The second-largest of all of the Omani cities is situated along the coast of the country as well, as is the case with the capital. In Dhofar Governorate, in the most southern and coolest parts of Oman, lies the city of Salalah, a rather lush and palm-filled place. It is the birthplace of Sultan Qaboos bin Said, and the traditional city of residence of the Omani rulers. This is one of the most famous tourist spots in the country, and with good reason: boasting a well-developed city centre and a gorgeously verdant landscape rather unlike the rest of the generally arid country. It is reminiscent of East Africa at its best, with leopards and baobabs in the wooded areas near the mountains, and a seemingly near-perpetual spring.
This far into the south, the monsoon is more felt than in other areas of the country. It blows in from the months of May to September, and it leaves a district wreathed in even more greenery and lush than usual. Even in other seasons, this is a place loved by those seeking some respite from the Omani heat, though. One of the best beaches in the country, Salalah Beach, is so close to the city that it is merely 20 kilometres from the airport. The airport hosts several flights from and to the Omani capital, Muscat, every day.
There are archaeological delights to be found in the city as well. Aside from the usual fortress ruins and old monuments, there is the fascinating dig site of Samharam, also known as Khor Rori. This is an outpost held to have been occupied from the 3rd to the 7th centuries CE, a place occupied by peoples coming in from Hadramaut. This was supposedly a critical part of the Dhofar frankincense trade and production routes during its heyday, prior to its vacation in the 7th century. Something of note about the site is that scholars claim that it once held a palace belonging to one of the most well-known supposed Queens Regnant in history: the Queen of Sheba, who, according to the Christian Bible, once quizzed King Solomon in order to test his alleged and famous wisdom.
If you do go to Salalah City, be certain not to ignore the most popular good that the city-and the whole region, as a matter of fact-has to offer. This is the famous frankincense of the district, which was once known as the Land of Frankincense due to the fact that it supplied the best frankincense for much of recorded history to countries and lands as far away as China and Pakistan. The frankincense trees are so thick throughout the region that a visitor to the governorate can often smell them and the subtle fragrance of the frankincense itself wafting in the night breezes, all over the area. While frankincense is sold all throughout the country, it is best to come to the source for your own purchases of it. Note that one of the best places to go shopping for frankincense as well as other traditional goods is the Haffa Souq, in the old parts of Salalah City.