Saturday, January 16, 2016

Dubai to Khasab,Mussandam by road

Khasab is the small capital city of mussandam peninsula, of Oman - has frequently been dubbed as the "Norway of Arabia" because of its extensive fjord-like craggy inlets and desolate mountainscapes. Its basically nothing but some barren lands and mountains with extremely amazing views and camping spots. If you are a resident of UAE then you can go there through border posts with out any problems in your own Vehicle.

I am writing this travelogue to help those who are planing to travel by roads to khasab from  UAE. Our plan was to start early in the morning, cover the long distance on road as soon as possible, pass the border and head for different maimum possible location in Khasab. A Pit stop at Ras al khaima, before the border for lunch and refueling and some shopping for filling up the trunk with food items and water. We had no intention to go for overnight camping. In fact some of our friends are there so they will be hanging out  with us later on all along the travel. 

So based on this true incidents and mishaps, I would like to share my experience and DONT DOs which will be very useful for your trip if you are planning one. 

4 points you need to start working on at least one week before.

1 . Passport.
Get it ready in your hand. And make sure you keep it in a place where you wont forget in the last moment. Thats how 4 of us got reduced to 3 in the last minute. One guy's passports is nowhere to find. 

The next thing you need to check is you eligibility for visit visa. 
Check this link in Royal oman police website to see if you are eligible or not. If you are not in this category, plan your visit on popular holidays.  

If your visa status is not in this list, the probability of getting rejected at border is high. So don't get disappointed. 

2. Vehicle insurance / Vehicle registration
Double check that you have vehicle insurance coverage in oman. If you dont have one get one.

Your vehicle registration should have at least 3 months validity. Other wise the chances of getting rejected at the border is high. if you have entire GCC coverage on vehicle insurance, call the customer care and verify it. May be you will have to obtain a letter from the insurance provider. When i called and checked, they told me to get a paper from any branch office. 

3. Travel insurance (optional) / medical insurance for visitors (if you planning to stay for more than 15 days. Optional) 

These are only optional if you are planning some thing incredibly stupid or extremely adventures. This is not mandatory but for your sake of reducing risk I suggest these.

4. Camera and tripod. Wide angle lenses

This is also optional. 

5.Camping gears. 

For those who are not planning to book hotels.

6. GPS / Android phones with offline maps already downloaded.

for those who dont want to get lost in the woods.

Day 1

We took the old emirates (E311) road straight from jabel ali itself to avoid all traffics. That journey was pretty plain simple. Straight on 140 kms/hour we reached RAK with in 2 hours. 

The next plan was to have lunch and fill the trunk with eatables and refuel. Because I read some where online that after Ras al Khaima, there will be barely any shops. And since this is our frist time on these roads we didn't wanted to take any risk. So we filled it with water, juice, snacks, fruits, etc. But i made a small mistake by refueling from Ras al Khaima itself. If I has crossed the border and go few kilometers inside, i would have been able to save few Dhs on gas. The gas price in Oman is bit cheaper than what they are in UAE. Like i said before, since this was my first time and wouldn't want to risk the journey, i didnt had any choice. So if you are reading this travelogue to get idea about traveling to khasab, my first suggestion would be cross the border for filling your tank. But remember to take all the food, water & stuffs in your trunk because this is a very long distance that you going to cover. 

This link will give you one location which i think, should be you last pit stop before crossing the border. 

You will get small super markets, restaurants etc.

TIP No :1 - Google map on your phone will stop working when you cross the border. Even if you have sim card and data service from any oman network service providers, it wont do any good because there will not be any mobile network coverage on the roads except for few pocket areas. So plan ahead and download some apps with inbuild maps in your phone. It will be very useful. I recommend apps like cygwin, offline maps, sygic etc. By the way i used trial version of sygic. 

Crossing the border.

If you are going to khasab on public holidays, try to reach the border check post  as early as possible. It will take at least 2 - 3 hours to get your visa stamped from the emigration office. if you are going on on long public holidays. Specially on Eid, weekends of December, January, February months, there will be too much rush.

