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Candice Jan 14 2016

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Candice mentions taking a dhow trip around the
fjords in Musandam as her favourite day trip
anywhere in the world. “I always recommend
friends who are visiting Dubai to make time for a
day or two in Musandam.”
A
N intrepid traveller, writer and
animal lover has left lasting
impressions about the Sultanate
which she happened to visit over
the years calling it an ‘undiscovered jewel.’
She says there are great things to do in
Oman and has come out with some of the
top 12 things to do during a visit.
Candice Bain from Scotland, is a writer
at a luxury travel blog, a therapist and
a blogger. She loves camping, outdoor
activities and anything from hiking to
cycling or kayaking.
“Oman is full of stunning natural beauty,
history, and opportunities for adventure
that is blessed with friendly and welcoming
people. With over 500 forts, turtles coming
ashore to lay their eggs, the ruggedly
beautiful Al Hajar mountains, and the
shimmering sands of the Wahiba dunes,
the country is an undiscovered jewel.”
Having travelled to around 60 countries
and lived in five, with home for now being
Chiang Mai in northern Thailand where she
lives with their rescue dog, Mango, which
she brought when she and husband Steve
Jenkins, moved from Dubai.
Candice admits Sultanate is probably
safer than your home country. “There are
so many things to do and see in Oman that
you will be spoiled for choice and it’s one
of my favourite places, I have been many
times and always look forward to returning
always. As a wide traveller, she lists some
of the 12 great things to do while in the
Sultanate.”
1 GET AWAY FROM IT ALL: “How many
people do you know who’ve been to
Oman? Unless you live in the Gulf region
there’s a good chance the answer is
‘none’. Oman has lots of space, not many
people and few tourists. It’s a great place
to get away from the crowds but tourism
is growing so the advice is to go soon and
discover the country before the rest of the
world catches on.”
2 VISIT OVER 500 FORTS: “Yes, 500!
There are forts dotted around the country
with the biggest concentration in the
northern one third of the country. Many
are little more than ruins but some have
been restored and give a sense of life in
the past: Bahla fort, the oldest and a World
Heritage site, stands in a charming town
with winding alleyways, old mosques and a
traditional souk. Or there’s Nizwa fort, built
around 1650 by the imam who expelled the
Portuguese from Oman and is one of the
best known sites in the country.
Nizwa souk is one of the biggest in the
country selling everything from meat and
vegetables to handicrafts, pottery and
jewellery. On Friday morning the souk is
busy with villagers who come to buy and
sell goats, donkeys, cattle and sheep.
Muttrah fort, sitting atop a rocky hillside
in Muscat, was built in the 1580s by the
Portuguese and captured by the Omanis
about 70 year later. You can climb the
steep staircase to the outside of the fort
(it’s currently closed for renovation) and
gaze out to the Gulf of Oman and the
shipping routes the fort once protected.”
3 SEE THE DESERT TURN LUSH AND
GREEN: “In the summer months, when
the rest of the Arabian Peninsula is arid,
brown and baking under an unforgiving
sun, Salalah in southern Oman is wrapped
in the cooling mists of a
monsoon. The Khareef
is a south western
monsoon
which turns
the desert
around
the city
lush
and
green
UNDISCOVERED
JEWEL
Liju Cherian
Candice Bain
Pictures by: Candice Bain
TRENDS
28 January 14, 2016
Travel Travel
29January 14, 2016
between July and September. People flock here
from all over the Gulf region to escape the
scorching heat at home and to explore the souks
and dramatic coastline.”
4 WATCH DOLPHINS PLAY ALONGSIDE
TRADITIONAL DHOW: “Ten different kinds of
dolphins can be found in Omani waters with the
coast of Musandam and the sea off Muscat being
the most popular areas to view them. The thrill of
watching these smart, social cetaceans in their
natural habitat is amazing.”
