Salalah is the second largest city in Oman and birthplace of current Omani leader, Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said. It is located in the Dhofar Governorate in southern Oman and has the biggest sea port in the Arabian Peninsula. It is a beautiful city surrounded by a mountain range to the north and a long beautiful coast to the south.
This beautiful city is home to beaches, gardens, beautiful buildings as well as archaeological and historical sites that are of great importance and relevance in the whole of Oman.
Salalah is known for its banana plantations, Arabian Sea beaches and waters teeming with sea life. The Khareef, an annual monsoon, transforms the desert terrain into a lush, green landscape and creates seasonal waterfalls.
If you are visiting this beautiful city, below are some of the incredible things to do while you are there.
1. Museum of the Land of Frankincense
Oman has some of the best frankincense trees in the world and it is very proud of that fact. The rich history of the growth and exports of the products are documented in the historic museum which sits by the Al Balid ancient ruins; which was a part of the 12th-century port of Zafar where the bulk of frankincense was shipped from. The museum contains history such as that it includes how it was first shipped to India where they traded it for spices. It is a pride of the nation as it tells the story of the country’s most-prized natural product.
2. Sultan Qaboos Mosque
The second Sultan Qaboos Mosque in Oman, sibling to the one in Muscat, Salalah’s Sultan Qaboos Mosque is a fetching tourist attraction due to its architectural magnificence and religious importance. The lesser of the two Sultan Qaboos Mosques boasts of two large domes with minarets, decorated in white and gold, which offers a stunning view against the blue sky. The interior is plated with similar colour tones with crystal chandeliers, ceiling mosaics and a green rug engraved with unique patterns adorning the floor. It is located on An Nahdah street and non-Muslim tourists are allowed from 8am to 11am everyday with the exception of Friday; the holy day of Muslims. Modest dress is a must and women must cover their hair.
3. Al Husn Souq
Al Husn Souq, also known as Al Haffa Souk is one of the oldest and liveliest traditional markets in Salalah. There are plenty of things to buy such as frankincense, traditional hats, jewelry, scarves, fragrances and other Omani souvenirs.
4. Al Mughsail Beach
Al Mughsail Beach offers absolute relaxation with stunning views of endless blues above and below. It provides an avenue to have some alone time, curled with a good book and a tasty picnic. The allures of the beach include the coolness of the water, soft sands on the shores, green mountains around and the natural fountains that burst out of its rocky edges. You can also tread the clean, white sandy shores of around six kilometers and watch the natural blowholes that are on either end of the beach.
5. Al Marneef Cave
Sharing surroundings with one of the most popular tourist attractions in Salalah is definitely not enough to rob Al Marneef Cave from being an attraction itself. The cave is located by the Al Mughsail Beach and is a common spot for families enjoying picnics and games. The surrounding mountains have several benches to enjoy the view of the neighbouring beach and the blowholes. The green mountains behind it and the fascinating interior of the cave is one of the most incredible sights in the whole of Salalah.
6. Salalah Tourism Festival
Oman has a lot to offer a tourist and Salalah plays its dues through the abundance of incredible sights to feed on. The Salalah Tourism Festival is an annual festival that holds during the Khareef season which is usually from the beginning of July to the end of August. Tourists are made to witness and appreciate the heritage and culture of Oman and the capital of the festival is on Ittin Road. The usual abundance of rides, restaurants, street-food stalls, theatre shows and replica cultural villages are guaranteed to entertain you if you’re opportune to witness one.
7. Sumhuran Old City
Sumhuran Old City (Khor Rori) is located near Wadi Darbat and is another Frankincense exporting port in Dhofar. The fortified town dates back to the Hadramawt Empire in the 1st century and has been listed as a UNESCO world heritage site.
8. Take a Boat Ride
One of the best experiences you can give to yourself while in Salalah is to go on a boat ride. This affords you a blissful enjoyment of the crystal clear waters of the Sea of Oman, the coast and the surrounding mountains as well as the breath-taking sight of Salalah dolphins. The boat ride offers you an entirely different view of the beautiful city and you can paddle the canoe yourself while been overseen by a guide.
9. Taqah Castle
Taqah Castle is relatively modern compared to some other castles that dot the country. It was one the home of Sheikh Ali bon Taman Al Ma’ashani, the maternal grandmother of Sultan Qaboos and now houses several small museum collections with tools, weapons and clothing. It is an incredible spot to visit with its architectural design, plantations, ancient contents and a famous point from which you can have an unforgettable view of sunset. Located 33 kilometers east of Salalah city, it is well-known and is one of the places from which the city derives its pride.
10. Salalah Plantations
Salalah is known for the abundance of fresh fruit and products from these fruits; the most popular being coconuts which are also served as fresh juice straight from the shell. There are other fruits such as banana and papaya with large plantations which caters for the numerous fruit huts that abound the city.
11. Al Fizayah beach
Al Fizayah beach is one of the best beaches in Oman an offers the best views of the nature surrounding it. Located on the western side of Salalah, it is known as the hidden Jewel of Beach.
12. Salalah Garden Mall
Shopping is a must on tours which is the reason you have to shop at Salalah Garden mall. The mall offers amazing goods and also boasts an awesome look with fountains and lights that will enchanter anyone.
13. Nabi Ayoub’s Tomb
Prophet Ayoub’s tomb is on the Hills of Ittin where you can get an amazing view of Salalah, but the tomb itself is of religious and cultural importance. Another notable tomb is that of Prophet Umran and it’s a pretty long one.
14. Salalah Anti-Gravity Point
One of the most incredible experiences you can get while in Salalah is to drive a car at the Salalah Anti-gravity point where you can go up the hill at Neutral gear. The car can move at a speed of more than 40-60 km/h without any acceleration.
15. Al Balid Archeological Site
A visit to the archaeological site of Al Balid will give you a peek into the history of Oman. It is located on the Sea of Oman and is near to Al Husn Palace and the famous HaffaSouq. Al Balid was a well-known ancient city in Salalah and the ruins of this city now ranks among the top attractions in the country. UNESCO World has also declared it as one of the Heritage unique sites in Oman and there are information signs near every ruin to guide a tourist. If you do not want to go alone, there are regular tours in Gulf cars to take visitors around the site.
16. Teeq Cave and Tawi Ateer Sinkhole
Tawi Ateer Sinkhole is the most famous sinkhole in the entire Dhofar governate. Not just that, it is the world’s largest sinkhole and is just beneath the Teeq Cave. Located in Tawi Ateer, you can peep into the sinkhole to get one of the most incredible feelings in your life; that is, if you are not afraid of heights.
17. Al Forsan Horse Riding (Dhofar Waves Equestrian Club)
Dhofar Waves Equestrian Club offers you a variety of horses to enjoy the beautiful environment. Not just horses, ponies, donkeys and camels are other rides available in the farm. It is open every day from 9am to 7pm, so just head to no 214 when you get to the city of Salalah.