May 15

Oman 2014: Misfah and Jebel Shams

Date: 27th October, 2014

Today was a long day. It began at the Grand Mosque before leaving Muscat. Then we drove to Nizwa and later to Jabreen Castle. Post lunch, we drove further into the mountains.

Running uphill Al Hamra Oman

We drove uphill to get to Misfah

Misfat-al-abriyeen Oman

We parked and then went by foot

Houses Misfat-al-abriyeen Oman

We walked through some village homes

Downhill Misfat-al-abriyeen Oman

We were going to the edge of this hill

Village Misfat al Abriyeen Oman

We had 30 minutes to explore Misfah village, which is a settlement by the edge of the mountains

Stone house Misfat al abriyeen Oman

Misfah is a centuries old village

Stone walls Misfah village Oman

I didn’t see many villagers at their homes though

Water collection Misfah mountain village Oman

They had a neatly done water collection and distribution system throughout the village

Misfah village palm garden Oman

The canals flow through some of the gardens and small farms here

Misfat mountain village Oman

I broke off from Manjulika and Aseem and ventured further down on my own

Misfah mountain village Oman

I walked down the mountain to see where this path would lead

Old tower Misfah mountain Oman

It was a mystery to me

Misfah mountain range Oman

I was curious to know what was out there in the distance, but at the same time, I was worried I would wander too far off making it late for me to get back

Cave Misfah mountain Oman

I wondered was what in this cave… but didn’t have the time to explore

Family tour Misfah mountain Oman

Aside from me, there was only this family for company. But neither of us dared to venture any further because we really didn’t know just how much farther the path was.

Mountains Misfah Oman

I walked back. The 30 minutes allotted to us was nearly up.

Tourists Misfah stone village Oman

There were other tourist groups touring the village, but I couldn’t spot Aseem and Manjulika. Pretty certain they had already gone back.

I huffed and puffed as I rushed back to the jeep. As predicted, they were all waiting for me. I apologized for making them wait. Majjid then drove us to a view point from where we could get a full view of where we had just came from.

Al Hamra village Oman

That’s Al Hamra village. Misfah is high up among those mountains.

Mountain village panorama Oman

Here’s a panorama

We set off for our final destination of the day — Jebel Shams. I don’t remember too much about the journey… because I fell asleep. I guess I was really tired by all the climbing up and down back at Misfah.

By the time my eyes were awoken, it was to gasps and “wows” heard from my co-passengers

Silhouette mountains Oman

We were up high. Really high.

Tourists Jebel Shams Oman

We had reached Jebel Shams — the highest mountain in Oman

Jebel Shams panorama Oman

I doubt this photo will invoke the sheer scale of what I was looking at — but I tried

Jebel Shams bottom Oman

Jebel Shams is part of the Al Hajar mountain range

Bottom of Jebel Shams mountain Oman

Maybe a stream flows through during rainy season?

Jebel Shams highest mountain Oman

I took this on my phone , the Sony Xperia Z1

Village behind Jebel Shams Oman

There seemed to be a town or village far in the distance

Oman army base weather

Where I was standing was actually not the highest point of Jebel Shams. We were on the south summit. The highest point is there — the 3000 metre high North summit. It’s a restricted area, only occupied by Oman Army.

Mithun Divakaran Jebel Shams Oman

I asked someone to take a photo of me. Jebel Shams really was the best thing I saw today!

Edge fences Jebel Shams Oman

Just this fence prevent you from falling down below. So be careful, it’s a looooooooong way down.

Telecom tower Jebel Shams Oman

As you can imagine, not a whole lot of people up here

Mountain goats Oman

But these goats were cute

Jebel Shams mountain road Oman

It was now time to check in to our resort

Villas Sunset Resort Oman

A short drive from where we took photos is Jebel Shams Resort, one of only two resorts at the top of Jebel Shams (at the moment). The other being Sunset Resort.

Jebel Shams Resort twin room Oman

We all got individual cabins. This is the ‘Sunset Chalet’ at Jebel Shams Resort.

