A week ago, when everyone in Poland was going to bless the eggs, we went on a half-day trip to Oman, specifically to the Musandam peninsula.
Musandam is very strategically located because it shares the Strait of Hormuz with neighboring Iran. There are not many cities there, because most of them are very high mountains. We got to Khasab, to which from the very border with the Emirates leads a beautiful, recently built road (marked in yellow on the map), from which one side overlooks the Persian Gulf and on the other side of the magnificent mountains.
There is a highway from Dubai to Oman as far as the Ras Al-Khaimah (RAK) emirate, thanks to which we are there in two hours. The border is visible to the naked eye because the Emirates is entirely flat, and the high mountains already belong to Oman.
To cross the Omani border to Musandam, you need to do a few things:
1) go to the counter and pay the first fare of AED 100 (about PLN 86). If you are renting a car, you have to ask for additional insurance in Oman, which costs approx. 170 AED (approx. 150 PLN) for 10 days.
2) the first inspection, where passports should be presented + payment confirmation.
3) go to the next window and pay AED 35 per person for a visa (about PLN 20), we get a stamp (we were quite excited about this because neither of us had a mark in our passport for a long time).
4) return to the car with another slip confirming the payment and drive to the next inspection, where they will check the passports and the trunk.
5) one more check, and why not.
6) we are entering Oman!
We went there in the afternoon, which I consider being a perfect choice as beautiful light was shining on the giant rocks.
The road is excellent, there are practically no cars on it, and rarely anyone goes by the side of the way. The only thing you need to be careful about is the bends, which are more than in the Italian Alps.
On the way, we pass a few small, quite empty towns.
There is one hotel on the peninsula, marked on all maps, Golden Tulip (now Atana Khasab). It is beautifully situated on a rock overlooking the Bay. WONDERFUL! We promised to come back there.
Apart from the Bay and rocks, Musandam also has beautiful “fjords” between which cruise ships sail. The main attraction is the dolphins that appear there very often. As we found out, it’s worth going there before the beginning of May, because dolphins run away when it gets hot.
What caught my attention driving through Oman and RAK was the fact that we didn’t meet or see any women anywhere. Apart from a few tourists at the border, I was the only one. Here, too, I have to write that when leaving Dubai to any other Emirate and Oman, pay attention to the outfit. Shorts or skirts are not included. It is not even that everyone around will stare, but you can actually get a penalty for it. It’s best to wear long pants and a T-shirt that covers the shoulders so that it won’t show through.
Khasab, which we reached, is a small city with a gigantic mosque in the middle of the town. For most of the year, nothing happens there, only in the colder season, many tourists come.
We asked for a local cafe for some good local restaurants. The gentleman handed us two; one was in the main square in the city where basically there are a couple of different restaurants, mostly Indian or serving kebabs. Most of them are Pakistani or Indians who came to Oman to work. The restaurant we were shown was empty, except for one table where tourists were sitting. We decided that we would definitely not go there, we always prefer to go to places where, firstly, there are a lot of people, and secondly, there are no tourists. To start with, we found a bakery where a baker was making delicious Arabic bread in a stone oven.
Traditionally in Arab countries, bread is made by rolling the dough into thin round cakes and glued to the inside of the red-hot oven until bubbles appear. Then, using a hook, they are pulled onto a tiled tabletop. The bread is different in each region. The Omani one was multi-layered and quite wet inside. Pride!
We walked through the city where we passed the crowd leaving the mosque after the evening prayer. We found a restaurant that was out of the way, The local resident of Khasab was coming by every now and then. So it met our requirements.
We ordered two courses, honey chicken and lamb pieces for this rice with turmeric and cardamom, and of course bread. Everything was delicious, and the dishes weren’t huge, so we didn’t overeat. The chicken was made differently than usual, because usually restaurants, to save money, do not add real honey to it, but a substitute similar in taste. In this case, real honey was added, and the difference was noticeable. The dish was lovely and the baby almost stretched. The ram was also perfect and crispy, seasoned perfectly. A cat was lying on the ground, and it kept coming up to me, begging for food. And in the end, we got the bill, which was 50 AED, which is about 40 PLN for everything -Top Khasab Restaurant in Khasab
It was definitely not our last visit to Musandam. We are going to go there at least once again to see fjords and dolphins, which I will definitely write about.