Oman has beautiful natural sights -- the scenic wadis and sand dunes in the desert and the cool and green oases in the south -- that deserve more visitors.
You will not find any Oman hostels at the time of this writing, but it seems just a matter of time. The concept of a hostel is relatively new in the Middle East, and in particular in the Gulf states. Oman has a great potential for tourists with plenty of interesting landmarks, especially in the countryside. It does, however, lack a good infrastructure that would be needed to welcome budget travelers to an Oman hostel. Not only is there no accommodation with dorms in the country, but there is also hardly any public transport in Oman to take guests at a future Oman hostel to the places of interest.
A rental car is by far the best way to get around. With well-maintained highways and quiet roads outside Muscat, driving is not much to worry about. If renting a car is not an option for you, hitchhiking is very possible in Oman. It will rarely take more than a few minutes for someone to pick you up and people are friendly, although many locals have very little knowledge of English. Another option is to book a guide tour to get to the destinations in the countryside. However, tours are not advertised on the street like at touristic destinations, so ask around where you can book a tour. Your hotel or future hostel in Oman may be able to help you with this.
Muscat is the capital of Oman. The city city is spread out over a big distance, so check well in advance where to book your accommodation. Most cultural landmarks are in the Muttrah districts, but you might as well want to be closer to the beach, the airport or other (cultural) sites. Some of the country’s most famous landmarks can be visited as day trip from Muscat too. Wadi Bani Khalid, Wadi Ash Shab, and the Bimma Sinkhole are some of the most spectacular natural sites, whereas Nizwa is a cultural destination with an imposing fort. Each of these destinations are within two hours from Muscat. Budget accommodation in Nizwa is available too. The Wahiba Sands are a bit further than the mentioned Wadis. Here you can see amazing sand dunes and camels in their natural habitat.
The previously mentioned destinations are great for visiting from autumn through spring. In summer, many locals escape the heat and visit the Dhofar region in the south. You may not expect to see this in the Middle East, but the Dhofar region is actually very green and the temperature never rises above twenty-seven degrees Celsius. Due to the Khareef -- which is the monsoon season -- the Dhofar region is surprisingly pleasant in summer. Salalah is the region’s capital and the best place to base yourself in the Dhofar region. Driving from Muscat will take approximately twelve hours, or you can take a domestic flight. There is also a daily bus from Muscat. Wadi Darbat is one of the prettiest places to visit, and if you are lucky you will witness camels bathing in the water, or enjoy one of the beaches in the area.
Hi, I'm Martin Straatman,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Oman hostels. Welcome.