Remember, this is a very sensitive area. So don't try to pissoff the military personals and traffic officers out there, specially during rush hours. They can bring you real headache. Smile, greet and get all the paper work done in a polite easy way. All officials are very cooperative and they will help you with all paper works. Strictly no camera zone.Keep it in your bag. 

When you enter the border crossing zone, you will see long queues of vehicle along the road side. Try to park the car in such a way you dont get blocked by another card or you dont block any others. Take your passport, car registration card, insurance paper and cash and go to emigration office. There are many counters open. Remember in Dubai emigration office, they dont accept cash. Either you can pay using your credit card or debit card. Or you can get a prepaid "e-dhirham" card from the front office it self. Then next step is goto any counter, stand in the queue and get your exit stamped from UAE emigration office. Get a token for your vehicle and proceed to vehicle. Take your car and cross the gate. The gate keeper will ask for the token and hand it over to him. 

Move to the oman border office. Park your car and get inside the emigration office. Here also procedure is same. But you will have to fill up a small form and proceed to queue in front of the counters. Pay the visa fee and get all your passport stamped. make sure there is stamp on your passport. Here the officials are not so good in english. But they are very friendly.

Then you all you have to do is to start your engine and go across the gate towards the mountains of khasab.

On the way you will come across many sweet locations and beach fronts. If you get time stop by and click some picks. 

Going alone the curved roads gives you amazing views that you might not have experienced before. 

Just be careful while driving those blind corners. Those are really dangerous. Keep you side as the both lanes are together on the same road it self. Vehicles coming from the opposite direction can come face to face at any corners. So slow down if you don't have country side road experience. 

Though out the journey you may find lot of old interesting stuffs.So if you have time, take few minutes to explore the both sides of the roads. To be honest i have taken tones of picture by which only the one which cannot be sold online will be posted in this blog. 

We took whole day exploring the locations on either side of the roads. Clicking all along the way. By the time we reached kasab and met our friends there, it was dark. There was some kind of expo going on the beach side. There were lots of campers there. It was an awesome night. We spend whole night there eating and roaming around.

Day 2 

I woke up early morning before sunrise to experience the sunrise of this part of the world. I took the camera and set for some remote area to see any good location. Amazingly i ended up very nice location with straight roads and barely any human being and got few awsome clicks from these locations.

After my early morning trip i got back to our place camp for breakfast. Directly headed to some remote location far from the city area. One of our friend who is working in khasab also joined us since he know all locations.

We took a turn from the main road towards the mountains, unpaved roads and hairpins curves. It was pretty adventures. And it was taking to much time also. We traveled around 2 hours at 30 - 40 km/s climbing the hill. And finally reached a spot with an awesome view. I got plenty of clicks from there.
I cant believe the location and the view from there. Its absolutely no words to describe.

There were lot of camping teams and families there. We came acquainted with a gang from Dubai, who used to come here very often. They were doing fishing, cooking and camping there. Pretty cool no ?

Wandering around clicking some awesome pics, we returned back to the town for heading back to Dubai. On the way back we went to see some mountain passes which is very awesome to see.

By  afternoon we reached the Khasab port, where people will board for boat cruise and seeing dolphins. Very often some cruise ships used to halt here for a day or two. Many tourist were seen all around the place. The Dhow cruise is the one of the main evens its in Khasab. Its a daily trip to the sea for sight seeing and Dolphin viewing. Its better to go there off -season. During rush seasons the charges will be sky high and you may not be even able to get a seat in any cruise boat.

On the way back to Dubai we took some dip in the deep blue sea. Spend some time in the evening sun, swimming. It was a beautiful evening.

On the way back through the border there were no much checking from the Oman side. But the Dubai border check post was having heavy guards and checking. We had to get down from the car and the guards will check the complete vehicle. Just keep the cool and let them do their job. Answer to their question and move on.

Back to Dubai.

No comments:

You might like this.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

My Blog List