When you think of the Middle East, the immediate picture that we draw in our subconscious is that of crude oil, opulence, state-of-the-art infrastructure, and an endless desert that seems to stretch beyond eternity. The concept of monsoon is unheard of! Rains in this deserted, arid land? Bizarre, right!? But then, miracles do happen, and one such miracle we know is Salalah, the capital of the Dhofar region, and the second largest city in the Sultanate of Oman.
The Dhofar province is known for its seasonal weather (the monsoons or “Khareef”), when the light drizzle cools down the parched land, and everything right from the beaches to plains to mountains are engulfed in green pastures. And it is then, the much awaited Salalah Tourism Festival takes place. The festival is part of the Khareef (monsoon) season that extends from the end of July until the beginning of September.
If you are in this part of the world during this very period, we would urge you take some time out and explore this gorgeous city, which has an incredible combination of things to do, those which appeal to both families and business travellers alike.
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1: Lose yourself at Mughsail Beach
Though a little windy during the khareef season, the Mughsail beach tops the best places to visit in Salalah. While the clean beach with its white sand and turquoise blue water doesn’t fail to disappoint, it is the blowhole that is the cynosure of the beach. On a stormy day, the blowhole jets out a geyser-like fountain, making it a delight to watch. Relish ice-creams and snacks sold by vendors at the beach, as you lose yourself amidst the delirious views of the mountains, beach and the lush greens!
2: Pay homage at Sultan Qaboos Mosque
Inaugurated by the Sultan of Oman in 2001, the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is the main mosque in Oman. The mosque is spread over an area of 40,000 square metres and houses wonderful and unique objects, right from a magnificent chandelier to possibly the largest hand-woven carpet in the world! The building is surrounded by lush gardens and is located in the heart of the city. Visitors are known to experience calm and tranquillity in its premises. Pay a visit here, it is one of the best things to do in Salalah.
3: Tour of Sumhuram Old City
Next on the list of things to do in Salalah is to explore the remains of the old city of Sumhuram. Protected as Sumhuram Archaeological park, the ruins of Sumhuram are thoroughly excavated and restored, making it a delightful place to visit for any archaeology enthusiast. It is not only the rich remains that allure tourists to Sumhuram Old City, but also the wonderful setting of hills and coasts, making the whole process of exploration super fun and scenic. Do not miss out on checking out the ‘Temple of Sin’, a fine structure carved out of limestone and built against the northwest city wall.
4: Take a boat ride at Wadi Darbat
Who wouldn’t like to picnic in dense greenery complete with fun outdoor activities like boating? Take special cognizance of this activity, more so, if you are travelling in larger groups and during the khareef season. This place, Wadi Darbat, is one of the most coveted places of Salalah, especially among spring and mountain lovers. A day picnic at Wadi Darbar is well worth the time and effort put in to reach here, for it has plenty of activities and scenic spots to indulge in. Besides, there are numerous hotels and restaurants here, making the whole experience enjoyable. Talk about top activities in Salalah? This is it!
5: Enjoy the waterfalls of Ain Koor, Ain Taboor and Ain Asoob
Photography enthusiasts and nature lovers would love to experience the exquisiteness of these water falls of Salalah situated on the road to Nashib. The scenic beauty of these waterfalls can’t be described in words. The gushing waterfall, the cool breeze, and the comfort of green pastures together, weave an incredible web of quietude and grace, leaving visitors in awe! These majestic waterfalls are the best places to visit in Salalah during khareef.