So the last few days, I've been battling a mild (but persistent) bout of viral laryngitis. I only know because every summer for the last 3 years, I've had laryngitis while traveling abroad funny enough. 2010 in Asia, 2011 in Europe, and 2012 in the Middle East! It's like my body's own little summer tradition, I guess. I've met a LOT of sick travelers along the way, so at least I'm not alone.

Though I finally get time to update a little. Oman (pronounced oh-MAHN) has been a very interesting place! As a guy I met from Colorado put it, Oman is like the 'wild west' of the Middle East. It certainly used to be and there are forts just about everywhere (they say over a thousand)!
The border crossing was pretty intense, I must say. I took a 6-hour bus from Dubai and checkpoint after checkpoint, armed guys with drug-sniffing dogs prowled our luggage. Once I got into Oman though, it was a whole different story.
My first impression of the friendliness of Omani people was on the bus ride. An older Omani man (who spoke excellent English) guided me through all the checkpoints and made sure I got all the stamps I needed (since I had a different passport than everyone else, my process was a little different). He also translated for one of the officers who misread my passport. What a nice man, I thought.

When I arrived at night, I went into a small phone shop to ask for directions to a hotel I was looking at. The Indian-Omani shop owner's reaction? "Don't worry about it, I'll take you there."

And just like that he closed up his shop for the night and drove me to a hotel 5 kilometers away. Shocked as I was, I offered to pay, but he wouldn't take it. "Traveling should always be free," he smiled and said to me. Never have I experienced kindness like that from a total stranger.
Not exactly being a typical backpacker destination, Oman had no hostels to speak of, so I had to shell out a bit over my budget ($55 a night) for one of the cheapest hotels in town. Oman, by far, is one of the most expensive countries I have ever backpacked.

Public transportation was sparse so in my 3 days, I spent over $60 on taxis alone (with bargaining)!! Not to mention their currency is strong with 1 Omani Rial equaling roughly 3 dollars. A 'basic' 5 Rial taxi ride was costing me about 15 bucks!

However, my hotel room was amazing. Clean, spacious, with a modern bathroom.
Walking around Muscat, I felt like I was in some sort of Arabesque Disneyland. The streets are amazingly clean, yet the buildings are all Arabian with domed windows and whatnot. Not surprisingly, I was almost the only tourist everywhere I went, though the locals were - for the most part - incredibly hospitable. And very, very curious about where I was from.

Arab hospitality, as they say, is no joke. Drenched in sweat during the day, I had Omani men offer to buy me water, random drivers stop by the road to ask me if I was lost or needed help. One Omani man told me "with only 3 million people in Oman, every man must help each other."

Climbing old forts, walking around the 'corniche,' this was certainly off the beaten path backpacking...
Everywhere I turned, there was yet another fort in the distance. Historically speaking, Oman was a big trading power once upon a time between the Middle East, India, and China, so they had a lot to protect. Today, it's a peaceful, laid-back (and very developed) country. Most tourists head to the sandy beaches for a tan, but I spent my time walking the narrow streets of Muscat.
Sipping a cup of tea at a cafe along the bay one afternoon, I watched the world go by as local Omani men laughed, argued, and debated about things I couldn't understand.
Muscat is so small, I ran into two Italian guys three times around the sights of the city. And as with any ancient Arab country, there was the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque - the third largest mosque in the world.
At my hotel, I met two Americans studying in Jordan (after a 9 day dry spell) and they gave me some great advice about going to Egypt (which is pretty crazy at the moment, as you can imagine).

