If you think you have seen all that the UAE has to offer—from glittering skyscrapers to colorful souks and desert safaris to water sports, it’s time you drive down to neighboring Oman’s Musandam peninsula. With undulating sand dunes and lush date palm oases lining the way, this is one road trip that will stay with you for years to come. If we haven’t convinced you already to hop into a car rental and set off for Musandam this weekend, here are 4 reasons why you should do exactly that:
1) It’s isolated but easily accessible
If you want to unwind away from the stress, noise and pollution of the city, there is no better place than Musandam. Its unique geography ensures that it is isolated from the rest of the country, as it is lined by dramatic mountains on one side and the strait of Hormuz on the other. Since Musandam is just a three-hour drive from Dubai and five from Abu Dhabi, you can visit for the weekend or a day trip without breaking a sweat.
2) There is a lot to see and experience on the way
If you’re driving from Abu Dhabi or Dubai, there are a lot of fun stops to make your road trip more interesting. Along the way, you will spot plenty of scrubby plains and peachy sand dunes as well as a few desert oases, so remember to take your camera along. You could also stop over at Dubai’s sister city Sharjah for a drive along the Corniche or visit one of its traditional souks. Check out the emirates of Ajman and Ras al Khaimah to see a different, slow-paced side of Emirati life.
3) Visit for the peace and quiet, stay for the view
The dramatic landscape of this peninsula makes it one of the best drives in the world. The drive from Bukha, the first village inside Musandam, to the capital city of Khasab is simply stunning. You’ll see steep, rugged Hajjar mountains on one side and the crystal-clear sea lined with golden beaches on the other. The Musandam peninsula is known as the ‘Norway of the Middle East’ due to its rocky khors or inlets that resemble the dramatic fjords of Norway. The journey is also lined with scenic fishing villages complete with old dhows, elegant mosques, and picturesque old forts. Choose a hotel with a great view of the sea at Khasab, because the sight of the turquoise water is one you will never tire of.
4) The memorable dhow trip where you can snorkel with the dolphins
The cruise to Khor ash Sham is one of the few things you must try out in Musandam. Savor the view of the majestic fjord jutting out from the sea as you recline on cushions and plush Persian rugs. You can also spot some dolphins in the waters or dive into the sea for some snorkeling if you’re in the mood for adventure.