11 days trip to Oman via Dubai.
I arrived at Dubai international airport at 3:30 am. Life is going on ! Is it a night time ? For sure not at the airport. The most interesting moment is at the checkpoint – the only place where Muslim women are obliged publicly to undercover their faces.
My first minutes of a new adventure started smoothly . One girl, who I met in the airplane, had a boyfriend who proposed to bring me to the bus station. What luck. In an expensive trendy BMW I was brought to the bus station, where I was left alone with what seemed like many poor Pakistanis and Indians. Waiting. Why not to take a short nap at the bench as they do? I still had time for that. It was a good idea. At 6:00 I took a minibus to go to al-Ain where Khalid, my Omani friend, had come to pick me up at 12:00. The trip by bus takes 2 hours. I arrived. Time to get out to explore. My first trip, completely alone in Arab country. Wuhu!!!!! So exited.
I get only one leg out of a bus and immediately one Sudanis man took my bag in one of his hands, me in the another and brought us both to the nearest café shop where we had some tea. “Do you want some tea?”. The idea to travel and explore alone was gone immediately with the first mini sign of my European body appearance outside of the bus. I already had a cup of tea in my hand, so I thought, why not. My brains didn’t work so fast yet as his actions. Ali, a man from Sudan, decided not to let me go till my meeting time. I had to enjoy his company for 4 hours. We took a walk in a park, visited his house, job, family…. I had no rights to refuse his kindness, what a rudeness. After a few hours, I think, I knew rather well this town.
There are 2 crossing borders in al-Ain but tourists can only cross the Oman border from the northern part. Southern one is reserved just for Emiratis and Omanis.
Ali brought me to the border. For sure, he decided to prepare border crossing papers at my place too. I had just to follow. Finally, I could continue my trip to Oman. But no, first, I had to drink a coffee with the border workers. I couldn’t help myself, all the people I met were so kind, talking to me, trying to help. I had no chance to refuse. They, without informing me, were arranging other meetings for me with their friends and families. Everything happened so fast. One I know – if you are coming here without any plan, don’t worry, the locals would arrange fast all your holidays for free !
It’s forbidden to cross the border by feet, so I was obliged to take a taxi. Again, Ali found it, paid, putted me in and let me go. Probably by this time he had enough of me. Taxi driver didn’t speak English so I had problems to explain my unease. When I studied a map, I saw that my meeting point is one kilometre away from the border but the driver told me that it’s in 15 kilometres! I was confused. Khalid, on the phone explained to my driver where to leave me exactly, and so he did. I was left in the middle of nowhere between two countries and people who probably never saw any tourist here. Keep calm, everything is under control. Finally you are alone girl, enjoy. It’s not like this I imagined my freedom. At 12:00 Khalid arrived and I understood, that I won’t let him alone during this trip anymore.
The point is, that there are two borders to cross. I mean, there is one UAE border and in 15 kilometres is Omani border. It’s not typical kind of borders I used to cross. At Oman border they make visas in 5 minutes. 11 days stay costs 10 euros. But I wouldn’t be me if everything would go smoothly. They couldn’t make a visa because in their list my country didn’t exist!!! No country, no visa. Damn that Lithuania. It’s the biggest absurd thing I have ever experienced during my modest trips. They were checking in their computers, looking in internet and so on. It took about 30 minutes till my country was discovered, registered in their list and I’ve got my visa. Welcome to Oman ! That’s all?
After a few hours we arrived at Muscat. Hot, though outside is just +35 (not so hot as for Oman). First night at military zone. I hardly could say that any danger was waiting for me as my mum kept telling me.
The adventure starts early morning, at 11.05am. First place to see on our way is Bimmah sinkhole. It boasts the kind of clear waters. A concrete stairway leads to the base of it. Some tourists were swimming there, some just enjoyed the silence and nice view. There are little fishes that are known to nibble people’s toes. It’s a kind of natural, free fish-spa-pedicures.
