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Aug - Sept 2010 • Issue 2

ENJOY THE MIST DOWN SOUTH

WADI ARBIEEN

ONE OF MUSCAT’S CLOSEST WATERING HOLES


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3,800

years ago the Hitties were the first people to enjoy this fantasy landscape (see page 25)

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Bienvenue Khareef is in full fledge (page 18) and the mist-laden landscape down south is always a great escape from the heat looming over the whole of the region. The mountains overridden with startling green and Wadi Darbat overflowing with clear fresh water invite visitors from all over the GCC and beyond, to the much anticipated cooler temperatures. Why not have your own little adventure down south and send in your stories and pictures. We are all about travelling and this issue falls nothing short of enticing you to explore our beautiful planet. We’ll help you stave off boredom at the airport with these handy tips to pass time (page 11), before

getting lost in the fairytale land of Cappadocia, Turkey’s hidden gem (page24). Travel to Jordan’s Petra (page 32), dive the sunken shipwreck off Bander Khayran (page 38) and see massive manta rays in Mozambique (page 48). Check out the aurora borealis that will brighten up the skies (page 56) and get carried away in Angkor Wat, Cambodia (page 46). We would love to hear from you, send in your travel stories, thoughts, photos and comments to: bonvoyage@deenarmedia.com Let the journey begin...

40,000

people could hide in the unseen cities in Cappadocia (see page 26)

2.5

centimetres in diameter is the size of this deadly killer’s bell (see page 35)

84

metres long ship wreck off Bander Khairan (see page 38)

3.6

kilometres long measures the outer wall of Angkor Wat (see page 46)

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metres is the maximum depth of the ‘S’ shaped Mozambique reef (see page 49)

150

-berth marina at Jebel Sifah (see page 40)

35,000

camels reside here (see page 19)


EDITORIAL Editor-in-chief

Hatim al Taie

Editorial Head

Hyesha Barrett

Content Manager

Sujata Sengupta

Asst. Content Manager

Poornima Ramani

Senior Designer

Shyniben Koyakkil

Designer

Muneeb Khan

CORPORATE

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Managing Director General Manager

Abdullah al Taie Rathish Ramachandran

Asst. General Manager

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Terry Mathukutty

Sales

Sami Dalwai Emily Matthews Mehri Vatanparast

CORRESPONDENTS

Aly bin Salih Al Ajamy Lisa Armstrong Mikael Strandberg Lise Tyrrell Malcolm Xavier

PHOTOGRAPHERS

Shakeel al Balushi Hyesha Barrett Patrick Peters

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Produced by

56 Deenar Press and Publishing LLC PO Box 139, PC 102, Al Qurm, Sultanate of Oman Tel: + 968 24 696868, Fax: +968 24 693569 E-mail: info@deenarmedia.com

$

Š All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form in whole or in part without the written permision of the publishers; while every care has been taken in the preparation of this magazine, the publishers cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of the information herein, or any consequences arising from it.

Printed at Oman Printers & Stationers, Sultanate of Oman


Irukandji Jellyfish p35

Contents Check in 8 News: Your Monthly National and International Travel News

The Hague p42

40 Property: Jebel Sifah 60 Travel Directory: Your Local Guide around Town

Check out 11 Tips: How to Kill Time at the Airport 12 Take Me Here: Above the Clouds in Salalah; Moai Stone Statues in Easter Island

16 Photography Tips: Capturing Sunsets

Hawaii p36

35 Animal Kingdom: Irukandji Jellyfish 36 Eco-Friendly Lodges: Hawaii 44 SPA: CHI, Spa 50 Museum: Bait Al Baranda 52 Room with a View: Club Suite at The Chedi

Easter Island p14

54 Restaurant Review: RBG – Red Bar and Grill

64 Quiz: Win a PADI Diving Licence The Chedi, Muscat p52

Wadi Darbat, Salalah p18


The Hague p42

RBG p54

Bait al Baranda p50

FEATURES 18 Khareef: Greenery Unravelled and Attractions Unfolded

Turkey p24

24 Cappadocia: Get Lost in this Fairytale Landscape

28 Wadi Arbieen: Rediscover the Mountains

Salalah p18

32 Jordan: The Heart of the East

Cambodia p46

38 Diving in Oman: Al Munassir Wreck 42 Travellers Stories: The Hague, Netherlands

46 Landmark: Angkor Wat, Cambodia 48 International Diving: Just Another

Jordan p32

Day at The Office, Mozambique

56 Natural Wonder: Aurora Borealis 58 Off Roader: Land Rover LR4 Diving in Mozambique p48

Mozambique p48

Angkor Wat p46


NEWS

History Museum at Masirah island O

mran, the Government of Oman’s tourism development and investment arm announced the opening of a new Natural History Museum at Swiss-Belhotel Resort, Masirah Island. The centre gives visitors the chance to learn more about the unique wildlife and marine environment surrounding Oman’s largest island. The centre provides invaluable information about the wealth and diversity of the island’s birdlife, its coral reef ecosystem and its other wildlife. It also highlights that Masirah Island is home to the world’s largest population of nesting turtles and hosts all four of Oman’s nesting species Loggerhead, Green, Olive Ridley and Hawksbill. Wael Lawati, CEO of Omran, said, “Omran has a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility and we take pride in preserving the environment in which we work. Oman’s natural history is one of our greatest assets in promoting Oman as a unique tourism destination.” The centre has already proved popular with hotel guests and with the local community, with more than 350 people visiting it so far.

