Embarking on a journey from the United Arab Emirates to the enchanting land of Oman, we were filled with excitement as we set out on our road trip. This was not our first venture into Oman, having made the trip 16 years ago to the picturesque town of Khasab. It was a video that we stumbled upon on the internet that enticed us to explore the scenic mountains and Gulf, beckoning us to undertake this journey once again.
As we traversed the rugged terrain, we were greeted with the awe-inspiring beauty of the towering mountains and the vast expanse of the Gulf. The rustic charm of the surroundings was a feast for our eyes, leaving us spellbound at every turn.
The first time we visited Oman, we were caught off guard by the lack of available accommodations, including tents. The Eid holidays only added to the hustle and bustle, leaving us with no choice but to spend the night in our car. However, this unexpected turn of events did not dampen our spirits, and we resolved to make the most of our trip.
Since then, we have made numerous camping trips to Oman, accompanied by our friends. With each visit, we have discovered new wonders, from the turquoise waters of the Arabian Sea to the majestic mountains and pristine landscapes. Our love for Oman grows with each passing trip as we continue to explore and discover the hidden treasures that this beautiful country has to offer.
After a decade-long hiatus, the thought of revisiting Khasab beckoned us once again, and we eagerly set out on our journey a few weeks ago. With the weather being tolerable, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to revisit this picturesque town that had captivated our hearts years ago.
Distance and Visa Cost:-
Located 35 kilometers away from Ras Al Khaimah, the UAE-Oman border marked the starting point of our journey. As we arrived at the border, we were required to pay an exit fee of 30 Dirhams per person to leave the UAE.
Thankfully, our Canadian passports made us eligible for an Oman visa on arrival, which was a huge relief for us. However, it was important to note that Oman customs only accepted card payments and not cash, which we had to keep in mind while planning our expenses.
For other nationalities, the process was slightly different, requiring them to fill out a form and pay 5 Omani Riyals for an Oman visa. Despite the varying procedures, there were washrooms on-site and a small sitting area, providing some much-needed respite from the long journey.
In addition to the visa requirements, it was essential to have our car insurance and a document called Mulkiya ready to present at customs. These documents served as proof of ownership and were mandatory for all vehicles crossing the border.
It was important to note that taking rental or leased cars through the border was a challenging task, requiring written permission from the rental company or leasing agency. Without proper documentation, crossing the border could prove to be a difficult task, and we were thankful for being well-prepared in advance. With all our documents in order, we were ready to continue our journey into Oman, eager to explore the beauty that lay ahead.
Overall, the border crossing was a smooth process, and we were excited to begin our journey into the enchanting land of Oman.
Distance from RAK-OMAN Border to Khasab:-
Once we had cleared customs at the RAK-Oman border, we continued our journey, taking in the breathtaking views of the ocean on one side and the rugged mountains on the other. The journey from the border to our destination covered a distance of 47 kilometers, and we were in awe of the development of the road with barricades that added an extra layer of safety to our journey.
As we drove further, memories from our previous visit came flooding back, and we recalled the times when we could stop on the side of the road and visit the caverns. However, this time around, the border regulations made it impossible for us to do so.
The barricades were a clear indication of the increasing traffic on this route, and we could understand why the government had taken this step to ensure people's safety. Even though we were unable to stop and explore the caverns, we were still able to enjoy the stunning views of the landscape and take in a natural beauty that surrounded us.
As we continued our road trip, we were met with the majestic serpentine mountain terrains, which dominated the landscape and added an extra layer of beauty to our journey. The winding roads snaked their way through the mountains, offering us spectacular views of the rugged terrain. As we drove further, we approached the Gulf of Oman, and the change in the water's color was a clear indication that we had entered a different place altogether. The crystal-clear waters sparkled under the sun. We left RAK at around 10 am. By the time we had arrived at our destination, it was already noon, and we wasted no time in heading straight for our dhow cruise.
Activities in Khasab:-
Our excitement grew as we boarded the private dhow that we had booked for our cruise. The boat was adorned with colorful Middle Eastern-themed seating that was both inviting and visually stunning. We were warmly welcomed by the attentive attendants from Khasab Sands Tours, who invited us to take our seats comfortably and offered us refreshing water and drinks.
