- Go canyoning through the hidden gorges and waterfalls of Wadi Mujib
- Take a secret "back door" hike into the City of Petra
- Float in the mineral-rich waters of the Dead Sea
- Cruise over sand dunes by jeep in Wadi Rum before glamping beneath the stars and joining a sunrise camel ride
- Hike the hills and sand dunes of Dana Nature Reserve, passing Bedouin villages and enjoying a fireside lunch
- Star-gaze at an award-winning eco-lodge in the desert
Tackle the legendary Balcony Walk carved into a sheer cliff overlooking Oman’s Grand Canyon and buckle up for an off-road ride around hairpin bends to Mountain of the Sun, the highest peak in Oman. Channel your inner explorer with a self-guided dune hike to your Bedouin camp in the Wahiba Sands desert, and bed down beneath the stars. Take a sunrise stroll over rippling golden sands and jump into 4×4 jeeps for a thrilling spot of dune-bashing. Wild swim your way through the cool green pools of Oman’s spectacular wadis, and waterfall-jump in a hidden turquoise grotto. Head off-radar in bustling souks, ancient fords and remote Arabian villages, and discover the delights of Omani cuisine in the elegant capital Muscat
If you have an explorer within you that’s just busting to break loose, let Oman set you free. This ancient land of peach trees and pomegranate groves is less showy than neighbouring Dubai, and you can really feel it beating Nomadic soul. Our seven-day escape cuts to the heart of the Sultanate, with a whirlwind adventure that stretches across a diverse and dazzling topography. We kick things off with an enchanting courtyard dinner in the cosmopolitan capital of Muscat before heading out to Mountain of the Sun, Oman’s highest peak. We take on a nerve-jangling balcony walk along Jebel Shams – Oman’s answer to the Grand Canyon – to an abandoned village, with staggering views from every angle. We cruise over the rippling sands of the Wahiba Sands desert, with a self-guided GPS hike and dune-bashing in 4×4 jeeps. And we wild swim our way through a playground of spectacular wadi grottoes, framed by palm glades and rose-tinted cliffs. This is your opportunity to discover a country that’s riddled with history and culture, yet still relatively untouched by tourism. Join us to leap off waterfalls in a hidden turquoise cave and wander through remote olive groves with buzzards hovering overhead. Bed beneath the stars in a unique Bedouin camp in the heart of the desert and buckle up to drive across a sheer mountain pass that’s compared to Bolivia’s Death Road. Discover grand old forts, beautiful mosques and saffron-filled souks. Feast on cheese-stuffed flatbreads, marinated meats and platefuls of Oman’s prized dates. Friends, your Arabian adventure awaits: grab a cup of kadwa (Omani cardamom coffee) and head off-road in this country of dreams.
The Flash Pack promise
Here at Flash Pack, we’re committed to unique adventures that deliver great value for money. We pack our trips with epic experiences (unlike other companies, all activities are included), hand-pick stylish hotels and match you with like-minded people
- Tackle the world-famous Balcony Walk over Oman’s Grand Canyon, with spectacular mountain views
- Put your navigation skills to the test with a self-guided GPS hike through the rippling dunes of the Wahiba Sands desert
- Sleep beneath the stars and dine by the campfire in a unique Bedouin camp surrounded by sand dunes
- Take a sunrise stroll over the golden sands and go dune-bashing in 4x4s
- Wild swim in a series of beautiful wadi grottoes, with turquoise waters, banana palms and sheer pink cliffs
- Buckle up for a thrilling off-road drive up to Mountain of the Sun, Oman’s highest peak, and stay in a summit hotel perched by a dramatic gorge
- Explore Wadi Shab park, a playground of emerald pools and waterfalls, and discover a magical hidden cave
- Head off-radar in bustling souks and ancient forts, and discover the delights of Omani cuisine in cosmopolitan Muscat
Day 1: SUNDOWNERS IN MUSCAT
Take a private transfer from the airport to your palm-tree hotel by the Arabian Sea, complete with pools and a private beach. Meet your guide and fellow Flashpackers for virgin sundowner cocktails and head out to a traditional restaurant for your first taste of Omani cuisine
Flashpackers, welcome to Oman! Whatever time you touch down in Muscat, a private transfer awaits to whisk you off to your hotel overlooking the Arabian Sea. An ancient port hub wreathed by mountains, Muscat is one of the Middle East’s most enchanting cities. An antidote to glitzy Dubai, it retains its character as a key trading post, with colourful markets and a harbour dotted with traditional dhow boats. A skyscraper ban means the horizon is dominated by a sweep of pristine white villas, framed by towering peaks and the glistening Omani coast. This is a modern capital; you’ll find plenty of elegant cafés and hip pomegranate bars (yes that’s a thing). And yet evidence of a rich history lies on every street corner, along with bright bursts of bougainvillea.
