Although the Sultanate of Oman is known as a beautiful desert paradise in the Middle East, it has also got a fantastic coastline facing the Arabian Gulf, Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman. The beaches are beautiful and unspoilt, with clear water and calm waves that lull you into a peaceful daze.
Oman's coastline spans over 3,000 kilometres and includes beaches of varying atmospheres. Some have rich marine life and water sports activities while others are picnic areas with palm trees and white sand. They are all well-maintained and most are, in fact, public beaches. Private beaches in the country are generally used for military purposes or beach resorts. Because of Oman's hot climate, the beaches can be very hot and uncomfortable to visit in the summers. So, the best months to enjoy the beach are between November and April when winter starts to set in.
Here is a list of best Beaches in Oman:
1. Al Qurum Beach
This beach, located in the capital city of Muscat, is one of the longest beaches in the country. At low tide, the coastline can go as far as 4 kilometres into the water. There are plenty of palm trees to provide shade, making it a great location for picnics. The beach is lively with water sports such as jetskis, which can be rented on an hourly basis. Because this beach is in the heart of the city, it is a fairly commercial area with shopping malls just a short distance away. Premium hotels such as the Intercontinental are within walking distance.
2. Al Mughsayl Beach
Al Mughsayl Beach (also spelt 'Mughsail') can be found in southern Oman in the city of Salalah. Unlike Al Qurum beach, it is relatively untouched with fewer crowds and less commercial activity. In the summers, it's a wonderful place for sunbathing. In the monsoons, the waves are known to explode through blowholes in the partially-collapsed caves just off the beach. From the cliffs, you can get a pretty view looking towards the Yemen border. Across the beach's 7 kilometres coastline, you can find flora such as banana trees and coconut grooves that give it a laid-back vibe. Close to this beach is a twisting road repeating into itself called 'Furious Road' for thrill seekers.
3. Bandar Jissah Beach
A fairly rocky beach, Bandar Jissah is a mostly secluded bay. There are some snack shops and a playground nearby, but other than that, it is hidden from the public eye. There are many fascinating rock formations along the rocky shore, and during low tide, it can make for an interesting walk along the beach. This beach has 'fisherman's taxis' that can be hired to take you out into the sea. There are also kayaks available for rent to explore the beach's azure waters.
4. Tiwi Beach
With some of the bluest waters of any beach in Oman, Tiwi Beach makes for a beautiful location. It has soft white sand that caress your feet as you step into it, tempting you to jump into the cool blue waters for a swim. If the ocean water is too cold for your liking, there are always the close-by rock pools that are fairly warmer. The beach provides a lovely setting of the nearby Tiwi Village with its natural plantations. The waters here are wonderfully clear, making for a popular snorkelling spot. It's not uncommon to see batfish, sea snakes or even stingrays while snorkelling on Tiwi Beach.
5. Ras Al Hadd
Unlike the other beaches, Ras Al Hadd is a private beach. It's known for the Turtle Reserve which costs nearly 13,000 turtles each year. Peak egg-laying season for turtles is June till the month of November. During this time, you can see dozens of turtles crawling along the sand to dig holes and lay eggs in the wee-hours of the day, to avoid being seen by predators. Visitation on Ras Al Hadd is controlled, but with prior permission, it makes a lovely place to see the marine activity of Oman. Some parts of the beach allow snorkelling as well, where you can potentially swim with a turtle!
This island is located on the south coast of Oman. It is the country's largest island at over 95 kilometres long. Masirah Island has beautiful golden sand and towering waves that make it a popular surfing spot. You can enjoy other water sports here as well like kitesurfing that is popular because of the island's shallow waters. In terms of weather, Masirah Island is much cooler than the mainland as it receives cool winds from the Arabian Sea. Much like Ras Al Hadd, it is a popular spot for turtles. While going for a dip, you might just find a loggerhead turtle casually swimming by.
7. Al Sawadi Beach
This beach is about an hour and a half away from Muscat, resulting in fewer crowds along its shores. It has interesting seashells and marine life that wander onto the sands. Al Sawadi is known to have beautiful corals that can be seen while snorkelling around the water. There are islands close-by that can be accessed by boats on hire. Moreover, keep an eye out on the sky, for the beach is said to host plenty of Oman's indigenous birds.
8. Al Bustan Beach
Named after the Al Bustan Palace Hotel, this is a private beach offering a luxury beach experience. With the concept of a 'day-pass' at the Palace, you'll truly feel like royalty with their star treatment waiting for you. Whether it's a cocktail, towels, or even an umbrella, it'll be ready at your request. They provide complimentary snorkelling equipment as well for you to explore the waters. Enjoy the deck chairs as you look out at the mountains overlooking the beach, giving you a feeling ofprivacyc, unlike public beaches.
9. Shell Beach
This beach, as the name suggests, is known for the many shells that can be found on its sandy shores. Better yet, there's plenty of starfish as well to discover in the sand. It's also called Aviation Beach due to its proximity to Aviation Club in Al Azaiba district. The beach is a popular family spot and is always full of life and energy. If you'd like to get closer to the water's edge, you'll need to hire a 4x4 to manoeuvre along its shell-covered shore.
10. Khalouf Beach
Not only is Khalouf Beach a popular fishing spot for locals, but it has recently become a tourist spot. At five hours away from Muscat with very few resorts nearby, it sees fewer crowds and almost feels like a private beach. There are looming sand dunes before you reach the crystal-clear waters, reminding you of Oman's wide array of terrain. It's a great spot to go snorkelling as well as camping, so bring a tent along! You might just catch a sighting of eagles and even flamingos at this beach.
11. Marjan Beach
If you enjoy calm waters so clear that you can look down at your own feet, Marjan Beach is just the place for you! It's a popular spot for beginners in snorkelling as the waters are shallow with colourful corals all along the shore. You can even find marine life like sea cucumbers and clownfish. Because of the shallow waters, locals are known to spear-fish here. The high cliffs overlooking the beach are notorious for adventure junkies that dive into the deeper ocean waters.
Tips on Beachwear
Of course, Oman is a fairly traditional country in terms of attire and it's best to dress modestly while visiting the beach. It's a good idea to keep knees and elbows covered. Women should opt for loose-fitting garments or one-piece swimsuits while men should ideally wear Bermuda shorts. Two-pieces and Speedos are not considered appropriate clothing. Some private beaches are more lenient about swimwear but nevertheless, it's better to dress respectfully. Remember to keep yourself covered while entering and leaving the beach as well, because it's considered bad manners to continue to stay in your swimwear.
Most of Oman's beaches are family-friendly, and it's recommended that you gauge the vibe of the beach before settling in. Some family-friend beaches are not welcoming of bachelors or single women hanging around. As long as you stay respectful of Oman's culture, it should be a wonderful vacation of pristine beaches and fun in the sun.