple of upmarket hotels in the mountains, but if you want something more Omani, there’s a guest house called The Sugwra in the heart of a ruined village that is just so special.

The journey to get there is an experience in itself. You have to hike to reach it, and your luggage is sent across the valley on a zip wire (I doubt your suitcase has ever had more of an adventure!)

When you make it though, your efforts will be rewarded with totally unique accommodation, and brilliant food too. It’s a real magical find nestled away in a remote corner of Oman that feels like it’s been carved right out of the cliffs. 

So, there we have it, just a small snippet of Emma’s extensive Oman wisdom. If an authentic Arabian adventure is high on your holiday wishlist, do give her a call on 01242 253 073 or email her at [email protected]. She’s busy designing unforgettable holidays here throughout 2023 and yours could well be one of them.

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