Once travel restrictions lapse, visiting the remote mountain village offers a glimpse into the past.
Omani Adventurer’s Photos Promote His Picturesque Hometown
“Bilad Sayt is located in the region of Al Dakhiliya and is part of Bahla, Oman. It is my home village and where I was born and raised,” says Al Hinai. The nearby Bahla Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Nestled in the Hajar Mountains, the village has stone-and-mud buildings built along the hillside.
For now, visitors shouldn’t make that journey, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The country had already seen a decrease in tourism at the start of the pandemic, with the number of visitors to Oman dropping from 350,000 in January 2020 to 102,000 in March 2020.
But once travel returns, Al Hinai says his hometown has many charms.
“I lived there my whole childhood before moving with my family to the Muscat, the capital. My family still owns a beautiful farm in the village, and we all help out and grow our own vegetables and tend to our animals,” Al Hinai said.
“We even produce organic honey. It is an agricultural village and is known for its farmlands.”
In fact, villagers still use the terrace-farming method, which means they grow crops on the side of mountains — planting on graduated steps built into the slopes.
“Bilad Sayyt is very small, as it is part of Bahla. It became better known to locals and expats after I started documenting my village trips and invited tourists to experience the area.”
“We organize different activities like cycling, hiking, and fun local adventures. However, many people often confuse the village for another town called Balad Sayt, which is not the same place.”
Al Hinai’s village is a two-hour drive from Muscat, a port city that overlooks the Gulf of Oman and the Straits of Hormuz.
(Edited by Fern Siegel and Matthew B Hall, Map by Urvashi Makwana)