Salalah, Oman cruises
Salalah port guide
Salalah, also known as the “perfume capital of Arabia”, is the largest city in the Sultanate of Oman, and it’s the birthplace of the Sultan Qaboos bin Said. between June and September, a monsoon, known colloquially as Khareef, causes the landscape to transform into a verdant and subtropical wonderland, the likes of which cannot be seen anywhere else in Oman.
Beyond the unique atmosphere, the Khareef provides, there is much more to see and experience. As well as its lush green pastures, Salalah is renowned for its stunning collection of beaches, which feel almost Caribbean with their coconut trees and relaxed vibe.
Historic and artistic wonders run through the city, with fascinating archaeological finds and UNESCO world heritage sites nearby, such as the ancient city of Sumhuram – home to the summer palace of the Queen of Sheba.
Top landmarks and sights in Salalah
Architectural wonders, historical sites and natural beauty await you in Salalah.
The tombs of the prophets
Salalah is home to several tombs and shrines that are significant within the Islamic religion. One of the most sought is that of the Prophet Ayub (Prophet Job), whose alleged burial site sits nestled amongst the hills overlooking Salalah, offering panoramic views amongst peaceful surroundings.
Al Mughsayl Beach and Marneef Cave
Golden, sandy beaches are abundant in Salalah, and one of the most popular is Al Mughsayl, with long stretches of powder sand, gently swaying palm trees and dramatic cliff faces carved into the landscape. Close by, you’ll also find Marneef Cave, where waves rush into the rock formations, causing spouts of water to cascade into the air.
Perched atop the rolling hillside, overlooking the cliff-fringed coast just outside of Salalah lies the UNESCO site of Sumhuram. This ancient city, originating from the 2nd Century BC, served as a pivotal port dedicated to the handling and safekeeping of frankincense. According to local lore, the site was said to be home to the summer palace of the legendary Queen of Sheba who is believed to have ruled over the region in the 10th Century BC.
Things to do in Salalah
Museum of the Frankincense Land
For a taste of Salalah’s history, head to the Museum of the Frankincense Land. This ancient set of ruins actually belongs to the trading port of Zafar, and from here frankincense was shipped to India, in return for spices. The on-site museum documents the history of the port as well as the area’s settlement since 2000 BC.
Sultan Qaboos Mosque
Sultan Qaboos Mosque is a breathtaking feat of modern Islamic architecture. A colossal structure, the mosque is the largest of its kind in Salalah. Architectural grandeur, intricate designs, and serene ambience make it a captivating sight to behold.
Visit a plantation
Another famous feature of Salalah is its plantations. Papayas, coconuts and small bananas all grow here and are an important part of both Salalah’s past and its future. You can walk along the plantation roads, which are just over a mile from the center of the main town. There are plenty of fruit stands selling refreshments if you get tired.
Al-Baleed Archaeological Park
Close to Salalah lies the fascinating settlement of Al-Baleed. A UNESCO heritage site, this architectural wonder dates back to 2000 BC. Part of the “Land of Frankincense”, the park is brimming with ancient ruins from the City of Zafar. The city was visited by renowned explorers throughout the ages, with the likes of Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta traveling to see the city’s magnificence.
Cunard Shore Experiences
Uncover the hidden secrets of this Arabian paradise on a shore experience with Cunard. Discover the region's mesmerising contrasts as you take in the majesty of Al Husn Palace before strolling through the Frankincense Souk and paying a visit to the Queen of Sheba’s fables summer palace.
Visit the legendary tomb of the Moslem and Old Testament prophet, Job, as you take in panoramic views of this picturesque region or indulge in an afternoon of pure luxury and relaxation at the Crowne Plaza Beach Resort.
Eating and drinking in Salalah
If you find yourself peckish in Salalah, there are plenty of places to pick up some traditional Omani cuisine. It is also worth keeping in mind that special dishes are cooked for two main religious festivals: Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha.
Camel meat is a staple in Salalah, and you’ll often find it served boiled on the bone or grilled and served on skewers from street vendors. Mashui, another local favorite, features tender, roasted kingfish served atop fragrant, spiced rice. Harees is a dish especially popular during Ramadan and festive occasions. It's a slow-cooked dish made from a mix of wheat, meat (usually chicken or lamb), and aromatic spices. The ingredients are simmered together until they reach a porridge-like consistency, resulting in a comforting and hearty meal.
Shopping in Salalah
During your Salalah cruise, make sure you visit one of the many bustling markets and bazaars. Al-Husn Souq is one of the best, and where the local Dhofari people come to shop. Take your pick from cotton headdresses, jewellery and heady incense.
If you’re looking for bigger-name brands, pay a visit to one of the large malls dotted around Salalah, including the Oasis Mall or the Salalah Gallery Mall.
Getting around, Salalah transport
The most common way to get around Salalah is by taxi. Drivers are well acquainted with Salalah’s top attractions and fares are very reasonable, with prices negotiated on a trip-by-trip basis before your journey starts.
Taxis are often shared by locals in place of busses – if you’d prefer to reserve a taxi for yourself, simply ask the driver for an ‘engaged taxi’.
Salalah port facilities
The cruise port at Salalah does not have a terminal building, but the port is close to the city center with taxis and shuttle busses on hand to transport you from the port to the downtown area, around 15 minutes away.
Salalah quick tips
The official currency of Oman is the Omani Rial. Tipping in Salalah and Oman, in general, is not mandatory but is appreciated for exceptional service, and some upscale restaurants may include a service charge in your bill.
Salalah experiences a unique monsoon season known as Khareef, typically from June to early September. During this time, the city witnesses cooler temperatures and sporadic rainfall, transforming the usually arid landscape into lush greenery. The rest of the year tends to be hot and dry, perfect for beach activities and sightseeing.