| Azlan Othman in Salalah, Oman |
After nearly 24 hours of flight, a cultural group representing Brunei Darussalam reached Salalah, in the cool and breezy month of August, to participate in the Salalah Tourism Festival.
Salalah, a southern city in the Sultanate of Oman, has much more to offer than your imaginary Middle East – a vast silent desert decorated with leafy date palm trees. With its serene beaches, and land adorned with coconut and banana trees, the city of Salalah flaunts a unique appeal.
Away from the hustle and bustle of commercial developments, the beaches of Salalah present breathtaking views of pristine natural beauty. From June to September every year, the monsoon winds that blow towards the Salalah and Dhofar coastline, cause cool and moisture-laden air from the sea to rise up and condense into thick fog, bringing in lightshowers.The sea in Salalah producesvery strong currents thatmake it very risky for even seasoned swimmers. It is this beautiful climate that Salalah is blessed with that turns it into a lush land of greenery and vegetation, and attracts large numbers of tourists from all over the Gulf region and beyond.
When the Bruneian group ventured out they were left captivated by the picturesque green scenery on their way to the tomb of Prophet Ayub (pbuh), situated in the mountains of Beit Zarbij, 27 km from Salalah. Near this place is a spring called Sharsate and according to the legends, it gushed out when Prophet Ayub (pbuh) prayed to the God. Prophet Ayub’s tomb is four metres long and 1.5 metres high.
For those who look forward to purchasing some fabulous Omani goods, the Al-Husn Souq, also known as the Frankincense Souq, is the place to explore. Frankincense is a fragrant resin extracted from a tree and Salalah and Dhofar are historically famous for the frankincense trade. Salalah is the capital city of Oman’s Dhofar region and is the second largest city in the Sultanate of Oman, after Muscat.
Apart from aromatic perfumes, one can also find antique daggers, traditional Omani clothes, souvenirs and textiles at irresistibly low prices here.
From Arabic perfumes costing only one Omani riyal (equivalent to BND 3.50) to the popular Muslim women robes costing about five to seven riyals, the Al-Husn Souq is a must place to visit if one is looking to take back a part of Oman with himself.
The simple local restaurants around here provide some of the best foods and when the Brunei’s cultural group paid a visit to one of these, they relished the delicious skewed lamb and chicken at an amazingly low price.
The sub-tropical city of Salalah is truly a precious belonging of Oman which leaves its visitors completely spellbound and ecstatic with all that it has to offer.
Be it its ancient religious structures or breathtaking natural scenery, camels strolling around or Souqs selling Omani goods, a visit to Salalah leaves you with profound feelings of completeness that you would treasure your entire life.