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March 2016

Trip to Khasab-Musandam/Oman

Here comes our memory of the road trip to Musandam-Khasab, Oman.

On Jan ’2014, one pleasant morning we started our road trip to Khasab from Dubai. It was one of our best and memorable trips in UAE.

There are lot of adventures and astonishment uniqueness in Musandam peninsula. It is one the must visit places in the region. Khasab is the main city and capital of Musandam province which is part of Oman and not in UAE. It is located in the Arabian Gulf next to Ras Al Khaimah (RAK), northern part of UAE.

There are two options to reach this place from Dubai; one is the road trip and second one is by boat trip (dhow cruise) by sea. Lot of tour operators are available to arrange these trips from Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

Road trip:

We took Emirates road (Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road) and the total distance from Dubai to Khasab is >200kms. Since it was a weekend there was not much traffic on Bin Zayed road. The speed limit is 120-140kmph. We could not find any restaurants throughout this stretch except few Petrol/Gas stations.

Weather was awesome, cool and equable weather throughout the drive. The drive after crossing the Omani border was great, as the road leads to breath-taking landscapes. We happened to pass through few villages after border crossing, where farm animals just wander on the road, we saw armed security guards on the way. It is recommended to use GPS navigator if you are not familiar with the routes. We lost the road and wasted 15-20 minutes due to road diversions in RAK.

Total distance from Dubai to Khasab: >200kms

Dubai to RAK: 110-120kms (1.30 hours)

RAK to Omani border: 40 kms (30-40 mins)

Border to Khasab: 45-50kms (45mins – 1 hour)

Total travel time: 3.30 hours (including the border crossing of 30 mins & on the way sightseeing activities)

Visa regulation, entry and exit at the border:

Once we cross RAK, there is an UAE border check post (Passport section) where we got the exit stamp and vehicle pass by paying AED 35. Since there was no queue we completed this process in 5 mins and approached towards the Omani border. We handed over this pass in the next check post.

There is no prior visa required for UAE residents (UAE visa holders). Tourists with UAE single entry visa are not permitted to cross the border.

After crossing the UAE border we stopped the car near the Oman entrance and took car insurance from Al Ahlia for 80 DHS since I did not have an Oman insurance. We submitted filled-in visa application form, paid 50 AED (per person) for the entry visa and got the entry visa stamped on our passports. It is wise to carry a pen, as these places remain deserted to even ask for help. It took almost 30-40 minutes to finish the visa stamping formalities.

Once we crossed the border it took 40 mins to reach to the top. On the way we stopped near a beach and clicked some photos and reached Khasab town by noon.

We took a half day package in Dhow cruise offered by Musandam Sea Adventures/tours. We couldn’t locate the harbour, so when we called the tour operator, they came to our location for assistance within 10 minutes. Finally we reached the harbour/pick up point at 1:30pm. There were only nine people on the boat.

The boat was clean with traditional carpets and comfortable cushions to sit. The helmsman and helper were very supportive and helpful. We were offered local tea/coffee, fruits and dates as compliments. There are other adventurous activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, banana boat ride and over-night camping in Khasab.IMG_2270IMG_2366IMG_2300

We were surprised to watch a pod of dolphins gliding and diving along our dhow boat very closely. They were all racing swiftly at the same pace, few performing high dives now and then. My three years old kid got excited seeing the dolphins in their habitat for the first time.IMG_2389IMG_2404IMG_2535

It was a pleasant experience with this service company and would recommend this tour operator for their service, as they waited patiently to spot dolphins and made our trip worthy.

Check my page for more photos – https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BzoWdvvQYw7CaXNXSFphRWpRVW8

Things to remember:

  1. Carry your passports
  2. Keep AED to pay at border crossing. Check the tour operator for current fee
  3. Pen to write the passport details at Oman border
  4. Oman car insurance if you are driving in a car
  5. Camera, battery, memory card, lens etc.
  6. GPS navigator or Road map till Khasab
  7. Fill fuel, however spotted few Shell petrol station/Oman oil on the way
  8. Jackets if you are traveling in Dec to Jan
  9. Be at right time so that tour operator can assist you better

 

Jan’14

Global Village – Dubai

Global village is the place for shopping, entertainment and food. Dubai tourism hosts this event every year during winter till the summer. This is our straight fourth year visit to global village.  Every time we walk-in, we find Global village much livelier, colourful and never ending fun than before. We reached at 6.30PM in evening and the weather was just right for a family outing. There is ample parking space around the area. An unexpected crowd was there on the day when we visited.

We can experience 75 different countries’ culture and authenticity at one place. There are 32 canopies representing different country with restaurants and retail shops. There are live performances to entertain people, thrilling rides for all age groups, international cuisines and authentic merchandise for shopping.

Each pavilion is designed representing different country. The colourful lights add beauty. Global village looks like a festive season in the weekend. I believe that, it is difficult to spectacle the complete area in one visit.

Shopping is unavoidable here, we would definitely fall prey to this vast and unique shopping world. Retail includes clothes, footwear, electronics, jewellery, spices, perfumes, bags, nuts, honey, food items, natural medicines and home decorations.

Live performances like skit-play, concerts and dance takes place in big stage located close to the entrance. Fireworks are organised on every Thursday and Friday at 9pm which adds much more gala.

Fantasy Island offers plenty of rides and skilled games for different age group. The cost of each ride varies from AED 12-80. Electronic rechargeable card is used for rides which can be brought and recharged at different ticket counters inside Fantasy Island.

Food includes different cuisine restaurants, street food, cafes, surprising bites, snack corners, desserts and beverages. Munch with something on hand and walk around this place is what we could see people doing here and it is the most justifiable thing to do in global village

Weekdays would be better option, if you want to have composed experience at Global village. Monday’s will be a family day. The schedule for this year is from 3rd November 2015 until 9th April 2016 and the timing is from 4.00PM to 12.00AM (check “globalvillage.ae” for latest updates). There is an entry fee of AED 15 per person.

Our little master had great fun, now he has grown up to understand the real fun in global village better than before. I love to visit global village often for it is getting bigger and better year on year.

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