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Travel Guide Middle East Oman Khasab

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Introduction

Khasab is a city in an exclave of Oman bordering the United Arab Emirates. It is the local capital of the Musandam peninsula and has frequently been dubbed the "Norway of Arabia" because of its extensive fjord-like craggy inlets and desolate mountainscapes.

Khasab is a small city when compared to nearby cities of the United Arab Emirates. It has many residents who mostly live in mainland Oman and come to Khasab for vacations. There is a huge population of Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis just like mainland Oman who work in restaurants, grocery stores, supermarkets, tour operators and many other places. The city has a Toyota Showroom.

It has a Lulu Hypermarket which is as big as the ones in Mainland Oman. The city is naturally surrounded by the mountains of the Al Hajar Range. Khasab has a fully functional hospital and several hotels like Atana Khasab, Lake Hotel and Khasab Hotel. Several Beaches and parks are found across the city. The city's population is dominated by ethnic Omanis from the mainland. Khasab also has a fort which is known as Khasab Fort. The people in the city are friendly to the tourists. The sea port is dominated by the superior dhows which take tourists for a cruise across the natural, dry "fjords" which is evidently the main reason for tourism in the city.

The city is frequently visited by residents of UAE as the Khasab Coastal Road provides access to the city from UAE by connecting with the E11 Highway in the UAE side. The city can also be accessed by the ferry which is maintained by the Government. The ferries are superior modern and well advanced.

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Sights and Activities

  • Khasab Castle (In front of the sea facing Port Authority) - The Portuguese constructed this fortress in the beginning of the 17th century and occupied it until their withdrawal from the region. This castle, which housed the Wali and his family in recent centuries and once held prisoners, has been restored and transformed into a regional museum. In the courtyard of the castle are boats and houses representative of the unique heritage of Musandam.

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Weather

Khasab has a hot desert climate with very hot summers and mild winters. Precipitation is low, and mostly falls from December to March.
The airport of Khasab, located few miles inland from the coast, on 27 June 2011, recorded the world calendar day highest minimum temperature of 41.2 °C until Death Valley, California, United States, broke the record by 0.5 °C on 12 July 2012.

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Getting There

An entry visa is required if you are entering from the United Arab Emirates. The emigration offices on both sides of the border are painfully slow and require travellers to fill out forms. The process to get a UAE exit and Omani entry visa usually requires 30-60 minutes on normal days but during holiday season in the United Arab Emirates, it can take up to four hours. If possible, team up, so that one person queues while the other fills out the immigration forms (each for every person!). Also note that only the Omani immigration building offers restrooms. If you travel with a group (party of six or more) then the driver might receive a token that you have to hand over at the last border check to do a quick head count. Don't leave without handing it over to the border police.

The Omani visa costs 20 Omani rials or 200 UAE dirhams for most nationalities and can be bought directly at the border. The entry visa to Musandam is free for ten days if you have already entered the UAE on a tourist visa. Non-GCC UAE Residents have different rules depending on their nationality. Diplomatic or service staff residing in the UAE need to check individually but in general need a visa in advance.

If you use a private vehicle, Omani insurance is required and strictly controlled. Ensure that you have a written confirmation; otherwise, you have to buy insurance at an inflated price at the border. Rental vehicles will need a written insurance confirmation, so make sure to check before you go.

By Plane

Oman Airlines has regular flights from Muscat to Khasab. During peak holiday seasons, Emirates and other Gulf airlines offer charter flights from Dubai to Khasab.

By Car

One can easily drive from Dubai or any other Emirate taking the northern road towards Ras al Khaimah, heading north to the Al Darah border. The road is in very good condition on the Omani side and the UAE RAK part is currently being upgraded

You can easily take a taxi from Ras al Khaimah to the Al Darah border. There are no taxis on the Omani side. Many trucks pass this border daily, so ask an Omani police officer to get you a ride in one of these trucks hitchhiking all the way to Khasab. This is for very adventurous people only. 36km taxi ride on the Emirate side.

By Boat

  • National Ferry Company (Muscat Ferry Boat), NFC Passenger Boarding Office Khasab (near Khasab Fort), ☎ +968 2673 1802, e-mail: reservation@nfc.om - There is ferry service to/from Muscat (5 hrs) and Dibba (2½ hrs). From Muscat, the ferry departs every Thursday at noon, and returns every Saturday at 11:30. From Dibba, ferries depart on Sundays and Thursdays (departure 13:00), and return to Dibba on Tuesdays (departure 10:00) and Thursdays (departure 12:30). All ferries have free Wi-Fi, with lunch, snacks and beverages included in the ticket price. You should get your ferry ticket in advance to ensure your place on the boat. Muscat one way: 45/23 OMR (business/tourist class); Muscat return: 85/44 OMR (business/tourist class); Dibba one way: 10 OMR (business class), 6 OMR (tourist class).

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Getting Around

By Car

Taxis are not to be found in Khasab. You have to get your own rent-a-car in Khasab or rely on your hotel's minivan transportation, which can take you where you want.

By Foot

You can also walk and hike around the region and in the mountains. If you're into full day treks, you can explore the city and nearby villages. During summer months, the Gulf region gets extremely and unbearably hot. Dress conservatively if entering Bedouin or remote fishing villages

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Eat

  • Al Shamaliyah Grill & Restaurant, Main square. Very good grill restaurant at the main square. Popular for local fish and meat dishes.
  • Musandam Restaurant, ☎ +968 2673 0569. 08:00-23:00. Local meat and fish dishes in this restaurant located in center city. Expect to pay from 1 OMR to 2 OMR depending on what you eat. Some vegetarian/vegan options.

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Drink

  • Fruit milk shakes - Some restaurants can prepare you fruit milk shakes. These are made with real fruit and often mixed with ice cream and full pieces of fresh fruit. 1-2 OMR depending your choice.
  • Black tea - All the local restaurants serve black tea. This is the traditional tea from the region. Usually nowadays, it is Lipton Black Tea.
  • Alcohol - Khasab allows alcohol in restaurants/bars with a licence. These places are limited (e.g. Atana Hotel), and as the alcohol is imported, rather expensive (e.g. beer 3-4 OMR

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Keep Connected

Internet

You can find internet cafes in some places, but they are not very common in Oman, mainly also because there's no free press. To use the Internet, individuals, companies, and institutions are asked to sign an agreement not to publish anything that destabilizes the state.
Wifi is on the rise including free wifi spots provided by Omantel, mainly in Muscat and a few other places.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The country code for Oman is 968. The general emergency number is 999.

Dialling out from Oman you will need to dial 00 + International Code + Number. Dialling into Oman callers use +968 followed by an 8-digit number.
These 8-digit numbers generally start with a 9 if it is mobile number, and with 2 for land line.

Telecommunication services in Oman are provided by Omantel. The company has a monopoly on the land-line telephone and Internet markets.
To avoid high costs when using your cellphone in Oman, buy a local SIM card, which are readily available in the country. Make sure you have an unlocked cell phone.

Post

Oman Post provides postal services in the country. Post offices generally open from 8:00am to 1:30pm Saturday to Wednesday and 8:00am to 11:00am Thursday. Services are reliable and relatively fast, though if you like to send a package internationally, you could also try and use international companies like TNT, DHL, UPS or FedEx.

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This is version 2. Last edited at 13:20 on May 3, 17 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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