Independent travel to Oman - tickets, hotels, visa, transportation, route
The summer season of vacations and travel is over, which means it's time to think about new trips! I want to talk about one win-win version.
In April of this year, I visited Oman, an amazing Arab country, ideally suited for independent travel. To do this, there is everything - a simplified scheme for obtaining a visa, convenient booking options for cars and hotels, and most importantly, an incredible number of amazing attractions with the ability to plunge into the local exoticism. At the same time, Oman is absolutely safe, and the attitude to the guests here in the East is benevolent and hospitable. In almost two weeks of our trip, together with my wife, we were personally convinced of this.
Independent trips to this country are not yet very popular among Russian-speaking travelers, judging by the few reports on the Internet.Do not even understand why! Of course, this country is not cheap, so then I will tell you more about my journey and about many important nuances that will help save time and money.
Well, forward to the country of the fairy tales "A Thousand and One Nights"!
I already described a little earlier10 reasons why to go to Oman. This country is, indeed, very unusual. Here you will find the Indian Ocean with breathtaking diving, beautiful rocky coasts with deserted sandy beaches, and picturesque desert mountains that can brighten up any journey.
And most importantly, there are endlessly friendly people. Omanis themselves have remained in my memory a people who always go in snow-white robes (no wonder the most common form of small business here is laundry). They are very tolerant to foreigners, happy to pose for photos and are always ready to help.
There is not the front side of Oman. Oil and gas has broken this country into two worlds. I described the first one briefly above, and the second is the world of Indian-Pakistani migrant workers. There are a lot of them in large cities and not everything is so rosy for them. Omanis themselves sometimes do not even notice this other world, without which their country is no longer conceivable.
But it is necessary to drive off into the outback and everything changes. It is here that you can see the real Oman, which has existed for hundreds of years. Of course, a trip to this country is just interesting with these natural and social contrasts.
So, where does the independent trip to Oman begin? Probably from the very idea.
Further, it is worth calculating how much such a trip can do. The price of a trip here at the same Moscow tour operators starts from about 1000 Euros with air tickets and accommodation per week without other expenses, which will surely cost you a pretty penny. But this is not our option. We are not stupid for days on the beaches, do not use the services of guides and do not look for easy ways. At the same time, in the end, our trip cost me two people at the same 2,000 Euros, but with all possible expenses.
The most expensive on this trip were air travel. For tickets from Vilnius to the Omani capital Muscat will have to pay from 500 Euro per person. Cheaper I could not find anything. But then I remembered that you can get to nearby Dubai much cheaper. The tickets I purchased here from the Dutch airlines KLM with a transfer in Amsterdam cost only 300 euros.If desired, you can find cheaper options.
Then, on the internet, I ordered bus tickets from Dubai to Muscat and back for only 20 Euro per person. Yes, we had to spend 6 hours on the road and at the border, but this experience was worth it, plus we saved a lot.
The next important point in this journey is visas. Do not overpay and do them through intermediaries. Oman has greatly simplified the process of obtaining their visas in recent years. Now it can be done online for 50 US dollars. Everything is elementary, you just need to fill out a form, send scans of passports and photos. The very next day I received a visa, which was completely arranged for the border guards on the Emirate-Oman border.
The next step is route planning. There may be difficulties. Oman is a huge country, but at the same time most of it is occupied by deserts and mountains. All interesting to see at a time is unlikely to succeed, given that we still travel budget.
Our choice fell on the capitalMuscat, it is unlikely to miss it. Yes, and see here is what! The old town, the royal quarter, the port, the amazing mosque of Sultan Qaboos is just a very short list of "must see".
Then we drove along the coast to the old port citySur (Sur). Do not miss this amazing place!
Here we spent a few days, making radial attacks in the area. Especially interesting was swimming with sea turtles. Was cool!
After that, our path lay in the mountain rangeEl Akhdar (Jebel Achdar).
On the way it is worth spending one night in the Bedouin desert camps.Ramlat al-Vahibaof which there can be found more than a dozen. Prices, however, for such a pastime bite and start in the region of 100 Euro for two. In the mountains, we found a terrific night in a camp, located on a height of two thousand between two deep crevices. Oh, what an amazing sunsets and sunrises!
Later our route went through the mountain valleys through the ancient citiesAl HamraandNizva (Nizva). These places are famous for their ancient forts and beautiful mountain villages.
In Nizve, we visited the traditional local bazaar, where one must necessarily look into the goat and weapon markets.
Here you can fully feel the lifestyle of local Arabs that has changed little over the past centuries, even before the start of gas and oil production.
From Nizva we returned to the coast to the cityBarkawhich is essentially a part of the urban conglomeration of Muscat. Here we really wanted to get to the bullfights. There is such a traditional local fun. Unfortunately, for reasons unknown to us, they did not take place.
Then we moved to Muscat, thus completing a lap of 1,500 kilometers. Naturally, without a car this way is not done. Our vehicle in Oman has become the Mazda 2.
It should be noted in this country, a great network of highways, and in general, there is no need for off-road vehicles, unless you are going to drive through the desert and in the full Omani wilderness.
The price for renting our car was about 30 Euro per day. In general, everything went smoothly, only on the very first day a tire was lowered for no reason. We have eliminated this problem in the first service.
Needless to say that gasoline in Oman is a penny by our European standards - which is about 40 euro cents per liter. We encountered transportation problems only in Muscat. And these were not traffic jams at all!
The fact is that this city stretches along the coast for more than 50 kilometers (!). As I already wrote, we arrived by bus, and the car was an order at the airport.It happened because we arrived in Muscat on Saturday, and this day is considered a weekend here and the rolling offices did not work anywhere else. So, from the bus station to the airport - a distance of about 30 kilometers, and the schedule of movement of local buses here, apparently, only local migrant workers know.
Taxi cost us 20 euros, but this was not enough. We categorically refused to give us the ordered car due to the fact that we had to pick it up by reservation only after three hours. I had to take a taxi to the hotel and then return to the airport again. So in one day, I hit on my own fool almost 50 euros (!). My advice - plan ahead your movement in the capital Muscat!
Well, the last item in the planning of our trip was hotel booking. Here you can not do without Bucking. There are lots of options and prices. We basically set a hard bar not to exceed 50 Euro per night and, in general, it was fulfilled.
In Muscat itself, it was not easy to do this, but prices outside the capital did not bite much. An exception was made only for the above-mentioned camp in the mountains. A night in a traditional hut with dinner and breakfast here cost us 90 Euro. Expensive, but worth it!
In general, the level of service and cleanliness were almost everywhere at the highest level.Surprisingly, in most hotels there were very few guests. Perhaps the beginning of April here is already considered a low season.
It should say a few words about nutrition. Groups of tourists here lead to prestigious restaurants with horse price tags. We chose simpler options, not disdaining even in places where only Indians and Pakistanis usually dine. A traditional mutton kebab with vegetables and a flat cake cost two to three euros. Fresh seafood was usually twice as expensive. Well, the most expensive dish for us was camel meat in one of the traditional taverns of Nizva. A portion that was enough for two cost about 10 Euro.
Yes, I must say for all the time of the trip I did not drink a single drop of alcohol. Where we ate it simply does not happen. Although in expensive restaurants you will certainly be poured, if desired, and finances.
Well, on this my educational program in Oman is worth completing. And if you still do not know where to go before or after the new year, it's time to think about a trip to this country. What I can guarantee is that Oman will hardly leave anyone indifferent ...
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