What’s On moves to: Salalah, Oman

What’s On travels to Oman’s northernmost province to encounter Salalah outside of its popular Khareef time, and finds it stronger, and more wonderful, than ever…Plenty of guidebooks wax poetic about summertime in Salalah. There is a wonderful mist in the air, rain clouds loom, and temperatures dip. While the rest of the GCC roils in the heat of summer, it’s a wildly popular moment when guests fly – or travel – down from nearby countries to adopt the cooler, healthier environment. I did it myself, and I was struck by the unmistakableness of a gloomy and sticky August. But there’s more to this thread- exotic spot than its spiritual monsoons. In Salalah, the winter months of November to March are drier, which essentially qualifies as the off-season for tourism. When visitors leave and lodge prices drop, I sort of adore the post-Khareef breath. In fact, it’s really close to ideal, whether sunbathing on private beaches, wading through crystal- distinct rockpools, or picnicking by serene waterfalls, Salalah unveils its best without the rain or the ruckus. It’s generally forbidden to swim in the sea during Khareef because the ocean waves are large and the tides are dangerous. No thus in spring. Readers are encouraged to fall into the peaceful waters during the off-season. The sea is coastal- rich, also, making it a great location for dolphin- spotting, snorkelling and scuba diving. *Explore Hanging Gardens: Sharjah’s newest attraction with a waterfall*Do go chasing waterfalls There’s an element of luck involved in seeing the cascading waterfalls of Salalah, and depends solely on the level of rainfall in the area during Khareef. However, if you are lucky and travel to Wadi Darbat in the midst of the monsoon season (around December to March ), you might just see the stunning waterfalls in full flow among the green valleys. Wadis and rock pools must be shared with hordes of visiting families in the summer. You and a few other illustrious explorers will be able to enjoy the aquamarine waters in peace during the winter. Picnic by swimming camelsAs UAE residents you’ll have seen your fair share of camels: in the desert, strolling beside a quiet road, or galloping at the racetrack. But never swimming. You’ll likely spot a camel or two making a beeline for the cool waters of Salalah’s Wadi Darbat for a drink or to cross over to new pastures. It’s a surreal sight. * What’s On travels to: Berlin, Germany* Where to stayAlila Hinu BaySituated between Jabal Samhan peaks and the Arabian Sea, Alila Hinu Bay stands as a sanctuary of serenity in a prime location. Building a luxurious hotel in a region with such amazing natural beauty, however, it is challenging to blend in rather than blending in with the barren, natural environment. Thankfully, Alila has managed to create a luxurious property that is n’t overly extravagant and appears to draw on its Omani roots, welcoming guests with traditional touches like falaj water features and Omani arch-style corridors. It eschews the gaudy trappings so often associated with luxury for a neutral colour palette and an elegant, minimalist design aesthetic, which, combined with the surrounding, creates a sense of serenity. From your private villa or suite in Hinu Bay, where the cool breeze carries the scents of frankincense and tropical flowers, you can wake up to panoramic ocean views. SeaSalt, the resort’s poolside restaurant, claims the top spot – both literally and figuratively – offering breathtaking views over the ocean from its infinity pool. A perfect setting to lounge, sunbathe, or indulge in a delightful dining experience. The staff at Alila Hinu Bay is arguably the friendliest and most knowledgeable in the country, making everything from camel-milk cocktail classes to Omani-bread-making sessions to everything in between. Room rates start from Dhs1, 374 per night, including breakfast. alilahotels.comHow to get thereFly directly to Salalah with flydubai from Dhs953 return or Air Arabia from the capital starting at Dhs755 return. Traveling time from Salalah International Airport to Alila Hinu Bay is roughly 70 minutes. Images: Supplied