Salalah, Oman | Cruise port of call | CruiseBe
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Salalah, Oman

Salalah is the capital city of Oman's southern Dhofar region. It is often considered to be the second city of the Sultanate, although some of this designation is probably due to its distinction as Sultan Qaboos' birthplace.

Salalah and Dhofar are historically famous for the frankincense trade. The region has tended to be rather independent over history, although this has changed since Qaboos' ascension to the throne. The Jibbali (Arabic: those of the mountains) tribes maintain a slightly distrustful stance to the government in

Muscat

, although this is more a stance of custom than anything else. Interestingly, the tribes speak a different language to the Arabic spoken throughout the Peninsula, although visitors are unlikely to encounter it.
The region is famous for its khareef (monsoon), and the Khareef Festival... Read more

Salalah, Oman

Destination:
Salalah is the capital city of Oman's southern Dhofar region. It is often considered to be the second city of the Sultanate, although some of this designation is probably due to its distinction as Sultan Qaboos' birthplace.

Salalah and Dhofar are historically famous for the frankincense trade. The region has tended to be rather independent over history, although this has changed since Qaboos' ascension to the throne. The Jibbali (Arabic: those of the mountains) tribes maintain a slightly distrustful stance to the government in

Muscat

, although this is more a stance of custom than anything else. Interestingly, the tribes speak a different language to the Arabic spoken throughout the Peninsula, although visitors are unlikely to encounter it.
The region is famous for its khareef (monsoon), and the Khareef Festival is an annual event here. Salalah is affectionately called by many nicknames including 'the Switzerland of Oman', 'the oasis', 'the perfume capital of Arabia' and 'the paradise of Arabia' because when all other Arabian countries are blazing hot, Salalah experiences the khareef season and cool drizzles.

Climate

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.

Connect

Mobile coverage using Oman's providers is close to flawless, but roaming can sometimes be slow. There are several internet cafes around town, but speeds are inconsistent. Prices vary but are usually cheap.

Source:
Text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0

Salalah, Oman: Port Information


Port of Salalah is one of the deepwater ports in Oman and also 11th busiest transshipment port in the world, second busiest port in middle east, which is located at Port Raysut (Salalah). It can accommodate large vessels up to 18m draft. It is the main Container Tran-shipment Terminal of the region. This port is operated and managed by Salalah Port Services Company (S.A.O.G.). The port also welcomes cruise liners & luxury ships.

Cruise ships stop regularly at the commercial Salalah Port, west of the city. Shuttle buses transport visitors from the ship to the port entrance, and taxis are also available. Visitors need to bring only their cruise boarding pass and their Tourist Entry Permit.

Get around Salalah, Oman


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

What to see in Salalah, Oman


The old city is confined to the area called Al Haffa (Hafah), on the seafront.
  • Al Baleed Archeological Park, As Sultan Qaboos St, +968 23 303577, e-mail: incense@omantel.net.om. Sa-W 09:00-14:00, 16:00-20:00; Th-F 16:00-20:00. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, these extensive ruins were once the 12th-century trading port of Zafar, visited by Marco Polo in 1285.
  • Museum of Frankincense Land, As Sultan Qaboos St (on the grounds of the Al Baleed Archeological Park), +968 23 303577. Sa-W 08:00-14:00, 16:00-20:00; Th-F 16:00-20:00. This excellent museum has displays on the history of the port and of the region. Admission included with Al Baleed entrance fee. 
  • Salalah Museum (in the Salalah Cultural Center). Sa-W 08:00-14:00. This museum houses an eclectic collection, with sections devoted to regional geology and history. There is also a permanent display of Wilfred Thesiger's photographs. Free. 
  • Burj an-Nadha (Burj al-Nadha, Clocktower). The clocktower may not be a sky-scraper but it is indeed the icon of Salalah, featured in the coat of arms of Dhofar Governate. The tower looks stunning during nights due to the colorful light display. 
  • Tomb of Nabi Umran (Tomb of Nabi Imran), Al Matar St (next to Lulu Hypermarket). Umran (Imran) was a local Arab prophet, believed by some to have been the father of the Virgin Mary, and believed by others to have been the father of Moses. The sarcophagus is 33 m long. Visitors should remove their shoes before entering, and women should cover their heads with a scarf. Free, tips gratefully accepted. 
  • Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

    , 23 July St and An Nahdah St. Sa-Th 08:00-11:00 (for non-Muslims). Completed in 2009, this mosque can accommodate 14,000 people. Conservative dress required; women must have their ankles, wrists and hair covered. 
  • Sultan Qaboos Palace

