Beautiful beautiful Oman!
A mere 3 hour flight from Delhi (so the Calcutta flight was pretty much a test run), it’s a different feel of the middle-east, closer to Turkey than to the Dubai we’ve come to expect from this term.
We did 2 days in Muscat and 3 over the Wahiba Sands covering desert and beach.
Muscat is a flat city and at night the lights make it look beautiful. The Muthrah souk area, facing the waterfront, is a great place to spend time with kids. S ran around the steps the whole time that we enjoyed an outstanding meal and 5 layered fresh juice (yes all fresh, no sugar, no cream and utterly delicious. We drank 4 glasses!)
And the dates, oh the dates, the soft warm dates and the meat/kebabs/shwarma and the hummus and the feta cheese, the Greek Salad tasted out of heaven… ok, so this is more a food post than kids post, sue me. Food for kids also was not a problem at all. S loved the kebabs and fish, they were full of flavor and low on chillies pretty much everywhere we went.
The funnest places for S were the Ras Al Hadd Turtle Reserve and the Desert Night Camp at Al Wasil. Though, we also did dolphin watching and snorkelling. The motor boats are not a big favorite with S. I forgot to carry the homeopathic coculocus, which usually helps with the motion sickness.
She’s turning out to be quite a wild life lover (my genes); despite being tired out, she stayed awake till 1030 pm for a night trip to the beach to see the the turtle hatchlings. Unfortunately, we got to see only a turtle pushing its way back to the sea, but that was the highlight of the trip for her; it’s a different matter that i had to carry the sleeping child all the way back on the beach (all the better to work of the kebabs, my dear).
The Desert Night Camp was incredible. She had her sand pit set out in a jiffy. The dunes were a new experience too. S and I climbed and ran down and clicked a beetle and slid down again. I was a tad worried about K and the sand, but he was absolutely comfortable in the camp and on the dunes. Not too much sand was flying around and he fell asleep after watching the sunset. The ride up the dune was a little too bumpy for the 14 wo, but went ok. I just had to hold his head to avoid too much shaking.
Tiwi Beach was the next stop. We found a lovely place for lunch – Wadi Shab Resort Hotel. The food was sad by the standards we had come to expect, but it had a play area, safe beach, beautiful bougainvilleas and a pool and shower (useful for a kid to change after the beach). The beach was a pebble one and a disappointment for S.
The last stop was the Bimmah Sinkhole, just a peep and we headed off. This was the place i wish we’d spent more time at. It’s a nice pool and S really wanted to swim in it.
K seemed mostly happily indifferent to location, as long as he was well fed and facing out in the sling (bf-ing with a feeding veil in public in Oman was not an issue). Though he stared around in wonder at the Desert Night Camp.
So while this was only part of Oman, the must dos with kiddos
1. Undoubtedly Ras Al Hadd. Aside from the turtles, it is kid friendly with a turtle museum, lovely beaches and good food.
2. For kids old enough, the Desert Night Camp. The dunes are small and easy to navigate, the sands not too windy and the camp, well, was actually luxurious and expensive. sigh! For younger kids, it has a play area and kids over 8 can also do the quad biking. There is also the facility to play cricket, badminton and a number of indoor games in the Rec Room. The food, i don’t even need to say this, is outstanding (assume default position unless mentioned otherwise).
3. For pool lover kids, the Bimmah Sinkhole would be a good visit. It’s a large pool, fairly safe under adult supervision. The park also has a few swings if the kids ever get out of the sink hole.
Sling and pram. We carried both and am so glad we did. The walks were longish and it helped to have S in the pram, particularly in the Souk.
Do Not carry a sand pit set which takes up significant space – make do with tall paper glasses and spoons and forks. Elementary, I know, but somethings need to hit you in the shins ..
For bubs under 4 months, the ride up the dunes can be quite jerky. The head needs to be held firmly. Also, keep a light stole handy to over the face in case of sand flying.
The New Year is off to a good start…. next stop – Australia.
For more photos, watch out on FB.