Our third day in Muscat stared almost with the (very) sad news that we couldn’t go scuba diving, due to a storm that never arrived. We couldn’t make sense of it. The water was flat and glossy that morning and we were forced to make a plan B. We arranged with Fahed to drive down the East coast towards the fishermen’s village of Al Kharyan. On our way there, we stopped at a few view points, admiring the scenery of crystal blue water, sandy beaches and rock mountains. A few yachts had pulled in the deserted bays. We noticed how many people just pull over by the beach and camp for a night or more. Fahed told us it is extremely safe in Oman and that camping was very popular – both tourists and locals alike.
During our drive along the coast, we were also astonished by the efficiency in which the highways and new developments were being built – machines carved the mountain as if a knife is going through bread, and everything seemed to be done on time without wasting resources and time. Croatia and South Africa, learn something from this please!
We noticed that Oman is a quite wealthy and organised country, where poverty seems non-exited and foreigners are in a high demand for work. Even the fishermen’s village Al Kharyan looked neat and organised, opposed to many villages by the coast in Africa for example.
As we couldn’t dive we decided to spend the afternoon at the beach. We stopped by the Al Jissah beach, the location of the Omani Dive Centre. It used to be a simple beach with an entrance fee of 4 rial, however that week a new resort, Muscat Hills, was opened and the fee for visitors went up to 10 rial (21£). Later on we learned that Shangri-la hotel nearby offers a similar service with beach, pool and a buffet for 25 rial per person.
The new resort was very trendy, reminding me of the beaches of Mykonos. We had a light lunch in the hotel restaurant and just spent our time in the water – to our surprise it was very salty. There is a long jetty that leads from the beach and makes a fun spot to jump from and explore the many coves and small beaches in the bay. Its also worth noting that because this is a private beach, bikinis are allowed.
With the sun disappearing behind the mountains we headed back towards Muttrah for a stroll and a bite to eat. We walked through the frankincense scented souk and bought a few bits and bobs. The waterfront was very much alive that evening and everybody was enjoying the warm air and ocean breeze. Our night ended with Fahed suggesting a turkish restaurant closer to our hotel. The food was so plentiful that not even our beach-day hungry could stand up to the volume. Fahed dined with us and filled us in to the local customs and gave us an insight into the life of a local Omani. The perfect end to a perfect day.
If you even visit Muscat, please contact Fahed +968 9546 5454 for tours and driving around Muscat/Oman.