MY BEAUTIFUL OMAN

I was browsing my files today and I saw this powerpoint with pictures of different places in Oman compiled by a very good friend who passed away early this year. Oman has been Bryan’s home for more than 5 years and he loves taking pictures and visiting different places.

The Title of the Album is “My Beautiful Oman”

I am posting these pictures in loving memory of Bryan Hobbs…

 •Third largest nation in the Arabian Peninsula
 •A land seeped in history dating back over 5000 years
 •The land of Frankincense coveted by the Pharaohs, Roman Emperors and the prophets

 *Over a thousand forts, castles, wateyah towers protected Oman and its people over the years.

*Many forts have walls 6-7 feet wide.

*Secret passages, tunnels, dungeons, meeting rooms, lively souks and mosques – all form part of the forts
 

*Imam Ahmed Bin Said Al Busaidi (1744-1775) was the first in line of the Al Busaidi dynasty, which has ruled Oman for the past 25 years.
*Sayyid Qaboos Bin Said is the present ruler.
 
*Wherever you look there are shades of green, green and green.
*The land of the Frankincense.
*Queen of Shebba sent a boat full of Frankincense from the Dhofar region (Salalah).
* It is also said that one of the three wise men came from this region with Frankincense.

 
 
*Oman is a vital area for the green turtles in the Indian Ocean.
*Over 275 beaches of the Sultanate double up as nesting grounds for five of the seven recognized species of sea turtles.
 
 
The Sand Dunes
 
*Over 2500 Bedouin families live in the desert.

*They live in tents and rear camels and goats.
 
 
 
 
TREASURES OF OMANI HERITAGE
 

The Khanjar
A symbol of pride, manhood and elegance
A curved dagger, every Omani must wear.
 
 
 
See you in Oman…….the essence of Arabia…
 

The Grand Mosque Muscat

The Grand Mosque was built by the sultan as a gift to the people of Oman in commemoration of the thirtieth year of his reign. It can accommodate up to 20,000 worshippers and consists of a main prayer hall, ladies prayer hall, covered passageways, a meeting hall, and library which will eventually contain up to 20,000 books.

In the centre of the prayer hall just four pillars support a massive 50 metre high, wood-panelled central dome. Hanging from the dome is a magnificent crystal chandelier made of Swarovski crystal. Fourteen metres high by eight metres in diameter, the chandelier weighs eight tonnes and has 1,122 lamps and 600,000 crystals. The metal sections of the chandelier are plated in 24 carat gold.

The prayer mat which took four years and six hundred weavers to produce, covers 4,200 square metres and weighs 21 tonnes. This Persian carpet is one of the largest carpet in the world.

The Ablution Area

Ablution is the act of washing one’s body or part of it as part of a religious ritual. Muslims wash their hands, arms, feet and face before prayers.

with PCO church staff.

The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is open to non-Muslims from 8 am to 11 am, excluding Fridays. Both male and female visitors should dress modestly. Men and women should ensure their arms and legs are covered, and women should cover their heads. Shoes should be removed before entering the prayer hall.

My Favorite Places in Oman (Rank # 4 – Salalah)

Salalah is often considered to be the “second city” of the Sultanate, although some of this designation is probably due to its distinction as Sultan Qaboos’ birthplace.  It is about 1000kms fromMuscat, which is the capital of Oman.

The region is famous for its khareef (monsoon), and the Khareef Festival is an annual event here. Salalah is famous for its rich history, archeological remains and numerous frankincense trees.

Visited Salalah with some friends in 2010.

Wadi Darbat is a natural park with majestic views of mountains, wadi, wildlife and lush green vegetation.

Fresh Fruit Market

Fish Market

Mughsayl Beach & Blowholes

This is a very famous tourist attraction just 50kms from Salalah city. The drive to Mughsayl is quite ordinary and is desert on both sides pretty much all the way. But once you get to Mughsayl, you can have great fun getting amused by the blowholes. The blowholes are actually air holes on the floor which cut through rock to the bottom, where the sea hits land.

When the waves from the sea hit the rock, because of these vents on the ground, air and water is forced up the vent and comes up almost like a fountain, but the volume of water and force of air is awesome. It is something that is very enjoyable when you are actually waiting near the blowholes for the air and water to spray up.