Re-defining Leisure Operations M

ezoon International with 38 years experience in providing a wide range of travel services, is one of the largest and most progressive travel management companies in Oman. Their ‘Fly now and pay later’ scheme helped turn many a dream holiday into reality this season. The clients benefitted from an easy zero per cent interest loan. The company has recently revamped its logo and is upbeat about the future. Shibdev Banerji, General Manager of Mezoon International said, “We plan to expand our operations and intend to have more retail outlets in near future. An aggressive marketing

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Aug - Sept 2010

campaign to further our sales and increase our market share is being currently chalked out.” Renny Johnson, Manager of Mezoon Holidays vouches for Malaysia, Turkey, India, Sri Lanka, Austria, and Germany as the most popular travel destination this summer. The success of Mezoon

Jewel of Muscat reaches final destination

T

he Jewel of Muscat has berthed safely at her final destination - Keppel Bay Marina, in the heart of Singapore. After a spectacular greeting that included a salute from fireboats and a cultural programme by Omani and Singaporean groups, the crew were welcomed by the President of Singapore H.E. S R Nathan. The highlight of the ceremony was the moment when the Jewel was formally handed over to the people of Singapore, as a gift from Oman. The Jewel of Muscat will be the centre of attention at a special exhibition to be staged in Singapore, in July. The ‘Oman Trade and Friendship Experience’ celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Omani renaissance took place in front of the Asian Civilisations Museum, Empress Place, Singapore from July 23rd to 29th.

International lays in their pre-empting the travel requirements of their clientèle. Specialising in outbound as well as inbound packages they promise an unforgettable global travel experience. Personalised and prompt service to each client is what sets them apart in today’s travel industry. State-of-the-art facilities and complete network integration provides direct access to the majority of the world’s hotels and airlines.


Green Park Inn

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Asian Beach Games Site Handover O

mran has started the formal handover of the site for the Asian Beach Games to the Muscat Asian Beach Games Organising Committee (MABGOC). The first building to be handed over is the Games Command Centre, from which MABGOC will manage the event, in December 2010. This ceremonry marked the first stage in a phased programme, which will see the whole site handed over by November 2010. Eng. Wael Al Lawati, CEO, Omran, commented, “I am proud to announce this magnificent milestone. We will continue with our commitment to fully handing over the site to the Organising Committee ahead of the Games.” The project remains on track for its November final handover as platform construction, marine

works and access bridge have all been fully completed, with infrastructure (98.13 per cent) and permanent structures (93.14 per cent) almost finished. This will be the second Asian Beach Games, following the inaugural event in Bali in 2008, with an estimated 5,000 athletes, officials, media and volunteers from 45 countries expected to participate. Held every two years and established by the Olympic Council of Asia, the overarching aim is to strengthen relations between participating Asian nations in a friendly competitive environment. Following the Games, Omran will utilise the site to create a mixed-use residential, commercial and tourism destination.

Surf Nation

he Park Inn Muscat is the first hotel in Oman certified in June 2010 as having met the requirements of the Green Globe Standard. The hotel also holds the honour of being the second hotel in the Middle East region, and the first hotel worldwide in the Rezidor Hotel Group to be merited the certificate. The Green Globe seal of approval is recognised as representing the highest quality in sustainable practices within travel, tourism and related industries around the world. A green building is a high-performance building that is more environmentally responsible. Green buildings use less energy, less water and fewer resources. They also have less of an impact on the environment and are healthier places for their occupants. The Green Globe logo is widely recognised by travellers and is associated with companies who are striving to constantly improve their environmental performance.

A Real Treat

T

reasure Box, a new concept in catering and cuisine from the heart of Europe, held an event at Left Bank Restaurant to give a taste of their exclusive cuisine. Treasure Box General Manager Clemens Bastian Rinner said, “As a subsidiary of the Treasure Box Hotel, we are not just into preparation of exotic cuisine. We give you the whole package and that means we plan the whole event for you – parties, presentations, weddings, business lunches and launches. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy.”

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ith over 4m high waves, Omani coasts in the south have all the trappings of an attractive surf destination - good waves, great scenery, clean and virgin beaches, and plenty of guesthouses that are so appealing to surf professionals. Emerging as a year-round tourist destination, Oman can also be a big regional surfing spot during the summer and all it needs is to put in place a few surf schools and camps, according to a group of five

professional surfers who were on a visit here. The group were on an expedition in search of unsurfed waves along the desert coastline in Oman. The team of five headed to

Salalah recently and found to their pleasant surprise that Oman is a great destination for surfers. The surfers, hosted by Muscat Diving and Adventure Centre, said every wave is different. If they weren’t, surfers would not like to leave their home breaks. Each surf spot has its own distinct personality and style. Oman offers an attractive surf destination not only because of the great waves, but also on account of its good beaches, sheltered bays and a world-class tourism infrastructure.

bon voyage

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NEWS Salalah Tourism Festival T

his is the time of the year (JulySeptember) when visitors venture south to experience the cooler, cloudy climate with refreshing rains, commonly known as the Khareef (monsoon) season. Endowed with lush greenery and numerous tourist attractions, Salalah is a tourist destination for people from all over the sultanate and other GCC countries. The city of Salalah is packed with visitors who come to experience a wide range of activities centred on the whole family. The Festival is the celebration of the rich heritage of Oman, and encompasses folk music, traditional games, art shows, poetry, children’s contests, seminars, awareness campaigns, sports and much more. It began on July 15th and will run until August 31st. It lays special emphasis on the 40th anniversary of Oman’s Renaissance under the dynamic and wise stewardship of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said. According to Mohammed Bin Omar al

Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands

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Rowas, General Supervisor of the Festival Administration, “the festival includes more than 500 assorted events in the different religious, cultural, sports, art and recreational fields”. Festival goers can enjoy poetry nights, a number of religious lectures and art nights, about 40 art events, concerts, over 28 theatre performances, alongside a number of events which will be witnessed for the first time in the sultanate. Seventeen wilayats from different parts of the sultanate are taking part

