I have been planning to visit Salalah, the capital city of southern Oman‘s Dhofar province for years, finally last weekend got to visit it. The best time to visit Salalah is during the Khareef or the monsoon season from June till end of August.
The beauty of Salalah is enhanced in Khareef season and the desert terrain is transformed into lush greenery with spectacular waterfalls. October is not the perfect time to visit Salalah, but we did get lucky as it had rained a week ago and we could enjoy couple of waterfalls.
For the Oman visa we applied online and got it in 24 hours. From Dubai, you can travel to Salalah by road or by air. By road it takes 12 hours. We traveled by FlyDubai. The travel time is 1 hour 40 minutes by air. There are other flight options too.
Salalah has many hotels and resorts, but the best place to stay is Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara. If budget is not a constraint, then I’ll definitely suggest this beautiful property. We loved our time at the luxurious Anantara property.
Ideally, during Khareef season, 3 nights 4 days stay in Salalah should be good. But as it was not the season, we stayed for 2 nights and 3 days, but still managed to visit quite a lot of places.
We hired a car with a driver cum guide and did all the touring/sightseeing. There are many travel agencies and you can book a tour through them. I’ll certainly, not give the suggestion of renting a car as there are many places in Salalah where only a local can take you.
Salalah is home to stunning beaches, mountains, waterfalls, gorges, valleys, Frankincense trees, lush greenery, banana plantations, vegetable and fruit farms. There is a historical and cultural side too.
We arrived late in the morning and checked into the Omani-inspired Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara and had a late lunch at their Mediterranean restaurant outdoors. Then we spent couple of hours in their private stretch of beach and had a relaxed time at the spa. Dinner was barbecue buffet close to the beach. In short, it was a perfect day.
The second day was hectic as we were out after breakfast from 9:30am until 7pm. There are 2 popular tours and both are must-do: West Salalah Day Trip and East Salalah Day Trip. They’re usually done on 2 separate days, as we didn’t have too much time, we managed to do it in a single day.
The places we visited in the West and East trip are:
West of Salalah
- Ain Garziz
- Ain Sahalanoot
- Jebel Ayub
- Tomb of Prophet Job
- Mughsail Beach
- Marneef Cave and Blow Holes
- Fizaya Beach
East of Salalah
- Bin Ali Mosque of 14th century
- Ancient city of Mirbat, then visit Mirbat Castle and the old merchant houses
- Gravity point
- Sumhuram Archaeological Park, Khor Rori(largest natural reserve in Dhofar)
- Wadi Darbat (two big waterfalls)
We went on a city tour and our first stop was UNESCO listed Al Baleed Archaeological Park. To cover the park, we went in a golf cart. In the premises of the park is the Maritime and Frankincense museum. We had a quick photo-stop at the majestic Sultan Qaboos Mosque, and also visited the very long grave of Nabi Umran in the middle of the city.
Next, we stopped for souvenir shopping at the old Haffah Souk. Our last and most interesting stop was a visit to the Coconut Plantation, Vegetable and Fruit Farm. After that we had fresh tender coconut in one of the tropical-style roadside stalls.
There are other tours like desert safari, empty quarter and lost city of Ubar tour, overnight camping and nature reserve trip. The sand dunes are supposed to be unspoilt and fabulous, in fact our guide highly recommended a visit to Ar Rub Al Khali(the empty quarter).
In the evening, we reached our resort had dinner, did a late check-out and went straight to the airport. We had a short but super amazing trip to Salalah. Maybe after couple of years, we will visit Salalah again in Khareef season.