Salalah, Oman Cruise Port
Thanks to the Khareef, or annual monsoon, you can travel to the Dhofar province near the Arabian Sea to find the lush, green landscape surrounding the cruise port of Salalah, Oman. As the provincial capital and Oman's second largest city, Salalah draws tourists with its beaches, warm year-round temperatures, and seasonal waterfalls. This city of around 200,000 residents reached its peak during the 13th century, when it was a key player in the incense trade. Although this is no longer the case, Salalah's fragrant frankincense trees have earned the city the title of "Arabia's Perfume Capital." The sultan typically lives in Salalah instead of Omani capital of Muscat; however, the current sultan (in power since 1970), has opted for Muscat instead. Fans of sport can find at least four football (soccer) clubs here – and that’s just for starters. Here are some of our favorite experiences when cruising to Salalah, Oman:
If you want beaches, there are several; one of the most popular is Al Mughsayl Beach with a long stretch of sand and lovely scenery. An associated attraction is Marneef Cave, where you can see water spouting from rock formations if the tides are wild enough. If you want an area where you can don western swimsuits, try the Corniche, which also has plenty of places to eat nearby.
The Museum of the Frankincense Land is part of the Al Balid archaeological site which showcases the city's place in history during the spice trade. This area was settled as far back as 2000 B.C.; today, you can tour the paths, learn of Salalah's maritime prowess, and do some birdwatching as well.
Sumhuram Old City is a UNESCO World Heritage site and associated with Salalah's frankincense trade. Dating back to the 4th century B.C., the ruins are still surrounded by the frankincense trees. Keep an eye out for the ruins of the Queen of the Sheba's Palace as well.
For more history, architecture, and a great view, visit Taqah Castle, about 22 miles east. One of Oman's best fort museums, the well-preserved 19th century castle gives a look into Taqah's past.