Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Oman Cruises

The Sultanate’s ties to the seas go as back as the stories and legends of ancient pirates and sailors. The country was once a great trading port for the ancient world. Hence, it comes as no surprise that even today most avid travelers believe their exploration of the country is not truly complete without a traditional Dhow cruises. These typical Oman cruises can be embarked for a day, just to watch the sun set, or to see the wonderful marine life in the morning from various places including Muscat, Sur and Khasab. In fact the region of Sur is still known for its shipbuilding. While there are no old triangular lateen sails or heavy wooden rudder, the boat building industry survives thanks to the efforts of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, the ruler of Oman to save the maritime heritage of the country.

Even if you have your heart set on having a ride in every type of Dhow that sails in Oman, it is unlikely that you may achieve this goal. There are in all 12 different types of Dhows made in the Sultanate. Their designs differ in accordance to their purpose. For example, some Dhows are designed for carrying heavy loads and people, and some are fishing boats, while some are used for transportation. Each design is unique, and a local citizen may be able to identify the purpose of the Dhow by merely seeing its design from far. These vessels are made using wood and rope or nails and are known to last for about 60 to a hundred years. Dhow building is a dying art, and while they are being built even today, these vessels may slowly disappear completely in the coming years despite the attempts of the government.

If you are opting for an evening or morning Dhow cruise in Muscat, chances are that you get to sail on a traditional type of Dhow called Al Boum. This type of Dhow was typically used to transport people and heavy goods from one place to another in the olden times. The vessel is made out of Omani wood known as Simr. There is a chance that the size of the boat may vary, but usually it seats about 50 people and weighs close to 46 tonnes. The seating arrangement onboard is traditional, which means there are traditional Omani carpets laid out with majilis seating and cushions for back comfort. The deck is decorated with such seating arrangement and ethnic lanterns.

Such Oman cruises aboard the Dhow take you around the stunning coastline. Some cruises make stops at secluded bays for snorkeling and swimming in the open sea. Taking a dhow ride in Oman can be a unforgettable experience even for the most avid traveler, and should be noted on your to-do-list for your visit.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Trekking in Oman

In the past few decades, Oman has proved its worth as a top destination in the heart of the Middle East. There was a time when the Sultanate was a preferred holiday destination for residents of the surrounding Islamic countries alone, but today this beautiful country welcomes thousands of tourists and business visitors from all around the world throughout the year. Known for its grand tourism infrastructure, Oman is equipped for all kinds of travelers and interest groups with its lavish 5 star hotels amidst scenic locations, luxurious transport facilities, leisure activities, sports activities, museum and cultural marvels, etc. The government of the country is promoting travel and tourism in a big way, and has realized that today’s tourists are not only interested in leisure but also other activities. For instance, there are tourists that are specifically interested in trekking in Oman, or watching marine life.

Nowadays holidays are multi-faceted. Families have a mix of generations that have varied interests. While the wife looks forward to a holiday in Oman to shop for antique goodies, indulge in traditional spa treatments and lounge by the poolside and enjoy the sun, the husband wants to explore mountain trails through trekking or bicycling, watch camel racing, and get the adrenalin pumping through fun water sports. Some young adults come to the Sultanate for adventure holidays that include activities such as water sports, rock climbing, trekking, bicycling, scuba diving, camel racing, horseback riding, dune bashing, desert camping, golfing, hiking, wildlife watching, etc.

These days, trekking is fast- becoming one of the most favourite activities for tourists. And, why not, since Oman is one of the most pretty and scenic countries in the world. With abounding rugged mountain ranges, unspoiled deserts, lovely beaches and endless landscapes, the country lures in trekkers from the world over. If you are considering a trekking holiday in Oman, research the various trekking points along the Al Hajar mountain range. The mountains start from the northern border of the United Arab Emirates and are spread to the central eastern parts of the country. Check out places like Jebel Shams, which are the most celebrated for trekking activities. For example, a narrow trail called ‘the balcony walk’, along the edge of Wadi Nakhr is popular with trekking enthusiasts.

The perfect season for trekking in Oman is from September till about May. The months after May are too hot to be out under direct sunlight during the day. In fact, the most pleasurable months are October to April for such activities. You can get in touch with a good local travel agency in Oman to plan your desired adventure holiday. Reputable travel agencies are experts in designing tailor-made holidays that will make your vacation, one that will be remembered for years to come.