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elcome to opulence! This fullyintegrated resort showcases a grandiose collection of celebrity chef restaurants: Wolfgang Puck, Guy Savoy, Santi Santamaria among others, floors of high-end fashion outlets, 2,560 rooms and suites, the largest casino in Singapore spread out over three floors, and endless facilities delivering 24hour entertainment for the leisure and business travellers alike. The stunning, massive 929,000 sqm hotel costing US$5.7bn, designed by internationally renowned architect Moshe Safdie for the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, anchors the Singapore waterfront, creating a gateway to the city and providing a dynamic setting for a vibrant public life. Stated Safdie, “Marina Bay Sands is more than a building project, it is a microcosm of a city rooted in Singapore’s culture, climate and contemporary life.” Three 55-storey hotel towers anchor the district and are connected at the top by a 1 hectare SkyPark, which spans from tower to tower and cantilevers 65metres beyond. The SkyPark sitting 60 floors

to display their cultural and traditional arts. The Festival also focuses on promoting traffic awareness and limiting the number of road accidents through the exhibition organised by Royal Oman Police, in response to the royal orders of His Majesty. It also seeks to attract major industrial companies to promote their products at the grounds. More than 12,000 sqm has been allocated for a big exhibition that will showcase products from different parts of the world. The Municipality Recreational Centre, the hub for visitors and festival activities, which is set up on 200,000 sqm, has been equipped with improved service facilities this year. Six great halls have been prepared to host about 25 environment, health, sports, agriculture, labour, scouting, embassies and fine art exhibitions. Fireworks lit the sky on July 23rd, the Renaissance Day, and will be held on the concluding day of the festival, in addition to Sunday and Thursday of each week.

high with 360-degree unseen views of the whole country, features a 150-metre long infinity-sitting edge swimming pool. Sheldon G. Adelson, chairman of Las Vegas Sands Corp, the parent company of Marina Bay Sands said, ”this is really the future of tourism development and is the reference point by which all new tourism projects are judged. It will be the pivot point in which tourism in Singapore is going to explode.” Mr. Thomas Arasi, president, added, “we expect to attract 70,000 visits a day and 18m visitors a year.” The grand opening in June was an extravagant five-day affair, where over 1,000 media representatives were flown in from all over the globe to witness the celebrities on the red carpet, the ribbon cutting, the gong ceremony, concerts, gala dinners, world champion climbing extreme stunt performances and so much more. This fully-integrated resort will continue to open additional features including theatres, museum and crystal pavillions over the coming year.


Kill time at the airport Checked in with hours until departure? Instead of drifting aimlessly around duty-free, stave off terminal boredom the smart way

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Locate an airport directory and find out what facilities the airport offers

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Purchase gifts and souvenirs for friends and family. Or window shop to give your credit card a break Bring a good book. Or browse in the bookshops available for magazines or travel brochures on your destination If you have one, bring a laptop loaded with your favourite games or watch a DVD. Time flies when you’re entranced by a movie. Most airports have ports to plug into, however note to bring an adapter

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Catch up on emailing, surf the net or chat with friends online at Internet kiosks. Most airports now also offer wifi Internet access, which often allows you to find a cosy spot in a lounge or coffee shop while browsing Buy some postcards from one of the stores and write to friends. Receiving a postcard from a foreign country always adds some excitement to our day Make use of the airport gym. More and more airports now make full-scale workout areas available to travellers. It is a great way to pass time, decrease stress levels and increase energy levels Alternatively, if there is no gym, store your luggage in the terminal lockers and power-walk through the airport to get your blood pumping Do some yoga or pilates to stretch and unwind your tired body or go to the Spa and have a relaxing massage or foot rub

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Some airports give you the opportunity to go out of the airport on a quick tour of the city if there are long layovers. Make sure you plan the time right

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Take a mini-snooze. Place your luggage in a way that if anyone tries to mess with it, it will wake you up. Make sure to set an alarm Freshen up by brushing your teeth and hair, wash your face and touch up on your make-up in a restroom rather than in the airplane’s cramped bathroom Strike up a conversation with a stranger. If this person resides in your destination, they might be able to give you some advice and if you build a good relationship an invitation to some interesting local places would probably arise; and vice versa if you are the local person Ask airport staff for services and information available if flights have been delayed due to weather as they may have certain arrangements in place such as food vouchers. Remember that delays may be for your safety and no one is to blame

Travelling is not only about the destination but the journey there. Follow these tips to ensure you reach relaxed, refreshed and ready to enjoy your holiday.

Treat yourself to a drink at the bar or a decent meal for a relaxing refuge. Many airports have a wide variety of places to choose from and provide comfortable seating areas

bon voyage

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TAKE ME HERE

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Aug - Sept 2010


SALALAH Above the clouds of the Qar mountains Salalah is a beautiful city that is known for its spectacular landscape. A popular destination west of the city is Jabal al Qar. The Qar Mountains are supposedly the resting place of the Biblical Prophet Job. An important historical and religious sight, the drive to the tomb is well worth the trip.

bon voyage

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TAKE ME HERE

Easter Island Moai Stone Statues Moai are monolithic human figures carved from rock on the Polynesian island of Easter Island, Chile, between the years 1250 and 1500. Almost all moai have overly large heads three-fifths the size of their bodies. The moai are chiefly the living faces of deified ancestors. Although moai are whole-body statues, they are commonly referred to as ‘Easter Island heads’.

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bon voyage

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PHOTOGRAPHY

PHOTOGRAPHY Tips

How to photograph eye-catching sunsets All of us have come across a capturing sunset. We dash to our camera to seize this incredible sight forever, only to be disappointed at a later stage that it didn’t catch what our eyes saw. Sunsets can be tricky to capture, but in actual fact they are not as intricate as we may think. Here are a few tips to help encapsulate that stunning moment. Think ahead Stunning shots can be taken at the spur of the moment, bu t the finest ones usually come with some planning. Equipment is definitely essential, namely tripod, extra batteries, filters and lenses. Find the perfect place a day or two before your shoo t. Re that sunsets only last aro member und half an hour, so find out when the sun will set and get there abou t half an hour prior. Clear skies produ ce so colours but clouds, dust me lovely or the air can produce stu smoke in nning results as well.

