Saturday, September 29

Wadi Bani Awf

Bani Awf (or Bani Auf) is a wadi that links Rustaq to Nizwa. The road in this wadi is really made for 4WD cars : some part of the tracks are flooded and you need an elevated car to go on. also at the end of the track it goes very (very) steep.

The main point of interest of this track will be the "Snake canyon", which is 300 meters deep, where you can go canyoning or via ferrata but better to have a guide to do these dangerous activities, moreover you need a specific equipment.

There is also the "little" Snake Canyon which is more accessible where you can walk and swim in
You will cross 3 or 4 small villages. The Palm trees of these villages will make a good spot for picnic or camping.

Note : you can do this wadi yourself referring to wadi bani awf in the Oman off-road explorer guide

Thursday, September 27

100th post !

The 100th posts is always a milestone in the development of a blog, and I'm very happy to reach it ! I would like to thank all my readers and all the people that left me encouraging comments ; you are about 50 to 70 visitors each day to read this blog. I'm in particular very pleased to see that a lot of Omani enjoy reading my blog.

Don't hesitate to leave comments on my blog, I will always be pleased to answer you and if you have a blog yourself or a website please add a link to my blog to increase my visibility on the web.

here is a selection of my favourite posts :
- Muscat vs. Paris round1 and Muscat vs. Paris round2 : the pros and cons about Oman.
- Women expats in Oman : discover the point of view of a french woman expat in Oman.
- Cost of living in Oman : my personal opinion about the cost of living in Oman.
- The poo-poo trucks : a funny fact about Muscat.
- The Sultan Qaboos highway : you take this road each day in Muscat, better to be prepared.

Monday, September 24

Trekking in the Sayq Plateau (Jebel Ahkdar )

This trek is 2hours long (one way) and goes across 3 small villages lost in the mountains of the Sayq plateau. The altitude is 2000m, that ensures you a certain coolness even during the summer.

The trek is not difficult but there are a lot of stairs that make it sporty ! But it is worth the effort because the view is amazing

To access Sayq plateau you need to have a 4wd otherwise you will be stopped at the military checkpoint at the beginning of the road going into the plateau.

Note : you can do this trek yourself refering to the trek number w18b in the Oman trekking explorer guide

Sunday, September 23

The restaurant

"The restaurant" is actually the name of the Chedi restaurant. From my opinion, this is the best restaurant in Muscat. The decor is very sober and classy, you have a pianist with a grand piano, and several kitchens that can be seen behind their glass walls...

Each kitchens correspond to a kind of regional cooking : Asian, Arabic, European... The dishes are very well presented, and of course very tasty. prices are about 15 OMR for a main course. if you include the tax, the total price for 2 person is 50 OMR with a starter and a main course (without the wine).

Note : During Ramadan, The restaurant applies the law which is to only serve alcohol to the guests of the hotel. This law is very irritating because suppose you're eating with friends who are guest at the hotel but you are not : the waiter will refuse to serve you any wine. what's the point ? I mean if you are not Muslim and if every people around you drink wine, why can't you order alcohol ? Moreover, when you're french you are used to drink the appropriate wine to accompany a meal. not having this possibility makes you only half-enjoy your meal. So I am in complete disagreement with the Oman law on this point.

Sunday, September 16

Oman dive center

The Oman dive center is located between Qantab and Barr Al Jissah, 10 minutes away from Ruwi. It is basically a private cove lost in the cliffs with a nice beach, a swimming pool and a restaurant (which is opened all the day, during Ramadan only alcohol is not served).

Different activities are proposed in the center :
- You can just pay the entrance fee (3 OMR) and enjoy the private beach and the swimming pool (there is also a beach volley court)
- You can take diving course, just for an introduction or to get your padi (140 OMR)
- You can go for a boat trip to do snorkeling
- You can rent a kayak or catamaran (but at the time I was there, they were still waiting to receive their kayak, and the catamaran was crappy).

There are also a equipped hunts if you want to spend some nights there but I didn't get inside. Basically, I recommend this place to spend some good time on the week-end but you have to know that prices can be sometimes expensive for the activities. offical website with list of prices here.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Friday, September 14

Ramadan in Oman

Well, today has begun the Ramadan in Oman and it will last until mid-October. During this period it is not allowed to eat, drink or smoke in public by respect to the Muslims fasting during the day.

Most restaurants and small shops are closed during the day (even the fast-foods) but re-open after 6pm. Also, all the bars and clubs are definitely closed during this period (including the bars I've started to describe in nightlife).

Another consequence is that during the day Muscat seems very quiet (I mean very very) and there is 2 times less cars in the streets.

Monday, September 10

Al Ghazal Pub

The Al Ghazal Pub can be found inside the Intercontinental hotel. It is the best pub in Muscat, and when you enter the place you cannot avoid to say to yourself "welcome to england". Indeed, the clientele is predominantly english.

There is a large bar, surrounded with private loges. you have also 2 pools (always busy) and even darts.

Almost each night there is an activity, like a "Quizz night", I think there is also a "Bingo night". On the week-end there is generally a live band playing loud (rock) music, but the dancefloor is not really full (cause this place is not meant to dance i guess), and sometimes you have special events like the "Kylie Minogue double night"....

I like this place to go after the work with my collegues, or to start the night as a "before". An important information is the price of the beer : pint is around 2,5 OMR

Sunday, September 9

Rock Bottom

My first post since my holidays and it will be also the first one of a serie about nightlife in Muscat.

"Rock Bottom" is club located in Qurm, not far from the Crown plaza. You can book a table to dinner before clubbing if you want, the food is not excellent but at least it will avoid you to pay the 10 OMR for the entrance to the club.

Once inside, it looks like a small regular club (compared to the one in Paris I mean), you have a central bar and a small dancefloor. The club is generally crowded after midnight, and there is a chaos of cars wanting to access the parking outside...

The music is various. The time I was there it was like house music before midnight, then you have a band playing live recent 'groovy' hits and at the end a the DJ comes back and plays all sort of music.

the dancefloor is generally crowded (not like on my picture above) but the purcentage of women is way too low for me to have fun in such a place (I'm not specifically looking for picking girls but I like to see women around me in this kind of place). But this problem is not specific to the club, I have the same feeling in all the places where you're supposed to party in Oman.