5 HIKE THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN AND MARVEL
AT GRAND CANYON: “Rising over 3,000 metres
from the surrounding plains, highest mountain in
the Arabian Peninsula, Jebel Shams, is a barren,
rugged limestone land of high peaks, deep canyons
and million-year-old fossils. As you drive up the
precipitous, winding mountain road you pass an
abandoned village; tracks lead to other villages,
inhabited but unseen and goats forage by the
roadside.
There are marked hiking trails on the mountain.
You can take a relatively easy walk along the edge of
the spectacular Wadi Ghul, the 1,000m deep chasm
popularly known as the Grand Canyon of Oman, or
a challenging hike up to southern summit of the ‘sun
mountain’ as Jebel Shams means in Arabic. Sturdy
hiking boots are recommended for the hike up the
mountain as the path is very rocky and uneven.
There are simple small resorts on the mountain or
you can wild camp if you bring everything you need
with you.”
6 EXPLORE 1,700 KM OF COASTLINE: “Ranging
from deserted sandy beaches to rugged rocky cliffs,
the coastline has something to please everyone.
Find a peaceful piece of beach to call your own;
watch the waves of the Arabian Sea crash against
the rocks in the south; or hook up with a local
fisherman and accompany him out to sea for a
glimpse of the coastline from the water.”
7 CRUISE THE ‘NORWAY OF ARABIA’ IN THE
MUSANDAM PENINSULA: “A stunning enclave
encircled by the UAE, Musandam is where the barren
mountains of the Northern Al Hajar mountain range
crash down into the glittering waters of the Arabian
Gulf. Take a cruise through fjords on a traditional
wooden dhow, pass villages only accessible by sea,
snorkel amid multi-coloured fish in the warm clear
waters of the Strait of Hormuz, and watch pods of
dolphins play alongside the boat. Accessible as a day
trip from Dubai this is one of my favourite days out
anywhere in the world.”
8 GET YOUR THRILLS IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS:
“With mountains, desert and sea, Oman is an ideal
outdoor adventure destination offering an array of
adventures: hiking, rock climbing, via ferrata, kite
surfing, caving, canyoning and scuba diving to name
but a few. Go on an organised tour or do it on your
own.”
9 EXPERIENCE THE MAGIC OF TURTLE
NESTING SEASON: “Every year around
20,000 sea turtles make their way to the
beaches of Oman to lay their eggs and the
Sultanate takes its important conservation
role seriously, with strong penalties for
anybody caught harming the creatures.
Five of the world’s seven sea turtle species
can be found here, including green turtles
and loggerhead turtles. Raz al Jinz Turtle
Centre is an eco-tourism project within
a nature reserve dedicated to protecting
green turtles and their natural environment.
Guests at the centre can take a nightly
guided walk to witness green turtles
struggle ashore and painstakingly excavate
a hole for their eggs before carefully
covering them over with sand and heading
back out to sea. It’s a magical experience to
watch these magnificent creatures under
the light of the moon.”
10 EXPLORE THE WAHIBA SANDS AND
THE EMPTY QUARTER: “Follow in the
footsteps of the great explorer Wilfred
Thesiger who trekked through the Wahiba
Sands on the edge of the world’s biggest
sand desert, the Rub al Khali – the Empty
Quarter – in search of the fabled Lost City
of Ubar. Today there is luxury Bedouin style
eco camps allowing visitors to experience
the stunning beauty of the dunes without
the hardship that Thesiger endured.”
11 HAGGLE AT A TRADITIONAL SOUK
OR BE AWED AT THE GRAND MOSQUE:
“Muscat, has developed rapidly since His
Majesty came to power in 1970 but remains
an utterly charming city. The mainly white,
low rise buildings are scattered amid rocky
hills leading down to the ports of Muttrah
and Old Muscat. The pride of the city is the
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque which can
hold 20,000 worshippers and is open to
non-Muslims. There’s also an international
opera house, a fort, the buzzing Muttrah
souk, a palace complex, museums, lots
of great restaurants and fantastic luxury
hotels.”