Next stop was at Wadi Shab. One of the loveliest, touristic destinations in Oman. The wadi is beautiful place to have a walk in, with turquoise pools, waterfalls and terraced plantations. Some part of the path has been concreted and passes close to several villages that are hidden in the plantations. The path follows an impressive falaj (traditional irrigation system), one of the oldest in the world still in use. After about 40 minutes of walk, the wadi broadens into an area of large boulders and wild fig trees with many pools of deep water. Swimming in the lower pools is forbidden (they are a source of drinking water). Visitors swim in the upper pools which lead into a partially submerged cave. Luckily we met a police guy, professional swimmer, so I could be calm being in a deep water. Abdullah come to the wadi when he has free time. He likes being a guide, helping tourists and making new friends. I felt the most protected girl in Oman being with military and police friends till I felt down and badly hurt my toe. Locals were so kind and immediately proposed their help. I was not hurt to bad. Suffering, during the first days, but I continued as planned our trip.
In the evening we arrived at a beach. It was a small paradise being very far away from a civilisation and staying in an empty fisherman’s house. Silence. All the coastlines were covered by shining pinpricks of glowing neon moving forward with the breaking waves. The fact is, many coasts in Oman contain bioluminescent algae, known as phytoplankton, which causes breaking waves to light up in a neon blue-green haze! The microorganisms emit light in response to stress, such as when a wave crashes into the shore.You can see this on warm beaches after dark, which makes Oman a good candidate for the cinematic glowing light show.
Someone has finally to destroy this silence – a car with two Bedouins arrived. How? Where from? It’s impossible that in Oman someone passes by without stopping to talk to you or if you stop, then someone has to pass by. So they did. They came and started to talk about our car (it seems like they really came just for that). The clue is – Khalid car has 3 number plate. Ordinary Omani have 4 numbers in it. Those who buy expensive cars and want to accent their richness more – buy a special 3 number plate which costs from 2000 euros. As was Khalid case, but the difference was that he never payed for that – he was just lucky to receive it by accident at a police station when getting car registration. Now I know why later the locals paid such attention while I was driving the car.
In the morning I woke up completely wet. The next nights, I decided to listen to Khalid and to sleep in a tent. Too much humidity.
Thousands of sea turtles migrate annually from the shores of the Arabian Gulf, the Red Sea and Somalia to lay their eggs on the Sultanate’s shores. At night, these turtles drag themselves out of the water to the beach, and dig a hole in the sand using the tips of their paws so as to bury their eggs and then return to the sea. After about 55 days, the eggs hatch and baby turtles come out to start the most dangerous journey of their lives, trying to reach the sea where they can find safety in the waters. Unfortunately, we saw just the beaches with empty eggs, already ate by foxes and birds, but on some other beaches there are military guys protecting them.
At midday we reached wadi Khalid. Here, we are referring to the southern part of wadi Bani Khalid Al Bidayah village. To reach the best spot, we had to make till 1 hour of trek climbing up and down the rocks, walking in a water. Khaled laugh a lot watching me climbing palm to get from one canyon level to another. I tried to keep as much serious as possible, finally I’m a serious traveler. Too hot. I was melting slowly suffering without a shadow, suspended on a palm, saving some energy. Finally arrived. Wonderful views. This is mostly due to the unique rocks, crystal clear blue pools and beautiful waterfalls. I had to get to the water. Immediately! Cold! But after few minutes in it, it was just what I needed.
Before the entrance to Wahiba sands we passed by a district where Bedouins live during the hottest season. Such districts are made specially for them, annexed to the towns with views to the dessert in case they would become nostalgic. During the winter season, Bedouins come back to live in the desert.
Being there in the right time, let me see the traditional lifestyle of its habitants and to share some warm moments with them.
Before entering the desert, don’t forget to remove some air from the tires. This way you’ll have less chances to get stuck!
Few kilometres after entering the desert, we found a water cistern which is installed there in case if someone needs drinking water or to have a shower. Everything seems arranged here.
We continued our trip, but night was approaching very fast and we were in a hurry to find a special place to stay for a night. That special place was a territory with a well in the middle of the desert, growing the only one tree in this desert. This place is known as a main local meeting point.
Evening came. Try to find that tree in the middle of nowhere in complete darkness! My friend absolutely wanted to reach that point (about 100km of driving ). We would get lost, the water will finish, not enough fuel, no people around, we would die from a hunger, thirst….. But at midnight we arrived there, just as I knew it.