    , Al Bahri St. Sultan Qaboos was born in a fortress at this location, which is now the grounds for a modern palace. It is not open to the public, but tourists may photograph it from the outside. 
  • Traditional Dhofari houses, Al Bahri St (along the coast). To see some older Yemeni-style architecture, drive east on Al Bahri Street along the beach. 
  • Footprint of Prophet Saleh's Camel, A Daqah St. A shrine housing the footprint of an enormous camel in the bedrock. According to the Quran, the camel was said to have appeared from nearby mountains as a miracle, yet was killed three days later by unbelievers who refused to recognize the Prophet Saleh. In punishment, a severe earthquake was said to destroy the entire city and its inhabitants. As in other religious sites, visitors are requested to remove their shoes and women should cover their hair. Free. 
  • Gun Souq, As Sultan Qaboos St. A small informal open-air market for vendors selling all types of weapons, from antique rifles to traditional knives and daggers. Best in the early morning. 

What to do in Salalah, Oman


Salalah Festival (Khareef Festival). Aug-Sep. Held annually during the khareef period, this festival celebrates Dhofari culture and traditions with food, music, and entertainment. 
Khawr Salalah (As Sultan Qaboos St and Al Khawr St). Nov-Apr. Avid birdwatchers can find many species of birds within the city itself, as this lagoon is noted for attracting flamingos, ospreys, and many migratory birds. Bring your binoculars. Free. 

Diving

Extra Divers Salalah (in the Crowne Plaza Resort), +968 92 873560, e-mail: salalah@extradivers.info. 16:00-18:00. Organizes guided tours for diving and snorkeling, and conducts a full range of PADI courses. Most of their dives take place outside of Mirbat, where they also have a dive centre. The centre is closed during the khareef from the end of May until 1 October. 
SubAqua Dive Center (in the Hilton Hotel), +968 9989 4031, +968 9989 4032, e-mail: salalah@subaqua-divecenter.com. Offers full dive packages in the waters by Salalah as well as by Mirbat. Offers PADI courses. 

What to eat and drink in Salalah, Oman


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.
Budget
  • Al Kutaini Restaurant, 23 July St, +968 23 294179. Offers a wide range of continental dishes but specialize in Pakistani cuisine. 
  • Annapoorna Restaurant (Al-Saf Saf), Al Ferdows St (off of 23 July St). A traditional South Indian Restaurant serving only vegetarian food. 
  • Bawarchi Restaurant, Al Salam St (near Badr Al Sama Hospital and Oman Oil petrol station), +968 23 297750, e-mail: bawarchioman@gmail.com. Daily 11 am-3 pm, 6:30 pm-12:30 am. Authentic Indian and Chinese food. Special price for group bookings, take away and delivery available. 
  • Bin Ateeq, 23 July St (New Salalah), +968 23 292384, e-mail: mail@binateeqoman.com. Daily 9 am-1 am. Part of a small chain of Omani restaurants, and a good place for Omani food. 
  • Bin Ateeq, 23 July St (Middle Salalah), e-mail: mail@binateeqoman.com. Daily 9 am-1 am. A second branch of the popular Omani restaurant. 
  • Cascade Tandoori Restaurant, 23 July St (near Bank Dhofar), +968 23 288233. Daily 11 am-3:30 pm, 6:30 pm-12:30 am. Offers a large range of Indian dishes, particularly well-known for their vindaloo. 
  • Chinese Cascade, 23 July St, +968 23 289844. Chinese restaurant offering decent food. No buffet. 
  • Chopsticks, 23 July St, +968 24 783384. Indian-styled Chinese restaurant with decent food. No buffet. 
  • Hassan Bin Thabit Restaurant, 23 July St, +968 23 291010. Daily 8 am-1 am. Serves Arabic, Chinese, European and Indian cuisines. 
  • Ittina Cafe, Atin Rd (on the road to Ittin-Garziz, turn right at the second roundabout, about 10 min drive from Salalah), +968 9814 1067. Offers decent food and an excellent view of the city. 
  • KFC, Ar Rubat St. American fried chicken, sit-down restaurant and drive-through. 
  • Khareef Salalah Restaurant (near Al Awqadayn Roundabout), +968 2321 0030. Daily 11 am-1 am. A sister branch of Hassan Bin Thabit Restaurant, with a varied international menu. 
  • Pizza Hut, As Salam St. Always an option for any Americans wanting a taste of home, delivery available. 
Mid-range
  • Baalbeck Lebanese Restaurant, 23 July St (near the main market), +968 23 298834. A small family restaurant serving very good Lebanese food. Has excellent hummus, tum, and shwarmas. 
  • Browniz Coffee House, As Salam St (across from the Salalah Cemetery), +968 23 297575, fax: +968 23 298787, e-mail: info@browniz-coffeehouse.com. This cafe/restaurant offers a good range of European food. Free wi-fi. 
  • Good Hopes Restaurant (formerly Woodlands Restaurant) (in the airport). Surprisingly one of the better restaurants, licensed. 
  • Lebanese House Restaurant, Al Salaam St (Bait Lubnan), +968 23 212100. This restaurant offers good Lebanese food at a reasonable price. Delivery available. 
  • Oasis Club, Port Rd (Raysut), +968 23 219248. Sa-W 12 pm-3 pm, 6 pm-11 pm; Th-F 12 pm-12:30 am. Offers a wide selection of international cuisine at a very reasonable price (a fraction of the cost of the hotel restaurants and better quality). This restaurant is also fully licensed. Take away and delivery available.
  • 16 Ajwa, 23 july St.(near Bank Dofar). No buffet. Offers Pakistani and Hyderabadi food.
Splurge
The restaurant outlets at the Hilton Salalah, Marriott and Crowne Plaza offer high-end dining services. Both restaurants do a la carte as well as buffets.
  • Hilton and Juweira Boutique - for the ultimate (and maybe the only) romantic dining experience in Salalah. Reserve one of the small pavilions on the beach and enjoy top quality food while you listen to the sound of the sea.

