A road trip in Oman is backpackers´ best kept secret

JUAN MARTINEZ

February 10, 2019

A road trip in Oman is backpackers´ best kept secret

Crossing deserts, cruising mountains and sleeping on a completely empty beach afterwards.

I think a road trip in Oman can be considered a lifetime experience.

Oman was not the first country that came to my mind when I thought where to go for the perfect road trip. It was not even the first country when I considered traveling outside of Europe in general. It is a destination that has only emerged from isolation over the recent years and before I informed myself about it, I wasn´t quite sure what to expect. However, Oman has an incredible diversity of natural wonders, offers a unique glimpse of the Arab world without experiencing the excessive wealth of their neighbor countries and has some of the friendliest people in the world. Oman is trending right now and soon it will become the next Mecca for backpacking.

Despite all we see in the daily news, tourism in the Arab world is growing incredibly fast. Iran is becoming one of the most popular destinations for Germans, UAE and Qatar attract visitors from all over the world as luxury playgrounds and Oman is stepping up as the top destination for outdoor traveling in the region.

A country to be set as an example

Oman Juan Martinez Road Trip in Oman Nizwa Souq
Shop in Nizwa´s Souq

If you compare Oman to other countries in the Arab world, you will find that the real modernization is not happening in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Doha. Oman might not have these gigantic and magnificent skyscrapers or high-speed trains connecting the country from north to south. Still, when it comes to social equality, basic infrastructure and environmental protection issues, Oman is a leader.

In gender equality, Oman sets an example in the Arab peninsula. According to the Gender Inequality Index worldwide, Oman is ranking not only higher than all its neighboring countries, but also in comparison to South America and some Eastern European countries. As well, Oman is one of the safest countries in the world and at the same time one of the friendliest.

“After working in the Arab world for years, I found in Oman the country that makes me happy”, says Konstantia Bagiourouki, a Greek expat living in Muscat for over a year. Omanis love visitors and with a young and well-educated new generation growing up, it is quite likely you will be invited by Omanis to join them for some tea and exchange stories, when you simply pass next to them.

Oman´s road infrastructure can easily be compared to most European countries’. Road lanes are wide and in perfect condition, there is good signage for visitors and finding a parking spot is definitely the last worry you should have during the trip.

Info: Ecological issues are taken seriously in Oman. This country has one of the best records in environmental conservation. However, due to mass tourism in the recent years, the government had to invest more into this matter. A road trip in Oman has a bigger impact on the environment than you might think. Avoid visiting restricted areas and pick up your residues when leaving a campsite.

A country for outdoor adventurers

Oman Juan Martinez Road Trip in Oman mountains
Wadi Bani Khalid in Oman

It´s been a while since I visited a country with such a large diversity in landscapes within a very small area. Oman is the country, where visitors can wake up at the beach, get lunch in an oasis and spend the night on top of a mountain.

No matter which part of the country you are traveling in, incredible landscapes and beautiful scenery will always be part of the journey. Oman is also one of the few countries which allows free camping. It´s very common to see cars parking on completely isolated beaches with tents set up next to them, when the sun is about to go down.

You can find several home stays or even luxury hotels in most parts of the country. Still, there is nothing more beautiful than sleeping under the stars while hearing the ocean waves crashing on rocks at the shore and waking up with the singing of seagulls in the middle of a deserted beach.

The list of activities goes on and on. Let your adventure spirit get lost in Sharqiya Sands, where more than 120 square kilometers of dunes are waiting to be explored. This is the perfect spot for a romantic sunset or simply spending hours contemplating the beautiful starry night trying to find a shooting star.  Wake up the next morning to look for one of the many wadis and swim in its refreshing crystal-clear waters.

Oman Juan Martinez Road Trip in Oman Desert sunsets
Sunset at Sharqiya Sands in Oman

Having a vehicle in Oman gives you a lot of freedom where to go and when. You can drive up Oman´s two majestic mountains Jebel Shams and Jebel Akhdar and see a mountain range so large that only the horizon seems to be the end of it. Don´t forget to bring a jacket, it´s cold during the nights!

Inside Info: Oman’s most beautiful landscapes can only be reached with a 4×4 vehicle. Of course, this will definitely increase your travel costs per day. However, if you are looking to see this beautiful and basically untouched part of the country, this kind of vehicle is necessary. Here you can find our tips for renting the right vehicle during your trip to Oman.  

Oman amazes the most experienced travelers and I wasn´t the exception. It is a country where adventurers can get a vehicle and visit pristine locations without a final destination in mind. A place where the route creates the adventure and where you don´t have to worry about leaving your tent to go for a bite is for me the ultimate road trip destination.

Need to know: Although many blogs don´t mention it, camping around the area of Raz al Jinz is not allowed. This is one of the largest turtle-nesting sites in the world and in the past years it has basically been invaded by visitors looking forward to seeing turtles laying their eggs. Before you book a tour or reach this area, think about the environmental damage you are causing when visiting these places.

Read more: How to plan the perfect road trip in Oman

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