Author(s): Diana Darke
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.
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. ABOUT THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR 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.
Introduction PART ONE GENERAL INFORMATION Chapter 1 Background Information Geography, Climate, Natural history, History, 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, Travelling positively PART TWO THE GUIDE Chapter 3 Muscat History, Getting there and away, Orientation, Getting around, Tourist information, tours and tour operators, Where to stay, Where to eat and drink, Entertainment and nightlife, Shopping, Other practicalities, Sports and activities, What to see and do, Excursions beyond Muscat Chapter 4 Al Batinah Coast Getting there and away, Exploring Al Batinah, Where to stay, Where to eat and drink, Activities, Barka, As Sawadi and around, As Suwayq to Suhar, Suhar, Al Batinah Plain, Liwa, Shinas and region, The Rustaq Loop Chapter 5 Musandam Getting there and away, Getting around, Tour operators, Activities, Bukha, Qida and Tawi, Khasab, From Khasab to Wadi Bih, Kumzar, Daba, Lima, Madha Chapter 6 The Adh Dhahirah and Al Buraymi Getting there and away, Getting around, Where to stay, Ibri, Bat, Al-Khutm and Al Ayn, Wadi Fida, Yanqul, Al Buraymi, From Al Buraymi to Mahadah Chapter 7 Ad Dakhiliyah Getting there and away, Tour operators, Where to stay, Activities, Fanja, The Samail Gap, Birkat Al Mawz, Wadi Muaydin, Sayq Plateau, Al Jabal Al Akhdar, Nizwa, South of Nizwa, Tanuf, Al Hamra and around, Bahla, Salut Chapter 8 Ash Sharqiyyah Getting there and away, Tour operator, Where to stay, Where to eat and drink, Activities, From Sinaw to Al Rawdhah, Ibra, the Wihibah Sands and region, Along the coastal route from Muscat to Sur, Sur, Ras Al Had and Ras Al Jinz Chapter 9 Al Wusta Getting there and away, The Nizwa-Thumrayt inland route, The Muscat-Dhofar coastal route, Masirah Island Chapter 10 Dhofar Getting there and away, Getting around, Tour operators, Where to stay, Where to eat and drink, Activities, Salalah, East of Salalah, West of Salalah, North of Salalah Appendix 1 Language Appendix 2 Glossary Appendix 3 Further Information