Focal points and silhoue

ttes

A place lending opportu nity to incorporate foreground elements and silhouettes adds int ere detail and contributes to sting the atmosphere and context of the overall shot. A sunset ph otograph needs a focal point and including a silhouette or subject int o the shot is one of the best ways to add one to the picture. It could be something big such as a mountain ran ge or smaller objects such as an anim al or even a person. It is often a go od idea to place an element such as the sun and silhouettes off centre ad ding character to the photo.


Shoot at a variety of focal lengths Shooting the sunset with a wide lens will always take up a reasonably small area of the photo. Sweeping landscape shots can be created by wide angle, but if you want the sun to be a highlight in your shot, you will have to zoom right in making use of a 200mm lens and upwards.

Shoot at a variety of exposures Shooting in manual is always preferable. Switch your camera into aperture or shutter priority mode and take a variety of shots at various exposures; they will all yield diverse effects. Relying on the camera’s auto mode probably won’t capture the beauty of the light if you let your camera decide what shutter length to shoot at. Switch into shutter priority mode and begin with a moderately quick shutter speed and then gradually work down to slower ones. Experiment and take lots of shots. Try f/6.3, shutter speed 400 to begin with. Keep ISO low.

Take your camera out of auto white balance mode When your camera is se t to auto in the white balance mode, there is a possibility of losing some of the golden ton es of ‘Shade’ or ‘cloudy’ mode the sunset. s are usually employed in cooler light and using these settings will give a warm glow to the photo.

Auto exposure lock

g not have a bracketin If your camera does ubt about using do mode or if you are in mera’s auto ca ur yo e us uld co it, you this function. Point s ha exposure lock if it rker place, lock the your camera at a da and then reframe exposure for that area nset, which will su the photo towards the osed shot. xp -e er ov give you a more

Bracketing

sure is to tting the right expo An alter native to ge a recommends you take mer look at what the ca a couple of shots under and ke ta d an the photo at you to shoot ur camera advises ke a shot yo If k. ar m ta over the uld nd at f/8 you wo at 1/60th of a seco en at f/11. These shots at d th at 1/60 at f/5.6 an ll give you fairly different wi s re su different expo . lts su re d an colours

Remember A tripod is crucial for these shots. It will ensure that your camera is completely still which is vital when shooting at longer shutter speeds and with longer focal lengths. Focusing the camera manually will certify crisp clear shots as some cameras have difficulty focusing in intense lighting conditions. A sunset changes continuously and even when the sun has gone down, it may still generate beautiful colour s in the sky, so keep shooting at different focal lengths and exposures until it is really over.

bon voyage

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KHAREEF SPECIAL

Khareef The moisture-laden air brimming with fog dons a great scope for visiting the city’s attractions. Hyesha Barrett covers the south of the sultanate

I

t’s that time of the year again, when the barren lands of the south become overridden with fertility. Where brown turns to green and dry wadi beds churn with fresh rainwater. The Khareef - monsoon season - is here. Albeit having started a tad late this year, it has nevertheless arrived with raring force. The holy month of Ramadhan has coincided with Khareef this year and while the rest of the country is experiencing the humidity, where most shy away during daylight hours to escape from the blaze and take some rest before iftar, others make their way down south to enjoy the mist and cold. Yes, it actually does get quite cold – by Omani standards anyway. Even if it’s solely an escape from the stifling heat suffocating the rest of the country and the surrounding GCC countries, Salalah is totally worth the

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Only in the Dhofar region is the ubiquitous date replaced with the sub-tropical coconut. Overflowing with colourful fruit stalls, roadside market shops selling souvenirs, couples on bicycles and family picnics on the beach: Salalah can definitely be construed as a beachside town.

stunning natural scenery. The terrain has been given an adrenalin dose of nutritious flavour, and has transformed the region into a green tropical paradise. Camels in the misty mountains feed on tall grass and drink out of gurgling waterfalls. Omani, Saudi and Emirati families intermingle and create a cosmopolitan mélange of Middle Eastern heritage, engulfed in a sea of varying green. It really does feel like a world apart, a perfect holiday destination for the region and beyond. Expats and tourists also abound to these lands to witness with their very eyes, this superb phenomenon, that is Khareef.

The temperatures drop to and below 23°C, the rains nourish the region and the mystical fog hangs ominously over the land, resulting in some of the world’s most

Although the rains infiltrate throughout the whole region, to fully experience this splendour, it is required to venture further into the mountains to witness the

visit. It really is an amazing spectacle when our southern Omani lands, which usually follow the sweltering temperament of the whole sultanate for ten months of the year, takes on a life of its own from the end of July through to September, as if injected with Eden’s magical touch.


moisture-laden clouds and a lushness of vegetation unparalleled in the rest of Arabia. Be careful when driving, especially in the mist, as camels rule these lands. There are many roads running by the coast that do not have street lights and the camels will unpredictably run across the road. There are 35,000 that reside here. Salalah is known as the “perfume capital of Arabia”. Khareef has had a profound influence on the course of history in the region, for the conditions that prevail are uniquely suited to the growing of the Boswellia Sacra, the frankincense tree. Known throughout Arabia as ‘luban’, frankincense is the resinous, aromatic gum of a scrubby, gnarled tree that thrives in the narrow mist-laden boundary between the mountains and the open desert. The Qar mountains grow frankincense trees in abundance, its sap extremely sought after in the ancient world. The best place to buy authentic frankincense is in Haffa (Al Husn) Souq. Walking towards Tawi Attair

Wadi Darbat


KHAREEF SPECIAL

Mughsayl Beach

One mainly comes here to cool down during the summer months and with a multitude of attractions to fill up your day, check out what the Dhofar region has to offer Attractions