Settle into your new home before we meet at sunset for a refreshing lemon mint drink. Oman is not a dry country, but alcohol isn’t widely available, and the alternative options are so delicious that it’s almost worth pausing the booze for (should you fancy a brief detox). Get to know your fellow Flashpackers and guide as you watch Muscat glow pink on the evening horizon, with calls to prayer echoing from nearby mosques. Later, we’ll head out to one of Oman’s best-loved restaurants with a leafy, lantern-lit courtyard. Tuck into Omani favourites such as spicy shuwa – a parcel of tender lamb wrapped in palm fronds and cooked underground – Arabic bread, fish biryani with yoghurt and huge platefuls of wine-coloured dates. Dig in and fuel up for the adventure ahead.More +
Day 2: A BUCKET-LIST ROAD TRIP
Visit Muscat’s Grand Mosque before embarking on a 4×4 road trip through the Hajar Mountains. Stop at a beautiful fort town and cruise off-road over a steep cliffside pass known as Oman’s answer to Death Road in Bolivia. Have lunch at a picturesque Arabian village nestled in the peaks before arriving at Jebel Shams – the highest mountain in the country – and dine at your retreat in the middle of nowhere
We’ll kick off this morning by exploring one of Muscat’s most famous sights: the magnificent Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. A masterstroke in modern architecture, this vast sandstone beauty dominates the city skyline and is one of the only mosques in the country to allow entry to non-Muslim visitors (apart from on Fridays). It’s home to the world’s second largest chandelier covered in 600,000 Swarovski crystals, and everywhere you go, you’ll see beautiful hand-carved mosaic tiling. You may well be approached by Omani women, who can tell you all about local culture while selling you coffee and dates.
Next up, we’re travelling west, with a ravishing road trip that leads up through the Hajar Mountains. Jump aboard a fleet of 4x4s and watch the urbane charms of Muscat give way to a remote and arid landscape that harks back to biblical times. This is an entirely different side to Oman: a land of olive trees, rose fields and tiny sandstone hamlets. You’ll feel like you’re stepping back in time as we weave up into the cool hills; a place of solace for Omanis during the heat of summer. After about an hour and a half, we’ll stop to explore the spectacular fort town of Nakhl, surrounded by date palms and the Ain a’Thawwarah hot springs.
