The welcomed stability of Oman
Most people’s visits include a dhow cruise through the fjords at the tip of the peninsula. With Iran just an hour away across the Strait of Hormuz you are likely to spot Iranian smugglers racing across the water in their speedboats. They bring goats to Khasab, sell them at the market and return with cigarettes. Port authorities turn a blind eye.
My cruise included a barbecue lunch of sardines and hammour fish which tasted meaty and a bit like red mullet. We passed small inlets, islands with stone fishing villages and snorkelled off Telegraph Island where the British laid the first telegraph cable from India to Iraq in 1864.
On the way back, our skipper, a teenage lad who occasionally nudged the throttle with his foot, gave a shrill whistle. Dolphins appeared, diving in and out of the water around us.
When to visit
The best time is during winter (October to March) when temperatures range from 25 to36 degrees. Citizens from most GCC, EU and US countries can buy a tourist visa, costing 6 rials, upon arrival at Muscat International airport. There are new visa requirements for Middle East GCC residents who work in what the Omani government calls “second tier” professions, so it is best to check before travelling.