Sometimes a 4x4 can be nice...
I wished I had a 4x4 on two occasions during my stay in Khasab--first to go on my own to the As Sayh plateau (you pass it on the mountain safari tour, on the road toward Dibba) and another time to go to the beach at Khor an-Najd (if you take the mountain safari tour, you'll probably go up to the top of this mountain pass, but not all the way to the beach at the bottom). Otherwise, my tiny Nissan Tiida did the job just fine. The roads in Musandam are shockingly good, for the most part. Getting up mountains currently requires a 4WD vehicle, but I'd bet that within a few years of my visit, there will be paved roads just about everywhere.
Driving from Dubai
I drove from Dubai to Khasab in an Avis rental car. If you drive from UAE, it is necessary to buy additional insurance that is specific to Oman--you will be asked for it at the border. I took the drive in fairly leisurely fashion, stopping for gas, a little picnic, some photo opportunities, and border formalities, and in all it took just over four hours. Google Maps was very helpful and got me all the way through the UAE, into Khasab, and around Khasab as well.
The border crossing was pretty straightforward. Coming from UAE, you have to stop first at the UAE border point to pay an AED 35 exit fee (interestingly, there is no fee to enter UAE if you are a US citizen!); have your passport and car registration available. You get a little stamped card to hand to the UAE policeman when you go through their exit lane; then two seconds later, pull over and stop at the Omani border point. The visa fee is AED 50; have your passport, car registration, and Omani insurance certificate available. All of this took about 20 minutes total--there was one other family of tourists there at the same time I was, and plenty of staff.
Once you cross into Oman, the drive to Khasab along the Coastal Road takes about 45 minutes, on an amazingly good and well-maintained road. I was stunned at how high-quality it was, considering that I saw very few other cars (at 1 PM on a Wednesday), and also considering that the terrain is quite challenging to build on. The road is very windy but it is not scary at all--it is wide, with good shoulders, a barrier between the road and the ocean/cliff face, and plenty of signs telling you to slow down when a curve is coming. There are even well-marked places to pull off the road and park (although sadly, not at the highest point, which would have been a great photo opportunity).
From U.A.E to Musandam governorate
From Dubai to Khasab by local transport is not quite easy but it is possible.
There are regular bus service from Dubai to Ras al Khaimah, a pleasant local bus stopping at Sharjah and other emirates.
At the bus station from Rasal Khaimah we had to bargain a taxi to the border, from US$50 it went to Us$15 it is also a nice drive.
At the border there was nobody waiting in line. The paper work for the visa didnot took time, be sure to have another visa if you reenter U.A.E.
We had to stay at the gate with the border officer; he let us ask for a lift to Khasab, it didnot took time, this was the only solution.
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HIRING A CAR IN KHASAB
We decided to hire a car in Khasab- the area deifinitely needed exploring. Of course, the experience of driving on the right side of the road added a frisson of excitement, but no problems were encountered.
The hotel we stayed at (Khasab Hotel) arranged for the little car hire company send someone to collect us, and off we went. Richard was a bit worried that we might get 'lost' driving on our own- in retrospect, a funny thought, because Khasab is really a small town.
We were taken to the office, given an icy drink, which was most welcome, and the keys to a Kia were handed over after paperwork was done. The process took all of 10 mins.
Cost: OMR20.00 per day
Company- KHASAB RENT-A-CAR (MR ABU SULTAN AL SHEHI)
po bOX 146 811 KHASAB
- Historical Travel
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Driving to/from Khasab
Much has been written about, argued about and debated- here on VT and on other websites regarding driving in Oman.
I don't have much more light to shed, but I will give a brief description of our drive back to Dubai from Khasab.
We had hired a driver to take us as far as the UAE border from Khasab (about an hour drive). We left Khasab at 9am. The drive is breathtaking- the road hugs the coastline, twisting and turning between soaring mountains and the sea. At some parts the road rises high above the sea, with panoramic views. We passed through some small Bedouin villages, some had fairly modern looking houses, and some had very old traditional stone houses. We also saw some forts- always perched on hillsides.
At the border- (Ras Al Khaimah) we were taken into the office of an impressive building. There the visas were issued to us for UAE. It took but a few minutes. We took leave of our Omani driver, and were met on the UAE side by a driver that my cousin had sent to collect us from Dubai. The scenery starts to change then- desert scrub, partly completed but now deserted building projects, and Date Palms line the wide highway. Speed limits were not observed by most drivers, but our driver was excellent. We arrived at Dubai 1.30pm and were welcomed by Shelley with afternoon tea.
- Adventure Travel
By Sea or Air
There are numerous ways to reach Khasab- either from Muscat or Dubai.
We arrived there by air (Oman Air) from Muscat. The plane was small, having about 50 seats, but the service was impeccable. We were served a light lunch of Sandwiches, fruit and fruitjuices. The scenery, as one approaces Musandam Peninsula- is beautiful. The mountains and rugged coastline are clearly visible, the water sparkling blue in the sunshine.
Cost is one way/return OR24/48, 1¼ hours every Thursday (10.30am) and Friday (4.05pm). The office in Khasab is on the new souq roundabout, and flights depart and arrive from the military air base. Buses will drive you from main airport building to the Air Base. We booked online.
A warning re airport check in- GATES CLOSE ONE HOUR BEFORE BOARDING.
There is also a new fast catamaran between Muscat and Khasab. Unfortunately, it was not departing on a suitable day for us- we had to fly. The sea trip takes 6 hours. There are two, called 'Shinas' and 'Hormuz'
The new catamaran is apparently having a few teething problems. They did not complete the ramp for offloading cars in time, in Khasab. It is now only carrying a few passengers on every trip, and only is in use twice a week. It is a beautiful looking vessel- we saw the Hormuz berthed in Khasab Port.
First Class Tourist fare = Adults OMR55/110 (one way/return)
Tourist OMR30/55 (one way/return)
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very easy trip by car, make sure you have car registration that is valid in Oman (if you drive from Dubai or UAE)
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