On my last night, I also met two awesome Omani guys (Mohamed and Mohannet) who took us out Omani-style. We went to the beach close to midnight and had some barbeque squid, shrimp, and beef, while conversing about the different ways of dating between Oman and back home. A pretty great way of topping off my last night in Muscat!
So while I did get a little sick and spend a bit over budget during my time in Oman, some great times were certainly had in the land of a thousand forts. Not to mention, I got to check off another ocean on my bucket list. I'm looking at you now, Arctic Ocean!
CrYsTaL
8/30/2012 09:56:01 pm

i enjoy reading your blog, old friend! glad you are having fun and taking many pictures so the rest of us can see where you are! :)

Reply
Logan
8/31/2012 02:20:33 am

Can you show us some real hostel pictures( the room with many people) once a while?

Reply
Your Sister
9/3/2012 03:48:54 am

^lol Dad's pretty blunt, he's not satisfied with your clean pictures.

I'm thinking a lot of Omans have not seen many Asians. That's crazy a shop owner would close his store just so he can give you a ride to your hotel! Keep these pictures coming little brother, I'm almost back in the states now. Canadians are really nice it's weird.

Reply
9/7/2012 10:50:26 am

Dear Dustin

How are you friend ? How is Jordan ? Where are you now ?

We missed you here in Oman thanks for the post and the nice words about my country your are a nice man. I liked the night when we had BBQ together at the beach thanks a lot for the nice pics.

Hope I can see you again and take you to a lot of nice places you wasn't able to visit because of some reason like the taxi. ( rent a car here is much better as you can get from 25 US$ for a sedan and it depends of the brands and about 80 to 100 for a 4X4 car the prices are per night ) also the petrol here is 30 cents only per liter that mean it cost about 1.15 US$ for a gallon. Any way I'm waiting for you any time please contact me to be with you next time.

Best Regards & wish you a great life ever for you, family & your friends.

All the best.

Reply
Marco
9/29/2013 04:07:10 pm

Dear Mohamed,

Thanks for your comment. I'm planning to visit Oman next January with my parents, and I'll definitely opt to rent a car, possibly a 4x4, since I would like to follow my mother's race. She's taking part in the TransOmania, do you know anything about that?
My dad and I don't want to run, but still, we would like to follow the race, it seems like the races goes through several amazing places.

Thanks and take care,
Marco

Reply
Marco
9/29/2013 04:07:17 pm

Dear Mohamed,

Thanks for your comment. I'm planning to visit Oman next January with my parents, and I'll definitely opt to rent a car, possibly a 4x4, since I would like to follow my mother's race. She's taking part in the TransOmania, do you know anything about that?
My dad and I don't want to run, but still, we would like to follow the race, it seems like the races goes through several amazing places.

Thanks and take care,
Marco

Reply
Marco
9/29/2013 04:07:31 pm

Dear Mohamed,

Thanks for your comment. I'm planning to visit Oman next January with my parents, and I'll definitely opt to rent a car, possibly a 4x4, since I would like to follow my mother's race. She's taking part in the TransOmania, do you know anything about that?
My dad and I don't want to run, but still, we would like to follow the race, it seems like the races goes through several amazing places.

Thanks and take care,
Marco

Reply
Moahmed
10/15/2013 09:56:40 pm

Hi Marco

Sorry for the late reply.

Its so nice to hear that you are going to visit Oman. Its my first time to hear about the TransOmania but it seem its good.

Regarding the places are nice to visit. To rent a car you can do that online from some websites or when u arrive from offices.

The cost for 4X4 car about 100 to 120 $US each day and there is some limits kilometers to run if u exceeded the limits there will be a charge of about 0.130 $US .

If u need any more info or help please don't hesitate it will be so nice to help u.

Best Regards

Mohamed Al Maskari

Mohd.dha@hotmail.com

Delmon Hotel Apartments

Moahmed
10/15/2013 09:56:51 pm

Hi Marco

Sorry for the late reply.

Its so nice to hear that you are going to visit Oman. Its my first time to hear about the TransOmania but it seem its good.

Regarding the places are nice to visit. To rent a car you can do that online from some websites or when u arrive from offices.

The cost for 4X4 car about 100 to 120 $US each day and there is some limits kilometers to run if u exceeded the limits there will be a charge of about 0.130 $US .

