Already in Biblical time, Salalah was a city. It is believed to be the place from where one of the three Magi departed for Bethlehem, to place his gift of “White Gold”, Frankincense a commodity that was once worth its weight in gold , at the feet of Virgin Mary’s child. The city reached the peak of prosperity in the 13th century thanks to the frankincense trade. Archaeologists have uncovered remains of a great mosque, tools, pottery, weapons and jewellery dating back to 3000BC. Nabi Ayoub’s (Prophet Job) tomb, bin Ali’s tomb, Nabi Imran’s tomb (Virgin Mary’s Father) the ancient and city Al Balid, the lost city of Ubar, Samharam ancient frankincense trade port are amongst the historical places to visit.
Oman is famous for its people and culture. It is known worldwide that the Omani people are exceptionally helpful and friendly. The locals of Salalah, and indeed the entire Dhofar region, are very proud of their traditions, and men are often seen carrying their ornamental dagger, the khanjar.
The annual Khareef festival is a fantastic opportunity to experience Omani culture. Fashion, national heritage, local foods and music, traditional performances and folklore troupes fire up this truly majestical carnival.
Salalah is the most captivating tourist destination of the Sultanate of Oman which stands as a sharp contrast to the scorching desert heat and barren desert land of the Arabia.
The city enjoys a pleasant tropical climate throughout the year thanks to the Qara mountains which stands like a protective barrier between the city and the vast desert which lies behind. June to September is known as the Khareef Season during which the mountains behind the city trap the monsoon clouds and create a micro climate that turns the arid desert and plains lush green , envelopes mountains in thick fog and forms rivers and splendid waterfalls that plunges over limestone cliffs. With the start of the Khareef season the nature springs to life as if touched by a magic wand.The almost guaranteed sunshine through the rest of the year makes the region a perfect haven for visitors especially during winter.
Salalah is an all in one destination that offers visitors a wide range of activities and excursions in varying landsacpes including the legendary Desert Rub Al Khali (The Empty Quarter), the world’s largest Sand Desert with spectacular dunes,enchanting Qara mountains , sub-tropical coastline with coconut and banana plantations and glorious pristine white sandy beaches.
Tips & Information
There are several Money exchangers in the city and they keep similar hours to banks, but often open from around 16:30 to 20:00 as well. They usually offer slightly more competitive rates than the banks, and most charge only a nominal per cash transaction.
Taxis are available at every corner of the city. Please have your hotel organize for a local taxi and consul the staff for a fair price. Local Taxi usually run without a meter and it is better to fix a price before hand
• European Food – Oasis Club at the Raysut port
• Arabic Food – Bin Athiq at Al Hafs and 23rd July Road
• Fish & Lebanese food – Bal Bek Restaurant
• Chinese Food – Chinese Cascade
• Pakistani Food – Al Kutani
• Indian – Barbeque Nation & Silver Diamond
• Vegetarian – Udupi
Lulu complex and Centre point as al wadi, KM trading at the city centre are the main shopping malls. Traditional Frankincense souq located at Al Hafa AND Gold Souq at city centre. Shopping hours Sun – Fri 09:00 – 13:00 & 16:00 – 20:00 this may vary during the holy month of Ramadan
The Land Frankincense Museum is opened Sun – Thu 08:00 – 14:00 & 16:00 – 20:00 Weekend (Fri / Sat)
The Banks are normally opened daily during the morning 08:00 – 14:00 and closed Friday and Saturday, so plan ahead if you need to have hard currency. Major shops and supermarkets are usually open from 09:00 – 13:00 & 16:00 – 23:00 during weekdays (Sunday – Thursday). And only in the evening during the weekend (Friday and Saturday)
ATM Machines and Credit Cards
Most Foreign cards (especially Visa plus, Master Card, Cirrus) are accepted 24 hours a day with ATM’s found in Salalah. A few restaurants, Hotels and shops accept credit cards. You may not be able to use credit cards at small businesses, Souqs or in rural areas.
Follow standard tipping rules for an additional 10% to 15% for good service.