Trip To Thailand

Previously the country was well-known to the world as “siam” and only on May 11, 1949 did an official proclamation changed the name of the country into  Thailand by which it has since come to be known throughout the world.

Bangkok is the capital city of and largest urban area inThailand. It is by far the most densely populated city in Thailand with about 12 million people. Bangkok certainly lives up to its reputation as a travel hot spot in Southeast Asia. The ‘City of Angels’ has funky markets, upmarket malls, a riverside full of surprises, and a vibrant nightlife scene.

 One of my favorite mall is MBK. The multi-storey MBK is probably Bangkok’s most legendary shopping mall, popular with both tourists and locals. Eight floors packed with 2,000 shops that sell everything from clothing, fashion accessories, handbags, leather products and luggage to furniture, mobile phones, electric appliances, cameras, stationery and DVDs. MBK is a beehive of activity, especially on weekends, when half of Bangkok converges to shop for bargains.

Some tourist attractions in Thailand:

 SIAM OCEAN WORLD

One of the largest underground aquariums inSoutheast Asia. Meet some rare and bizarre-looking marine life, from striped frogfish to blind cave fish, nautiluses to humped head Maori Wrasse. Feel the skin of friendly starfish and walk amongst the ocean’s fiercest predators – ragged-tooth sharks, black-tipped sharks, sting rays – in the 270-degree underwater tunnel. Better yet, dive into the depth of the ‘OpenOcean’ and flirt with the sharks and colourful marine creatures, or hop aboard a glass-bottom boat and simply watch them dance underneath your feet.

my sister in the underwater tunnel.

Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

It’s a place where you can brush shoulders with your favourite Hollywood stars, local celebrities, sports heroes and heroines, even heads of state. Madame Tussauds with a revolutionary concept – the wax museum with exhibits you can touch, hug, play with and even kiss.

my sister with Oprah and below with US Pres. Barach & Michelle Obama.

Floating Market

The floating market is where goods is sold from boats.Thailandis famously known for floating markets, and it’s a major tourist destination there. Boats are piled high with tropical fruit and vegetables, fresh, ready-to-drink coconut juice and local food cooked from floating kitchens located right on the boat. 

 

The Cobra Show

Nowadays snake became a one of the most exited show for tourists. So you can see the Cobra show in main tourist attraction of Thailand. The show men have to be very high skill in case of he makes some mistake on the show is not enough time to take him to hospital because the poison of Cobra and king cobra are very dangerous, can kill you in 5 minutes.

Temples in Thailand

Bangkok’s temples are a unique part of the capital’s heart and soul.  The best time to visit most temples is in the early morning. It’s cooler and generally less crowded. The temples (‘wats’) are not just tourist attractions but also play an important part in Buddhist traditions.

My Favorite Places in Oman (Rank # 3 – Nizwa Area)

Nizwa is located in the heart of Oman about 165 km from Muscat the capital city. Driving is about an hour and a half.

The following are tourist attractions in Nizwa:

NIZWA FORT

Hailed as a monument to Omani architectural ingenuity, Nizwa fort reflects the military engineering prowess of fort-builders of a bygone time. It is also one of the Sultanate’s finest historical edifices, attracting great numbers of tourists each year.

Weekend visit to the fort with some good friends!

Jebel Shams – Oman ’s Grand Canyon. Jebel in arabic is mountain and the word Jebel Shams means ‘ Sun Mountain ’ because it is the first place to greet sunlight at dawn and the last to say farewell at dusk. The highest point lies at 3010 metres. The drive takes around 1.5hrs to the base of the mountain.

The spectacular balcony walk is a must if you are making the journey to Jebel shams. The 4 hour trek (2hrs each way) takes you along the edge of Omans Grand Canyon offering incredible views of the mountain range and the villages below.

with my Auncle Jun during his visit in March 2012.

There are several camp sites that provides accomodation (tents and chalets) for those who want to stay overnight at the top of the mountain. For more information contact Hamed at 92663837 or email at reservation@jabalshams.com.

Al Hoota caves nestled at the feet of Jebel Shams. It is more than 5km long traversed by underground River. A stunning scenery greets you just before you reach the place. The cave has an extraordinary dimension and features an electric train .  The 840-metre illuminated walkway with railings make finding your way inside the cool cave easy. The cave, punctuated with dozens of intriguing ancillary chambers and offshoots, carves its way from north to south tapering through the flanks of a large mountain.

