Well hello there!
We are now in March 2018 so it’s a little bit embarrassing to say HAPPY NEW YEAR now but since this is my first blog post of the year, I feel like I should?
Quick update since my last post:
-I went to Oman for a few days over Christmas and that’s what this post will be about!
-I went to Pakistan for 10 days after Oman because my mum was there for a few months and I had the best time spending quality time with her.
-My sister and youngest brother came over recently to visit and we had a delightful time together. Please find below a carefully curated Hatta Dam photograph to give you an idea of the types of things we did together.-My Netflix obsession is still going strong and I am currently watching a Korean series called ‘Tomorrow’s Cantabile’. It’s daft, but I like it.-I have really lost my mojo for all things social media/blogging. I’m sure you can tell by my lack of posts on here and inconsistent posts on Instagram/Snapchat. I guess we all go through these phases but the Instagram algorithm nonsense and just the general rubbish that goes along with it, i.e. blogger pods, fake engagement and fake likes has really put me off posting. The sane part of me knows that it doesn’t matter if only one person reads my posts or sees my content but the other side of me does get frustrated when I spend time creating content and it doesn’t show up on the feeds of those who follow me. I refuse to use any of the methods that are being used to beat the algorithm so I’ve just stopped posting like I used to. Plus I’ve been super busy with a little thing called life too. I guess I need to find my love for writing again and take it back to why I even started this blog.
Full disclosure: I wasn’t expecting much because a few people I spoke to said it was a little boring and they didn’t think it was amazing. My views after road tripping through some parts of Oman a few months ago are the total opposite! I was pleasantly surprised and just got a really good feeling there. I’m big on getting a feeling when you get to a new place. Sounds daft I know but if you trust my opinions here and there then trust my feeling on this one! I think if you go to the capital Muscat and just stay there then you will get bored because there isn’t that much to do there. We went to a few places in and around Muscat which gave us a real insight into the beauty of Oman and we both fell in love with the country. I can’t recommend it enough, ESPECIALLY to those of you who live in neighboring UAE and can drive over so easily!
How we got there
We decided to drive from Dubai to Oman as we knew that there would be a lot of driving around in Oman and it made sense to take our own car rather than hire one when we got there via plane. We took the Sharjah-Kalba road all the way to the Khatam Al Melaha Border crossing. Just do your research on the drive there before you head as there is one particular road which has a border crossing for GCC nationals only and if you’re not a GCC national then you will be sent back. I know a few people that this happened to and it added unnecessary stress and time on to their journey. The Sharjah-Kalba road was really scenic and once we passed the border it literally was a straight road all the way to Muscat. We got our visas at the border and I was going to say this can take some time but a few days ago I read online that getting visas at the border crossing is no longer an option and you have to do it online before you go? Don’t quote me on this but I’m pretty sure this is now the case. The whole visa process took about 45 minutes but can take much longer too during busy times from what I’ve heard. You get your visa in a little immigration office on the side of the road in a wee shed going and coming back. Tip: make sure you have the correct paper work for your car insurance to say that your UAE car insurance includes cover for Oman. Ours did and Atteeq got a letter from the insurance company just to be safe. I’m pretty sure you can purchase the insurance for your car at the border too but it would just be added hassle and being a little bit prepared will save you some time. We set off at 7am and reached our hotel in Muscat at 2pm. Now this included the 45 minutes at immigration and several breaks along the way. We were in no rush so took our time but honestly it really didn’t feel like it took that long because the journey was pretty fun. I would suggest setting off early to save time waiting in immigration queues.
Where we stayed
Because we knew we wouldn’t be spending much time indoors in Oman we decided to go for a hotel that wasn’t all singing, all dancing/not too expensive. We found the City Seasons Muscat on the Entertainer app so paid for 2 nights instead of 3 which was handy! I’ve just checked the Entertainer and it doesn’t seem to be on it this year but there’s other hotels on there like the Intercontinental which is highly recommended by tourists usually! City Seasons was in a really good location in Sultan Qaboos Street and included a lovely buffet breakfast so we were pretty happy overall. It was only a 5 minute drive from The Avenues Mall and about 10-15 minutes from Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque so I would really recommend finding a hotel in this area just for convenience. Not the prettiest looking hotel from the outside but our room was huge, the Entertainer deal was great, it was in a fantastic location and we didn’t have any complaints.
