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Travel Guide Middle East Oman Salalah

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Introduction

Salalah is the capital city of Oman's southern Dhofar region. It is the second largest city in the Sultanate, and has the distinction of being the Sultan Qaboos' birthplace.

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Sights and Activities

The old city is confined to the area called Al Haffa (Hafah), on the seafront.

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Events and Festivals

Salalah Tourism Festival

While July and August may be too hot for a visit in northern Oman, these months are great for Salalah and the surrounding areas. During this time of the year, the region experiences Khareef season, a time when monsoon rains bring in life to the land, making for stunning tropical landscapes. This high tourist season is the time when cultural celebrations and parades are held in and around town to entertain both locals and tourists.

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Weather

Most visitors come to Salalah during July and August to enjoy the annual khareef, when the nearby wadis are full of water. Occasionally streets flood, and ocean currents are too strong for swimming or diving. The crowds leave in September along with the rains, but the vegetation is still green, and hotel prices have started to come down.

Diving is only possible during the dry season, from October to the end of May, and this is also the optimal time for bird watching. May and especially June are the hottest months of the year, with humidity steadily increasing until the rains bring relief again in late June or early July.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max27.5 °C28.4 °C30.2 °C31.8 °C32.8 °C32 °C28.5 °C27.1 °C29.3 °C31 °C31.3 °C29.1 °C
Avg Min18.7 °C20 °C21.9 °C24.4 °C26.6 °C27.3 °C24.8 °C23.7 °C24.3 °C22.6 °C21.6 °C20.3 °C
Rainfall0.9 mm0.4 mm6.1 mm6.3 mm7.9 mm7.6 mm21.9 mm25.1 mm9.9 mm4.6 mm0.4 mm4.7 mm
Rain Days0.41.50.30.50.52.87.483.20.10.10.3

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Getting There

By Plane

There are flights to/from Dubai, Muscat, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Doha.

By Car

Driving to Salalah from Muscat takes roughly 12 hours, and can either be an amazing and memorable experience, or a very uncomfortable one depending on what kind of traveller you are. The first 5 hours are very scenic, as you pass Rusayl, Nizwa and other small towns. However, it's barren desert and oil fields for most of the remainder of the trip, with the only larger settlements along this stretch being Haima and Thumrait.

Travelling at night is usually better than driving in the heat of day (arriving in Salalah at night is a must, as the city lights from the high-altitude entry point are gorgeous). Watch out for renegade dunes on the way. There are several stops along the way for food, drinks, a cigarette break, or nature calls – you should take every opportunity to stop, as there might not be another one for many more kilometres.

By Bus

Oman National Transport Company runs buses to/from the Ruwi station in Muscat three times daily, with the trip lasting 12 hours. Bus transport to/from Muscat is also offered by Malatan Trading (As Salam St, tel. +968 23 211299) and Bin Qasim Transport (tel. +968 23 291786), both with identical fares.

By Boat

There is at least one operator in Muscat that will charter you to Salalah.

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Getting Around

It is possible to explore parts of Salalah on foot, as most places of interest are close to each other. During warmer times of year, though, walking may not be the best idea.

The usual unmetered Omani taxis operate here, with the average taxi fare for travel within the city 500 baiza.

If you hire a car, 2WD cars are adequate for most sights within Salalah itself. Outside of Salalah, however, many places of tourist interest lie off road, and SUVs are recommended particularly during the khareef season because of slippery terrain. Book your car well in advance if you plan to visit during this peak period, as rental agencies often run out of vehicles.

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Eat

If you decide to visit places outside Salalah city (good advice for traveling anywhere in Oman), remember to carry some food packed for emergencies (fruits, fruit juices, sandwiches recommended) as there are few restaurants outside the city. Always carry several bottles of drinking water since you may not find any store on the highways. There is, however, a delightful ocean-side cafe on the way to Mughsayl and the tidal geyser there.

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Drink

Alcohol for non-Muslim visitors is available at high end hotels like Good Hopes Restaurant in the airport and Oasis Club near the port, as well as at the bars in the Crowne Plaza, Hilton, and Juweira Boutique hotels.

For a refreshing drink, stop at any of the many roadside vendors selling fresh coconut. They will lop the top off a green coconut for you for 200-300 baizas.

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Sleep

During the annual khareef from July-September the population of Salalah balloons with visitors from elsewhere in Oman and the Persian Gulf, so if you plan to visit during this time it is essential to make reservations well in advance. During other times of year rooms are plentiful and rates are more reasonable.

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Al Jabal HotelPO BOX 284, PC 211 SalalahHotel-
Majan Continental HotelP.O.Box 311,Hotel-

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Keep Connected

Internet

You can find internet cafes in some places, but they are not very common in Oman, mainly also because there's no free press. To use the Internet, individuals, companies, and institutions are asked to sign an agreement not to publish anything that destabilizes the state.
Wifi is on the rise including free wifi spots provided by Omantel, mainly in Muscat and a few other places.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The country code for Oman is 968. The general emergency number is 999.

Dialling out from Oman you will need to dial 00 + International Code + Number. Dialling into Oman callers use +968 followed by an 8-digit number.
These 8-digit numbers generally start with a 9 if it is mobile number, and with 2 for land line.

Telecommunication services in Oman are provided by Omantel. The company has a monopoly on the land-line telephone and Internet markets.
To avoid high costs when using your cellphone in Oman, buy a local SIM card, which are readily available in the country. Make sure you have an unlocked cell phone.

Post

Oman Post provides postal services in the country. Post offices generally open from 8:00am to 1:30pm Saturday to Wednesday and 8:00am to 11:00am Thursday. Services are reliable and relatively fast, though if you like to send a package internationally, you could also try and use international companies like TNT, DHL, UPS or FedEx.

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Accommodation in Salalah

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Salalah searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Salalah and areas nearby.

Salalah Travel Helpers

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This is version 5. Last edited at 13:04 on May 3, 17 by Utrecht. 6 articles link to this page.

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