The first time in the desert and it’s during the night. It’s not day-to-day travelling style in here, but there is no choice, there is no choice. We had to continue. Before arriving at that place, we were a bit lost each time we asked met Bedouins about a distance left, each time they told that it’s just 15km more. Like this continued for 100km…. . never ask Bedouins about the distances!
On a way we visited a Bedouin family. It’s very rare that Bedouins wouldn’t invite you inside. They are very hospital in general. They invited us inside and proposed coffee and dates – what is common regale.
It’s impolite to refuse, so I was drinking. They brought a big bowl full with water where after coffee we had to leave the cups. Going to see locals, it’s common to bring some fairing as sugar, coffee, chocolate or water. Usually tourists come, make pictures and go away, so my presence, some chocolate for kids and sharing time with them was a huge honour to their family. We were sitting around the fire, talking. Woman was so impressed by my interest in their lifestyle that even gave me as a gift her handmade ‘burqa’ – mask which covers the face, and transparent dress. I really had no idea what they do with such dresses, because when I putted it on a beach, my friends eyes became rectangular. Probably I just putted it wrong side… As I never saw any Omani guy looking at my dressing code this way, it means, that it’s only me who didn’t know how to wear it.
Coming back to Bedouins family…. They made lots of pictures of me dressed local. My friend was sure that the next day I would be the most popular desert girl. Any particular reason for that? Yes, they were happy having me at their home. Bedouins usually tell what they think, and spread fast the news. So if you ever heard about Arab telephone – this is it! Everybody always is sharing information and it spreads with light speed! You meet a Bedouin, you stop, you talk about all news and then you are free to go. No need of newspapers. You want it or no, they will make you know everything. Remember, in the desert nobody will pass by you without talking to you! They will always stop to ask if everything is ok if you have enough water, enough petrol, car is working well…. . Always stop on the way if you see a car, it’s a local gesture of respect and kindness.
— I remember, Khaled told me about romantic, old tradition how Bedouins get girls attention. Guy in love writes a poem, tells it to someone, that someone tells it to another person and so on until it gets to that girl which gives him an answer the same way or directly. As you see, Arab-phone is always functioning perfectly even with low Wi-Fi connection. Everybody knows everything.
Bedouins are free. Religion doesn’t play big role in their life. They don’t take religion seriously and especially relationship between women and men. They don’t care if a girl or man is virgin or not. Woman can have males and females friends even when she is married. Usually when Bedouins marry, it’s because of love. Some Bedouin families are so proud of them that they keep tradition – marry someone from the same tribe. Women can act like a man if needed. Men are very proud being married from love.♥ —
— The travellers when they need rest, can easily knock Bedouins house doors and they will always open it and accept travellers for a night. In a town, if a local woman is home, no guests can enter. Maybe a woman could enter and this is not sure. In Bedouin case, no matter who is home, everybody has the same rights. It’s a huge shame on them not to accept a guest.
In the mountains they are less friendly, tough life makes people less generous, suspicious. It’s hard to be invited to have a coffee there. Even if you are lucky enough to enter their house, they will be waiting for you to leaving. Nobody propose to stay for a night.—
As Bedouins started to come to live in the towns, they started to change. Lots of them even feel ashamed of their new lifestyle. Sinaw is the biggest town in Oman where they come to live. Selling their animals, products they make economies while living in towns and then again coming back to a desert for a winter season.
They come to live in town beginning in June and come back to a desert the end of October. So if you are motivated to stay with Bedouins and try their traditional lifestyle, then the winter is the best period for that.
After a cosy evening with Bedouin family and sharing french-swiss-lithuanian-omani gifts, we continue our trip toward that tree. Black venomous snake crossed our way. I was so brave that I even didn’t run out (from a car) and stayed glued to my place. That’s why, choosing a place where to put a tent, you have always choose it far away from the bushes or other kind of natural subjects, where can hide all kinds of dangerous creatures such as snakes and scorpions. That tree is found! Finally we can have our delicious diner consisted of grilled fish, rice and vegetables salad.