IT IS IMPORTANT that you make your reservation before going to Al Hoota. For more information you may call 24498258.

Jabrin Fort is one of the finest and most attractive forts in Oman, being designed initially as a palace by Bil’arab bin Sultan an Imam of the Ya’aruba dynasty in the 1600’s and later converted to a fort. The castle has been restored to its former glory including rooms with magnificent teak panelled and decorated ceilings. The fort was built with local stone in separate stages and consists of two blocks with adjoining courtyards in the centre. The rooms in both wings have high ceilings and plastered walls and the principal room of the fort is known as the Sun and Moon room. This room has a richly decorated ceiling, panelled with teak and decorated with floral motifs and verses from the Quran.

with my friend Sena and Auncle Jun.

Auncle Jun talking to his wife telling how beautiful Oman is.

You may consider Tanuf. Waterfalls in Tanuf are unique to the area within the steep mountain sides and the water reservoir, you may want to spend a picnic day.

with Eric and Tita Nora enjoying the massage from the waterfall.

Jebel Akhdar is translated as Green Mountain. It is not really a mountain, it is area of Saiq Plateau, at 2000 meters above sea level. You need to have the travel document with you, as there is a military control before entering the plateau. There is also a rule that only the cars with four-wheel-drive are allowed to enter the territory, as some of the roads are really steep. Conveniently there is a car rental at Birkat Al Mawz.

The road from the village to plateau is excellent – for car and for driver. The drive is very scenic. Up at the plateau there are many villages, one hotel, a maze of roads and trails.

Oman Off-road Explorer suggested that if you have only three hours, Diana’s check point is a must see.  This marvelous promontory with commanding views got the name after Princess Diana’s visit with helicopter at 1990.

Jebel Akhdar Hotel is one of the few hotel at the top of the mountain. It is a 3 star hotel that has luxuriously designed and furnished suites, double and single bedrooms for the comfortable stay of guests. Their restaurant serves a selection of various delicious food from its la carte menu. BBQ ad Buffet services are also arranged from time to time.

The pomegranate harvest of Jabal Akhdar

September is the month when pomegranates mature and bloom in Al Jabal al Akhdar. The variety of pomegranates  grown here are among the finest in the world. They come in big sizes and are delicious to taste.  The pomegranate trees are found in plenty in various areas around the mountain.

My Favorite Places in Oman (Rank # 2 – Wadi Shabs)

‘Wadi’ means ‘dry river bed’ (Wadi Shab is actually a wet river bed, a beautiful emerald green oasis in the desert).

Wadi shab is one of the most popular places to visit in Oman. It is situated in the village of Tiwi south ofMuscat. It takes around two hours driving to reach the wadi. It is easy to reach this wadi from the Qurayyat-Sur highway. Eventhough all guidebooks say you need a 4WD to get there…you can easily reach it in a regular car.

There’s 40 minute walk through the wadi so make sure you wear walking shoes, hat, sunglasses and put on suns cream for protection from the heat of the sun. Best time to visit the wadi is from February until November when the water is not cold.

But the big fun is at the end of the wadi (after 1hour walking). You can access a little cave by swimming, and then you can climb the rocks and make enormous jumps in the water.

 If you want a local tour guide who lives in the area, you can contact my friend Salah at 92558710.

Not too far from  Wadi Shabs is the Bimmah Sink Hole. In this sinkhole, fresh water is mixed with sea water giving it a wonderful colour as seen from the photograph.

FREE Foot Spa!

MUSCAT FESTIVAL

Muscat Municipality organizes an annual month long event called Muscat festival.  This festival is held in two different places – In Al Qurum park and Naseem Park (almost outside Muscat).

 The festival showcases Oman’s traditional arts, culture and heritage and also providing its people with fun, adventure and entertainment. Things that we normally enjoy are the fireworks display and laser show at 9pm in Qurum, the food stalls selling arabic foods in Qurum and in Naseem, fun rides and shopping bazaar in Naseem.

 Muscat festival this year is from January 26 and will last til February 26, 2012. Entrance fee is 200 baiza and you can buy the ticket at the gate entrance.