Mirbat: 70kms from Salalah, this old city encompasses wealth of character and traditional promise. Every house resembles a small fort, sandy brown in colour, with little protruding turrets and old-framed intricate detailed windows. The fishing village thrives at dawn when the catch of the day flows in, and the area bustles with life. Anti-gravity road: Situated 60kms east of the city and off the Taqah / Mirbat road, this 200m stretch of road defies gravity. When

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driving here the road seems like a normal mountain road. It is currently being layered with tarmac, mind you. It is a wonder how this peculiarity was discovered. Switch off the car and leave it on ‘neutral’. What seems like a downward slope, the vehicle will slowly move uphill, and can gather up speeds of 100kms per hour. Khor Rori, Sumharam: Scattered out of town, there are a few uNESCo World Heritage sites associated with the frankincense trade. The most attractive is Sumharam (end of 4th Century BC – 4th Century AD), which lies 40kms from the city, in the picturesque Khor Rori. This picture-perfect creek, the most pre-islamic settlement in the Dhofar region, is a protected area for migratory birds where fresh water flows from the mountains and converges with the sea. What appears to be vast rocky land are in fact ruins overlooking the whole creek and don 360degree views of

the whole surrounding area, from the sea to the mountains. Excavations have revealed a walled rectangular shaped town. Five stone inscriptions were discovered written in an Arabic southern alphabet describing the establishment of the town, from which it is evident that the town was built to ascertain the domination of the frankincense trade. The other uNESCo site is in ubar at Shisr, northeast of Thumrayt. It is believed to be the site of the Lost City, the Atlantis of Arabia, discovered by the famous explorer, Wilfred Thesiger. Archaeologists have also unravelled the Queen of Sheba travelled to this region to obtain supplies of frankincense. Wadi Darbat: A natural park with majestic views surrounded with lakes, waterfalls, mountains, caves, wildlife and lush green vegetation. There is water here all year round. To reach the wadi, drive into the mountains


Khor Rori

following the signs for the wadi. The winding road leads you to the oasis. There is a 100m waterfall (the highest in the region) and many cave chambers with stalactites and stalagmites. There are a also a number of springs to visit: Arzat: There are several natural fountains, which flow between the rocks to the green gardens before flowing into the sea. Jarzeez: one of the most beautiful springs in the region, located in Atneed, 14kms from Salalah. There are caves to explore and shaded areas to relax under. Sahnout: 15kms from Salalah in Al Saada city, the plateau, which overlooks the spring, is a gorgeous view point. Athoum: Located in the city, these springs are famous for its wide wadi and beautiful dense forests. Tawi Attair – The Well of Birds: A natural sinkhole over 100m wide and 211m deep, it is

one of the largest in the world. As the name suggests, Tawi Attair is home to many birds species that can be seen swooping in and out, especially during Khareef. Mughsayl Blowholes are a famous and popular local attraction. Known for its beautiful beach, stunning sea views and jagged cliffs and mountains, located 40kms west of the city on the stunning coast, the inflow from the sea will result in 20m high waterspouts being forced through porous rock. The noise is deafening like a dragon roaring in its lair. Taqah Castle: one of Dhofar’s most distinguished landmarks situated 32kms from the city, the castle was built in the 19th century as a private stronghold for Sheikh Ali bin Timman Al Ma’ashani. It was converted to government use during the reign of Sultan Taimur bin Faisal (1913-1932), and remained in constant use until 1984 as Taqah Castle


KHAREEF SPECIAL

the official residence for a succession of local governors. The castle was designed to withstand time, enemies and the annual onslaught of the khareef. Its massive walls were constructed from solid blocks of “taqah stone”, a local limestone material composed of fossilised shells and corals, which were extensively used in ancient times, and are still in evidence at many archaeological sites in the region. Nabi Ayoub - also known as the Prophet Job from the old Testament: 40kms from the city, the drive here affords great views of the area. The tomb marks the place where the remains

of the Prophet can be found, and there is also a small stone mosque, believed to have been used by Nabi Ayoub for prayers. Prophet Emran’s Tomb: Located near the Clock Tower in the city, this tomb is an extraordinary site to visit. It is around 30m long. Prophet Emran was the father of Moses, a famous biblical prophet. Bin Ali’s Tomb: Located in Mirbat, this tomb is notable for its white double domes. There is a large cemetery surrounding it, which has unusually shaped and inscribed headstones. Bin Ali’s place of rest is over 3m long and is covered in a green velvet cloth.

Bin Ali’s tomb

Wadi Darbat

Nabi Ayoub’s tomb


bon voyage

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LIVING IT

Cappadocia World explorer and traveller Mikael Strandberg takes us on a fairytale journey

M

ikael, you have been to 115 countries worldwide,” Ismail Oral at the local television station asked me in an interview, “but have you ever come across anything like this?” “I don´t think so,” I answered honestly and looked around me, “it is definitely one of the

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wonders of the world and has to be seen by any traveller before he or she dies.” I felt like I was walking through the middle of a moon landscape. A midget in a playground for giants, surrounded by


We had lunch in a restaurant carved out and located in one of the fairytale chimneys just outside the charming town centre of Göreme, and had another tasty Turkish meal. This time we enjoyed manti, a delicious dish consisting of small stuffed dumplings, blended in with a delectable garlic and tomato sauce. By many standards, this local cuisine is definitely one of the tastiest I have experienced in a while. And as tasty as the food is, as friendly and welcoming the local Anatolian people are. The Hittites were the first people to enjoy and live in this fantasy landscape around 3,800 years ago. Since then many kingdoms and their people have had the fortune to live in this magical wonderland engulfed by pleasant climate. One of the most interesting and influential people was a group of Christians fleeing religious persecutions

I felt like I was walking through the middle of a moon landscape during the Roman and Byzantine era as far back as 1,500 years ago. They built and carved out the most amazing underground cities, chapels, churches and monasteries in this soft lava; all of which are hidden away inside this amazing landscape.

eroded hills, twisted towers, giant boulders, tall spires, caves, chimneys and an array of geographic oddities which also gave me a strong feeling of being in a fairytale. “This is the work of three volcanoes

that scattered debris all over the Central Anatolian plateau around 30 million years ago,” Ismail continued. “Wind and rain played their part to make this more fantastic than any other place on earth. And man, of course, has done his part to shape it as well!”

