The Best Places in Oman – Coastal Route – Bimmah Sinkhole & Fins
Summarising the costs from the previous post about arriving into Muscat International Airport, Oman is probably off the radar for most adventurers and travellers. Other nearby cities such as Bahrain, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar have more connections, are well developed and are easy to get to. However, those that thread off the beaten path are rewarded well. Despite the exchange range being less than one (£1=0.65Omani Rial), most of the places outside the tourist zone are very cheap – petrol, food. However, dirt-cheap hostels don’t exist. Here is my expense list:
- Hotel: £30-£50/night.
- Breakfast: £0.5-£1 for an egg and paratha (from any South Indian cafe).
- Car: £22 per day (a car is a must if going outside Muscat and Nizwa).
Opening the hotel room windows on our very first morning, we saw a hill that we didn’t see the night before as it was dark.
We started early in the morning as the searing heat would start soon after, making getting out of the car impossible.
1) Bimmah Sinkhole
Bimmah Sinkhole is about an hour out of Muscat surrounded by a park, which is protected by an ugly railing for onlookers to gaze down. To get to it, follow the signs to Hawiyat Najam park.
The Sinkhole however takes the breath away at the first sight (minus the ugly blue staircase railing). It has small fishes that nibble away dead skin from all over your body. The moment I saw the deep blue and turquoise water, I knew I had to go in for a dip. There were no other people and I could hear an echo with each splash I made. The afternoon sun approaching it’s peak was reflecting off the water causing the rocks surrounding the sinkhole to sparkle. It was very serene and peaceful and worthwhile getting out of the car and walking in the park towards the hole in the heat.
2) White Sandy Beach at Fins
It’s worth continuing the trip on the slower old coastal route route rather than Qurayat-Sur Highway. We crossed sleepy villages, parked Dhows against the shoreline with a backdrop of deep blue sky and the cool breeze. Our car was the only vehicle on the road. It was nostalgic to see the relaxed pace of life right next to the highway, the cars whizzing by oblivious to the calm and beauty nearby.
This route has graduated to become off the beaten track. To get to it, we had to get on a rough stretch of unpaved road (3km), cross a stream and drive very cautiously making sure we don’t get our rental stuck into the uneven stones followed by soft sands of the beach.
The insurance probably doesn’t cover unpaved roads, or driving on the beach. This is probably a good thing in a way as there was no one around for miles.
We found a spot close enough and got out to walk the last few yards down to the beach. The moment we got out of the car, the sunglasses became fogged due to the scorching heat and humidity by that time. However, once we got close to the water the air became pleasantly bearable and the water was perfect temperature. With no one around we let our guard down and enjoyed our “private” open beach.
I took photo of the moment the splash started to break against my wife’s feet. It was a perfect afternoon and we had so much fun, and one of the ‘not-to-be-missed spots’ in Oman. The serenity and peace, the sound of waves, gorgeous surroundings only added to the lovely experience.
The perfect wave moment:
As we were preparing to leave, a jeep came by with a guide and two tourists that stopped for couple of minutes to get out before continuing. It’s better without a guide. Someone seemed to have camped the night before as there were signs of a small bonfire.
Swimming is not recommended as the waves here seemed to have an intensity that pulled anything it captures into the water, and help is long way away.
Other places that we visited included Ras al Jinz and Wadi Shabi