During the night, it’s possible to recuperate about 1 litter of water if you leave a tent open. So, go to sleep inside woman if you want to wake up dry. We tried not to use the lights, to avoid the Bedouins coming and talking till early morning . Too tired. Too late. But couldn’t avoid it in the morning, so we had some guests. I was not surprised anymore getting my sleepy body out the tent and seeing them around. They always come. You just turn around and here you are, a new Bedouin. Oman is not a highly populated country but these Bedouins are dispersed so well, that you meet them even without going somewhere.
This place, in the middle of the desert, is one of the best places to camp in Oman. Dwell, which is just close to the tree, provides drinking water and possibility to take a ‘shower’. Just don’t dream too much about privacy. They will come!
Trip continuing. There are so many roads that it’s very easy to lose the way. Bedouins live everywhere, so it’s very important not to confuse the ‘main road’ with local roads.
At the exit from the desert, there is a village. The locals even have a local ‘supermarket’ and petrol station! It’s a place to have a rest or to drink a tea, buy some souvenirs or the most important items for a desert trip.
First action after leaving the desert – reinflate the tyres and we are ready to continue.
After 2 hours on a ferry, we reached Masirah Island.
Masirah Island is Oman‘s the largest island with 12,000 inhabitants. It’s located about 18 km from the mainland on the east coast of the Sultanate. Getting there, however, involves a 500km drive from Muscat, so usually tourists don’t get till there.
Masirah is 10 degrees cooler than the baking mainland for much of the year, and it has natural attractions – this is a paradise for kite surfers, vast numbers of nesting turtles and wild, non-touched nature, the combination of countless breathtaking beaches with turquoise water, waves and no tourists!
The Island can’t be reached by plane (there are just flights to military zone which is situated on the northern part of the island), so a rental car is more or less mandatory for your holiday. Having an own rental car is not only the cheapest way to travel to the island, it also provides the flexibility to explore all different spots on your own and creates an extra value for your holiday not just on the island but in all country.
In Ras Hilf there are several Restaurants. Meals cost 1,5-5.- OMR (3-10 euros). Indian and Pakistani restaurants and countless coffee shops offer delicious food and drinks. The cheaper the food, the more original and basic is the food and hosting experience. We ordered delicious food in Yemenite restaurant, it was grilled fish with fresh vegetables. There are so many different kinds of fishes that I don’t even remember their names, but one of the best I ate was the one with the teeth and one called royal. If you don’t like eating with hands, then be sure to have a plastic fork with you.
Friends of the friends, knowing that we are on the island, told us where we can find the keys to stay in their ‘summer-house’ – where in the evening we had a small, local party with rock-n-roll music. That crazy newly met military guy knew all my brought songs. We were singing and making lots of jokes. I even forgot that I was somewhere far away from my homeland.
Next day was a day of visiting the island – non-touched nature and beaches. The only alive creatures, that I saw, were fishes and crabs walking on the beaches, and yes, my companion, dear Khaled. I realized, that I had Freedom! We organized funny photo session on one of the beaches. After being fulfilled by freedom celebration we got to see Khaleds friend, the owner of a paradise for kite surfers. Really cool, simple, easygoing guy – grandson of a local sheikh. This was not yet a season for surfing– no wind, so I had no chance to discover this new activity.
Ahmed (friend of Khaled) told me a story about one guy, who came to this island to have some solitude, relax from people and enjoy days. His friends long ago kept inviting him. Finally when he have got possibility, he told nobody from this island, when he finally arrived. He parked his car not far away from one of the western beaches. He was not lucky. He forgot about inflow and outflow, so soon his car was stuck. He asked a passing 4×4 for help. They tried and were stuck. Another 4×4 and a tractor were stuck too. Finally, shortly after all that, the whole island knew that he was there and he was overwhelmed with comments and questions. Conclusions? Whenever you go, tell your friends, who wait for you, because they will find it out no matter and you’ll have to explain everything. That guy was Khaled. 🙂 It was shortly about Omani hospitality.
