Magical Muscat

Dana Dickens on 19 September 2019
My Educational visit to Oman

19th September 2019

Departed from Terminal 2 at Manchester Airport for our direct flight with Oman Airlines. The flight took just over 7 hours and was a comfortable, smooth journey. On arrival at Muscat Airport we were greeted by a representative from Desert Adventures who escorted us to our air conditioned coach for the transfer to the Kempinski Hotel. Check in was smooth and we were offered a cold towel and refreshing drink. The hotel room was large and luxurious, with a lovely view of the pool and sea. We had just enough time to unpack before a buffet lunch. If you are a foodie then you would have been in heaven, there were various food stations with something for everyone and it was delicious. We had the rest of the day at leisure to recover from our over night flight, so order of the day was to catch a few rays by the lovely pool.

Day 2. Muscat City Tour

Our first stop of the tour was to visit the Grand Mosque, a beautiful architectural piece of work. There were 2 rooms, one for men and one for women to visit and prey. The mosque is made from a unique Oman marble which doesn’t absorb the heat and stays cool to the touch. The was a enormous chandelier which has 600,000 Swarovski Crystals and weighs over 8.5 tons. From the Mosque we proceeded to the old part of the city to the Muttrah Souk, a traditional Omani market. The souk offers a wide range of goods, especially typical Omani souvenirs like Frankincense, the Omani Dagger or Khanjar and beautiful silver handicrafts and Pashmina shawls. It is always advisable to barter with the salesmen, I was offered a Pashmina for 35 Omani Rial and ended up paying 11! So well worth the barter. Our next stop was at the Bait Al Zubair Museum, the museum is a small town house that has been converted to display the old archaeological findings and Omani traditions such as national dress and jewellery. It was a great insight to times gone by. We then proceeded on the visit the Sultan’s Palace, surrounded by 2 Forts of Mirani and Jalali built by the Portuguese in the 16th century during their rule of the coastal cities of Oman. The Sultan wasn’t in residence whilst we were there as the flag wasn’t up, if it’s down this means he’s not there, as was the case during our visit.

Day 3. Coastal Tour

Our trip started in the fishing village of Quriyal, the harbour is spectacular and yet completely rural. We proceeded from here by part road and part dirt track to see the Bimah Sinkhole, a spectacular limestone crater that had been created many years ago by a collapsing Mountain. (There is a myth that the hole was actually made by a falling star, I like this version better being a bit of a romantic at heart!) The hole is large and filled with blue green sea water, you can go for a refreshing swim to cool down from the heat of the day. We then continued on to the white beaches of Finns, where you could also swim, it is also here that the green turtle comes to lay it’s eggs during the months of September/October, you can book and excursion to come and see this wonderful bit of nature which takes place in the evenings. Afterwards we reached Wadi Tiwi to view the serene surroundings of this beautiful oasis, you can catch a boat ride which will take you further into the Wadi and you can then go hiking is desired. Our last port of call before our journey back to Muscat was to visit a Dhow building yard (traditional Omani wooden fisher boat), here we saw Dhow’s being build completely by hand, such an amazing craft. The one displayed in my picture was ordered by a Sheikh of Abu Dhabi at a cost of 1.2 million pounds.

Day 4.

Our journey home to Manchester Airport. We had an unforgettable trip, I made new friends and some lovely memories – I hope you enjoy my photos of this fabulous experience.