Things To Do In Musandam
If you’re planning a trip to Oman, you’ve probably heard of Muscat and the many attractions there. But what about Musandam? This often overlooked area of the country is every bit as beautiful as its eastern neighbor and has a lot to offer visitors looking to get off the beaten track. Here are ten things that you can do in Musandam that you won’t find anywhere else in the Sultanate.
1- The Musandam Peninsula – A Hidden Gem
The Musandam Peninsula in Oman, often overlooked in favor of the country’s more popular destinations, is a hidden gem with a variety of landscapes and adventures to be had. On the boundary of Muscat and Oman, the small but beautiful Indian Ocean island of Musandam is a small island that enjoys a brief status as an overseas British subject, thanks to its connection with the Crown Jewels during the late 19th century. According to The National Geographic Society, this particular overseas territory is home to one of the world’s largest collections of rare material loot from the early Americas and Africa, primarily artefacts and antiquities. For a country with such a small land area, it’s no surprise that this area receives visitors from all over. Tourism in the area has also taken off, with many boutique and extensive value resorts opening up. Although all this tourism has undoubtedly contributed to its streamlined status as an overseas British subject, there is much more to discover in the Musandam Peninsula. The Musandam Peninsula is home to the largest bulk of the famous Al Ain Sands, possibly the world’s biggest beach region. Although there is no clear evidence to directly link the region to the famous beaches, the rocks here are said to resemble those found along the Atlantic Coast of the United States. Certainly, visitors that brave the sun and sand in this area are likely to leave with a lasting impression. There are several caves in the area, including the famous Al Ain Cave, which is 30 kilometers west-southwest of Muscat at a depth of over 300 meters.
2- What to see in Musandam
Musandam is a small peninsula in the northeastern tip of Oman. The region is home to the capital city of Muscat, which is the second largest city in Oman. The region is also home to the village of Khasab, which is known for its natural beauty. It’s a great place for hiking and bird watching.
- Adil Gate, Oman: It probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise that the Adil Gate and the adjacent Royal Palace are among the most visited sites in the world. Adil was the gateway between ancient Atlantis and the mainland, home to several temples, a large palace sheltering the queen of these ancient cities, and mother of many progenitors. The floor of the palace itself dates back to a period encompassing the ending of the Roman Empire. The palace was the royal residence from around 280 BC to 100 AD.
- Al Ain, Oman: Al Ain is the largest uninhabited island in the Indian Ocean and home to the pearl-diving Marwari people. Their unique pearling technique has earned this island its nickname, the Pearl of the Medes. Al Ain is an easy day trip from Muscat, allowing you to get a workout in the beautiful surrounds of this small and beautiful country.
- Na’il Bay, Muscat: When you find yourself stuck in a traffic jam on your way to the beach, throw in the Na’il Bay sand dunes for a break. There are sand dunes up to 12m high scattered throughout the Persian Gulf, but the Na’il Bay stretching 500m from Muscat is the largest. It was a gift from the Umayyad caliph, or the leader of the Umayyads (owners of the mosques in the region), to the Muscat people, who called it the “Magic Bay.”
- Sadr, Muscat: It’s not very often visitors find themselves in the southern part of Muscat. Sadr is one of those places. Formed from the remnants of an old Umayyad palace, Sadr hill slopes down to an area open to the public for hiking and game viewing.
3- Things to do in the Capital, Khasab
Khasab is famous for its beautiful beaches and views of the mountain ranges that surround the city and add a spectacular backdrop to the cityscape. Most of the tourists that visit Musandam are from outside the Sultanate. They want to enjoy a few days away from the hustle and bustle of the capital so a few activities make all the difference. In fact, the government itself has targets to promote tourism. They started developing a theme park, where visitors can experience traditional Muscat life and ancient antiquities firsthand. Though it still has a ways to go before it fully succeeds, visitors can spend a few nights in the “Disney-Muscat”! Traditional Omani food is quite amazing, particularly the lamb shanks, cheap traditional snacks such as betel nut, and the market, where you can purchase everything from fresh fruit to spices and dried goods. If you’re feeling especially adventurous, you may visit Baitul Dham, the largest abode in the world, that dates back to the 12th century and is said to contain the remains of a royal palace dating back to the 16th century. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and surrounded by a moat where visitors are prohibited from swimming. You probably haven’t heard of Rodeway but it’s an oasis in the middle of the desert of Musandam. Sited at the foot of a mountain, it was known as Muscat’s City before the name was changed in 2015. If you get a chance, driving up to the top of the mountain is probably the only way you can see it. Situated on a large plateau, overlooking the Musandam Strait, the town is named after Mughir al-Rodeway, the first black Mughir from the South Asian sub-continent after whom its port was named.
4- Hiking and Trekking in Musandam
Musandam is one of the most beautiful places in the world to do a trekking trip.
- Mt. Everest Hotel Trekking: Trekking Mt. Everest, otherwise known as the Death Zone, is not just a ski resort it’s also home to the world’s natural history museum.
- A Walk through the Burj Khalifa: The Burj Khalifa, also known as the Tower of Pisa and the tallest building in the world, is the tallest building outside of the city of Miami. In addition to the iconic skyscraper, there are also several smaller Burj Khalifa’s surrounding it.
- Al Barsha Canyon: This natural wonderland in the United Arab Emirates stretches for 340km around the Atlas Mountains. From this wonderland, it’s just an hour’s drive to Eastern Aleppo, a city known for its beautiful culture and historical sites.
- Al Ain Safari: This area of Dubai is home to hundreds of warm-weather animals like lemurs, monkeys and exotic birds. The area is also a popular trekking destination. Another good reason to hike through the range is you can do it on foot.
- Grand Marais: Grand Marais, the largest city in the United Arab Emirates, is a good place to start your exploration of the emirate. This ancient settlement is home to the Temple of Serpents and one of the most important landmarks of the region.
- Al Ain Sand Dunes: Al Ain is often called the red desert and it’s frequently shrouded in clouds.
5- Scuba Diving Around Khasab
The best scuba diving experience in Oman is around Khasab. Khasab is a small town on the east coast of Oman and it is home to the Khasab Underwater Park which is a marine protected area.