Museum of the Frankincense Land

Well-labeled and atmospherically lit at night, the ancient ruins of Al Baleed belong to the 12th-century trading port of Zafar. Frankincense was shipped across the sea to India from here in exchange for spices. Little is known about the port’s demise but the excellent on-site museum charts the area’s settlement since 2000 BC and illustrates the maritime strength of the nation including its recent renaissance. The site includes several kilometers of landscaped paths and the adjoining reed beds make for good birdwatching.

Dolphin Beach Restaurant

One of the few places in Salalah to offer to dine with a sea view, this open-air restaurant under the coconut palms offers a different themed buffet each night. Call ahead to reserve a beachside table if you want to watch the waders dash in and out of the flood-lit waves, finding their supper as you eat yours.

Salalah Tourism Festival

During the khareef, Ittin Rd is the main location of the Salalah Tourism Festival. Arab families from across the region come to picnic in paradise. Their favorite haunt is under the street lights of Ittin Rd where a large festival complex includes fun-fairs, clothes stalls, cultural villages, a theatre, restaurants and lots of small stands selling kebabs and shawarma. Most of the restaurants and attractions are strictly seasonal, opening only between mid-June to mid-September. Check Oman Today for a program of nightly concerts and cultural activities.

Al Husn Souq

Head for this souq to rub shoulders with the jovial Dhofari people who have been assembling in this spot, albeit under different awnings, for centuries. The souq, spread over a number of alleyways next to the sultan’s palace, flap with colorful cotton headdresses, smoke with aromatic frankincense and sparkle with imitation jewellery. This is a good place to see how the Omani hats are made.

Oman House Handicrafts

Hidden in the traditional souq (‘Aswaq’) in the middle of Salalah Gardens Mall, this craft shop is owned by an expert in the properties and production of frankincense, Dr. Mohammed Al Mashani. He has researched the subject in depth and will show you some highly prized green frankincense, the color of jade.

Al Jood Restaurant

With dishes of fresh kunifer (an addictive syrup and cheese dessert) on display and fresh bread flipped from the ovens onto the plate, this new restaurant is worth tearing yourself away from the beach for. There’s a fresh fish counter and seating for families in the basement.

Annabi Shisha Lounge

Tuck behind an Arabesque screen for private dining or sit outside in the landscaped terrace and watch the shoppers go by at this attractive restaurant. You don’t have to be a smoker to enjoy a whiff of peach sheesha from neighboring tables as you tuck into hot mezze and mocktails.

Makdas Restaurant

This no-frills restaurant, one in a string of cheap and cheerful eateries 1km east of the Crown Plaza Resort, serves juices, grilled chicken, burgers, and pizzas. Stroll along the same road for dessert from the fruit stands.

Palmyra 7D Simu (lator)

Offering terrifying thrills such as cold water showers, shaking seats and snow, this simulator offers a horror-movie experience that affects all the senses. Safety belts are mandatory.

Family Bookshop

One of the very few bookshops selling English-language publications and maps. Located near the Clock Tower Roundabout at the junction of Ar Robat and Al Matar Sts.

Marrosh Restaurant

This simple restaurant serves tasty food in a modern space, just to the southeast of the Clock Tower Roundabout at the junction of Ar Robat and Al Matar Sts.

Plantations

Salalah is famous for its plantations of coconuts, papayas and bittersweet, small bananas. Stroll through the plantation roads near the corniche (2km from the town center) and it’s hard to remember Salalah is Oman’s second city. For refreshment, stop off at the many colorful fruit stands that stay open until late in the evening.

Halwa Shops

Selling Oman’s most popular sweet.

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