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22 Apr

Oman & Dubai - Dubai is the Las Vegas of the Middle East

Tales from the desk of Penny Snell

To get there…

Emirates airlines offers… to a week.

Lucky me! I travelled Emirates via Brisbane and Dubai to Muscat in business class. Emirates offered excellent service and food, however I found the seats very uncomfortable (Plane Type??). The crew did come around with extra padding but in all it made little difference. The return home was in economy class which offered good leg room and again excellent service and a fantastic entertainment system.

Getting Around...

Taxis are readily available and as petrol is only 30c a litre taxis are not only a cheap but also safe. Train apt to city cost?

Where to stay...

There is an excellent range of hotels available in Muscat in which we sampled two. The first hotels was the City Seasons a good business hotel that is nearing completion-location. The second hotel was Shangri La Dubai excellent location a little more needed on the hotel /facilities

We were lucky enough to view The Shangri La Barr Al Jissah - a massive hotel complex in a cove just outside Muscat. Our site inspection took over 2 1/2 hours and the complex boasts three hotels (6 star luxury, 5 star, and a †4 star family hotel) not to mention a souk and spa area. Take me back!

Things to do...

1306986034_dhow.jpgDubai is the Las Vegas of the Middle East. Everything has to be the biggest! The biggest shopping centre in the world, the tallest building (Burj Khalifa), the largest indoor ski centre.

Book a hummer tour to see the city, lots of fun. We saw the Sultans guards walking a lioness, passed the gates of the Sultans palace.

The Wahiba Desert is a must to visit for one or two nights. 4WD 'dune bashing' is lots of fun and watching the sunset over the dunes is simply breathtaking

The Musendam Peninsular on a dhow cruise (local sail boat) is a great way to explore this area.

TRAVEL TIPS

This is a safe clean country to visit with no problems when wandering the souks (markets - good buys are silver and traditional crafts) as you won't get hassled. No tipping required.

Alcohol is expensive at hotels and restaurants (can not be consumed in public) so be prepare to pay big bucks for that nice glass of wine.

Wear conservative clothes - for women especially. Long shorts to the knee and a loosing fitting t-shirt is fine (no singlet tops). For mosque visits (the Sultan Qaboos Mosque in Muscat is a must) wear long pants, long sleeved shirt and head scarf otherwise you will be refused entry. Islam is the official religion with most following the Ibadhi sect, call to prayer is 5 times a day.

The food is fantastic - lots of humus, feta, olives, and peppers with flat Arabic bread - yum

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