Khaled was a military guy, so I had possibility to stay one night at their camp. I looked around, just donkeys…… Before I had time to comment, Khalid fast corrected his claim, adding that donkeys live here for free and military are now on trainings. Donkeys are everywhere and nobody touch them, because they are considered to be stupid and non-useful Omani demographic aspects. It’s good to be donkey here.
In the evening Ahmed took all the responsibility and organized a real barbeque surprise for us. He brought lots of different kind of fishes and langoustes, others – salads and drinks. Food was delicious. I never ate such delicious meals in my life. Just for that, it’s worth to come to Oman! Locals mostly eat grilled fishes everywhere here.
If you think that Arabs don’t drink alcohol – you are wrong! In Oman like in other countries, I saw drunk persons too. Alcohol is possible to buy just in military camps by military, that’s why lots of guys want to be friends with military.
After two days of enjoying the island – back to the desert. I had a bad feeling proposing my friend to take some wood in case if our car would be stuck. Khaled is a professional driver, he felt insulted. It was a bad proposition, I need to start trusting people more.
We found a wonderful place. It was few kilometers away from that Bedouins village. Christmas. Silence, sand dunes, stars, can’t explain more with words.♥
Next day ready for new discovers. After 200 meters our car was stuck for good!!!! We needed some wood to get out our car………wood…….. . Khaled hated me. Finally we left our car and went to the ‘road’ to wait for help. Hot. I dressed like a real local – it was only solution to protect myself from the heat and the sun. First car passed by…. . Yes, just passed by. Bedouins never pass by! They always stop. In a desert if someone is without a transport, it means that he has a problem. There were Italian tourists. It’s not enough that they passed by without stopping, even asking what happened. They were taking pictures of us. What a shame. This moment I realized that I really dislike tourists. I even showed them my middle finger. They deserved at least that. Khaled was scared. He told, that if I show it to an Omani, I can be accused and go to a prison. After that, I tried to keep all my fingers close to each other.
Other two cars stopped. Locals. But nobody could help us. They didn’t have the needed items. Finally Khaled called his friend from Masirah Island. We needed to find someone, who could know someone from that Bedouins village, few kilometers away. After 10 minutes a friend called back. He found a friend of a friend of another friend….. and in 15 minutes a guy from that village came to get us out! I was speechless!!!!! We were stuck in midday sun just for 3-4 hours. Enough time to get exited of an adventure and calm down. Khaled, after that started to pay serious attention at my comments and jokes. He finally managed to have a good reflex. After I left, he keep driving without any wood in his car. Why ? I am not in his car anymore to bring that bad luck.
Locals try to hide information of being stuck in a desert. It’s considered as a shame and some Arabs can be very cruel with their brutal jokes.
What I like about Oman – every time you need a shower, you get to a petrol station and you can have it in a toilet. You use that sexy tube for more than just for your ass. Doesn’t sound attractive? It’s the only way to wash yourself for free when you are far away from natural water reserves. For sure you can do it in a desert too. There you can find a bath already filled with water waiting for a new visitor. I am pretty sure, that when you get to take that bath, at least one Bedouin will pass by.
Driving. No signs on the roads. Easy to be lost for a traveler. Always use an updated GPS as there are lots of new constructions going on right now. My GPS – Khaled was the best. He knew all the roads, lots people and best spots to see.
Late evening we arrived to Jebel Shams, the highest mountains in Oman. I never thought to have such cold being in Oman. The temperature was close to 0 degrees and I was obliged to put on all my clothes in aim to get some sleep. Morning coffee and ready to continue our trip to see famous, spectacular, deep gorge, known locally as the ‘Grand Canyon of Arabia’. The main observation spot is located close to a hotel area. Hotel looks like this. On the top of a hill with wonderful panoramic views, there is a territory mostly covered by asphalt and gravel. Between parking places there are rectangular, ugly guest houses made of white beton bricks. They look so brutal, without any interior design and integration to the environment and a night there costs around 100 Euros !!! In this territory they could make a wonderful project going in harmony with environment, but no, sheiks care just about money. They build houses just to build, because tourists, having no choice, will as well stay there. Too sad. Such disintegration with the nature.
