The evocatively named Empty Quarter is the world’s largest sand desert and can be ventured into with guides for your own Lawrence of Arabia adventures. Sharqiya Sands offers resorts and camps and activities such as camel-racing, sand-skiing and 4WD dune-bashing.
The Hajar Mountains, with stunning views over steep canyons, can be explored by horseback or on foot, and can be combined with a visit to the ancient city of Nizwa, with its fort and legendary souk.
Ras al Jinz Turtle Reserve is the beach where green turtles come to nest, while there are dolphin-spotting opportunities all along Oman’s generous coastline, including Muscat, the port capital.
The beachside Kempinski Hotel Muscat is Oman’s newest five-star hotel, a diamond-shaped building with a striking geometric façade and a coolly beautiful lobby inspired by water lilies.
The best time to visit is October to April, to avoid the intense summer heat.
The newly expanded Muscat International Airport, with its $1.8 billion passenger terminal, is ready for an influx of visitors to this lesser-discovered Middle Eastern destination.
Don’t miss: Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscan is a spectacular example of Islamic architecture. Its prayer hall is filled by a magnificent 70 meter-by-60 meter Persian carpet, woven by 600 women over a four-year period.