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Bradt's is the most up-to-date and informative guide to Oman, the Arabian peninsula's most welcoming destination, fully revised and updated by an author who has been living in Oman and Arabia since 1986. Oman is finally reaping the economic benefit of its location between Europe, Africa and Asia with substantial investment in major shipping ports and significant expansion of the national airline with new routes to Western Europe and East Asia. Despite being at the crossroads of great trade routes and empires, Oman has remained an independent country through much of its long history, and today tourism and travel are a major focus for Oman's government. This new edition covers the recent substantial investment in new airport facilities and upmarket accommodation and also features the historic UNESCO towns of Sumhuram and Al Balid. If you want to live like a local, the guide also tells you how to slow cook the traditional spiced meat 'Shuwa' and how to be a perfect guest if invited into an Omani home.
Oman is not merely a desert. While it has the classic sand seas – Wahiba Sands – home to the nomadic Bedouin and their camels, this sultanate also boasts lush monsoon-soaked valleys near Salalah, mountain villages surrounded by green terraced fields of fruit trees and rose bushes, and the reef-fringed Daymaniyat Islands. With such a varied wilderness there is huge scope for adventure. Oman is increasingly perceived as a high-end cultural destination. The new Opera House has opened, directly supported by the Sultan, with top-notch international performers like Placido Domingo. The guide includes advice on property buying, since Omani law changed to allow expatriates to buy, explaining the rules and regulations. There is also a detailed overview of language schools teaching Arabic, not found in other guides. With advice on cultural etiquette, basic Arabic phrases and political history – as well as full practical information on where to stay and eat, and what to see and do – this fully updated edition remains the essential guide for travellers looking to discover the real Oman.
PART ONE GENERAL INFORMATION
Chapter 1 Background Information
Geography, Climate, Natural history, Conservation, Historical overview, Government and politics, Economy, People, Language, Religion, Education, Culture
Chapter 2 Practical Information
When to visit, Highlights, Suggested itineraries, Tourist information, Tour operators, Red tape, Embassies and consulates, Getting there and away, Health, Safety, What to take, Money and budgeting, Getting around, Accommodation, Eating and drinking, Public holidays, Shopping, Activities, Photography, Media and communications, Cultural etiquette, Business etiquette, Travelling positively
PART TWO THE GUIDE
Chapter 3 Muscat
History, Getting there, Getting around, Tourist information, Tours and operators, Where to stay, Where to eat, Entertainment and nightlife, Shopping, Other practicalities, What to see and do, Muttrah, Muscat Old Town (include Royal Opera House and National Museum), Coast east of Muttrah, Ruwi , Qurum, Qurum Beach, Madinat Qaboos, Al Khuwair , Bowshar, Ghubra, Azaiba, Seeb, Al Khoud, Excursions beyond Muscat, Grand Mosque Opera
Chapter 4 The Batinah
The Batinah Coast, Barka, Al Sawadi, As Suwaiq, Al Khaboura, Sohar, Liwa, Shinas, The Batinah Plain, The Rustaq Loop, Rustaq, Nakhl
Chapter 5 Musandam
Getting there, Getting around, Tour operators, Where to stay and eat, Other practicalities, What to see and do, Bukha, Qida and Tawi, Khasab, Kumzar, Khor A'Najd, Sal Al A'la, Jebel Harim, Dibba, Madah
Chapter 6 The Dhahirah
Getting there, Getting around, Tour operator, Where to stay, Ibri, Wadi Hawasina, Al Dariz, Bat, Dank, Wadi Fidda, Yanqul, Buraimi
Chapter 7 The Dakhiliyah
Getting there, Getting around, Tour operators, Where to stay, Other practicalities, What to see and do, Fanja, Bidbid, Al Firfareh, The Sumail Gap, Birkat al Mawz, Wadi Muaydin, Saiq Plateau, Jebel Akhdar, Nizwa, Seih al Barakat, Fiqain, Manah, Izz and Adam, Tanuf, Hamra, Misfat al Abriyeen, Al Hota Cave and Sharfat al Alamayn, Wadi Ghul and Jebel Shams, Bahla Salut, Jebel Kawr and Al Ghafat
Chapter 8 The Sharqiya
Getting there, Tour operators, Where to stay, Where to eat, Other practicalities, What to see and do, Along the inland route from Muscat to Sur, Along the coastal route from Muscat to Sur, Sur, Al Ayjah, Ras Al Hadd, Ras Al Jinz, Masirah Island
Chapter 9 Al Wusta
Getting there, Where to stay and eat, Muscat-Salalah, Arabian Oryx Sanctuary
Chapter 10 Dhofar
History, The Dhofaris, Getting there and away, Getting around, Tour operators, Where to stay, Where to eat, Other practicalities, Salalah, Ain Rezat, Ain Hamran, Taqa, Wadi Dirbat, Tawi Attair, Baobab Forest, Khor Rori and Sumharam, Sadah, Between Taqa and Mirbat, Mirbat, Halaniyat Islands, West of Salalah, North of Salalah, Return to Salalah
Appendix 1 Language
Appendix 2 Glossary
Appendix 3 Further Information
Diana Darke has known Oman for over 30 years when she first worked there for the Omani government in 1980. She still has many Omani colleagues and friends in the country. With a BA in Arabic (Oxford) and an MA in Islamic Art and Architecture (SOAS, London) her in-depth cultural background knowledge is second to none, and is rarely found in guidebooks. She is the author of sixteen guidebooks on Turkey and the Middle East.
Tony Walsh has written extensively about Oman for local and international media as well as for Oman government publications. He has lived in Arabia since 1986, for most of that time in Muscat. Though initially managing retail businesses in Oman and Saudi Arabia, he has also worked in tourism since 1993, exploring Oman from the Straits of Hormuz to the Yemen border and beyond. His Arabic can justifiably be called 'street Arabic' as, although he learnt to read and write in a class, it was the man on the street who taught him the language. His coffee table book on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Oman covers each of the thirteen locations which are spread throughout the country.
"A welcome aid to help navigate the streets of the capital, Muscat, and to explore the vast expanses of the Wahabi and the aptly named Empty Quarter."
- The Independent
"We recommend [the] Bradt guidebook to Oman."
- Holiday Which?