Oman - The country in the Orient 10/2023



Again and again I have heard that Oman is supposed to be a real insider tip on the Arabian Peninsula.

Moreover, I have read that for divers it is a real alternative to the Red Sea with many intact coral reefs or wrecks. If you are lucky, you can even meet whales, the rare leopard shark, turtles and whale sharks.

Oman is more traditional than the Emirates and safer than Yemen.

Beautiful beaches and port cities, the "empty quarter", the Rub al-Chali desert, but also the various wadis and the Hajar mountains - all this sounds like a very diverse and interesting country, which has aroused my Curiosity.

At the end of September, I will now be able to travel there and see for myself.


Still in the dark, I made my way to the S-Bahn and drove to the airport. There I queued up at the "Privilege Club" counters, because I am allowed to do that since I have the Silver Card from Qatar Airways.

The check-in worked great, at the security check I was also allowed to use an extra entrance and so I was quickly through. Then I went to the Airport Lounge World and enjoyed a great, rich breakfast. It is already something different than I usually know.

Shortly before boarding time, I made my way to the gate. Hardly arrived, they already called me up. I went to the counter and just like that I got an upgrade to the business lounge. I was of course very happy.

When I took my seat I was already greeted very friendly with a glass of Rose Champagne. I treated myself to a sip and then took a closer look at my seat.

There was a little extra, a real blanket, bigger screens and a seat that I could actually extend to a bed. After trying everything out, the stewardess came again and brought me the menu card. I was allowed to choose a three-course meal from each of three different dishes.

Before lunch came, my table was made pretty with a white table server. The food was served on real dishes-no plastic-and the menu tasted excellent.

After I was full, of course, I took advantage of the "bed" and slept for an hour or so, because the early rising was making itself felt. And I slept really well.

Shortly before landing in Qatar, we were politely asked if we had a connecting flight, needed assistance and if we liked it. I thanked them for the great service, which I could really get used to if it weren't so expensive, and declined assistance, however, because I had enough time until the second flight left, and I know the airport really well by now.

On the display board I looked at which gate my connecting flight went and then looked for the Silver Lounge. The young ladies recommended me to visit another lounge near the gate, I got the upgrade from you. I accepted it with thanks and found the Premium Gold Lounge relatively quickly. Here I ate and drank a little something, and enjoyed the time.

The flight from Doha to Muscat passed quickly.

But when I got to the security check, I was startled. An extremely long queue stood in front of it. I decided to pay 10 OMR (the equivalent of just under 25€) to pass the priority passport control, so that I would not have stood there after midnight. I picked up the luggage and walked to the exit.

There was already waiting Oliver, the owner of the guesthouse "Lana Villa" , whom I met in July already in Munich. We drove to the accommodation and he showed me the room.

Before I fell exhausted into bed, I quickly packed my diving gear, because tomorrow morning I finally get to dive again.

Day 1 Diving Day - Daymaniyat Islands

The night was short, because at six o'clock the alarm clock rang again.

When I came to breakfast at half past six, the two ladies from Lana Villa were a bit surprised. Because normally there is breakfast only from 7:30 o'clock. When I explained to them that I was going diving, I got something anyway and could strengthen myself.

Oli recommended me the "OTaxi App". With it I could get to the diving school cheaply. I tried it out and it worked great. Like in Vietnam, where I used "Grab". But the difference is big: it costs much more than in Asia. For just under 3.7 OMR (equivalent to 9 €) they took me to the diving center about 15 minutes away at the harbor. Arrived there I was welcomed very friendly. Everything was already prepared.

I had already contacted Mido in advance. When I mentioned my name he immediately remembered me and explained how it would work today. There were two dive boats with three groups each (4-5 people). I was then shown my dive bag, which was already prepared with everything. I checked everything and then brought all the stuff to the boat. There I assembled my equipment.

On the boat I met a couple from Sydney and a German-Canadian. Viencent, my divemaster, explained everything we needed to know on the boat. Then we left the harbor and headed out to the open sea.

After about three quarters of an hour, we reached the Daymaniyat Islands, a small chain of islands. The islands and the surrounding sea area of 203 km² are a nature reserve established in 1996.

After the briefing, we were assigned to groups and our dive guides. After the buddy check we jumped into the water and dived at the dive site "Sierrra". The water was really clear and so I saw a small turtle right at the beginning at 10 meters.

With almost 29 degrees it was not exactly a cooling but still pleasant to dive, because the normal temperature was 39 degrees. In addition clear visibility. The only thing missing were the sea creatures. Looking for the leopard shark, which can always be found there, we saw many schools of fish and two more turtles. But the rare leopard sharks did not show up. So we resurfaced after about 55 minutes.

On board we exchanged the tanks and the guys from the diving school prepared a small lunch. We had falafel and other Arabic delicacies.

Strengthened we drove to the other side of the island (John Island) and got ready to dive again. This dive site was called "Sierra + West Wall". We dived along a wall but always looking out for sharks, turtles or other beautiful animals. But this dive was unfortunately not so successful, because we saw nothing except a few schools of fish. In addition, my left ear gave me a hard time, it didn't want to equalize the pressure anymore. Fortunately we were already surfacing again.

Around 14:30 we reached the harbor. At the diving school I thanked, paid and booked me with an OTaxi back to the guesthouse.

When I wanted to relax on the roof terrace, I met a German couple who had ear drops with them. I was allowed to borrow them and they really helped.

Nevertheless, I cancelled the diving for tomorrow as a precaution and Oliver gave me good tips as an alternative. So tomorrow morning I will have a closer look at the capital Muscat.

In the evening he showed me a few locations and we went to eat in an Arabic restaurant.