We didn’t even enter that territory. I saw it from outside and it was enough. We found a bit further a wonderful calm place in the wild. It was surrounded by trees, bushes, mountains and donkeys – wonderful place for camping. During the rainy season the mountains are green, breathing life. The winter is cold season (just +35), without any rain for lots of weeks, so the views are les colourful. Close to our place was a local ‘summer house’ with gardens on the terraces. For sure, we were not alone – a Bedouin from far was observing us. I have no idea how he knew when to come. As I told you before, there is always someone who sees what you are doing, it’s just question in you – do you care or no.
Coming back, on the way, we saw some neglected villages on the slopes. As far as I know, locals don’t renovate theirs dwellings when they are falling down. They build another house while the old one is converting into the ruins. If I want to buy an old ruined house, I can’t, because it’s their heritage, parent’s house, so need to respect it and keep it in the family. Better to let it become nothing than sell to someone, who renovates it and give new life to it. My architect eyes were sad seeing all these old heritage disappearing. I had so many ideas how to give life to this disappearing local heritage. It will stay just in my dreams. Oman needs still lots of time to make locals see things differently. It’s hard to change corrupted politics opinion too.
Khalid oversaw a visit of his Bedouin friends, who prepare camels for the races. To show respect to local Bedouins, Khaled putted on dishdasha. For sure, no women on horizon. Everybody was sitting around a ‘table’ (carpet) with snacks like cakes, popcorn, dates, which were putted in the middle. Each time someone entered the room, we had to drink a coffee with him. They didn’t stop coming! All Bedouins decided to enter our room separately! 1 Bedouin, 2,3….7,8… . Each time someone was entering, everybody had to stand up, shake hands, then sit down and drink a coffee. I even wanted to stay up till all of them enter, but had to follow the mass. Coffee was served by the youngest guy. The youngest always serves older ones.
After some physical activity and drinking coffee, we were asked out to see the camels. Race camels look different than trade ones. Their body is smaller and they keep special diet, eating just the best quality, special food. Bedouins treat them like their own babies. All camels were with muzzles. I was wondering why, but soon I found an answer by myself. Some Bedouins removed the muzzles and hungry camels immediately started to eat my clothes. If I would stay there few minutes longer, I would get out naked!
I had a pleasure to ride one camel. uhu! It was an attraction for the locals seeing me hanging around and me seeing them. These guys just never saw any traveller there and specially European woman! I was very respected and we had really great fun, all of them were so relaxed and open for jokes. In general, in Oman is really hard to stay alone, unless you are in very touristic area where everybody cares just about catching pictures.
We were invited for a diner but had to refuse. We were tired and Khaled didn’t want to practice an Arab telephone again. It’s something like we had on that room – everybody, who enters it, has to know what they were talking about before. For example, someone enters a room. It’s not like one person, who tells a resume of a conversation. A person tells information to that who came after him, he transfers information to the other who came after him and that again to another till the information arrives to the last one. This way everybody takes part in a conversation. And it is the same each time when someone else enters the room! You keep repeating the same and the same. At least you are sure that after such party you won’t forget what you were talking about.
We went for camping close to the camels racing track. Khaled friend brought us lots of wood for fire, another, who came later, brought lots of fruits (before calling to ask what we would like to eat). They were so kind, and full of positive energy.
What is strange about this camping place, is that it was not humid at all. The only dry spot in Oman where we were sleeping without any tent without getting wet. At 5 in the morning some noise woke me up. Camels were already running following by claxoning cars. I had to see that. We had time as Khaled car was automatic and he had a clever car key, which battery decided to die that day. We were stuck. In such situation it’s better to put a battery in the sun for about 30 minutes to recharge it a little. Khaled was so stressed that called newly met Bedouin and asked him to bring a new one from a town, and he did. At that time we didn’t need that battery anymore as the sun was very helpful. But again, I was highly surprised by locals help. They react immediately without any thinking of benefits.
Next stop – Nizwa. My opinion, it’s the only town in the north, covered by greenery and probably the most beautiful in this country. Imposing mountains the heady mix of conservatism with modernism and the magic of witnessing a city in transition make Nizwa unique. Nizwa is worth so much more than just a day trip. There is so much more to explore in this city. The traditional souks, the beautiful mosques, the lovely traditional food is sure to make you fall in love with this city.
