The al-Batinah region of Oman forms the fertile coastal strip that extends for almost 300km between the Hajar Mountains and the Gulf of Oman. Split into North al-Batinah and South al-Batinah in 2011, the governorate is the most populous of the Sultanate and includes most of the major cities and ports of northern Oman.
It consists of twelve provinces (or wilayāt): Sohar, ar-Rustaq, Shinas, Liwa, Saham, al-Khaburah, Suwayq, Nakhal, Wadi al-Māwil, al-Awabi, al-Musannah, and Barka.
One of the most popular day trips from Muscat is involves a drive along the coast of Al Batinah in Oman.
Our first stop of the day at the Seeb Fish Souq(market) by the coast.
A visit to this quaint seaside fish market is a great way of understanding the history of Oman’s coastal villages.
Proceed forward through date palms to see the hot springs at Rustaq and fort at Nakhl located on a rocky terrain and finally to the magnificent Al Hazm palace.
Seeb Fish Souq(market) by the coast: The souq in Seeb is more than just a place to shop, it is a part of the daily rhythms of life. It is a gathering place where residents, young and old, gather to catch up with each other on the events of the day, to share a coffee and some laughs. It is a hive of activity, and no matter how many malls are built, the city wouldn’t be the same without it.
“Located along the coastal road in Seeb, this souq is a sprawling market selling anything from stunning traditional jewelry and luxurious perfume oils to livestock and locally grown fruits,”
“Go early in the morning and you will find fish that have just come off the fisherman’s boat. As you move along these stalls the road will bend to the right and you will find a great 50m stretch of stalls with all sorts of goods, this includes local dates and halwa, which you can get for a tenth of the price of the supermarket. As you come to the end of this stretch of stalls you will find the traditional flour mill and more fish markets,”
Barka : On the shores of the Gulf of Oman, in South Batinah, Barka is a thriving coastal town, home to a great fishing community. The town is renowned for its halwa, a typical Omani sweet made of cardamom, sugar, saffron, almonds, flour and rose water.
Nakhal: Nakhal is famously known for its fort, which dominates the town. The fort has a long-running history and is a testimony to the Persian presence in the area before the 7th century CE. Constructed in 1834 by Iman Said bin Sultan on the ruins of a pre-Islamic structure, the fort is now a museum, exhibiting a historic armoury and a wonderful view of the Batinah plain and its palm gardens.
Rustaq: Rustaq is a town and Wilayah (District) in Al Batinah Region of northern Oman. The wilayah is in the Western Hajar Mountains, in the south of the Batinah. Rustaq was once the capital of Oman.
Rustaq Castle is located on the slopes of the Green Mountain at the edge of the Al Batinah plain in the Rustaq province of South Al Batinah Governorate.
Rustaq Al Hazm Fort : It is located in the Rustaq province of South Al Batinah Governorate and features a military stronghold that is among the traditional Omani defense landmarks.
Rustaq Ain Al-Kasfah : Located in the Rustaq province of Al-Batinah governorate, it consists of natural hot springs with a constant temperature of 45 degrees Celsius. Hot water flows from several “pools” to irrigate orchards. The waters of Ain Al-Kasfah are known for their natural treatment properties, particularly for rheumatism due to their sulfuric nature, as well as for skin conditions. It is situated about a kilometer away from the center of the province.
Timing: It is best to start early in the day.
Days: 7 Days a Week
Special Note– It is advisable to wear light comfortable clothing and walking shoes.
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