Day 2 Culture Day Muscat

Shortly before eight o'clock the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque opens. It is the main mosque in Oman. It is considered one of the most important buildings in the country and one of the largest mosques in the world. The construction of the complex was decided by Sultan Qabus in 1992. I wanted to be there when it opened because then I would have a chance of fewer people. I booked myself again via the app the almost 3 km an OTaxi.

There was really nothing going on yet, fortunately. But before I was allowed to enter the facility, I had to wrap a headscarf, or my loop scarf over my head and put on my cardigan.

Afterwards, I went on an exploration and photo tour. Since little was going on, I could let off steam in peace with the perspectives and ideas. The plant is huge and really offers many great motifs.

After I had some photos in the box I also went inside the mosque. It was very impressive to see a mosque from the inside and then the largest of Oman.

My second stop was the "Royal Opera House Muscat" which is located in the district "Shati al-Qurm in Maska". Unfortunately, I had no wifi to be able to book me an OTaxi, so I asked someone on the spot for hotspots. Immediately some men came up to me and wanted to offer me a cab, of course overpriced. I declined with thanks, the hotspot I got anyway and so I booked myself another ride.

Arrived at the Opera House I bought a ticket for 3.1 OMR and went on a small guided tour. We were told that the construction lasted from 2007-2011 and the hall has 1,100 seats.

After the tour I strolled a bit through the mall that was right next door, had a coffee and wanted to go on to a market.

After I read on the Internet that it closes at noon and only reopens in the late afternoon, I decided to go back to the guesthouse and take a siesta, because at 39 degrees around the clock on the legs, I can no longer stand.

As I sat in the living room of Villa Lana in the late afternoon waiting for my OTAXI, I met Mr. Eckart von Hirschhausen and his family.

The drive to the market " Mutrah souq" a little south of Muscat took about half an hour.There they built and opened their stalls after the long lunch break. As I strolled through the small covered alleys, memories of Marakesh came up. Similar to that time, it smelled like incense and the merchants try to sell you perfume, fake cashmere shawls and other goods. But I just wanted to take pictures. Some of you thought it was really great and had fun when I asked if I could take a picture.

As the sun was setting I was looking for a nice place to watch the sunset, but I didn't find one and my stomach started to growl.

As I walked along the harbor, a car suddenly stopped and a young woman addressed me by name. Belinda, from the diving school from yesterday had recognized me. She is Swiss and has lived here for three years. She gave me a tip for a restaurant, which I also accepted. It was on the 2nd floor with a view of the harbor.

Afterwards I drove back to my guesthouse. There I secured my photos and packed everything for tomorrow, because then I try it again with the diving and go in search of the leopard shark.

Day 3 - Everything comes differently than planned

Unfortunately, shortly before going to sleep, my ear started to cause problems again. It hurt, so I had to cancel the diving with a heavy heart.

But I also needed an alternative, because just sitting around or lying on the beach, that's not my world.

Oli gave me the tip to go to Nizwa with its fortress and other souks in the interior with a car. But I did not want to rent a car. He suggested me a collective cab.

Said done I drove after breakfast with the OTaxi to the bus station. There was a lot going on and somehow also very chaotic. When asking for a shared cab, they just looked at me questioningly, but when I called "Nizwa" you pointed to the bus. But it said "Salaah" on it. But one affirmed that this also goes to Nizwa. I trusted the bus driver got on and paid 3 OMR.

I ran Mapsme during the ride to see if the bus was really going the right way. There was also WIFi and so the one and a half hours passed relatively quickly. Before the gates of Nizwa, the bus then stopped at a bus station.

On site, they wanted to direct me to a restaurant for dinner, but I refused and asked politely if there was WIFI here. They denied that, but in a small office they gave me access to a hotspot and so I booked an OTaxi directly to the souk.

It was not really busy, so I could look around in peace. Outside were various clay and pottery stalls.

In a back corner four older men sat and drank coffee. When I asked them if I could photograph them, they agreed and at the same time invited me for a coffee, which I gratefully accepted. They did not understand a word of English but somehow it was still funny with them.

We continued to the various market halls. Here it was nice and cool and refreshing. But even there was not really something going on. Maybe it was just the time and quite in the morning and evening is more going on.

Afterwards I strolled a bit through "Old town" until I came to the entrance of the "Nizwa Fort", an impressive fortress from the 17th century.

It has a very large round tower, cannons at the entrance and high interiors. I paid 5 OMR entrance fee and a young student accompanied me and explained some things. She does this besides her studies and the tours are a lot of fun for her.

After the tour and all the stair climbing in 38 degrees, I looked for a cafe with wifi, ordered an iced coffee and ate a piece of cake.

Around 2 p.m., I took an OTaxi back to the bus station and hoped that a bus would also go back to Muscat in a timely manner. 2:45 p.m. was written on a board. But the many OTaxis already called me to them and wanted to drive me to Muscat. 12 OMR they suggested to me. The app said 34 OMR. I negotiated with you 10 OMR, directly to Villa Lana and incl. Hotspot.

Oli and many others told me that it is very safe here in Oman, so after the driver took my deal, I decided to let them drive me to Muscat. In advance I took a photo of the license plate and sent it to Oli as a precaution. The drive was relaxed, we listened to Arabic music and reached our destination after just over an hour.

I paid, thanked him and went up to my room. There I rested a bit, arranged everything for the next two days and arranged to go for a sunset walk on the beach with Oli's German friend Maik and his neighbor.

Back at the guesthouse I saw the moon still shining on the roof terrace, I secured all photos and fell tired and exhausted into bed.

The next 2 days there are no blog entries, because I am on a tour in the desert without wifi and internet. Everything will be uploaded later.