— I was wondering why everybody is so ‘happy’ talking to me, joking. Don’t understand me wrong, people here are talkative, friendly but what I understood was, that the girls in Oman are more ‘closed’, reserved, they keep distance from the guys. If a guy want to talk to a girl, she probably will send him far, far away where he have never been before. As I already came from very far away and didn’t want to send any guy there. It helped me to earn their huge respect and admiration. Men were so glad having a simple conversation with me. It was a huge pleasure to them that a GIRL is talking to them. So if you are going to Oman – my advice – talk, joke all the time, don’t avoid people and your life will become much easier. You do one nice thing to them and they will ‘pay’ you back much more. People are very curious and they really need to use that Arab phone.—
Misfat al Abreyeen. About 30 minutes away from Nizwa there is a real treasure, which sits high up on an edge in the Hajar mountains, looking down into the depths of a palm-laden gorge. Stunning views, wonderful green place. This village preserves its distinct identity revealed in the traditional customs, heritage and culture spanning all aspects of life. This ancient village have chosen to cling more on its rich traditional past. The lifestyle of the farming community has hardly changed over the years, except for some developmental works like roads, electricity and telecommunication networks. Reaching the village which has succeeded in combining modernity and tradition.
The falaj goes around the buildings. Beyond the village, there is a pool of water created by the overflow of the falaj. Local children swim in the three-metre deep pool, diving from the roof of an adjacent house. The villagers also grow lemon and banana. However, nobody pick fruits up as everybody know to whom they belong.
If you want to see the real Omani tradition lifestyle, then this village is a must! It may well be the most memorable thing that you do in and around Nizwa.
In the evening back to Muscat.
Muscat is more international city with lots of different nationalities living there. If you are looking for typical souvenirs from Oman (kitchen items, carpets, decorative details for keys, fabrics…) – better buy them outside the capital. In Muscat souk most of the items are from India (there are lots of Indians here), Iran, China…. .
Visiting sultan palace is a must, but avoid touching each other to avoid problems as they consider touching in the sultan palace as an insult. There you won’t see any skyscrapers neitheras it’s forbidden to build them here in aim to protect historical landcapes.
What I heard about Oman is that it’s a country where women have more rights than men. They respect women a lot and I never felt there any inconvenience. I call it Arab Switzerland as it’s the only Arab country so far where all religions are respected and there is tolerance to everybody, they don’t make any war or take part in it. It’s really a very safe destination for any type of people.
If you need to come to Dubai from Muscat (or vice versa), it’s possible to buy bus tickets in advance or the same day. The price one way is around 30 euros. Be sure to be at place 30 minutes in advance. Trip takes 7 hours. I had to leave at 15.00 but my friend changed my plans and decided to bring me to the border by himself in aim to enjoy more talkings, so I never had a chance to be in Oman alone. It‘s just not a right country for a solitude.
After staying at his family house at the border at Al-Ain, came time to take a mini bus to Dubai. Buses leave each 2 hours maximum and it takes around 2 hours to get to Dubai. My flight was at 4 a.m. . I still had time, but my bus arrived a bit later than planned because of a huge brume. I saw nothing more than 1 meter away from me! Panic…. Calm down woman! It’s not yet the worst what could happen. The worst was still waiting. My aeroplane left 4 hours later than scheduled and I missed the next flight. I was trapped all the day in Kiev where they took a perfect care of us, the ‘stuckers’.
If you ever travel via Dubai, don’t forget that the weather there can change drastically (brume, sand storm….) and you can be trapped there for many hours!
Before ending my story, I would like to mention one important thing to me – my first contact with Pakistanis. My Pakistani bus driver saw me looking for a solution how at 1a.m. to get to the airport from a bus station. With his friend they brought me by the bus to my destination. They risked a lot. Such busses have no rights to come to the airport area and can’t be used after working hours. Plus, they didn’t want me to pay. They told – friends, we don’t take money. Wonderful Pakistanis. Without them I could have big problems.
Without all the people I met during the trip, my holidays would be a sad story. Thanks to them, for their curiosity and good hearts!!!!!