The beautifull mountain landscape above the oases.
Favorite thing: Last year my husband and I were in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. We intended to go as well to Oman but due to one and another reasons finnaly we decided to vizit Oman next year (2014).These time we spent more time about how to vizit Muscat. First of all, when we have a rent car from Dubai, we have to have a special insurance paper for that car which entiteld the car to enter Oman territory. We enter Oman via Ras Al Kaimah.The two of us were litle bit
confuse when at Dubai border we hav
e to pay 70 dirham (35 dirham/person) to
UEA custom. It turned up that as EU
citizen we are free to enter UEA but when
we go to another Arab country non UEA
we have to pay to the UEA state.
Fondest memory: The honesty from the taxi driver in Muscat.... The first day in Muscat we want to take a big bus tour (hop on and hop off ). From our hotel we got a note in Arabic hand writing because we have to go by a taxi but the first one has refused to bring us. We hailed the second cab and the driver noded his head that he understood the note. Wel, I was worry to see the driver speedy direction high way in the mean while we heard from our hotel reception that the check point is
rather close to our hotel. The driver
mumbling in Arabic and we try to
convinced him that he got wrong
direction. Finnaly, somewhere, at a
highway and at a bridge, he pulled up his
car and made a phone call. Good, again in Arabic, he probably said that we are right. After more than 30 minutes in tense finnaly we reached our destination. The payment? He, the taxi driver did not complain when we gave him the amount for 5km as we agreed before but he has made probably over than 30km (inclusive the traffic jamp).
Renting a car in Oman
Favorite thing: HI
I had a canadian drivers licence, they didnot accept it, at that time we had no photo on the license, also they like to have a number on the license!
I had also a very old french license with a very old picture but there was a number on it and they accepted it!
It is highly suggested to have an international drivers license.
Have a nice trip!
Fondest memory: Drive in the desert is a great experience.
In Oman you have very good roads so it is a great pleasure.
Staying on the main roads should be very easy drive.
When hotels are full or too expensive you may also sleep in the car on the seaside, great experience.Related to:
- Road Trip
Fun for women
Favorite thing: Women have limited options (I mean finding a place to have fun soley for women) but there is a shop in al Shatti (near the beach in Muscat) called Nails and you have total treatment for only 7 to 10 rials. You can get your feet or hands done among other treats and I know my female friends in Oman took full advantage of the place due to good servivce and price. There is a good mix of expat women and local women who frequent the place so if you have time and looking for another way to beat the heat then try this shop out.
Favorite thing: No matter what you have heard or told when you enter the country bargaining for a hotel is a fact of life. Through my experience you can generally knock off about 15 to 20% if you are persistent enough and dont push your luck. If the staff is Indian then you may be able to get even more but generally speaking you can get a 15% discount. You can bargain for more if you stay longer as well and this holds true with almost every hotel in the country.
Favorite thing: Summertime in Oman is absolutely brutal and there are not many ways to escape it. No matter what you read in books experiencing is a completely different experience and an experience you wont soon forget. Friends and family always ask me what it is really like and the easiest way to explain it is (my view of the interior where I live) is the air temperature in May feels like someone is putting a blowdryer on you, June is like walking in front of an oven and July is liking walking around or near a blast furnace. The true temperatures according to my experience no matter what Lonely Planet says is January is around 22 cel during the day , June has daily temps around 44 degrees and July has daily temps ranging from 49 to 56 degrees celsius. Carry an umbrella and stock up on sunscreen and water before heading out.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Favorite thing: The Times of Oman and the Oman Observer are the local English language newspapers. Foreign newspapers and magazines are available but they are extremely expensive. The newspapers are a great source of information regarding weather and current regional events.
Favorite thing: The best and easiest way to get a map of Oman is when you arrive at the airport. They have a wide selection of books and maps that will surely guide you while you are in the country. Maps usually cost between 2 and 3 RO.
Useful Arabic Phrases
Favorite thing: I have compiled a list of useful words and phrases that may help you on your journey: (they are phonetical)
1. As Salaam alykum = Hello or Peace Upon You
2. Sabaah al Khair = Good morning
3. Sabah al Noor = Good Morning to you (reply)
4. Tisbah al Khair = Have a good night
5. Masalma = Good Bye
6. Yoam Saeed = Have a good day
7. Lau Samaht (ee) = Excuse me (ee is for women)
8. Ana As'if = I am sorry
9. Ahfwan = Your welcome
10. Ma Ismak? = What's your name?
11. Min wayn inta? (anti) = Where are you from?
12. Ismee = My name is ....
13. Tatkallam inglizee = Do you speak English?
14. Afham = I understand
15. La Afham = I dont understand
16. Naam = Yes
17. La = No
18. Minfadlak = Please
19. Shukran Jazeelan = Thank you very much
20. Cum Hazza = How Much?
21. Ana Mareed = I am sick
Favorite thing: Being a traditional islamic country, there are plenty of islamic architecture in Oman, ranging from mosques to houses. Some of these are rather impressive, and even some of the hotels have an islamic influence on them.
Plants & animals
Favorite thing: Even though the weather is dry and hot, many plants & animals still can survive in Oman. It is not easy to spot the animals because most of them are nocturnal. However, there is an orynx sanctuary somewhere in the middle of Oman where you can spot these huge animals. As for plants, you will find date trees, frankincense trees (in the south) and many other desert shrubs such as the ones shown in the photograph.
The camel race
Favorite thing: The camel race is very popular in Oman as in other parts of Arabia. In a way, this is like horse racing in other parts of the world. As such, do visit one of the camel races in Oman if you have the chance. Actually I nearly visited one of such race but it was held early in the morning that day, so I missed it :( However, I managed to visit the camel race track and took a photo for remembrance :)
Doing stunts on the camel
Favorite thing: We have seen people doing stunts on motorbikes, horses, cars etc, but this is the first time I have seen stunts being performed on top of a camel ! The Bedouin friend of my Omani guide performed a few of such stunts when we visited his home at the Wahiba Sands.
Beaches in Oman
Favorite thing: Oman has some of the most beautiful beaches I have seen and there are hardly anyone using them which makes it even better. In Muscat alone, there is the Qurum Beach and there is another nice beach near to the Al Bustan Hotel. Outside of Muscat, there are many beautiful beaches such as the beaches at Tiwi, Ras Al Hadd, Ras Al Jinz, Barka etc. In southern Oman, the beaches in the Dhofar region near to Salalah are also fantastic.
Fondest memory: As I said previously, at the end of each course the students and I would find a suitable place for a 'picnic', and to have a bit of fun. This is a picture of some Omani students near Fanjah, a village now largely abandoned and by-passed by the new road. Three of the names I remember: Rashid, Mubarak and Khamis It would be nice to meet up with them again.
Blue skies, and HOT!!
Fondest memory: I arrived in Oman at the end of August, and will never forget the heat. On leaving the aircraft, I can only describe the heat as like putting your head next to an oven door and then opening it! After about three weeks I was quite used to the heat, and in the winter months found the evening temperatures to be quite chilly - even at 80 degrees! The picture is of me, just a day or so after arrival, at Muaskar al-Murtafa'a.
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