Thursday, April 26, 2012

Cycling in Oman

The Sultanate is packed with activities for all who come to visit there can enjoy. These include some water sports, sailing, boating, scuba diving, kite surfing, desert safari, shopping, sightseeing, camel racing, horse racing, architectural excursions, trekking, hiking, rock climbing, mountain climbing, cave exploring, wildlife watching, bird watching, marine life watching, swimming, mountain biking and cycling in Oman. If cycling is an activity you enjoy, you are sure to fall in love with this country. His Excellency Eng. Sultan bin Hamdoon Al Harthi himself has chosen to use this popular activity to be a mode in introducing the riches and culture of Oman to the world. His Tour of Oman reached over 180 countries last year alone, and is being used as a tool to promote the tourism and sports potential of the country.

The country has so much to offer that exploring all of it and truly enjoying the vacation in just one trip is just not possible, unless you are on a month long holiday. If you browse online for images on Oman, you will realize the earlier statement holds true. You will also notice that the pictures show diverse topography. The fact is that the country can be divided into three distinct regions in terms of topography. The first is the rugged mountains and deep fjords which lie in the north of the country. The Sharqiyah (Wahiba) Sands and the two large salt flats in the central region of Oman. And the scenic green hills of the Dhofar region that lie in the south. The winter is fairly cool and pleasant for cycling or mountain biking. The summer months are hot and humid, which make them a no-no for such activities. Many tourists avoid the central regions of Oman during the summers especially from June to August, as being out and about is not enjoyable.

If you want to cycle your way through the trip, it may be a good idea to catch hold of a reputable travel agency to make the relevant accommodation bookings for you. This is imperative to not try and do them yourself, as they know the country and facilities better. Plus, who can be better at guiding you to plan a foolproof fun adventure than a local travel agency. All you need to do is go online and make a quick search for a well-known travel agency operating in the country. It may be wise to select one that has the main office in the city you land in. For example, if you are landing at the Muscat International Airport, choose a company that has an office in Muscat. This way, you can visit the office and get one-to-one detailed last minute information if needed. Once you have found the ideal company for the job, give details of your trip. This should include the dates of travel, the regions or towns you wish to pass or make a stop at, the type of accommodation you want, your budget for the travel, other activities you might be interested in, the type of cycle you will be carrying or need to rent in the country, etc.

If you are keen about cycling in Oman and do not want to use any other mode of transportation for your internal travel around the country, you are roughly going to need about four weeks or a little more just to cover the three regions mentioned earlier. The estimated distance covered by you would be in the range of 1000 kilometers to about 1400 kilometers, depending on the places you choose to visit. For example, a route like Muscat, Sur, Wahiba Sands, Ibra, Nizwa, Jebel Shams, Wadi Bani Awf, Rustaq, Nakhl, Seeb, Muscat, would be 1200 kilometers.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Car Hire in Oman

There is something about Oman that fascinates travelers and keeps them coming back for more to this marvelous country. The scenic mountain views, the beautiful rhythmic beaches, the ancient culture, the friendly people, the architecture, the wadis, the caves, the World Heritage Sites, the forts and the shopping at traditional souqs, all make up for a holiday that is a world apart. The infrastructure and other facilities needed by the most avid travelers can be found in plenty all over the country. The public transportation facilities and connectivity from one region to another in this widespread Sultanate is good too. But while most first time visitors are a bit apprehensive about being on their own and prefer using public transport like buses or taxis to get from point A to point B, people who are adventurous and love to travel and explore places on their own opt for car hire in Oman.

There are many advantages in renting a car instead of relying on buses or taxis for your commute. The first reason is that the car is yours for the whole term of your hire. This means you can make your own plans about what you want to do, where you want to go, and how long you want to stay there. As for bus travelers, the planning revolves around bus schedules or whether there are taxis available for a one way journey at the destination. Plus, taxis can be a bit expensive to keep waiting, but car can be rented by the day, week or even month, which can end up saving you quite a bit of money.

We have all been there. Watching our language, talking loudly, making a ruckus or what we say in a cab because the driver might understand or take offense in some way. Well, mind you most of the locals in Oman understand English, so may be some sensitive or personal subjects are best avoided. On the other hand, if you have a rental car at your disposal it provides you with the privacy you need to truly enjoy being yourself and talking about anything in the world with family or friends traveling with you. If you are traveling alone and want someone with you on your long drives, almost all car rental service providers in Oman offer chauffeur driven vehicles for a little extra cost. This works out for travelers that do not enjoy driving in a foreign country or those who want to enjoy their vacation without having to worry about the road, maps and traffic regulations.

There are many car rental companies operating all around the country. These include many international names in addition to the local players, so you can be sure of finding a car rental company that fits your budget and requirements no matter what region you plan to hire the car in. You may be tempted to hire a car from a local company based completely on the price factor, but beware. While this may seem like a good decision at the time, the company may have very poor service or car that are not maintained and could in turn pose a problem later. It may be wise to only consider international companies that you have heard of. This ensures you of two important things. First that the car is well-maintained, and second that the company has years of experience in providing good service to all their customers.

Car hire in Oman is fairly simple. You can either tell your hotel or travel agency to do the needful, or you can visit the car rental company’s official online website and hire directly from the source. You can do this using your credit card post filling up details like name, address, dates of travel, etc.