Taste of Oman Trip Notes

Taste of Oman

Last Modified: 19 Aug 2015
Taste of Oman
Trip code: ELKO
Validity: 01 Jan 2015 to 30 Apr 2016
Oman could very well be the fort capital of the world. Nearly every Omani city has at least one fort, with some dating back to the ninth century. Five hundred forts in one country may sound like a lot, but the grandeur and ancient significance of these ruins is a big part of Oman’s history, especially since it has more 1,700 km of coastline to protect. But don’t worry, there is plenty more to do on this little seaside corner than fort-hopping from town to town. Getting happily lost in winding souqs, dining on delectable Asian-infused dishes and exploring ancient history is just part of the Taste of Oman experience.
Table of Contents
StyleTippingEmergency funds
ThemesImportant notesVisas
MapGroup sizeIssues on your trip
ItineraryAccommodationWhat to take
Also available to purchaseMealsTravel insurance
Itinerary disclaimerTransportResponsible Travel
Culture shock rating Joining point Carbon offset
Physical ratingFinish point Feedback
Spending moneyEmergency contact
Style
Comfort
  • ‘Comfort travel’ means encountering all that the real world has to offer, but with an added degree of, well… comfort. We use more private transport, the travel pace more relaxed, the accommodation a touch nicer. And by paying a little more up front, you’ll be treated to more included meals, more leader-led activities and get a greater immersion in all things local.
Themes
Explorer
Map
Taste of Oman
Itinerary
Days 1-3 Muscat
On arrival at Muscat International Airport (formerly Seeb Airport), you are met and transferred to your hotel. This is simply an arrival day so you may arrive in Muscat at any time. Note that hotel rooms are generally only available after 3 pm, so if you are arriving substantially earlier we recommend you pre-book an additional night's accommodation. The balance of the day is free to explore your surroundings, but normally a Welcome Meeting is held in the evening where you meet your tour leader and fellow travellers.
After breakfast at the hotel we visit the beautiful Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. We then proceed to the Natural History Museum, which offers a brief introduction to Oman's colourful past. Driving down to the busy fishing harbour at Muttrah, with its quaint wooden dhows and fishing boats, we stop at the bazaar where we can mingle with the locals and browse around the silver and spice shops. We also visit the two 16th century Portuguese forts, Jalali and Mirani that guard the entrance to the city, before returning to our hotel.
Leaving Muscat, we head north along the coast to the fishing village of Seeb, where we witness the daily catch being hauled onto the sands from tiny fishing boats. We then continue on to the splendid fort at Nakhal, which sits atop a rocky spur with commanding views of the surrounding countryside. It is the best-preserved of all Oman's forts and the interior is still furnished, giving visitors an excellent feel for period life. A little further on is the fort of Al Hazm, situated on the northern slopes of the Jebel Akhdar, with its elaborate carved doors. Here we have time to explore the various rooms and chambers before returning to Muscat.
Accommodation
Hotel (3 nts)
Day 4 Wadi Bani Khalid/Wahiba Sands
From Muscat we head southward and travel through rugged landscape before arriving at the palm-filled Wadi Bani Khaled, which is justly famed for its natural beauty. We follow a well-worn path into the heart of this rocky oasis and discover a large pool fed by a natural mountain spring. We continue our 4WD journey and arrive at the edge of the extensive Wahiba Sands. After deflating the tyres we follow an amazing route across the sand dunes to our desert camp. Tonight we enjoy an evening of traditional food and music around an open fire under the stars and get to sleep in simple tents.
Accommodation
Desert camp (1 nt)
Day 5 Nizwa
Driving north, we come to Lisq, an oasis with ancient buildings with the ruins of a castle forming a backdrop. Lisq is famous for the unique way of processing dates. Dates are cooked and the dry fruit is a local delicacy – well worth a try! Mudaibi, a village with an old quarter and an excellent souq nearby, makes an interesting stop on the way to Nizwa. Nizwa is one of the oldest cities in Oman and was once a great centre of trade, religion, education and art. Its grand mosque was formerly a center for Islamic learning. The central fort is surrounded by ancient traditional souqs where the locals trade in traditional as well as imported merchandise. You can browse here for some of Nizwa's famous silver jewellery or watch expert craftsmen in action as they fashion exquisite silverware or a range of other artefacts. Nizwa is an oasis enclosed by a series of mountains including the famous green mountain (Jabal Akhdar).
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 6-7 Jebal Shams/Muscat
The ruins of the immense fort at Bahla, with its walls and towers of unbaked brick and its stone foundations, are a remarkable example of fortification. It's easy to find a metal worker toiling next to his red-hot furnace, or a weaver assembling a goat hair cloak. But the king of craft in Bahla is pottery. This exceptional art is famous throughout the Sultanate and beyond. Jabrin Fort is 240 kilometres from Muscat and is also called the palace of Imam Bil 'Arub Bin Sultan, who built it in 1675. It is considered one of the finest and most picturesque of Oman's forts. Besides the famous Nizwa Fort, the Jabrin Fort is one of the few forts designed as a residence; its wooden doors are elegantly carved and the lattice work windows are delicate and ornate. Jebal Shams, which literally means 'Mountain of the Sun', is Oman's highest peak at 3075 metres. Even on the hottest days, it's cool up here. Misfah and Al Hamra are beautiful and historical villages that we'll explore before heading back to Muscat for our final evening.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
If you arrive early there are plenty of things to do and see. We recommend you check out some of our Urban Adventures
http://www.urbanadventures.com
  • A Taste of Oman - Single Supplement (ELKO)
  • Iran Adventure (HPSN)
  • Jordan Discovery (ELKD)
  • Iran Adventure (HPSN)
Itinerary disclaimer
We've allowed plenty of room for freedom and flexibility in our trips. In fact, flexibility is one of the ingredients that makes each of our trips so exciting. This style of travel offers us some unexpected circumstances at times, for example, bad weather and road conditions, technical defects of transportation, inconveniences caused by local operators and authorities, and other circumstances beyond our control. Changes in the program may be required to make the best of the unique situations that we encounter.
Overnight stops and driving distances each day may vary to best suit the needs of the group. Our described itineraries are to be used as a general guide only.
Culture shock rating

Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
Physical rating

Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
Spending money
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
Tipping
On this trip, we have included gratuities for the essential services that you will receive as part of your tour package. This will cover tips to drivers, specialist local guides (where applicable), restaurant staff for included meals, porters, bellboys and other hotel staff, including room-cleaning staff.
This amount DOES NOT include a tip for your tour leader, so you may wish to set aside some funds for this. It is customary to tip your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip.
You also wish to put aside some money for your own tipping, such as when you are doing our own optional sightseeing or activity that involves local guides and/or drivers or when joining in optional groups meals or dining out on your own. In these instances, we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier. The amounts can vary greatly according to destination, so we suggest that you ask your tour leader to give you guidance on what are appropriate amounts to tip.
Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline $US3-5, or the equivalent in any currency used on the trip, per person, per day can be used.
Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip isn't compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
Important notes
OUR LOCAL PARTNER:
This trip is operated by Peregrine Adventures and you will be joined by other like minded Intrepid and non Intrepid travellers. Single travellers will share accommodation with another traveller of the same sex.
Group size
Maximum of 16 travellers per group.
Accommodation
Hotel (5 nts), Desert camp (1 nt)
Meals
6 Breakfasts, 1 Dinner
Transport
Minibus, Private Bus, 4x4 Safari Vehicle
Joining point
Al Falaj Hotel
Al Mujamma Street Ruwi Pc
Muscat
Muscat
2031
OMAN
Phone: +968 24702311
Finish point
Al Falaj Hotel
Al Mujamma Street Ruwi Pc
Muscat
Muscat
2031
OMAN
Phone: +968 24702311
Emergency contact
In the case of an on ground issue or problem, our local Oman Office can be reached on: +968 24660379 (National Tours & Travel Oman) during office hours or +968 99866532 at all other times.
Emergency funds
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
Issues on your trip
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes).
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
Travel insurance
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
Responsible Travel
We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
Carbon offset
Carbon Offset C02-e 379.00 kgs per pax.
Feedback
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.