Sliding door Jebel Shams resort villa

Each cabin leads out to the open area from where you can watch the sun set and sun rise

Sunset view from Jebel Shams Resort Oman

Like so

Sunset Jebel shams resort mountains Oman

This was around 6pm

Jebel Shams resort tents mountains Oman

There was a ladder which allowed me to climb atop my villa. Those are the tents, which are the other room options here.

Jebel Shams resort view Oman

Not a huge resort but up here, it’s good enough

Jebel Shams Resort clouds Oman

I just hoped it wouldn’t rain

Sun setting Jebel Shams Oman

Darkness was near

We had just one night at the resort, so I used the free time we had before dinner to re-charge all my equipment and freshen up. Although Jebel Shams Resort has wi-fi, the internet signal was virtually non-existent and we all struggled to get connected.

Restaurant Jebel Shams Resort Oman

There’s just one restaurant at Jebel Shams Resort, and this is it

Buffet Jebel Shams resort Oman

It was a buffet dinner

Food Jebel Shams resort Oman

I made sure I was going get my fix of pita bread and Arabian dips before leaving the country

Swimming pool Jebel Shams resort Oman

It was freezing cold, so none of us felt like going in for a dip

Night sky Jebel Shams Resort Oman

When everybody else had gone to bed, I instead went outside my room and set up my tripod and camera to take some long exposure photos

Starry night sky Jebel Shams Oman

I figured being up here, the skies would be clear enough to catch the stars

Stars long exposure flights Oman

Unfortunately my shots were ruined by a car that switched on its headlights when I tried to capture star trails and two airplanes in the sky (the lines)

I didn’t stay out for too long as I was feeling really cold. I called it a night because we had to be up early tomorrow. From the mountains, we were going to spend tomorrow night in the desert sands.

Previous post(s) in this series:

Oman 2014: Nizwa Fort and Jabreen Castle

Oman 2014: Sultan Qaboos mosque (Muscat’s Grand Mosque)

Oman 2014: Muscat bay viewpoints, Qurum beach, The Cave restaurant

Oman 2014: Dolphin watching tour in Muscat

Oman 2014: Landing in Muscat; Al Alam Palace, Mutrah souq and more

May 15

Oman 2014: Nizwa Fort and Jabreen Castle

Date: 27th October, 2014

We began our tour for today by first visiting the Sultan Qaboos mosque before leaving Muscat.

Oman highway to Nizwa

Now we were cruising along the highway to our next destination: the town of Nizwa

Majjid driver Oman

This was our driver-slash-guide, Majid, who was pretty laid back and fun :)

Nizwa mountain highway Oman

Oman’s mountainous landscape is quite a sight

Highway to Nizwa Oman

In fact, by evening we would be even higher up the mountains

Nizwa fort road Oman

An hour later, we had reached Nizwa souq

Entrance to Nizwa souq Oman

I believe there is an fee of 500 baisa (₹82/$2.6/€1) to enter Nizwa Fort but Majid took care of that for us

Nizwa souq clay pots Oman

There is the souq part (souq = ‘market’ in Arabic)

Nizwa souq shops Oman

We headed straight towards the fort

Continue reading “Oman 2014: Nizwa Fort and Jabreen Castle” »

Apr 15

Oman 2014: Sultan Qaboos mosque (Muscat’s Grand Mosque)

Date: 27th October, 2014

Today we were going to drive out of Muscat and head off into the desert mountains. But before leaving Muscat, our guide (a new one) took us to see the Sultan Qaboos mosque, a.k.a the Grand Mosque.

Driving to Grand Mosque Muscat

The Grand Mosque was a short drive from our hotel

Gardens Grand Mosque Muscat

There is no entry fee, but the mosque is only open to public from Saturday to Thursday

Ladies robes Grand Mosque Muscat

If you are a lady, you can only enter if you are covered from head to toe

Visitor guidelines Grand Mosque Muscat

The rules

Lawn Sultan Qaboos mosque Muscat

The lawn was really nice

Open area Grand Mosque Oman

Inside Sultan Qaboos mosque Muscat

We walked around a bit before going inside the main prayer hall

Continue reading “Oman 2014: Sultan Qaboos mosque (Muscat’s Grand Mosque)” »

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