12 GET YOUR MOTOR RUNNING FOR
SOME GREAT DRIVING: “From about 16 km
of paved road in 1970, there is a network of
around 13,000 km of very well maintained
roads throughout the Sultanate. With
thousands of kilometres more of graded
road the country is a dream for drivers
whether on the excellent highways or for
30 January 14, 2016
TravelTravel
31January 14, 2016
the more adventurous driving off road through wadis
and mountains.”
Talking about her impressions of Oman, Candice
says Oman is a beautiful country with a lot to offer
tourists. “I love the scenery, the friendly people and
the history. I’ve been to over 50 countries and Oman
is definitely one of my favourites,” she admits.
Candice mentions taking a dhow trip around
the fjords in Musandam as her favourite day trip
anywhere in the world. “I always recommend friends
who are visiting Dubai to make time for a day or two
in Musandam.”
She has visited Oman on several occasions, staying
anything from three days to a week. She definitely
loves to wander through the interiors on a ‘very’ hot
summer’s day, taking photos of road signs in Arabic
like the one pictured outside the small village of Al
Taff in Northern Oman.
However, she prefers more hotels in the wilayats or
interiors and suggests some good quality boutique
hotels spread throughout the country which would
be very welcomed by the tourists.
“Oman has some amazing hotels at the moment
but they are mostly concentrated around Muscat.
I was looking around for luxury or boutique hotels
to review and struggled to find any outside of the
capital.”
During her previous visit she planned to hike to the
summit of Jebel Shams but broke her foot just hours
before she was due to fly. “I didn’t find out it was
broken till I finally went to the hospital weeks later so
I hobbled around Jebel Shams with a walking stick
anyway and the visit didn’t go to plan at all.”
“Oman has some amazing hotels
at the moment but they are
mostly concentrated around
Muscat. I was looking around
for luxury or boutique hotels to
review and struggled to find any
outside of the capital.”
Candice shares her travels, tips and adventures on the blog, Desert to Jungle. She also writes for
A Luxury Travel Blog.com, Luxury and Boutique Hotels.com. She can also be found at https://www.
facebook.com/DesertToJungle and Twitter as Desert2Jungle
3332 January 14, 2016 January 14, 2016
TravelTravel

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Candice Jan 14 2016

  • 1. Candice mentions taking a dhow trip around the fjords in Musandam as her favourite day trip anywhere in the world. “I always recommend friends who are visiting Dubai to make time for a day or two in Musandam.” A N intrepid traveller, writer and animal lover has left lasting impressions about the Sultanate which she happened to visit over the years calling it an ‘undiscovered jewel.’ She says there are great things to do in Oman and has come out with some of the top 12 things to do during a visit. Candice Bain from Scotland, is a writer at a luxury travel blog, a therapist and a blogger. She loves camping, outdoor activities and anything from hiking to cycling or kayaking. “Oman is full of stunning natural beauty, history, and opportunities for adventure that is blessed with friendly and welcoming people. With over 500 forts, turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs, the ruggedly beautiful Al Hajar mountains, and the shimmering sands of the Wahiba dunes, the country is an undiscovered jewel.” Having travelled to around 60 countries and lived in five, with home for now being Chiang Mai in northern Thailand where she lives with their rescue dog, Mango, which she brought when she and husband Steve Jenkins, moved from Dubai. Candice admits Sultanate is probably safer than your home country. “There are so many things to do and see in Oman that you will be spoiled for choice and it’s one of my favourite places, I have been many times and always look forward to returning always. As a wide traveller, she lists some of the 12 great things to do while in the Sultanate.” 