A hidden paradise in the vastness of Omani deserts, Salalah defies imagination. The brown mountains surrounding it are clothed in green and with many exceptional biblical sites to explore, such as the summer residence of the Queen of Sheba, and Job’s Tomb, Salalah is a natural mix of ancientness and spectacular beauty. With many five-star resorts dressed up as exotic Arabian villages, fine sandy beaches and clear turquoise waters, Salalah is a natural paradise waiting to be explored.
The land of monsoons and frankincense
As the second largest city of the country and the capital of Dhofar region, Salalah is the birthplace of the current Sultan, Qaboos bin Said. So green is this region surrounded by mountains and lush vegetation, that one could easily mistake it for another country! Adding to its allure are five-star resorts dressed up as exotic Arabian villages, fine sandy beaches and clear turquoise waters. It is also the gateway to explore the Empty Quarter. While the ruins of Queen of Sheba’s residence and Job’s Tomb put Salalah on the world archeological map, its stunning landscape attracts people both locally and from around the world.
However, there is one other reason for Salalah’s popularity that has nothing to do with its waters and palm-lined beaches – frankincense and every lobby, shop or restaurant has a heady perfume — sweet and rich, a curious fragrance with a hint of caramel, lemon and honey.
The incense from this region finds a place in homes the world over. Understand the origins of this fragrant tree at the Museum of the Frankincense Land which also has interesting artifacts collected during excavation and dates back to trading times of Oman. Don’t forget to get your picture clicked in front of the age old frankincense tree and the old aged boats placed outside of the museum.
Despite development and modernity Salalah clings to its roots with passion. You might be excused for feeling as though you have stepped back in time – and not just inside the museum. Everywhere around you are signs of a culturally rich past. Temperatures here rarely go beyond 30C.
What not to miss in Salalah
No visit to Salalah is complete without timeout at its famous beach. Be it for a swim in the calm waters or watching the sun go down, Al Mughsail Beach is the place to be. The beach also provides vantage points that offer fantastic views of the Salalah coastline, mountains nearby as well as the sea. The beach is famous for its blowholes where the gushing sea water forms natural fountains.
Dolphin watching: A must do activity when in Salalah is dolphin watching. The waters in this region are home to the famous humpback dolphins and twenty other species of dolphins and whales.
Salalah shopping: Looking for something traditional Omani items to take home? Haffa Souq is the place to hunt for those elusive handicrafts, clothes, pottery, frankincense, gold and silver.
While you are here…
Visit Wadi Darbat, the region’s most famous and picturesque wadi with beautiful lakes, green mountains and waterfalls. To make it memorable, take a boat trip through the wadi.
Explore the ruins of Samhuram or Queen of Sheba’s Palace
Visit Empty Quarter to spend a full day or overnight in the peaceful
What to eat in Salalah
Ma’ajeen: A celebration food where strips of beef or camel are salted and hung to air dry before being fried in cubes of fat. The resulting food is crispy, oily, and will stay good for up to a month outside the refrigerator.
Khubz Lahooh: A twice-fried, chewy, crispy, slightly sweet crepe-like bread, khubz lahooh is a carb-lovers dream food.