Sur and Ras Al Jinz, Oman

Located in Ash Sharqiyah region on the coast about 2 hours drive southeast of Muscat, Sur was an important port city in ancient times and provided a gateway for trade with India and East Africa. It is the home of Omani dhow building. These traditional vessels have a distinctive timber hull, the design of which has remained unchanged for centuries. Today, they are manufactured using the same techniques used in antiquity, with timber dowels favored over screws and tar used to create the waterproofing on the huge hull. A museum here tells the story of the dhow and gives visitors an insight into how they are made.

Further east, travelers come to Ras Al Had, the gateway to the Ras Al Jinz Turtle Sanctuary. A modern, interactive visitor center provides an informative background to one of nature's true spectacles: the nocturnal nesting of sea turtles on a stretch of unspoiled beach. Our guided tours by specially trained staff allow visitors to get up close and personal with the turtles by torchlight without fear of disturbing the animals or their precious nest of eggs.

Wadi Bani Khalid

Another treasure of Ash Sharqiyah region is Wadi Bani Khalid - without a doubt one of Oman's most spectacular swimming spots. This is a genuine desert oasis of green palm trees and shimmering water rising out of the landscape. Fed by a year-round spring, the waters of Wadi Bani Khalid beckon visitors with the opportunity to swim in a surreal environment after traveling through the harsh landscape of the desert. A relaxing picnic lunch by the waters of Wadi Bani Khalid will be a highlight of most travelers' time in Oman.

Mazirah Island

Further south and lying off Oman's east coast, is Mazirah Island, a booming kite-surfing and windsurfing destination which also offers opportunities for fishing, diving and turtle watching. The island was historically used as a RAF base before it was handed over to the RAFO (Royal Air Force of Oman). This adventure playground is located a one-hour ferry ride from the coast.