1 GET AWAY FROM IT ALL: “How many people do you know who’ve been to Oman? Unless you live in the Gulf region there’s a good chance the answer is ‘none’. Oman has lots of space, not many people and few tourists. It’s a great place to get away from the crowds but tourism is growing so the advice is to go soon and discover the country before the rest of the world catches on.” 2 VISIT OVER 500 FORTS: “Yes, 500! There are forts dotted around the country with the biggest concentration in the northern one third of the country. Many are little more than ruins but some have been restored and give a sense of life in the past: Bahla fort, the oldest and a World Heritage site, stands in a charming town with winding alleyways, old mosques and a traditional souk. Or there’s Nizwa fort, built around 1650 by the imam who expelled the Portuguese from Oman and is one of the best known sites in the country. Nizwa souk is one of the biggest in the country selling everything from meat and vegetables to handicrafts, pottery and jewellery. On Friday morning the souk is busy with villagers who come to buy and sell goats, donkeys, cattle and sheep. Muttrah fort, sitting atop a rocky hillside in Muscat, was built in the 1580s by the Portuguese and captured by the Omanis about 70 year later. You can climb the steep staircase to the outside of the fort (it’s currently closed for renovation) and gaze out to the Gulf of Oman and the shipping routes the fort once protected.” 3 SEE THE DESERT TURN LUSH AND GREEN: “In the summer months, when the rest of the Arabian Peninsula is arid, brown and baking under an unforgiving sun, Salalah in southern Oman is wrapped in the cooling mists of a monsoon. The Khareef is a south western monsoon which turns the desert around the city lush and green UNDISCOVERED JEWEL Liju Cherian Candice Bain Pictures by: Candice Bain TRENDS 28 January 14, 2016 Travel Travel 29January 14, 2016
  • 2. between July and September. People flock here from all over the Gulf region to escape the scorching heat at home and to explore the souks and dramatic coastline.” 4 WATCH DOLPHINS PLAY ALONGSIDE TRADITIONAL DHOW: “Ten different kinds of dolphins can be found in Omani waters with the coast of Musandam and the sea off Muscat being the most popular areas to view them. The thrill of watching these smart, social cetaceans in their natural habitat is amazing.” 5 HIKE THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN AND MARVEL AT GRAND CANYON: “Rising over 3,000 metres from the surrounding plains, highest mountain in the Arabian Peninsula, Jebel Shams, is a barren, rugged limestone land of high peaks, deep canyons and million-year-old fossils. As you drive up the precipitous, winding mountain road you pass an abandoned village; tracks lead to other villages, inhabited but unseen and goats forage by the roadside. There are marked hiking trails on the mountain. You can take a relatively easy walk along the edge of the spectacular Wadi Ghul, the 1,000m deep chasm popularly known as the Grand Canyon of Oman, or a challenging hike up to southern summit of the ‘sun mountain’ as Jebel Shams means in Arabic. Sturdy hiking boots are recommended for the hike up the mountain as the path is very rocky and uneven. There are simple small resorts on the mountain or you can wild camp if you bring everything you need with you.” 6 EXPLORE 1,700 KM OF COASTLINE: “Ranging from deserted sandy beaches to rugged rocky cliffs, the coastline has something to please everyone. Find a peaceful piece of beach to call your own; watch the waves of the Arabian Sea crash against the rocks in the south; or hook up with a local fisherman and accompany him out to sea for a glimpse of the coastline from the water.” 7 CRUISE THE ‘NORWAY OF ARABIA’ IN THE MUSANDAM PENINSULA: “A stunning enclave encircled by the UAE, Musandam is where the barren mountains of the Northern Al Hajar mountain range crash down into the glittering waters of the Arabian Gulf. Take a cruise through fjords on a traditional wooden dhow, pass villages only accessible by sea, snorkel amid multi-coloured fish in the warm clear waters of the Strait of Hormuz, and watch pods of dolphins play alongside the boat. Accessible as a day trip from Dubai this is one of my favourite days out anywhere in the world.” 