You’ve been hard at work, but, all you have seen are the four corners of your office building. It is high time to unwind and explore Dhofar, the province in the southern tip along the coast of the Arabian peninsula. This small mountain region can seem like a whole new world when compared to the rest of Oman because it is pretty much isolated from the Sultanate with thousands of kilometres of stony desert.
You may travel far to get to Dhofar, but the effort is all worth it because you will enjoy a unique place that is rich in history and panoramic natural vistas.
Wander Around the City of Dhofar in Oman
Here are the top places you must visit:
Visit the Coastal Town of Taqah
When this town was first established, it was famed for exporting myrrh. Now, this coastal town remains lively through fishing and agriculture. One of its main attractions is the old but remarkably well-preserved Taqah Castle, with an in-house ethnographic museum that showcases the town’s early life and culture. The city also has two historic forts and the Shaikh Al-Afeef mosque. With these fantastic facades, the only problem you’ll have is deciding where to take your selfie.
Wander Around the Salalah and its Famed Open Air Markets
This quaint town was once the capital of Dhofar and is the second-largest Sultanate in all of Oman. Modern Salalah is now a sprawling city filled with low-rise buildings, with its commercial centre in As Alam Street. After exploring the new part of town, you must head over to get a glimpse of the old world part as it is only 1 mile away. Its centre is the aromatic Husn Souk, which many travellers say is the highlight of Salalah. The Souk has many outdoor shops selling everything from modern platform shoes to traditional products like perfumes, myrrh, and frankincense. To the West of Salalah is the picturesque Sultan Qaboos Palace with its imposing marble structure that catches the eyes.
Visit Tawi Atayr and Taiq Sinkhole
Be sure to explore Tawi Atayr, which is way past the Wadi Darbat waterfall. This town means the Well of Birds, and it is an apt name because it has one of the most popular and dramatic sinkholes that dot the porous limestones of this mountain region. You can hire a local guide to help you explore the area. A few miles up north is another famous sinkhole called the Taiq, and it is said to be the third-largest sinkhole in the world.
Go through the Desert to the Ancient City of Shisr
You must remember that getting to Shisr is not merely about the destination but the journey. This isolated town is located at the centre of a network of trails that pass through deserts. The trails are supposed to lead to the lost city of ancient Ubar. Since the olden days, Shisr has served as a convergence zone for people seeking Ubar. Finally, after several attempts, Nicholas Clapp successfully claimed it is the Quranic site of Ubar. Aside from ancient ruins, Shisr is dotted with vast farms and is jam-packed with friendly camels that make it an exotic destination.
Follow the Frankincense Route
Historically, Dhofar is credited as the chief source of frankincense around the world. Its famous trade routes brought immense wealth to the Kingdoms of Arabia. Along the path is the ancient port Sumhuran, which is a centre of resin production. The scenery is breathtaking, along with ruins that go far back to the pre-Islamic period. The Land of Frankincense is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that should be part of your itinerary as it includes seeing the famous Khor Rori. The latter refers to the frankincense trees and remains of a caravan oasis, which serve as a reminder of the city’s previous prominent past along the Incense Road. Be sure to check out the resin and incense markets, where you can get your souvenirs.
Explore the Heart of the Iron Age Settlement
You must explore the Al-Baleed’s UNESCO World Heritage ruins, which is located in an Iron Age settlement. This heritage site was once founded as a centre for frankincense trade. It is currently a part of a vast archaeological complex along the Dhofar coast, near Salalah. If you want to learn more historical facts and figures, head to the Land of Frankincense Museum. Near the area is another ancient site, which is the mountain tomb of the famous Bible character with the name of Job. One of its highlights is a preserved footprint of the prophet. Later on, this whole place was eventually developed into a vast compound for Muslim pilgrimage.
Check out Hotel Accommodations in Dhofar, Oman here:
As you can see, the Dhofar region possesses numerous attractions for any visitor to enjoy. One day is not enough for you to explore the mountains and coastal areas. Take more than a day off; make it a weekend or longer. You deserve to have a break, Kabayan. Life away from your family is already hard enough. Taking a breather is a mental health requirement that will help you to be more productive at work.