“I don´t dare crawl into one of those tunnels!” hollered one elderly German tourist and quickly spat out, “it stinks of death!” Ismail smiled and showed me the way down into the Derinkuyu Underground City, a place where few tourists venture inside. It didn’t smell of death at all, it was just extremely earthy. Derinkuyu is the biggest and deepest of all the underground cities in Cappadocia. Fluorescent lights dotted along the walls aided me find my way as I used the rope hanging off the walls for balance. “There are eight floors and the depth is about 85 metres,” Ismail explained, as we kneeled down and crawled through the tight tunnel. What an extraordinary feeling of relief once we were able to stand up again, inside what bon voyage

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LIVING IT

used to be a storage room used for religious studies. We continued down another vertical staircase, which led us to another stunning chapel. Amazing to think this remarkable world was hidden away until a French priest rediscovered it in 1907. It is considered that around 40,000 people could hide away in one of the underground cities! But Cappadocia continued to stay out of the tourist radar until the late 70s. “I came here with my family in 1970 since my father was looking for work, but we didn´t have any money, so we made our home in this cave,” explained Dogan, the modest coffee shop owner, while we chatted on the bottom floor of a six-storey fairy chimney called The Cave Man, just a stone’s throw from the magnificent rock village of Uchisar. “And I remember the first tourists who came a few years later. It was three

Eroded hills, twisted towers and tall spires gave me a strong feeling of being in a fairytale hippies from Germany who stayed in our cave for many months. Things have really changed since then,” he continued. They certainly have. Cappadocia is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Turkey hosting up to hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. This number is mild in comparison to the coastal tourist spot Antalya, a stunning town situated 550kms south of Cappadocia, boasting over nine million visitors every year. I’m not one to get lost in the crowd so I was very pleased to find that Cappadocia still retains that ‘unspoilt by tourism’ feel, which is startling due to the fact that there is so much more to do in Cappadocia than along the coast. I would personally rate it as one of the ten most interesting places on earth. To fully understand and appreciate this fairytale world, one has to find a secluded place to soak it all in. With such a wide area to explore, these spots are certainly not

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lacking. For an even more special getaway, take a hot air balloon ride to gain that perfect bird’s eye view. Best of all, though, are the local people. They are among the friendliest, most generous and interesting people I have ever come across in my life. Sure, most of the time, many of them hope to sell you one of the local trinkets, but they never do it aggressively. The most popular trinkets seem to be jewellery in the shape of the Turkish evil eye. Negotiating with the Cappadocian sellers is quite enjoyable and they appreciate you haggling with them. Although this is part and parcel of the local customs, the peope are extremely hospitable and warm. Not an hour passes by without being invited for a Turkish cup of sweet tea. So friendly that if you stand too long in one place, as I often do while trying to figure things out, they come up to you and ask if they can be of any assistance. Once the conversation starts flowing, funnily enough if it leads to global matters, the discussion eventually ends up on the Dervish. The Dervish are a group of Sufi mystics who use a powerful whirling dance to send them into a deep trance to further understand

religious matters. Today, one can go to a historical caravanserai, like in Göreme, and see a group of male dancers perform this magic dance accompanied by mystic

Must-see attractions

Göreme Open Air Museum: Get astounded by the rock-hewn churches and the radiant frescoes adorning inside. Underground cities: Corridors are narrow and some ceilings are very low but exploring the underground city is remarkable. Ürgüp and Göreme: Enjoy the local food, local wine and local atmosphere in these picturesque village. Trekking or horse riding through the Ihlara Valley: Explore nature and the beautiful churches dotted throughout this stunning valley. Hot Air Balloon ride: What better way is there to fully grasp this fairytale world than floating through the air in a hot air balloon!

Facts for the visitor

Best time to go: Cappadocia is generally cooler than the popular coastal areas of

Sufi music. I recommend this as the perfect way to finish off a visit to one of the most fantastic places on earth. Once you set foot here, you will never want to leave! the Mediterranean and the Aegean. April to mid June and September to October are the best months to avoid the intense heat and summer crowds. What to wear: Modest, seasonal appropriate clothes are suggested for visits to Cappadocia. Long trousers are recommended for those who want to explore cave dwellings as some crawling may be necessary and the tufa surfaces can be quite rough. Be sure to bring a wide-brimmed hat, suntan lotion and comfortable shoes.

Getting there

By Plane: The closest airport to Cappadocia is in Kayseri, 75kms from Yunak Evleri. By Bus: There are regular buses to Cappadocia from most cities around Turkey. All the buses are of luxury standards and are air-conditioned. 

