Sometimes life throws you something special along your way, for me it was an invitation to come visit and explore the country of Oman.
How does one thank Etihad Airways and the Sultanate of Oman Tourism for hosting for me a “trip of a lifetime”
Before I tell you all about Oman, I must explain what happened prior to boarding. I was extremely fortunate to be a part of the amazing new Etihad Business Class experience, and what an experience it was. From the moment I walked in I was treated like royalty, they made me feel like I was really someone, really someone deserving of the most special experience in the world. We were treated to a fine dining experience with a 7 course degustation dinner that rivals the most upmarket restaurants, amazing cocktails and their signature cocktail ‘the Melbournian’ was out of this world and the service was quite literally mind blowing. If you are looking to have a once in a lifetime experience this is definitely the way to begin. Just before moving on I want to thank Marissa and the team at DMS (Destination Marketing Services) and Etihad for making this all possible.
Now the adventure begins. The Sultanate of Oman holds the perfect blend of being a traditional and modern country in the Arabian Peninsula, “Bordering the UAE, Muscat the capital is under an hour away from Abu Dhabi” when you arrive you will notice the locals welcoming visitors with big smiles and open arms.
Whether you’re walking into a shop or visiting a heritage centre their warm and welcoming hospitality is met with sweet Arabic coffee and delicious dates.
It is probably one of the most fascinating countries I have ever visited and believe me, I’ve been extremely fortunate within my travel career to explore the world.
The far north Musandam region of Oman is very arid mountains whilst the Jabel Akhdar area can be very lush but Jabel Shams the mountain range next to Alila is very arid. The thing that stood out the most though was the mix of desert aridness through to the most beautiful turquoise blue waters whilst swimming with the turtles and dolphin watching.
Very mixed topography throughout the country…
A thing to note; distances are quite long, so careful planning is required to get the best out of your stay in Oman, no corner should be missed.
Like any modern country, they are embracing tourism, however strict Guidelines are still in place to limit Development to low-rise properties (no more than 10 floors) while keeping a very simple clean look to its décor white or cream buildings and homes.
I asked my local guide why the low-rise buildings he replied “Why should anyone miss the beautiful mountain views”
The Sultanate of Oman has also placed a great emphasis on the Preservation of architecture, history and Cultural identity. So, you can’t not help to notice the deep love and patriotic respect the people of Oman have for their Sultanate and county.
Don’t get me started on the food…
I literally ate my way through this country!
The country’s culinary traditions offer an interesting blend of Arabian, Northern African and Indian influences, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and frankincense are some of the main condiments used and can be found among their exotic souks.
For me, it was a feeling of walking into an “old Arabian movie” all I needed now was Aladdin the Genie and their magic carpet to appear from around the corner and whisk me away!
In short, the whole of Oman is a hidden jewel and not to be missed, it’s diversification is a breath of fresh air. It’s magical to some and biblical to others, it’s respectful of all peoples, religion, cultures and proud of its ancient heritage.