Come to Oman and discover uncharted mountain villages, pristine, remote beaches, and the indomitable stretches of desert in Sharqiyah and the Empty Quarter. The ancient culture of the Arabian Gulf, from the architecture to the food to the national dress and fine arts, are still very much a part of everyday life. But perhaps the biggest surprise may be the fact that you can have these once-in-a-lifetime experiences while enjoying all the comforts of luxury accommodations, immaculate roads, full mobile connectivity, political stability and safety, and a friendly population, most of whom speak both Arabic and English. It's an ideal place for outdoorsy types, art aficionados, beach bums, shopoholics, and anyone wishing to experiencing the beauty of Arabian culture as it was before the conflicts of the last decade broke out.
Largely unfamiliar to Western tourists, the Sultanate of Oman is southeast of the steel and concrete metropolis of Dubai in the UAE and just east of the vast desert oil fields of Saudi Arabia. The country's 212,500 square km (82,047 square miles—roughly the size of the state of Kansas) are geologically diverse, as is the culture, which mirrors the ancient influences of traders from the Far East, South Asia, and East Africa, thanks to the country's prime location at the intersection of the ancient maritime trade routes.
The rich heritage of Oman has been well preserved thanks to efforts by the ruler of the country, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who took the throne in 1970 and spent the decades since modernizing and promoting the preservation of local arts, culture, and architecture. The people of Oman are incredibly friendly and eager to introduce visitors to their homeland. Despite being open to tourism (with visas available upon arrival for Americans and Europeans), little has been written about this destination, leaving much to be discovered through word-of-mouth and good old-fashioned exploration.