Day 1 – Early morning drive to Muscat. Rested in the hotel, dinner at the Avenues Mall and Mutrah Souq to finish off a tiring but fun day. Mutrah Souq isn’t anything amazing if you have been to the souqs in Dubai but is still worth a visit if you need to kill some time!
Day 2 – Bimah Sinkhole and Wadi Shab. We set off early morning for the sinkhole which was about an hour and a half drive away. The drive is absolutely breathtaking with sea and mountain views pretty much the whole way there! Wadi Shab is around another 20 minutes from the sinkhole so you should definitely do the two of these on the same day. I had my trusty playlist of songs to keep us going throughout the scenic drive and Atteeq loved my song choices. Okay, we kept switching playlists to make it fair because he kept moaning about my song choices.
You may want to turn the volume up for these.
Now I won’t bore you with too many details on each place because I’m sure you could do your research on them but I did spend a lot of time looking into the places I wanted to see and the places that made the cut I would highly recommend. Oman is such a big country and we probably didn’t even see 10% of what it has to offer but I felt we saw enough to sell the place to us in a few days.
The sinkhole was really cool and you can take a dip and swim in there if you like! Since both my husband and I can’t swim, we really missed out on all the water based activities Oman has to offer. We spent about an hour here just admiring the beauty of the place. Dress – Asos
Shoes and hat – H&M
Wadi Shab – what can I day about this place? No words can describe how beautiful it is!
Sensible clothing and footwear is a must. I changed into comfortable clothing for the hike but had real trouble with my trainers because they had zero grip and the rocks in the wadi were ridiculously slippy. I slipped so many times and even had one big fall which was pretty scary so learn from my mistake! When you get to Wadi Shab you park your car and get a little boat across to the actual Wadi.
Once you’re across, it’s just a case of hiking through the valley. We had SO much fun doing this! There were loads of other people walking with us and it wasn’t an easy hike so make sure you have plenty of water with you! Again, if you are able to swim then take your swimming gear with you to go for a quick swim.
Day 3 – Nizwa Fort, Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat and dinner at Italian restaurant Tomato at the Intercontinental Hotel in Muscat.
Nizwa Fort was about a 2 hour drive from Muscat but well worth the drive in our opinion. I would say only go there if you are into historical buildings and history basically. If you are more into outdoor activities etc then opt for something else because this literally was looking around the fort and learning about the history of Nizwa. We really enjoyed it! One of the best memories I have of this place is Atteeq being greeted by locals every few minutes with ‘Salaam’ all around the fort. The people of Oman were SO kind and friendly that it really did take us aback a little, but in a good way. Dubai is such a busy place that strangers don’t ever really greet one another. Oman is SO chilled out and the way of life is a lot simpler – the people seem so relaxed and we noticed all men gave Salaam to one another as they walked past each other. We saw this happening in Muscat too but more so in Nizwa due to it being a quieter city where people seemed to have time to greet one another. Such a small thing but it really stuck with me.
After we had explored he fort, we then drove back to Muscat and got to Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in time for Asr prayers. Again, I don’t think words can describe the peace we felt at this mosque. It truly is special and a must see in Muscat.
On our last night we had dinner at Tomato. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was cosy so it was a good choice for our last night in Oman!
Day 4 – We drove back to Dubai because I had Pakistan the next day but you could easily see some more of Muscat before heading home!
Overall, Oman surpassed my expectations and I look forward to going back to visit the coastal city of Salalah and other parts of the southern provinces in the future. Insha’Allah.
The local people of Oman were probably some of the friendliest people we have encountered on our travels. I think what gave me that good feeling in this particular country was that the Omani culture shines through in all aspects of life there. I absolutely loved seeing a team of cheeky little boys on a school trip at Nizwa Fort wearing the national dress with the traditional Omani cap on their wee heads. They were mesmerized by my big Canon DSLR and watched me taking pictures of little details all around the fort. They giggled amongst themselves when I asked Atteeq to take a photo of me and started posing for some #ootd shots in this all Asos outfit. Boots are from Centrepoint!I will remember their wee faces and keep fond memories of our first trip to Oman in my heart forever.