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WADI

Wadi Arbieen Poornima Ramani takes a trip to Wadi Arbieen and rediscovers the beauty of our mountains

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hen I think of Oman, the first thing that pops to mind are mountains, not only because there are a copious amount of them, but mainly due to people who are constantly talking about them. Friends venture on weekend trips and return gushing about the wonderful mountains they have seen. Usually to me, one mountain is as good enough as another. But on a recent trip to Wadi Arbieen, the mountains surrounding me were so stunning, I felt like I had ‘rediscovered’ their beauty. A mix and match of geological appeal, the smooth rock surfaces were surrounded by serrated ones, forming beautiful patterns. Added with the sunlight glinting off them, they actually radiated a multitude of colours adding charm to the surrounding areas. We decided to go on a Friday and I understood the meaning of the words, ‘escaping to the mountains’. It really seemed like we were escaping the flurry of city life. On this particular Friday afternoon, in the middle of the holy month of Ramadhan, there were no vehicles on the road, except for a lone truck which deserted us half-way to the wadi. As it is always very hot during the day, we decided to leave Muscat around 3pm. We were sure to arrive at the wadi by 5pm, by which time the sun’s heat would have cooled down a bit and where the water in the pool would be at a perfect temperature to take a dip in. We drove towards the Wadi Hatat roundabout where we set the odometer to zero. From this roundabout we took a right heading towards Amerat. I hadn’t been to Amerat for quite some time now and was surprised with the amount of construction work going on there, including a new highway. We kept heading straight and hit

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the first roundabout at about 9kms and the second at 11kms. This roundabout looked beautiful as it had a nicely carved conch placed on top of a pillar. We headed straight after the second roundabout and crossed two other roundabouts at 13 and 15kms respectively, finally reaching the popular Al Hajr roundabout at 16.7kms, decorated with a golden eagle. We took a left at this roundabout and drove on until the ‘Wilayat Quriyat Welcomes You’ sign at 81kms. There is another roundabout at around 85.8kms and taking a right we passed the Toyota showroom heading south towards Sur. At 89kms there is another roundabout where we took a right and then continued along the road to Sur. We exited the highway at 105kms and took a right turn where we found the first board stating Wadi Arbieen 17kms away. When you take a right at the final junction and get onto the mountain road, you can see the road winding through the mountains. It was a narrow graded road and seemed to be quite dangerous, but the large stones on the side served as our guide. It was a good thing that we had an experienced driver, as the road was extremely bumpy. But I loved the swooping sensation in my stomach everytime

As we neared the wadi, we could see the glimmer of water appear every so often


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WADI

we took a downward slope at high speed. As we neared the wadi, we could see the glimmer of water appear every so often and eagerly anticipated the moment when we could dip our legs into the cool pools. As it was around 5pm when we reached Wadi Arbieen, the sun’s glare had dissipated creating stunning colours as we stood looking down into the waters. We could see the mossy stones through the clear bluegreen waters and I suddenly felt a sense of vertigo and moved back in haste. We looked out for a path to take us closer to the waters and started scaling the huge serrated rocks along the way. When we reached the wadi I was a bit disappointed not to see anyone around, except for some swimmers who were just leaving. But when I started scrambling over the rocks to reach the waters, we came across some unwanted company. Frogs, by the dozen, kept jumping around on the rocks and they seemed to know the easiest rocks to scale and guided us to the wadi pools. But we were definitely not glad of their company. Nor of the company of bees buzzing around our heads and ankles. Although the water level wasn’t very high,

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many of the pools were deep enough to dive into and take a swim in. There was a young man who provided entertainment as he dived from the higher levels into the deep waters. Just two hours drive away from Muscat this wadi has water all year around where you can be sure of finding deep water pools.

Although the water level wasnÕ t very high, many of the pools were deep enough to dive into After a 20-minute exploration of the wadi we started our drive back to Muscat. The journey hadn’t been too tiring and we were welcomed back to the city with a stream of bright lights. Finally, we were back to civilisation and a long hot shower to get rid of the small stones that found their way into our sports shoes. But the hardships of finding frogs and bees, scrambling over smooth rock surfaces, taking care not to slip, were all definitely worth the visit to Wadi Arbieen.


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OUTBOUND

Jordan the heart of the East

Aly bin Salih al Ajamy takes a journey though the country’s highlights

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espite having visited this beautiful country over five times already, this particular sojourn was altogether different. I met up in Muscat International Airport with a group of 15 individuals, mostly from tourism and travel agencies in the sultanate, before boarding our flight to this regale country. The expedition was organised by Mezoon Travels, in cooperation with the Royal Jordanian Airlines. The aim was to gain an introduction to Jordan, a country of long, interesting history and wonderful civilisation. We boarded the plane where we were received with the warmest welcome and gentle smiles. When the ice was broken, further excitment started brewing. Stepping out at Queen Aliaa International Airport, we took a moment to breathe in

the refreshing breeze, before heading to Madba City. The five-day visit included touring the major and most charming cities. During my previous visits I had seen the main ones; however, this time felt like the first time. Amman, for instance, seemed like a groom on his wedding day; so different from my first visit in 1997. Despite my previous three visits to this particular city, I felt as if it were my first time absorbing in the country’s landmarks. We drove along the five-thousand-year-

Amman, the city of fraternal love, appeared like a painting by a skillful artist old Road of the Kings, and I was so eager to re-explore the city of Madba, located 30kms away from Amman. The city of Madba is called the City of Mosaics due to its famous byzantine and Umayyad mosaics. Furthermore, it includes a mosaic map, dating back to the 6th century, which has drawings of Jerusalem and the holy lands. It contains Madba Museum, Madba Antique Park and several byzantine churches. It is also famous for the magnificent mosaic, found in the Hall of Hippolyta, in the Virgin Mary Church. We enjoyed lunch in a traditional restaurant before heading from Madba to Amman, to spend our first night at the

