Salalah is the capital of Dhofar Province, which is the southern region of the Sultanate of Oman. Green areas scattered across town give the city a tropical atmosphere and have earned it the name "Garden City". Driving through town, see the enormous incense burners along the roadside - evidence that you are in the Land of Frankincense.
The Dhofar region has been known for centuries for the production of frankincense. The narrow belt and the mountain range benefit from the southwest monsoon winds, which are an unusual feature for the Arabian Peninsula. The moisture-laden winds bring rain from the end of June to August. Heavy mists blanket the coast and mountains during these months, creating lush, green hillsides and cooler temperatures, the perfect environment for frankincense trees to grow. Behind the mountain range lies the hot desert, unaffected by the monsoon, and the domain of the hardy Bedouins and their camels.
Along the coast are miles of deserted beaches, bordered by a brilliant blue sea. Other attractions around the countryside include ancient forts, archaeological sites, fishing villages and the tombs of prophets. But it is mainly the rugged landscape and still tranquil sites that appeal to visitors with a penchant for unspoiled destinations. Indeed, Salalah has to be appreciated as an off-the-beaten-track location and for the uniqueness that marks the Dhofar region.
Please Note: Please dress conservatively when going ashore. Beach wear is not considered appropriate attire. As a rule, women should not wear anything remotely revealing, including miniskirts, shorts, sleeveless or low-cut tops and men should always wear a shirt in public.
Please do not photograph people without their permission, especially women, who will be greatly offended. You may not take pictures of government buildings, embassies or anything military in nature, including airports.
The ship is scheduled to dock at Salalah Port, a distance of about 13 miles (21 km) from town. There are no tourist facilities in or around the port area. Shuttle bus service is only allowed to the port gate, from where taxis must be used to the town centre. Be sure to establish the fare with the driver before leaving the port area.
The most popular item is frankincense. Together with a traditional burner, made of plain clay or decorated in attractive colours, it makes for a nice souvenir. The major shopping area can be found around the Al Husn Souq. Most shops and souqs are closed between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. The local currency is the Omani rial. Many businesses and venues are closed on Fridays.
There is little in the way of traditional cuisine. Indian dishes are featured in many restaurants, while international fare is usually served in hotels.
Miles of sand and crystalline waters invite swimming, sunbathing or a stroll along the beach. Hotels with beach facilities include the Salalah Hilton and Crown Plaza Resort. Both require a taxi ride from the port. The hotels charge a fee for the use of their facilities.
Private arrangements for independent sightseeing are subject to the availability.