Salalah in Oman
We look at Salalah (pictured) and Muscat as options, especially since the country offers visa-on-arrival for UAE residents Image Credit: Shutterstock

With a long weekend coming up for Eid Al Fitr celebrations, it’s the perfect time for families to plan short trips from the UAE. We look at Salalah and Muscat as options, especially since the country offers visa-on-arrival for UAE residents. You can also apply for an e-visa ahead of your trip.

First, Salalah

The destination is known to have a tropical climate and greenery throughout. The best months to travel are from October to April.

Flying to Salalah

You can get a direct flight to Salalah from the UAE. The cheapest one we found was with Wizz Air Abu Dhabi at nearly Dh500 for a round-trip flight from Abu Dhabi during the Eid weekend. Flydubai and Air Arabia also have non-stop flights to the destination but rates vary depending on demand. Expect higher rates when travelling for Eid.

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Darbat falls

The entire stretch of Darbat, even after the smaller waterfalls, offer a refreshing green patch of mountains, meadows, streams and more small waterfalls.

Waadi Darbat water flow
Waadi Darbat water flow Image Credit: Shutterstock

Mughsail beach and Marneef Cave

Here, you can take a video or photo of how waves crash through naturally-formed limestone formations. Water crashes with a thundering noise up to several meters in the air. Be prepared to get drenched. This site is a rare amalgamation of mountains, caves, and fountains creating a picture-perfect set up.

Shop at Al Husn Souq

There's plenty of shopping to do here, from clothes to souvenirs to food! Its proximity to the Sultan's palace makes it a hotspot for tourists and visitors.

Spooky drive at Mirbat antigravity point

One of the most talked-about experiences when driving in Salalah is a certain slope where your car moves at 40-60km/hr speeds with no acceleration i.e in neutral mode.

Al Mughsail Salalah , Dhofar governorate, Sultanate of Oman
Mughsail beach Image Credit: Shutterstock

Taqah castle

Taqah, a fishing village east of the city of Salalah, Oman's third-largest city, is noted for its sandy beaches and its iconic 19th century Taqah Castle. This castle is currently home to various museums depicting traditional Omani life.

Frankincense museum and Al Baleed Archeological Park

A beautiful eco-conserved place houses the Frankincense museum - an important essential oil in Omani culture. The pond near the museum building has a variety of migratory and local birds in the tranquil mangrove surrounding it. The expansive Al Baleed Archeological Park can be reached by foot from the museum.

Ruins at Al-Baleed Archaeological Park, Frankincense Land Museum. Salalah, Oman.
Al Baleed Archeological Park Image Credit: Shutterstock

Next up is Muscat

If you’re looking for a weekend escape head to the nation’s capital Muscat. The lifestyle is much more laidback than what UAE residents may be used to which can be a welcome change.

Seafront of Muscat
Seafront of Muscat

The view

Muscat as a city is a beautiful destination because it is surrounded by impressive grey mountains with the Sea of Oman to one side. This means, depending on where you stay, you can find a vantage point to enjoy a beautiful mountainous view of the sunrise or sunset.

As you drive around the city, you’ll see that the mountains are literally within the city limits with houses and buildings built next to the base of the peaks.

Muttrah Corniche

The city has a nice corniche area when you can see residents and visitors on walks, relaxing by the sea with a view of the ships docked in the harbor area. There are several shops here, and the entrance to Muscat’s famed souk.

The Muttrah Souk

One of the oldest souks in the region, reportedly dating back two centuries, the Muttrah Souk is the place to go to shop Omani souvenirs and specialties, including the country’s priced frankincense. The essential oil, called ‘luban’, has been proven to have many medicinal and topical qualities and Oman prides itself in producing some of the finest in the world. The narrow lanes of the souk also offer many other shopping and photography options.

Muttrah Corniche
Muttrah Corniche: Image Credit: Shutterstock

Bimmah Sinkhole

While a bit further away from the city, this attraction still falls in the Muscat Governerate – which is why we’ve included it. A drive of over one hour from the city centre, this sinkhole looks almost other-wordly with its aqua-green pool in the centre. You’re usually allowed to swim here (check again before you travel) as long as you follow safety and dressing guidelines. The sinkhole was reportedly formed due to years of rock erosion.

Bimmah Sinkhole
Bimmah Sinkhole Image Credit: Shuttershock

More shopping

Muscat has many malls that visitors can shop and relax, including the Mall of Oman, Muscat Grand Mall and Oman Avenues Mall. Several small shopping malls also can be found throughout the city.

The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

This is Muscat tourism’s centerpiece. Despite being in the city, it feels like it is a little bit outside the centre and is close to the main road. One of the biggest mosques in the entire globe (technically considered the second largest by area). Up until the creation of a new one in Abu Dhabi, the carpet was the largest ever woven. But you must see the magnificent Swarovski crystal chandelier. It is certainly one of Oman's most stunning locations.

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque Image Credit: Shutterstock

Snow Park

Located in the Mall of Oman and covering 14,830 sq m, the recently opened Snow Oman is the largest indoor snow park in the region and the only indoor snow destination in the Sultanate.

Snow Park Image Credit: Snow Oman

Qurum National Park

This one is good especially if you’re travelling with children. With lush gardens, a kids’ amusement park, artificial waterfalls and a lake, this park is the place for a nice picnic if the weather permits.