We’ll then continue upwards through the Wadi Bani Awf, and one of Oman’s most dramatic mountain passes. Often compared to Bolivia’s notorious Death Road, this heart-racing stint of off-road driving takes us along steep, cliffside terrain, with hairpin bends and extraordinary views from every angle. After 90 minutes, we’ll stop for lunch at Balad Sayt, a fairy tale-like Arabian village lying in the shadow of the pistes, with sun-baked mud homes stretching across a canvas of emerald terraces. We’ll admire this picturesque pit stop before continuing for two and a half hours over the spine of Hajar past Al Hamra – a beautiful 400-year-old town – and onto Jebel Shams; Mountain of the Sun. Oman’s highest peak looms at 3,000 metres, and our alpine retreat lies nearby, in an unparalleled patch of natural beauty. Perched on a craggy rock, it offers a breath-taking window over Wadi Nakhr, Oman’s very own Grand Canyon.More +
Day 3: LIFE ON THE EDGE
Tackle the world-famous balcony walk along the rim of Wadi Nakhr, with sensational views of Oman’s Grand Canyon. Jeep over to Al Hamra for lunch and explore the tiny ochre-coloured village of Misfat al Abriyyi nearby. Arrive in the regional capital Nizwa and explore its lively restaurants by night
Oman is famed for its fantastic coffee; a richly textured concoction known as kahwa that’s often flavoured with cardamom. Load up on the good stuff this morning before we tackle the world-famous balcony walk around the rim of Wadi Nakhr. This cliff-edge route covers a four-hour loop from Khateem village to the abandoned hamlet of As Sab and back, and it’s nothing short of sensational. The giant chasm of Wadi Nakhr acts a stage onto the natural world, unveiling a dramatic panorama of giant chalky ravines and rust-coloured cliffs. As the name suggests, the pathway is carved into the canyon itself, banding itself around the edge of the gorge with sheer rock faces directly above and below the trail. The solitude here is unbeatable; birds of prey swoop across the wispy blue skies of the ravine, and each new step brings massive views that even the best cameras can’t do justice to. Marvel at a series of geological formations and the eerie stone huts of As Sab, suspended in the middle of nowhere.
Back at base, we’ll jeep on over to the centuries-old town of Al Hamra (an hour’s drive away) for lunch and explore nearby Misfat al Abriyyi, a medieval-style village of winding alleyways and ochre homes hidden in a thick carpet of banana palms and bougainvillea bushes. From here, we’ll jeep an hour onwards past ancient juniper trees and wild olive groves to the regional capital of Nizwa. One of the oldest cities in the Sultanate, Nizwa is home to a 17th Century fort and a bustling souk that radiates colour and energy. This was once a crossroads for Oman’s traders crossing from the Arabian sea to the mountains and vice versa, an honour signified by its new double-arched entry gate. We’ll settle in for dinner here at a local restaurant, so seize the opportunity to try out more of Oman’s flavour-packed cuisine. From BBQ fish to moreish cheese-stuffed flatbreads and marinated sandwiches, there are plenty of delicious local delicacies to devour. Then wash it all down with a glass of laban, a yoghurt-style buttermilk drink with hints of pistachio. This is the life!More +
Day 4: IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF DESERT NOMADS
Put your bartering skills to test with a unique test in Nizwa’s bustling souk and visit the city’s historic fort before jeeping south to Ibra for lunch, and then onto the Wahiba Sands desert. Tackle a self-guided hike in the golden dunes of the desert to your Bedouin camp, following in the footsteps of nomadic explorers. Watch the sun go down over the desert horizon and dig into a campfire dinner under the stars
We start with a visit to Nizwa’s age-old fort today and then it’s time to don your haggling hats as we hop on over to the city’s legendary souk. You’ll each be given some local Omani Rials and an hour to hunt down the most random product possible in this Aladdin’s Cave of stalls. Immerse yourself in a maze of dark arches and winding backstreets, as you try out your bartering skills in the wanderlust version of Supermarket Sweep (well, sort of). You can literally buy anything here, from silver jewellery to coffee pots, swords and sacks of brightly-coloured saffron. Go forth and seek out treasures of a weird and wonderful variety…
Retail therapy sorted, we’ll jeep two hours south to Wahiba Sands desert, stopping along the way for lunch in the city of Ibra. With its billowing drifts and golden light, Wahiba Sands is textbook desert territory. As we near our destination, civilization gives way to a tapestry of shimmering dunes that stretch as far as the eye can see. This is the land of wandering Bedouins and nomadic explorers; intrepid souls who trekked for miles over the wild frontiers of the Arabian Peninsula, with only their camels for company. So, what better way to pay homage to history than with our own self-guided hike? At a certain point on the drive, us Flashpackers will be turfed out of the jeep to make our own way to our Bedouin camp for the night. Unlike our ancestors, we’ll have GPS to help us – along with our guide, who will take the role of a silent bystander (but step in if we go seriously off-kilter).
