Cruise ships dock in an industrial area. This terminal has no cruise terminal building and it is surrounded by desert. Use taxis or ship provided transportation. The port is a 15-minute drive from downtown. Shuttles are often provided. Taxis are anywhere between 12 to 20 Riads, depending on your negotiating skills.
Printable map to take along.
Cruise calendar for this port.
Watch a destination video.
Salalah is the biggest city in the Dhofar region and the second
largest one in the Sultanate of Oman. It is known for its glorious
history, heritage, rich culture, traditions, wonders of nature and
as the traditional stronghold and birthplace of the Sultan, Qaboos
bin Said. Today, it is also contributing towards the economic boom
in the Sultanate of Oman.
Salalah, despite lying in the Arabian Desert, enjoys a temperate climate throughout most of the year. The period from late June to early September, known as the 'Khareef', or monsoon season, is one of the main reasons why the area is becoming a tourist 'haven'. Visitors from across the Persian Gulf flock to Salalah to enjoy the cool mists and avoid the harsh heat faced by the rest of the region during the same months. During this period every year the town's population nearly doubles with an influx of tourists, mainly from other parts of the Middle East. Various fairs (such as the 'Mahrajaan' at Ittin) are organized, as well as many events which seem to turn the monsoon season into a three month long celebration. The weather is cool and the atmosphere misty. The beaches and coastline are also major attractions for scuba divers and bird watchers.
Salalah is a city of antiquity, boasting both the ruins of a palace reputed to have belonged to the Queen of Sheba and the resting place of the biblical prophet Job in the nearby Jabal al Qamar. It is also the alleged resting place of the Prophet Emran, father of the Virgin Mary.
Although the town is fronted by about two miles of pristine white beach, clothing restrictions ensure that almost no one will use it. Another reason for the deserted beaches is the dangerous undertow.
Salalah has limited tourist attractions: Palace of the Sultan (only to be admired from afar), a somewhat glitzy new mosque and a souq.
Going from one place to another is difficult here as there is no regular bus service. You have to depend upon taxis or share-taxis. Taxi drivers are very nice in Oman. All of them are Omanis as this profession is reserved for nationals. You may ask for ENGAGED, just say 'engaged taxi' to the driver, and you will pay for all the seats(4) and now have the taxi to yourself.
Taxis are somewhat expensive, about 40 rial for a 2 hour sightseeing.
Many cruise lines offer a tour that's essentially roundtrip transportation to the souk.
Job's Tomb (an-Nabi Ayyub) makes a very popular excursion from Salalah. The drive itself affords great views of the area, while the mausoleum can be visited (and photos taken) by all-comers. Just remember to take your shoes off first! Women need to cover their heads to enter the tomb. Don't worry if you don't have one, you can borrow one at the door when you get there.
A bus ride there costs only three Rials (a big savings, compared to the 20 Rial cab fare). But, there is a snag -- buses don't set off until they're full, so you could face a long wait. For cruise travelers, the best way to see Job's Tomb is as part of an excursion.
The Mughsail (or Mughsayl) Blowholes are a local attraction. In certain weather conditions, the inflow from the sea will result in waterspouts being forced through porous rock. Even when this is not happening, the eerie sound is rather impressive.
The old city is confined to the area called Haffa. The Haffa souq (market place) has wide range of collectables to offer: frankinsence, dates, handicrafts, souvenirs etc. You'll need to practice your bargaining skills before you go shopping there. Better would be to have a local resident accompany you while you shop, so you know you are paying for the real thing.
On the pier, there is a small supermarket, electronics shop and some restaurants.
The currency in Muscat is the Omani rial (OMR). One rial is made of one thousand Baisa. Since 1986, the rial is officially tied to the US dollar at 1 rial = 2.6008 dollars; exchange rates on the streets are a percent or two lower.
Arabic is the national language, however most Omanis will speak good to excellent English, particularly in major tourist areas and cities.
There are a few cafes which offer free WiFi for customers in town.
Shopping hours: Shopping establishments are open from 9am to 1 pm and 4pm to 9 pm. Department stores, supermarkets and shopping complexes are open throughout the day during Ramadân from 9am to 10 pm, with a short lunch break all through the week, except Fridays. These timings could vary with different shops.
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