Inland from the Batinah, Al Dhahirah region is one of the least visited parts of the country, a largely uninspiring and dusty stretch of featureless gravel desert stretching from the UAE border down to the mountains around Bahla. The region’s main town, Buraimi, serves as a convenient entry or exit point if you’re heading to or from Abu Dhabi or Dubai, although it’s also well worth a visit in its own right. From Buraimi, a spectacular road runs over the mountains and down Wadi Jizzi to the coast at Sohar.
Alternatively, the fast and relatively traffic-free Highway 21 arrows south from Buraimi to the little-visited but surprisingly interesting town of Ibri, worth a stop-off for a look at its old fort and souk, and for the extraordinary old kasbah at As Suleif nearby. Beyond Ibri lie the villages of Bat and Al Ayn, home to a fascinating scatter of Bronze Age beehive tombs and other structures, some of Oman’s most important archeological remains.