Oman Ratings & Reviews
4 reviewsPosted February 2015
Solo Woman Traveler's Experience at Oman
I won a travel blogging contest by Conde Nast Traveller and got an opportunity to go for a fully sponsored trip to Oman all alone . Being a solo woman traveller, I was a bit worried about going to this country but I was pleasantly surprised by the hospitality and beauty of this country. I was staying at The Chedi, a classy 5 star hotel, where I felt absolutely pampered. Next day I started a road trip with my chauffeur (and guide) and out first stop was a Grand Mosque. It is the most exquisite Mosque in Oman and accommodates up to 20, 000 worshippers. A major feature of the main prayer hall is the hand-made Persian carpet which has been made in a single piece by 600 female weavers! Then we continued to Quriyat (meaning villages) which occupies a narrow strip of coastline along the Arabian Gulf. I stopped here for few minutes to take pictures of the forts in this area. After a sunny break, we drove through the coastal road. This drive was absolutely breathtaking! I got a glimpse of the blue waters of the Gulf of Oman and the pristine white beaches. I visited Wadi Arabayeen where the deep pools of water were set among the date palms. After few minutes, Nasser (my guide) stopped in the middle of nowhere. I could see a park around but I think it would worth getting out in the scorching sun. Nasser said it was something right inside that I must see. Well, I said it better be good and started taking a walk inside the park. In few minutes, I could see a well-like structure. Must be a huge well, I thought. The moment I peeped in, I was dumbfounded! It was a huge limestone crater with blue green water at the bottom. The place was heavenly! After a long photo session, we departed to, an ancient and abandoned port town and then continued our journey through mountain terrain alongside the blue waters. Nasser knew exactly where to stop for pictures. As I was clicking, I saw a huge turtle (and I mean really huge! Coming out of the water to take a quick breath. Before I could turn my camera towards him, he was long gone. But that moment made me so happy that I decided to stick around that place for some more time. I could see huge waves crashing on the rocks and making thunderous sounds. The water was so clear and clean that I could see blue-yellow fishes. I thought this must be the best part of my trip but I was wrong, there was more to come! I had checked in to Turtle Reserve at Ras all Jinz the earlier night. I quickly freshened up, had a light dinner and headed out for turtle museum on the first floor of that hotel. I got a gadget at the entrance which gave me information when I moved around the items kept in the museum. Very interactive! Then I left for the night guided tour of turtle watching. It just took 5 minutes to reach the beach in a private mini bus that the hotel had arranged. Sky looked gorgeous with thousands of stars & moon shining brightly. The guide took us to a location where a turtle had laid her eggs and was covering it with the sand. Apparently these turtles also make fake nests just to confuse the foxes and frogs. Brilliant it? ïŠ Eventually we saw a lot of turtles coming out of the sea, looking for a perfect spot the lay the eggs. Later that morning at 4am, I came for another walk on the beach. Although it was tough to wake up that early, it was worth it because in the morning I even saw the eggs hatching and baby turtles taking their first steps! I returned back to the hotel after watching a sunrise over the mountains. After a delicious breakfast, we continued our roadtrip to Wahiba Sands. Our plan was to visit Wadi Bani Khalid, one of the most beautiful wadi's in Oman. The drive to this wadi was through Eastern Hajar Mountains which had a panaromic landscape below. We also passed many pretty villages embedded in the mountains. Here the road winded down to the wadi alongside a large, shallow pool fringed with vegetation and ended at a village. We parked our car at this point and continued a short trek to the deep blue pools of the wadi. This is where I went for a swim and relaxed before heading back for lunch. Next we headed for Bedouin house where the desert started and what an experience that was! I drove a 4x4 vehicle (SUV) in those sands which made it even more memorable! Later, we continued our drive through the dunes and arrived at Desert Night Camp by evening. This camp was literally in the middle of nowhere and I had least expectations but once again I was pleasantly surprised! The tent was well equipped, huge and very beautiful. The WiFi reach any rooms but then hey, we all need to disconnect once in awhile! ;) The Night Camp guys gave a complimentary ride to the sand dunes to all their guests so that we could catch the beautiful sunset. The ride was thrilling but since it was cloudy, we catch the sunset. I met this Italian couple who was also at Ras all Jinz so we did a small talk and got back to our rooms. Later in the night, I enjoyed a scrumptious dinner served by their Srilankan-Indian staff and also caught up with that Italian family who were pretty interested in my work and asked me to share the blog post once Conde Nast publishes it. Last day. I was excited when I woke up. I wanted to make the most of this day. After a quick breakfast, we drove back to Muscat. Nasser had to get back home and after my lunch, Mohammad joined me to show me around the city. We started with Sultan's grand palace! Visitors were not allowed inside but I learnt that this palace was only used for Sultan's meetings. Fascinating it? Then we headed towards to Old Muscat city which gave a beautiful overview of the mountains, diving and yacht clubs. Later we took a halt at the Muttrah Souq (Souq means Market) where I got a good deal on frankincense perfumes, incense and Omani halwa. I spent nearly 2 hours shopping and realized I was pretty late for my flight. Even still, Mohammad insisted on having that street side barbeque and let me tell you it was! I quickly packed my bags and rushed to the airport where I spent last minutes in the duty free shop. On my way back home, I kept thinking how wonderfully amazing it is to travel alone to such a beautiful & welcoming country - Oman.
1 reviewPosted July 2014
A stupendous place to visit
. . With evryone around me heading towards Dubai for travel/work, I was tired of hearing the word- Dubai! But at the same time, I also wanted the UAE experience. Hence I decided to travel to the next best destination- Muscat. I opted for Thomas Cook as they had the most exciting itinerary. Trust me that Muscat is an underrated but stupendous place to visit. Water, Mountains and Desert . Almost all landscapes and of course, the great Shaikh style of living! Muscat has it all. This city has a magical story hidden behind every place you see. With awe and memories I returned back to India. Mind you, it is advisable to go by a tour like Thomas Cook as rules are strict at some places (forts and mosques).