OMAN might conjure up images of endless deserts and hot sand for those who have never been there, but this Arab country has so much more to offer. During my trip across the country, I encountered some of the most friendly and welcoming locals, impressive fairytale-like buildings, and exquisite and unique nature. Here are some of the best images I took during my trip — I hope they’ll inspire you to make Oman your next great adventure.

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A short drive from the capital of Muscat will bring you to the crystal-clear waters of Bimmah Sinkhole. This small limestone depression is a rival to any luxury hotel pool.

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By the time I saw camels that afternoon, I had already walked among fluorescent plankton on the beach and watched giant sea turtles lay their eggs in the morning. For the variety of wildlife, Oman is a winner.

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Getting lost in the souks (markets) of the major cities is the ideal way to track down clothes, spices, and souvenirs. Make sure to sample the Halva, a local sweetened treat.

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The old town of Ibra with its mud buildings and eerily quiet streets is the perfect place to wander through ancient history.

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Identified by many as the Grand Canyon of Arabia, Jebel Shams is the highest mountain in the country, and is an amazing point to hike and camp under the stars.

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I’d highly recommend renting a 4WD when you visit Oman. Some of the smaller mountain roads are worth a drive for their sheer suspension-testing adventure alone.

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Mutrah Corniche is the ideal place to take a sunset stroll. Visit the bustling souks, take some spiced coffee, and admire the water-front buildings illuminated by the last light of the day.

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The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque just opened in 2001, but it’s the main mosque in the Sultanate, and it’s definitely worth a visit. Be sure to arrive early, so you have the chance to venture inside with no lines or crowding.

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The view from Nizwa Fort is just one of the reasons the old capital of Oman is worth a few days' visit.

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Clay goods, dates, coffee, and spices are ideal souvenirs to buy from one of the souks around the country. This market in Nizwa was one of my favorites.

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With miles of coastline and different oceans to choose from, finding your way to a beach in Oman is as simple as jumping in the car and parking when you're where you want to be.

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Wadis - water oases throughout the desert - are the ideal way to cool down and spend a day relaxing. Wadi Bani Khalid was hands-down my favorite.

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Another option near Muscat is Wadi Shab. When you arrive, a small local boat will transport you from the main road to these pristine swimming channels.

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You very likely don't get to watch the sun disappear behind huge dunes every day. After the sunset, it’ll be you, the starlit sky, and complete silence. This must be one of the best spots for camping I’ve visited.

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The Wahiba Sands is an incredible place to explore by foot after pounding through the dunes on a 4WD. This has to be the most beautiful scenery I captured in Oman.

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