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Trip to Muscat, Oman – Part-7 / Sultan Qaboos Palace or Al Alam Palace

This palace is located close to the seashore within Muscat city and surrounded by forts. The travel to old Muscat along the corniche is truly amazing. The souq is located on the way to the palace. It has well-maintained lawn, pedestrian walk way and beautifully designed garden with flowers. The contemporary architectural design of the palace reminds us of Oman’s heritage and historic beauty.

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Unfortunately the palace isn’t open to the public; however there is no restriction to walk around the place. There is a huge gate in front of the palace.

There is plenty of parking space available adjacent to the palace. It seems that the palace is currently used only for official visit of the Sultan. There is a National museum located next to this palace.

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Trip to Muscat, Oman – Part-6 / Al Qurum National Park

The Qurum Natural Park is the largest park in Oman. We reached here by noon. There was no adequate car parking facility for the park; it took almost half an hour to get one lucky parking space. There was no fee for entry. The park has beautiful lawn and garden with attractive flowers.

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We noticed many family get-togethers and social gathering in the park. The park was crowded as it was public holiday. It has a separate play area for children with slides, swings, cable runways and sand play etc. However there was no proper maintenance carried out in the play area; especially few safety hazards like broken edges in the slides, missing ropes and broken steps in the climbing place etc should be renovated.

Free Wi-Fi is available.

The park has a lake for boating but not in operation. I assume this area of the park is ideal for walking and jogging. This seems to be one of the most picked day-out spots by localites.

Trip to Muscat, Oman – Part-5 / Pebble Beach

This beach is rightly another example for unbelievable beauty of Mother Nature. This beach is just few kms away from Bimmah sink hole when you drive towards Sur.

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The entire stretch of beach is filled with just beautiful light coloured pebbles in different sizes and shapes. There is no sand in most part of this beach. This is one of the must visit beaches in Muscat. We could not take pictures since it was dark when we visited. There were few families enjoying barbecue on the beach side.

Trip to Muscat, Oman – Part-4 / Bimmah Sinkhole

(Continuation)…

Our next stop was Bimmah Sinkhole or Hawiyat Najm Park. It is one of the most famous and must visit places in Muscat.

It is located on the way to Sur from Muscat. The total distance from Muscat is 125km and the journey will take close to one and half hour. From Muscat when you drive towards Sur after 120th km you can see a signboard of ‘Dibab’ on the right hand side. Since we started from the dam it took an hour to reach this place.

We reached the sinkhole at 4pm in evening. There are plenty of open parking space is available in front of the gate.

There is a small park (not exactly a park!!). Park has kids play area with swings and slides, but mostly rusted and broken condition. The lawn inside the park could have been maintained better.

After walking about 100-150 meters inside the park we found a big deep hole below the ground. We were so excited when we saw the deep blue water. Steep concrete steps are provided to reach the water. It is difficult for kids and aged people to climb the stairs. The water was very cold and tasted salty similar to sea water. There were few people snorkeling on deeper side along the edge of the sinkhole. Kids were playing in the shallow water.  Concrete wall is built around the sinkhole for safety.

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We spectated few surprising stunts of diving from 20m high by people around. Natural free fish pedicure by little fishes in the rocky shallow water which nibble our feet.

We spent only 45 mins and returned back due to the huge crowd.

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The main drawback is no proper change room available near the sinkhole; however restroom was there inside the park (not well maintained).

This is one of the finest places for swimming and snorkeling!!!

Trip to Muscat, Oman – Part-3 / Wadi Al Arbaeen

(Continuation)…

After reading lot of reviews and recommendation about Wadi Al Arbaeen we decided to visit this place.  As part our day trip, first we visited this Wadi, next Mazara dam and we ended the trip in Bimmah.

Wadi Al Arbaeen is located between Muscat to Sur highway. On the way to Sur you can see a sign board on the right hand side “Wadi Al Arbaeen”, from here it takes 17-20km to reach the Wadi. First take a right turn from the highway and go straight for 2-3 kms. Road is good and well maintained till this point. When you go further you will find two road on the opposite side (right and left). Take a left turn and continue on the road past the first right turn, then take the next right after it (after about 250m). Keep driving on this road, don’t take the right turn that comes a bit later, you will eventually see a sign that points to Wadi Al Arbaeen to the left. Take left and keep going until you reach a village.

The drive was challenging. Road was unpaved, very narrow and slippery in few areas due to the gravel. On the way you can find unique hills with varied grey and orange color rocks.

We thought of going ahead for another 4 kms but there was some water stagnant and deep pits located on the way. We traveled in Honda Accord (2WD), so we could not go further and ended our trip at this point. We had lunch near a tree shade and clicked few pics. There is no shop or restaurant located in this place, so it’s better to bring food and plenty of water. There is no restroom in the wadi.

For our surprise there was not much water in the stream found near the village. Water was very dirty and people were cleaning the cars and tires. The weather was very hot and outside temperature was close to 35 deg C. Since it was a local holiday there were lot of people and cars parked around. We could not spent our time peacefully and decided return to Mazara. It’s better to avoid visiting this place during holiday or weekends.

There is nothing so impressive till this point. It is not recommended to go without 4WD to this Wadi.

Trip to Muscat, Oman – Part-2 / Mazara Dam

Mazara dam is one of the must see places in Oman around Muscat. The dam is referred by different names as Mazara dam, Wadi Dayqah dam and Quriyat dam. This is located on Muscat to Sur highway, approx. 120km from Muscat. When you drive towards Sur, after 80-90km you will find a brown sign board “Wadi Dayqat Dam”. Take a right at this point, drive another 20km and you will find the main entrance.

The total journey took around an hour. The information and sign boards are clearly available along the road to reach the dam. The roads are good and few parking is available on the top of the dam. There is no entry fee and parking fee.

The view of the dam from the top is amazing. There is a small park and a restaurant located at the top of the dam. We bought some soft drink, ice cream and biryani rice. Price is very nominal.

Since it was a holiday in Oman we could see people everywhere around park and it was too crowded. This is one of the frequent visit place for the locals and residents. We could not explore the complete area due to the crowd.

Trip to Muscat, Oman – Part-1 / Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

One of the must see places in Muscat. The mosque is very grand, beautiful and serene. The white color of the mosque speaks for its beauty, peace and purity. It is located within the Muscat city and easy to find the route in google map. Plenty of parking spaces available within the place.

The mosque is surrounded by garden and tress which gives freshness and eternal feel when you enter. The huge prayer hall entrance door with classic wood work adds to our amaze.IMG_7028The main prayer hall walls were decorated with art work .The main hall is lightened by Swarovski crystal chandeliers which were glittering like gold.IMG_7059 (2)IMG_7056IMG_7131The carpet in the main prayer hall is the second largest in the world. There are five minarets surrounding the mosque and the main minaret is 90 meters height.

For visitors the timing is from 8.30 am to 11 am from Saturday to Thursday and closed on Friday (Ramadan might be different).

Dress code:

Abbaya is not mandatory for female. Any dress covering full legs and hands till wrist is allowed. Head need to be covered using scarf or veil (Hijab). Jean with loose full hand shirt or long cardigan, salwar kameez with dupatta, long Skirts are allowed.

For male – full length trouser or jean with shirt or T-shirt is allowed.

There is a shop inside the mosque which sells veils for 5 OMR and rents abbayas for 2.5 Riyal. It takes minimum 1 hour to glance around the mosque. Food is not allowed inside the mosque. Weather was hot and the temperature was around 32-35 deg C.

Date: 3rd Dec ’15

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