If u need any more info or help please don't hesitate it will be so nice to help u.

Best Regards

Mohamed Al Maskari

Mohd.dha@hotmail.com

Delmon Hotel Apartments

Moahmed
10/15/2013 09:56:57 pm

Hi Marco

Sorry for the late reply.

Its so nice to hear that you are going to visit Oman. Its my first time to hear about the TransOmania but it seem its good.

Regarding the places are nice to visit. To rent a car you can do that online from some websites or when u arrive from offices.

The cost for 4X4 car about 100 to 120 $US each day and there is some limits kilometers to run if u exceeded the limits there will be a charge of about 0.130 $US .

If u need any more info or help please don't hesitate it will be so nice to help u.

Best Regards

Mohamed Al Maskari

Mohd.dha@hotmail.com

Delmon Hotel Apartments

Moahmed
10/15/2013 09:57:03 pm

Hi Marco

Sorry for the late reply.

Its so nice to hear that you are going to visit Oman. Its my first time to hear about the TransOmania but it seem its good.

Regarding the places are nice to visit. To rent a car you can do that online from some websites or when u arrive from offices.

The cost for 4X4 car about 100 to 120 $US each day and there is some limits kilometers to run if u exceeded the limits there will be a charge of about 0.130 $US .

If u need any more info or help please don't hesitate it will be so nice to help u.

Best Regards

Mohamed Al Maskari

Mohd.dha@hotmail.com

Delmon Hotel Apartments

Moahmed
10/15/2013 09:57:10 pm

Hi Marco

Sorry for the late reply.

Its so nice to hear that you are going to visit Oman. Its my first time to hear about the TransOmania but it seem its good.

Regarding the places are nice to visit. To rent a car you can do that online from some websites or when u arrive from offices.

The cost for 4X4 car about 100 to 120 $US each day and there is some limits kilometers to run if u exceeded the limits there will be a charge of about 0.130 $US .

If u need any more info or help please don't hesitate it will be so nice to help u.

Best Regards

Mohamed Al Maskari

Mohd.dha@hotmail.com

Delmon Hotel Apartments

9/29/2013 04:07:52 pm

Dear Mohamed,

Thanks for your comment. I'm planning to visit Oman next January with my parents, and I'll definitely opt to rent a car, possibly a 4x4, since I would like to follow my mother's race. She's taking part in the TransOmania, do you know anything about that?
My dad and I don't want to run, but still, we would like to follow the race, it seems like the races goes through several amazing places.

Thanks and take care,
Marco

Reply
9/29/2013 04:10:55 pm

Dear Mohamed,

Thanks for your comment. I'm planning to visit Oman next January with my parents, and I'll probably opt to rent a car, possibly a 4x4, since I would like to follow my mother's race. She's taking part in the TransOmania, do you know anything about that?
My dad and I don't want to run, but still, we would like to follow the race, it seems like the races goes through several amazing places.

Thanks and take care,
Marco

Reply
9/29/2013 04:11:09 pm

Dear Mohamed,

Thanks for your comment. I'm planning to visit Oman next January with my parents, and I'll probably opt to rent a car, possibly a 4x4, since I would like to follow my mother's race. She's taking part in the TransOmania, do you know anything about that?
My dad and I don't want to run, but still, we would like to follow the race, it seems like the races goes through several amazing places.

Thanks and take care,
Marco

Reply
Marco
9/29/2013 04:03:19 pm

Hey Dustin,

Thanks for the post, I'm planning to go and visit Oman next January, meeting there with my folks who are coming from Italy.

Living in China and seeing at the pictures you posted, of beautiful and super clean places, make me really look forward to getting in Oman!

Reply
6/4/2014 01:37:15 am

I loved my stay in Oman, I remember Muscat as a great city but my favourite were Wahiba Sands but I love the desert so it is quiet obvious choice for myself :)

Reply
3/18/2017 04:16:06 am

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