Drink

Alcohol is available at high-end hotels like Good Hopes Restaurant in the airport and Oasis Club near the port. Liquor permits are only available to non-Muslim expatriates.
For a refreshing drink, stop at any of the many roadside vendors selling fresh coconut.

Shopping in Salalah, Oman


Frankincense is the souvenir purchase in Salalah, and only visitors who avoid shopping will not be offered some. Frankincense is available in several different grades differentiated by color, the lightest considered to be the highest quality and the costliest. Hand-crafted incense burners made of local Dhofari clay are also good purchases. Myrrh is relatively easy to find as well, as are the myriad Omani perfumes on offer throughout the country. You can also buy a khanjar, the traditional Omani dagger.
  • Handicraft Souq, Tatawur St and Al Marqaz At Tijari St (near KFC). Sa-Th 09:00-13:00, 16:00-22:00; F 16:00-22:00. A good place to pick up traditional hand-crafted items. 
  • Haffa Souq (Al Husn Souq), As Sultan Qaboos St. The Haffa souq (market place) is the best place for frankincense and incense burners, and a wide range of other collectibles including handicrafts and souvenirs. Haggling is necessary, or alternatively, have a local so you know you are buying genuine goods.
  • New Souq, 23 July St.  
  • Family Book Shop, Al Matar St (in Assafa House). Has books in English and Arabic, and a good selection of maps. 
  • Goal Sports, As Salam St (opposite HSBC Bank), +968 23 296624. Has outdoor sporting goods, including camping supplies. 
Grocery stores
  • Al Isteqrar Hypermarket, Al Fayha St. Groceries are on the ground floor and a food court upstairs. 
  • Lulu Hypermarket, Ar Rubat St and An Nama St, +968 23 288133. Sa-Th 09:00-23:45; F 08:00-23:00, 16:30-23:45. A branch of the UAE chain. Good for picnic supplies or camping gear. 
  • Lulu Supermarket, 23 July St and Al Matar St, +968 24 504504. Sa-Th 09:00-23:00; F 00:00-11:00, 16:30-23:00. More centrally located than Lulu Hypermarket (see listing above), but with a much smaller deli and no camping gear. 
  • Spinney's, An Nahdah St (by the An Nahdah Roundabout). Small supermarket with international food. 

Safety in Salalah, Oman


Salalah is a very safe place. However, the Salalah (Arab) way of driving might need some getting used to for non-Arabs.

Don't go swimming in the sea or permit toddlers/children to wander off at beaches. The sea has very strong ocean currents and the seabed has a steep drop off, making it very unsafe for swimmers, experienced or beginner.

Language spoken in Salalah, Oman


Arabic is the official language and the most spoken one. The unofficial, unwritten language known as Jeballi is the second most spoken language and the mother tongue of many in Salalah and its surrounding areas, with 25,000 estimated speakers as of 1993.

English is the official foreign language and the most spoken language of the expats. Malayalam is another popular language and together with Tamil, Hindi/Urdu it is the most widely spoken language among expatriates.

LOCAL TIME

10:46 am
November 21, 2019
Asia/Muscat

CURRENT WEATHER

22.89 °C / 73.202 °F
sky is clear
Fri

25.63 °C/78 °F
sky is clear
Sat

24.43 °C/76 °F
sky is clear
Sun

24.65 °C/76 °F
sky is clear
Mon

24.64 °C/76 °F
sky is clear

LOCAL CURRENCY

OMR

1 USD = 0 OMR
1 EUR = 0 OMR
1 GBP = 0 OMR
1 AUD = 0 OMR
1 CAD = 0 OMR

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