Oman- UAE travel info
Kind of travel:
me and my girlfriend Elisa in an independent travel
26th Dec08- 7th Jan 09
I need a visa?
No at all and we didn't even pay any entry/ exit tax
a domestic flight, long distance buses, minibuses, and we rented
a car twice
Wonderful weather: ranging from 20-28C. You can swim,
though you might want to wear a sweater for the evenings or
the air conditioned buses. I wished I hadn't brought just one
Cheap hotels aren't so abundant, and standards aren't worth
the price; most of the time you won't have any choice, though.
With your own vehicle, free camping it's an opportunity
english is known almost everywhere, car renting is affordable
(30€/ day) and overall safety is total everywhere at any
time. As concern the highlights, the sea turtle egg-laying on
the beach in the night it's a breathless experience
What I disliked:
finding cheap accommodation can be an issue, the highlights
need a private veihcle and the lack of respect of most of the
Western tourists in dressing
Oman deserves its fame as expensive country, but we made it
with 46€/ day (double: 30€, dinner: 5€, car renting
30€/day). You'll hardly spend less.
Inexistent, unless you don't venture independently in the desert.
a foulard is a must, while the sunglasses unmissable for anyone
IMPRESSIONS ABOUT OMAN
First of all, Oman surprised me: I expected the
country less developed than I found, in particular in the buses,
accommodations, highways, domestic airline
is quite untouched, despite the significant quantity of visitors
coming mainly from Dubai.
Corruption is non existent, the safety is 100% everywhere at
anytime, and most of the people are English speakers; just these
three points will make your trip much easier than in most parts
of the world.
As concern the religion, Oman is more conservative than I expected,
especially in the Dofhar region (Salalah) you'll be amazed by
the quantity of small mosques spread in every corner. For a
girl covering your hair it's a great sign of respect, even if
Moreover I got impressed how the whole country is soaked by
the respect and devotion towards the beloved Sultan Qabus, who
in 40 years took Oman from a 'prehistoric' status to what is
today. From the other hand, it's a little bit worrying to think
what Oman'll be once without his leader
TRAVEL IN OMAN
Travel in Arab United Emirates]
The first appreciated welcome in Oman was at the Wajaja crossing
point, having the visa for free, while the second one were the
endless palm lined avenues, run alongside by colourful carpet-like
gardens and spotted by botanical garden-like roundabouts. I
don't know if it was due to the 'Gulf Meeting' held in the capital
during those days, but the highway toward the capital was kept
as a movie set.
We paid 25€ for a basic double at the Al- Fanar hotel almost
on the Muscat sea front promenade called 'The Corniche'. The
labyrinth-like Suq, the Fish Market, the Sultan Palace, the
. won't disappoint, keeping you busy for at
least a day.
The following day a 38€ domestic flight took us to Salalah,
on the opposite part of the country bordering with Yemen. The
difference was quite remarkable, in particular in more conservative
traditions as the one of the the few women walking around, strictly
wearing their long loose black dress called Abeyya.
We settled down in the Tourist Hotel (double: 30€/
day) and the following day we rented a car just for 26€/day
to explore the cost of the Dhofar region. If you are looking
for an exotic place, this is the one you should go: quote remote,
palm dotted, dromedaries wandering around,
Unfortunately Nov- April is the dry season, so the landscape
turns around desert, while in May- Oct the whole area is amazingly
A good tarmac road led us to visit our first Wadi, called the
Wadi is the Arabic word for a canyon dug by a river that flows
on the bottom. The contrast between the arid area around and
the green of the palms with the light blue of the waters of
the Wadi, make is very scenic. Of course they give their best
in the wet season (May- Oct).
The same day we visited the Khor Sour bay, where we had a bath
and the remote town of Mirbat.
At 19.00 in the evening we jumped on the night bus heading to
Muscat crossing the Omani desert in a 13h night trip. Even if
long, it hasn't been that much tiring, despite the several stops
we had by the army for passport controls. For sure travelling
in the darkness we didn't miss anything, since simply there's
anything around for 1000km.
In Muscat we immediately took the bus heading to Sur, but our
destination where the Wahiba (Sharqiya) Sands, a sandy Sahara-like
desert (otherwise the Omani deserts are rocky), that's one of
the main highlights of the country.
Hence after 2h from the capital we were dropped off in a petrol
station in the middle of nothing, but a telephone! We called
one of the camping listed on the Lonely Planet ('Desert Discovery
Tours'). A guy came by jeep to pick up us and, for 2€,
brought at the camp settled in the desert at the feet of the
a huge dune. Here for 22€/ each (breakfast and dinner included),
we took a cabin and enjoyed the beauty of the sandy desert.
We quickly experienced the toughness to walk on the sand and,
overall, how the sands burns at midday.
At the twilight we had our 4WD crazy drove on the sand for 10€
, and in the morning a 5 minutes dromedary riding.
In Sur again we rented a car (32€/ day) to reach the 'Directorate
General of natural Reserve' in Ras al- Jinz, where we had perhaps
the most exciting experience: the sea turtle egg- laying on
the beach in the night (read
The day after by car we visited the Wadi Shab (50km from Sur)
and we had a walk along his bottom. The contrast of the light
blue water with the arid desert turned out worthwhile, although
reaching the place we got lost several times and we found ourselves
driving on dirty bumpy roads, as we were on a 4WD. Once again,
never drive without a map (a serious one, I mean, and not that
shitty stuff on the lonely planet)
Early in the afternoon we took the bus to Muscat (3h), but before
reaching the capital we were dropped off at Bid Bid, where we
found a taxi to Nizwa. The town itself is surely the nicest
of the whole country, being a green oasis filled of palms and
surrounded by the high peaks of the Jebel (mountain) Akhdar,
the whole dominated by the huge Nizwa Fort. The complex of the
well kept fort and of the souq around it, form the old citadel,
that's for sure one of the highlight of the country, while on
the other hands, this makes Nizwa the most tourist place you'll
experience in the Sultanate. Anyway, given it's the only case
in Oman, I think even the most misanthropist traveller can put
up with it.
Two hours by bus led us to Muscat and the following morning
we left for the long 6h bus trip to the town of Buraimi to enter
on foot the United Arab Emirates.
[The Travel in Arab United