For the heck of it

Monday, October 30, 2006

My Trip to Oman

Spent my Eid / Diwali holiday in Khasab, Oman. The road trip was awesome. Perfect roads for a long drive beside the seafront winding over the mountains surrounding it. We were eight and so used two cars for the entire journey: a Ford Focus hatchback, which was driven by Anuj - my room mate Solomon's colleague and a Honda CRV, which was driven by Solomon.

We were supposed to get to Khasab, which is first town you hit as soon as you enter Oman's border. We were then to take a boat to a place called Mussundam, which is a small collection of islands. However, we didn't know that Oman infact shared two different border with the UAE. One is the border which is used to enter Khasab and the other is a border which is used to enter Muscat.

The Muscat route is used by people who are travelling to a place called Salalah, which is being claimed to be a kind of hill station in the Middle East. To reach Salalah, one can expect to travel about 1,200 kms by road, one way, from UAE. Thus, it is always advicable to take a flight to Muscat and travel to Salalah by road. However, we were first timers to Oman and so we didn't know the two border secret, and thus ended up losing our way.

We were supposed to leave by 5:30 in the morning. However, we only left at around 6:30 and by the time we reached Ras al Khaimah (an emirate in the UAE), it was about 8:00 in the morning. We then asked a few local people and one guy told us that there were two borders for entering Oman through road. So we asked around and we came to know that to go to Mussundam, we should be travelling towards Khasab and not Muscat.

Fortunately we were on the right track - we were travelling towards Khasab and by the time we reached the UAE-Oman border, it was about 10:00 am. But there was another surprise in store for us. Being Eid holidays here in the Middle East, it seemed as if the entire Dubai was travelling towards Oman for a holiday! We had to wait for three hours, just to get our visa!! Don't believe me? Check out the queue of cars below.

Finally everything was sorted out, visas granted and passports stamped. We spent AED30 to get the visa, which was quite cheap. We continued on our way and finally reached Khasab by around 2:30 pm. We were hungry and so headed straight towards a restaurant to have our lunch. However, yet another surprise was in store for us. Though Eid had been declared in the UAE, it was still the holy month of Ramadan in Oman. This meant that most restaurants only allowd take away meals. For those who don't know, it is against the law to eat and drink in public during Ramadan.

So we had to settle for a lousy burger and had to finish it in the car with the windows up! Lunch done, now time for some fun. our next stop was the Khasab port. We bargained and we booked a entire boat for AED250 for our trip to Mussundam. The boat cruise was amazing. The trip turned out to be special because we saw lots of dolphins swimming around. Guess we were lucky, because according to boat owner, the number of dolphins we saw that day was far too many compared to other days. Guess, our 12 hour gruelling journey to Mussundam, Oman was worth it.

Some Pix:


  • Some awareness of geography might be in order. Khasab is the principal town in the governorate of Musandam, a peninsula jutting out into the Straits of Hormuz. Musandam is the northernmost region of Oman. It is separated from Oman proper by various emirates of the UAE. Khasab is 2 hours or less by road from the border crossing in Ras al Khaimah, UAE. Before you get to Khasab, you travel through Bukha, which used to be the principal town in olden days. And a number of other small villages. There are two principal road crossings to mainland Oman from UAE. One on the road to Sohar, and the other at Al Ain on the road to Buraimi. From either of those points, it will take you 3 hours or so travelling by road to get to Muscat. If you travel through Buraimi, you can bypass Muscat en route to Salalah taking the road south through the desert from somewhere near Nizwa.

    By Blogger suonnoch, at 10/31/2006 12:52 AM  

  • So Chris baba is enjoyin himself eh? well what can be better than a trip on an open road and the sea close by! Once in a while you need to taste the freedom of wheels and long winding roads. Salalah is often compared to Kerala. Don't know how true that is.

    By Blogger BionicScribe, at 10/31/2006 10:22 PM  

  • Thanks for the comment Stan. Well, Salalah is indeed one of the few "green" places in the Middle East. However, it cannot be compared to any place in India. India is a diverse country with great places such as Kerala, Goa, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Ooty, Kodaikanal, and so on. I miss those places! :(

    By Blogger Chris Fernando, at 10/31/2006 10:30 PM  

  • Wow that is natural beauty.Excellent post with nice pics.You have beautifully maintained it,Its really helpful for me, hope u have a wonderful day & awaiting for more new post. Keep Blogging!

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  • Thanks for sharing bunch of information.I love to hang out I love to spend my holidays in Dubai that was my most memorable Holidays I can't forget them.

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