If we go in the right direction the camp is an hours walk away, so this a fun yet challenging feat that lets you share the excitement felt by pioneering explorers. Channel your inner Lawrence of Arabia as you clamber over rippling dunes and survey the infinite horizon, keeping an eye out for home turf. Arrive at camp in time to see the burnished landscape light up by sunset and toast your bravery by tucking into a fireside Bedouin dinner. This camp is very basic with no normal hotel facilities, seeing as we are in the middle of the desert after all. So embrace your inner explorer and climb a sand dune in time for sunset, watching the sun sink behind the endless horizon and the sky come alive in a dazzling Arabian starscape. This family-run camp has zero electricity or internet; it’s a truly unique place to spend the night, so settle in and enjoy the show.More +
Day 5: DUNE-BASHING AND WADI SWIMMING
Take an optional dawn walk to see the sun rise over the dunes, followed by a desert breakfast. Hop into 4x4s for a dash of dune-bashing, as you cruise down the slopes on a rollercoaster ride. Leave the desert and travel to Wadi Bani Khalid, for wild swimming, cliff-jumping and sunbathing. Have lunch and continue to Wadi Shab, stopping at a dhow yard in the fishing port of Sur along the way
Capture the ethereal pre-dawn light of the desert this morning, on an optional sunrise walk. Amble over the dunes as the wide skies fragment into slithers of lavender and crimson, with rays bouncing off the rippling sands. Afterwards, we’ll pause for a hearty desert breakfast before hopping into our 4x4s for a spot of dune-bashing. This heart-racing pursuit involves cruising down the dunes at full throttle, pitching and turning with the movement of the sand. Hold onto your stomachs as we take on the giant sand summits that form this thrilling rollercoaster ride.
After working up a sweat in the desert, we’ll leave the sand dunes behind for the cooling embrace of Wadi Bani Khalid, an hour and a half’s drive away. This lovely oasis in the middle of nowhere is framed by pinkish cliffs dotted with mountain shrubs and palm trees. Its epicentre lies in the shape of a clear green wadi that stretches out around rock formations, creating secluded little waterways and lagoons. We’ll take a short hike through this serene patch of paradise before shaking off the desert dust with a well-deserved dip. This is a wonderfully secluded spot for wild swimming, so make the most of your emerald wonderland by finding a nook of your own to wallow in. Paddle around the crystal-clear waters and soak in the tranquil vibes or sunbathe and leap from the natural cliff platforms. We’ll spend a good few hours here, with lunch along the way, before setting off towards the coast. Our two-hour trip takes us through the beautiful port fishing port of Sur, where we may have time to stop at a dhow yard and see traditional sailing boats being crafted by hand. Before nightfall we’ll reach our hotel, where we can relax before a day of wadi exploring tomorrow.More +
Day 6: TURQUOISE WAVES AND HIDDEN CAVES
Travel to Wadi Shab and hike for an hour through palm groves and rose-tinted cliffs. Discover a magical hidden grotto that’s tucked away behind a narrow gorge passageway. Bask in cool emerald waters and leap from a giant waterfall. Have lunch in the coastal town of Tiwi and explore nearby Wadi Tiwi before heading back to Muscat for a farewell meal
If you enjoyed yesterday’s wild swimming in turquoise waters, consider it a mere whiff of the delights that lie ahead today. We’re heading for Wadi Shab, one of Oman’s best-loved beauty spots. There’s no road access here and so we’ll take a boat over to the first section of the park, followed by a one-hour trek through the date plantations and palm groves that meander between sheer, rose-tinted cliffs. Along the way, we’ll pass by a few waterfalls, along with a series of swimming ponds filled with the most impossibly green water known to mankind. It’s so bright, it seems to glow in the sunlight; and of course, it makes a fantastic place to swim.
