Bradt's is the most up-to-date and informative guide to Oman, the Arabian peninsula's most welcoming destination, fully revised and updated by an author who has been living in Oman and Arabia since 1986. Oman is finally reaping the economic benefit of its location between Europe, Africa and Asia with substantial investment in major shipping ports and significant expansion of the national airline with new routes to Western Europe and East Asia. Despite being at the crossroads of great trade routes and empires, Oman has remained an independent country through much of its long history, and today tourism and travel are a major focus for Oman's government. This new edition covers the recent substantial investment in new airport facilities and upmarket accommodation and also features the historic UNESCO towns of Samharam and Al Balid. If you want to live like a local, the guide also tells you how to slow cook the traditional spiced meat shuwa and how to be a perfect guest if invited into an Omani home.
Oman is not merely a desert. While it has the classic sand seas – Wihibah Sands – home to the nomadic Bedouin and their camels, this sultanate also boasts lush monsoon-soaked valleys near Salalah, mountain villages surrounded by green terraced fields of fruit trees and rose bushes, and the reef-fringed Ad Dimaniyyat Islands. With such a varied wilderness there is huge scope for adventure. Oman is increasingly perceived as a high-end cultural destination. The new Opera House has opened, directly supported by the Sultan, with top-notch international performers like Placido Domingo. The guide includes advice on property buying, since Omani law changed to allow expatriates to buy, explaining the rules and regulations. There is also a detailed overview of language schools teaching Arabic, not found in other guides. With advice on cultural etiquette, basic Arabic phrases and political history – as well as full practical information on where to stay and eat, and what to see and do – this fully updated edition remains the essential guide for travellers looking to discover the real Oman.
Tony Walsh has written extensively about Oman for local and international media as well as for Oman government publications since 1999. His chosen topics reflect his interests and have included camel racing on the edge of the desert, diving for abalone in Dhofar and, more recently, Oman's World Heritage Sites. Having purchased Diana Darke's first guide to Oman all the way back in 2006, Tony is delighted to have been able to contribute towards this comprehensive guidebook. He has lived in Arabia since 1986, for most of that time in Muscat. Though initially managing retail businesses in Oman and Saudi Arabia, he has also worked in tourism since 1993, exploring Oman from the Straits of Hormuz to the Yemen border and beyond. His Arabic can justifiably be called ‘street Arabic' as, although he learnt to read and write in a class, it was the man on the street who taught him the language.
ABOUT THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR
Diana Darke has known Oman for over 30 years when she first worked there for the Omani government in 1980. She still has many Omani colleagues and friends in the country. With a BA in Arabic (Oxford) and an MA in Islamic Art and Architecture (SOAS, London) her in-depth cultural background knowledge is second to none, and is rarely found in guidebooks. She is the author of sixteen guidebooks on Turkey and the Middle East.