As we settled into our seats, the attendants gave us a brief description of the area and provided us with maps to help us navigate our way through the cruise. They also mentioned the option of an overnight dhow camping trip, where guests had the privilege of sleeping on the dhow. This left us stunned, and we couldn't believe that such an incredible experience was possible. The level of hospitality and attention to detail provided by the attendants only added to our excitement, and we couldn't wait to see what else this adventure had in store for us.
We found ourselves sailing in the middle of the majestic mountains, surrounded by the ocean and the beauty of Khasab. It was a breathtaking sight, and if there was a place that resembled heaven, Khasab would undoubtedly be one of them. The calming atmosphere and immersive nature of our surroundings transported me to another realm entirely.
The primary purpose of our dhow cruise in Khasab was to explore the ocean and perhaps encounter friendly dolphins. Our previous experiences with dhow cruises always involved early morning departures, and we were thrilled at the prospect of seeing the playful creatures in action once again. We had previously witnessed the dolphins chase our boat from both sides, always keeping up with our speed and never failing to put on a spectacular show.
We were informed by the boat attendant that dolphins were typically seen in the morning, but since we were sailing in the afternoon, we were unlikely to encounter any. We joked amongst ourselves, wondering if the dolphins had already had their lunch and retired for a nap. Despite this, the guys onboard assured us that they would do their best to help us witness the mighty dolphins in action.
In an attempt to catch a glimpse of the elusive dolphins, we began whistling to grab their attention. Other dhows in the vicinity also started circling the area, all hoping to catch a glimpse of these friendly creatures. As we made noise, I couldn't help but feel guilty for disrupting the peaceful ocean to attract the wildlife. Unfortunately, our efforts were in vain as no dolphins appeared to greet us.
Despite this setback, our dhow attendants remained determined to give us a positive experience. They continued to circle the area and even moved to another location in hopes of spotting some dolphins. We assured them that it was alright and that they needn't try so hard, but their dedication to providing us with a memorable experience was unwavering. Even after we gave up, they kept at it, and we couldn't help but feel sorry for their futile attempts.
We couldn't contain our excitement when we finally spotted a dolphin popping up from the water's surface. It was a magnificent creature, and we cheered in unison as it playfully swam around our dhow. Soon after, another dolphin appeared, making our joy double. However, as the other dhows in the area caught on, they too began circling around the dolphins, creating a disturbance. Sadly, as quickly as they appeared, the dolphins vanished beneath the surface, leaving us all in awe of their fleeting beauty.
Our dhow captain was determined to give us the best experience, even after the disappointment earlier. Suddenly, his phone rang, and he received a tip from his colleagues that the dolphins were spotted on the other side of the mountain. He wasted no time and quickly maneuvered the dhow to the other side, where he stopped to give us another chance to spot the playful creatures.
Soon, we witnessed the sight of three dolphins swimming in the sparkling blue ocean, reflecting the bright sunlight on their bodies. It was a magnificent view, and we couldn't contain our excitement. We cheered and captured photos and videos to cherish the moment. The boat attendants had successfully delivered what they promised, and we were grateful for their efforts.
Once we had our fill of dolphin watching, the dhow attendants prepared a fresh lunch for us. They barbecued the fish and chicken they had caught on the dhow, and for the vegetarians, they fried frozen fries in front of us and served them with vegetable curry, Arabic bread, rice, and salad. The spread was plentiful and cooked fresh in the middle of the ocean. The attendants were kind enough to keep feeding us until we had to hold our stomachs and refuse any more food.
After we finished our lunch, the dhow crew served us some tea. It was time to head back. I sat at the edge of the dhow, taking in the beauty of nature. For the first time, I didn't feel afraid of the water. I was standing in the middle of the dhow cruise without a hint of fear.
The tides had become bigger and higher, causing the dhow to bounce on the waves. We saw speedboats literally almost flying in front of us. The crew informed us that there was a weather warning for the evening, and boats were not permitted to go out to sea.
As we safely reached the coast, we couldn't help but feel grateful for the amazing adventure we had just experienced in Khasab. The thought of staying a night in the magical city lingered in our minds, but alas, it was time to head back home. On the drive back, we sang songs and reminisced about the beautiful moments we shared together. It was yet another unforgettable trip, and we eagerly look forward to returning to Khasab in the future. We express our gratitude to Khasab Sands Tours for making our trip an unforgettable and remarkable experience and would highly recommend them for your upcoming trip to Oman.
You can see the short video of our trip on this link, https://www.instagram.com/reel/Co3kuYtIIEo/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=