8 GET YOUR THRILLS IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS: “With mountains, desert and sea, Oman is an ideal outdoor adventure destination offering an array of adventures: hiking, rock climbing, via ferrata, kite surfing, caving, canyoning and scuba diving to name but a few. Go on an organised tour or do it on your own.” 9 EXPERIENCE THE MAGIC OF TURTLE NESTING SEASON: “Every year around 20,000 sea turtles make their way to the beaches of Oman to lay their eggs and the Sultanate takes its important conservation role seriously, with strong penalties for anybody caught harming the creatures. Five of the world’s seven sea turtle species can be found here, including green turtles and loggerhead turtles. Raz al Jinz Turtle Centre is an eco-tourism project within a nature reserve dedicated to protecting green turtles and their natural environment. Guests at the centre can take a nightly guided walk to witness green turtles struggle ashore and painstakingly excavate a hole for their eggs before carefully covering them over with sand and heading back out to sea. It’s a magical experience to watch these magnificent creatures under the light of the moon.” 10 EXPLORE THE WAHIBA SANDS AND THE EMPTY QUARTER: “Follow in the footsteps of the great explorer Wilfred Thesiger who trekked through the Wahiba Sands on the edge of the world’s biggest sand desert, the Rub al Khali – the Empty Quarter – in search of the fabled Lost City of Ubar. Today there is luxury Bedouin style eco camps allowing visitors to experience the stunning beauty of the dunes without the hardship that Thesiger endured.” 11 HAGGLE AT A TRADITIONAL SOUK OR BE AWED AT THE GRAND MOSQUE: “Muscat, has developed rapidly since His Majesty came to power in 1970 but remains an utterly charming city. The mainly white, low rise buildings are scattered amid rocky hills leading down to the ports of Muttrah and Old Muscat. The pride of the city is the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque which can hold 20,000 worshippers and is open to non-Muslims. There’s also an international opera house, a fort, the buzzing Muttrah souk, a palace complex, museums, lots of great restaurants and fantastic luxury hotels.” 12 GET YOUR MOTOR RUNNING FOR SOME GREAT DRIVING: “From about 16 km of paved road in 1970, there is a network of around 13,000 km of very well maintained roads throughout the Sultanate. With thousands of kilometres more of graded road the country is a dream for drivers whether on the excellent highways or for 30 January 14, 2016 TravelTravel 31January 14, 2016
  • 3. the more adventurous driving off road through wadis and mountains.” Talking about her impressions of Oman, Candice says Oman is a beautiful country with a lot to offer tourists. “I love the scenery, the friendly people and the history. I’ve been to over 50 countries and Oman is definitely one of my favourites,” she admits. Candice mentions taking a dhow trip around the fjords in Musandam as her favourite day trip anywhere in the world. “I always recommend friends who are visiting Dubai to make time for a day or two in Musandam.” She has visited Oman on several occasions, staying anything from three days to a week. She definitely loves to wander through the interiors on a ‘very’ hot summer’s day, taking photos of road signs in Arabic like the one pictured outside the small village of Al Taff in Northern Oman. However, she prefers more hotels in the wilayats or interiors and suggests some good quality boutique hotels spread throughout the country which would be very welcomed by the tourists. “Oman has some amazing hotels at the moment but they are mostly concentrated around Muscat. I was looking around for luxury or boutique hotels to review and struggled to find any outside of the capital.” During her previous visit she planned to hike to the summit of Jebel Shams but broke her foot just hours before she was due to fly. “I didn’t find out it was broken till I finally went to the hospital weeks later so I hobbled around Jebel Shams with a walking stick anyway and the visit didn’t go to plan at all.” “Oman has some amazing hotels at the moment but they are mostly concentrated around Muscat. I was looking around for luxury or boutique hotels to review and struggled to find any outside of the capital.” Candice shares her travels, tips and adventures on the blog, Desert to Jungle. She also writes for A Luxury Travel Blog.com, Luxury and Boutique Hotels.com. She can also be found at https://www. facebook.com/DesertToJungle and Twitter as Desert2Jungle 3332 January 14, 2016 January 14, 2016 TravelTravel