At the summit of the wadi lies a hidden grotto. You can only get to it by swimming through a metres-long narrow ravine, which means you may to dive underwater at points. It’s a tight squeeze but it leads to a cave of dreams, encased by sandstone cliffs. Stretch out in this glorious hidden playground, with sunshine casting a spotlight on the emerald pond and waterfall. If you’re not comfortable swimming through the narrow entrance to the cave, there are plenty of pools and waterfalls to bask in nearby.
Later, we’ll return to our 4x4s and cruise over to the pretty coastal town of Tiwi for lunch. As we’re here, it would be rude not to visit Wadi Tiwi, the lush green sister of Wadi Shab that reveals itself via a mesmerising off-road drive through the wadi mouth. We’ll take a mosey around the gleaming waterfalls and pools, navigating our way between rugged gorges and thick tropical foliage. Then it’s time to bade farewell to wadi life, as we jeep two hours back to lovely Muscat. After days exploring the wild outback of Oman, the cosmopolitan capital beckons for a final night on the tiles. Have your dancing shoes ready (or, y’know, your hiking flats) and head out into town with your Flashpackers to make the most of Omani cuisine for one last evening with your fellow Flashpackers. Find a local restaurant and raise a glass to your adventure, here’s to conquering mountains and surviving the desert.More +
Day 7: OH BYE, OMAN
Today signals the end of our Arabian adventure in Oman. It’s been a non-stop whirlwind of delights! After breakfast and perhaps one last round of kadwa, make your own way back to the airport. Wherever you head to next, let the spirit of your Omani nomad fuel you on your way. You’ve unleashed your inner explorer in this land of spectacular contrasts, tackling rugged mountain passes and rippling golden dunes. You’ve conquered the sky-high Balcony Walk over Oman’s Grand Canyon, with soul-stirring views from Jebel Shams, the fabled Mountain of the Sun. You’ve cruised over the Wahiba Sands desert in 4×4 jeeps in a thrilling spot of dune-bushing and put your skills to the test in a self-guide desert hike. You’ve seen the night sky come alive with stars at a Bedouin desert camp and toasted the dawn with a sunrise stroll over the burnished sands. You’ve swum in emerald green waters and leapt from waterfalls in a series of beautiful wadis, framed by palm trees and pink-tinted cliffs. And you’ve navigated your way through a narrow gorge to uncover a secret turquoise grotto; a delicious hidden gem. All this, with bustling souks, ancient forts and delicious Omani cuisine thrown into the mix. Flashpackers, we wouldn’t blame you if you simply grabbed a camel and disappeared off into the horizon – a true nomad once and for all…More +
Fly into and out of: Muscat International Airport
You’ll need a visa to visit Oman: check your country requirements and apply for a tourist visa before you travel
Your passport needs to be valid for six months from the point of entry into Oman
The hotels we stay at in Oman are often quite basic and not up to Flash Pack’s usual high standards. If you have been on another Flash Pack adventure before, you may be surprised at the level of accommodation on this trip. However, en-suite rooms will always be clean and comfortable, and they are among the best available in the areas we visit. Also, they often boost spectacular locations (e.g. the summit of Jebel Shams, overlooking Oman’s Grand Canyon)
Please dress conservatively to visit the Grand Mosque in Muscat: women will need to cover their heads
Alcohol isn’t widely available in Oman, although you can find it in larger city hotels and restaurants
The heat in Oman can be extreme, especially in the desert: remember to always bring plenty of water, sun cream and protective clothing
If you have a fear of heights, the Balcony Walk at Jebel Shams is probably not for you!
Please be aware that the itinerary, activities and hotels are subject to change. These changes can happen with little notice due to availability, poor weather, seasonal changes, or other circumstances beyond our control. From time to time we may also make changes to your itinerary to try out new ideas and keep things fresh.
We take safety very seriously on Flash Pack adventures, click here to learn more.
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