Where Are All the Tourists At? – Sur, Oman

I know that it is Christmas time in a Muslim country, and there are still parts of the world that are recovering from the Covid hangover, but the one thing that had really shocked me about my trip to Oman is the fact that it feels like we are the only people out here. When I was in Muscat, I thought that it was because this city is not necessarily the tourist destination, and people come to Oman to explore its other beaches and the mountains. But when I travel the roads and make it to other places where there should be tourists gathering between spots, I am amaze at how empty it is.

It doesn’t mean that they are all gone. We did see a tour group hanging out at the viewpoint for the lighthouse in Sur. They were there enjoying their box lunches, but in another country, this place would be packed with people and it would be almost impossible to get a picture of the bay. Even the beach was completely empty. I did see a couple of locals there, hanging out under the shady spots created along the corniche, but the only people I saw walking along the sand were another local couple and a guy out doing his morning run. Even the town of Sur seems to be completely devoid of people.

Now would seem the time to bring the family out to this country. It is a beautiful place to explore, and the weather is not unbearable at this time. In fact it is the weather I look for on a sunny day, barely hitting 80 degrees Fahrenheit or 27 degrees Celsius. It gets a little warm during the day, but cools off at night to a comfortable temperature to enjoy the patio with. Why wouldn’t the tease of that not bring more people, especially considering the cold European countries are not that far away?

I also wonder if the World Cup has something to do with the lack of tourists. Many people traveled to Qatar and spent a lot of money there who might have come to Oman otherwise. But if you are making your way all the way to the Middle East, wouldn’t you want to spend a little more time there exploring some of the other places that it has to offer. I do know that when the Olympics were in Salt Lake City there were a lot of people who traveled to Colorado to ski the slopes there, so why wouldn’t they do the same thing here?

It does keep me wondering, but then again, it is not a bad problem to have. Oman is a beautiful country with interesting tourist sights, and surprises around every corner. I will enjoy the peace and quiet this desert country has to offer while it is here, and know that I came out at the right time when the weather is perfect. Someday the tourists will come, but until then I will just hang out with the goats, and stroll the beach that is all mine.

Thanks, until next time.

The Mutrah Souq – Muscat, Oman

If you are looking for some souvenir for your trip to Muscat, Oman, and still want to have a cultural experience, there is no better place than the Mutrah Souq. It is a market that has the traditional Arab feel and even if you are not picking up anything, it is still a fun place to wander around.

It does has your normal influx of cheap touristy stuff including t-shirts and toys. It also has a bunch of wooden pieces that you can find anywhere in Muscat from carved camels to chess sets. I was even able to find a new Christmas ornament to hang on my tree when I got back home. But the market goes beyond that and you can find unique pieces there as well. Everything from Arab daggers to helmets, all the way to jewelry in all levels of worth.

It is easy to think that the market is nothing more than a place to go and buy that trinket from your visit to Muscat, but it is fun to wind your way through the maze that is found there. The sellers will try anything to get you to come into their little corner of the Souq such as putting a hat on your head or offering you some jasmine, but it is all harmless and just adds to the atmosphere. You could easily lose yourself in the mix, but do take the time to look up at the ceiling. The wood carvings can be found all over the Souq and it is just as interesting as what is going on down below.

There are times when looking at the ceiling can take up more of your time rather than the shopping that many people come to this place for. It isn’t too busy in the Souq though that it will take away from the other people there if you stand there looking up at the design.

It is not the only place in that part of town that is worth checking out either. There is the Corniche, a walk along the ocean that showcases the traditional boats, or the mountain castles that hang not that far in the distance. If you do come down here to see some of these sights, make sure you come at the right time because it does close down between the hours of one and four in the afternoon. Still there are plenty of times where you can find an hour or two to enjoy there. It is easily one of the premiere places to visit if you are in Muscat, and if you want, you can go there and enjoy it without it ever costing you anything.