Oman, I can honestly say, was one of the biggest travel surprises I’ve ever had. I went because I wanted to take a trip, but didn’t have time for anything more than a long weekend. Oman was easily accessible from Qatar, where I was living, and it seemed like there would be just enough to see to fill the weekend (particularly since it wasn’t monsoon season, but more on that later), but not so much that I’d regret not staying longer. When the trip was over, though, I realized I probably could’ve had a full week there, although I was very happy with what I’d gotten to see and didn’t feel like I’d missed out on anything.
I spent I decided that, instead of spending all my time around Muscat (pictures from Muscat and its environs in a later post), I would hop a short flight to the city of Salalah, in the southern Dhofar province of the country. Salalah is best known as the center of Oman’s frankincense industry, both for the frankincense trees growing naturally in the region and its place along the Frankincense Road from central Arabia to the port cities on the coast. It is also known for being in the one area of the Arabian peninsula that gets rain during Indian monsoon season–not much rain, to be sure, but a lot by Arabian standards (the eastern tip of Yemen also gets Indian monsoon rains, and southwestern Yemen is affected by African monsoons). During the monsoon season it’s said that the mountains around Salalah turn green and lush during the monsoon season, but that’s not when I was there so, sorry, no green.
The land around Salalah, even though it wasn’t monsoon season, struck me as quite a bit greener than I’d gotten used to in Qatar.
I wish I’d had more time in Salalah (it was a one day thing, fly there in the morning and back to Muscat at night), I would have gone north of the city to some of the sites on the Frankincense road, but for pure scenery it was a nice trip.