Salalah – An oasis in the Arabian desert

It was a quick decision I just couldn’t postpone seeing Salalah and Oman any further. With a quick research I found the best ticket deal on Qatar airways. It was the best choice in terms of convenience and transit time. Gathering Q-miles loyalty points is also a plus.

Salalah Oman

It was just me, a weekender bag, a book and my camera. I wasn’t sure of what I was going to shoot there. It was really meant to be a relaxing weekend in Salalah but I’m a photographer after all so I carried my lenses “just in case”. I actually did find an interesting subject to shoot but I didn’t have the time to pursue it further. It was just an introductory trip that I hope to follow-it-up soon.

I spent 2 nights in Rotana Salalah resort. I went straight to the beach as soon as I checked-in.

Pathway to the beach

Rotana Salalah resort is a 5 star huge resort by the shores of the Indian ocean. I don’t usually stay in big resorts but this was the best option. It was affordable since as it was the end of khareef (monsoon) season. It was actually the last weekend of the Salalah Autumn festival. The resort was almost empty which was just perfect for me. I loved waking up to the sounds of the ocean. It was one of the most amazing hotel window views ever.

 

My room view

But this paradise is not perfect as the weather was not the best. High humidity levels made everything smell and feel very damp. My body is very sensitive to insects so I was immediately irritated by mosquito presence. My first purchase from Salalah was frankincense and a mini mobkhar. The frankincense aroma took all the dampness smell away. I should make it a habit to carry frankincense in all of my travels!

I asked my Omani friends for recommendations on things to do in Salalah. I was fixed with a seasoned local guide from Salalah called Ali. He was really helpful and reliable. I actually didn’t do a lot of research I only explained to Ali what I liked and left the rest to him.

I didn’t have any plans or expectations to be honest I just wanted a real experience with the locals. It is a known fact that Bahrainis are the nicest people in the Middle East. Bahrain was ranked the world’s friendliest place to live for expats (It’s a fact I’m not just saying that!). But let me tell you as a Bahraini I can confirm that Omanis are way nicer and humbler than us. Oman reminds me of what Bahrain used to be. Relaxed, easy going and simple living.

Beautiful green Salalah

Back to Salalah, it was really a wonderful weekend even though the weather was warm but it was a few degrees cooler than Bahrain during the horrendous month of August. I upgraded my room for sea view simply because I wanted to sit outside and read. I really missed the outdoors so I spent hours sitting at the balcony reading. Every morning I would walk barefoot on the beach. The ocean was insane but a walk on the beach was rejuvenating.

Rotana resort

I called my guide Ali as soon as I reached the hotel and he was there to pick me up 30 minutes later. I wanted to make the best of the rest of the day so we started the expedition by stopping near one of the many stands by the road to buy Omani coconut juice. The coconut was full of flavor and delicious.

Coconut heaven

 

We visited a couple of nearby villages then stopped the car at Taqa hill for a glimpse of the magnificent sea view. The sun direction wasn’t in my favour so I requested to return to the same spot the next day.

 

My guide Ali at the Taqa hill

The first day in Salalah ended at khareef village where all the festival activities happen. After a quick tour of the place I went back to the hotel and called it the night.

khareef salalah festival
A local jabali “mountain guy” at the khareef village

 

Next morning started really early as it was the only full day of exploring. Ali picked me up and we were off back to the same spot. Taqa beach looked even more glowing than the day before. It was just us and another car with a couple of German tourists.

Taqa beach

 

We were off to explore the villages. I was impressed by the greenery but Ali kept telling me that it wasn’t a good rainy year so it is not as green as it usually is. I was satisfied with the greenery I came across.