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Amman Marriott Hotel, one of the central places of social uprising in Amman, which has witnessed several waves of different peoples and civilisations, namely the Greek and Roman. Amman was once called Philadelphia, the city of fraternal love, and it appeared like a painting made by a skillful artist. Lights decorated the stony houses, making Amman more beautiful and glamorous at night, than by day. The capital is founded on more than 19 mountains, and embodies originality with modernism. It features a deep-rooted beauty of the past, mixed in with a charismatic present. The next morning, we headed to Jerash, which is located half way on the international road from Amman to Irbid, an hour’s drive from the north of the capital. Surrounded by hills covered in thick forest, Jerash is one of the oldest cities, its landmarks and monuments still standing until present day. Over 70 years ago, this Roman city was dug out of the sand to reveal an entire city with paved and tiled streets, theatres, amphitheatres, yards, and market squares. Breathtaking to say the least, and despite becoming increasingly tired from walking in and around these ancient monuments, we were all extremely thrilled. We proceeded with visiting the most charming city in Jordan, and one of the world wonders: the City of Petra, known as the Pink City or the City of Nabataeans. Although it is one of the most eye-capturing tourist locations to explore, this was my first time touring Petra, as contradictory circumstances prevented me from visiting this city in the past. I was overwhelmed by feelings of admiration and astonishment. Petra is dazzling and the entrance was through a giant, multi-shaped rock, approximately 80m high and 10m wide. The passageway to the core of Petra is pebbled and stretches out for one kilometre. The only way to access this stunning land is by foot, as all types of vehicles are prohibited. Meanwhile, elderly people or those who do not wish to walk may rent horses, camels or wagons. At the end of this passageway stood a 43m high, 30m wide painting, which was engraved in the pink rocks. Above it lies the famous Al Khazneh (popularly known as “the Treasury�). This treasury was built in the first century as a tomb for one of the Nabataea kings. bon voyage

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OUTBOUND

Petra is truly a masterpiece, proof of the genius nature of man, who used his creative and engineering capability to dig out this city. No matter how hard I try to describe my thought and feelings, standing before this beautiful architectural masterpiece, rendered me speechless. From Petra, we continued our journey to Hamamat Ma’in, which is located near the Dead Sea. Its hot mineral springs, their temperature rising above 50 degrees centigrade, holds excellent healing features. It has such fascinating natural beauty, that makes any person hope to stay there as long as possible. We eventually lifted ourselves from the hot bath and proceeded to the lowest below-sea level spot in the world. The Valley of Jordan is located here and is surrounded by the Dead Sea. On the west edge of the valley the land rises, forming a chain of mountains, the most distinguished being Jerusalem Heights. Al Balqaa Heights and Al-Salt Hills, located in between the mountainous chain on the north of the Valley of Jordan

Petra is truly a masterpiece, proof of the genius nature of man, who dug out this city are sliced through by a sacred river which is known to spread life, beauty and fertility. It is warm in winter and is considered the food basket of Jordan. We spent many wonderful hours at the Dead Sea thinking of our overbearingly, hot Muscat. Upon returning to Amman we had some free time to go shopping and stocked up on the delicious Jordanian desserts and souvenirs for our families and friends. Our last afternoon of relaxation eventually brought us straight from the market to the airport, and back home to our beloved Muscat.

The Dead Sea

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ANIMAL KINGDOM

Irukandji Jellyfish Meet the deadliest marine creature in the world

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he Irukandji jellyfish, a nearly invisible deadly killer whose bell is no larger than 2.5cms in diameter, may be mistaken to be a tiny harmless creature. It is, in fact, very poisonous and can provide a fatal sting. The venom of this fragile little jellyfish is 1,000 times more potent than a tarantula’s and 100 times more potent than a cobra’s. There are currently two known species: the Carukia barnesi and the Malo kingi, the latter only recently discovered. Related to the venomous box jellyfish, the Irukandji dwell in the oceanic waters lingering in the deeper

reefs off northern Australia, especially north Queensland. In true jellyfish style, however, they are often carried by the strong currents towards the shore. More than 60 people are admitted into hospitals every summer, with this potentially fatal syndrome. For generations, the Irukandji people, an aboriginal tribe that once lived in north Queensland in the area of Cairns, used to suffer from a mysterious condition. They suspected they had been bitten or stung while swimming in the turquoise ocean, but could not identify the culprit. In 1952, Hugo Flecker first documented the symptoms, naming it the ‘Irukandji syndrome’ after the tribe. In 1964, Jack Barnes identified which jellyfish caused the syndrome. He captured a specimen and purposely stung himself, his son and a lifeguard to prove that it was this jellyfish causing the syndrome. They all ended up in hospital but survived. The initial sting from the jellyfish is not usually very painful, causing only minor discomfort, but the aftermath can result in death if medical treatment is not administered quick enough. Symptoms such as profuse sweating, burning skin, muscle cramps, vomiting, agitation, headache, backache, high blood pressure and rapid heart rate follow the initial sting minutes or hours later and will last for hours up to several days. Abnormal heart beat and heart failure may result from the increase in blood pressure and in exceptional cases, the victim may suffer pulmonary oedema (fluid accumulation in the lungs) which, if not treated, could be fatal.

appear as small red rings around the bell and along the four tentacles ranging from a few centimetres up to 50cms in length. Each nematocyst holds a thread coiled inside it filled with venom. When the tentacle feels pressure, the nematocysts become active uncoiling like springs, injecting the venom and depositing the stingers into the flesh of the victim touching the jellyfish. There are certain precautions and steps one can take to avoid being stung. Always look out for sign boards and ask lifeguards on duty. Wearing Lycra swimming suits will also be very beneficial. Dr Michael Corkeron has since discovered a long established, inexpensive way of treating patients through magnesium infusions by an intravenous drip to effectively combat the venom. If you have been stung by a jellyfish of any species, no matter how slight, first aid (vinegar is a good reliever) needs to be administered as soon as possible and a thorough examination and follow-up at the hospital is crucial.

Because these jellyfish are so small, they are difficult to spot in the water, making snorkellers, swimmers and divers vulnerable to their venomous nematocysts (stingers). unlike other jellyfish that only have stingers along their tentacles, those of the Irukandji bon voyage

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ECO-PROPERTY

Hawaii Eco Lodges Lise Tyrell gives us the lowdown on three ecolodges spread out over Hawaii’s biggest island

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awaii is a jewel in the Pacific Ocean. It consists of islands, each surrounded with their own uniqueness. The Big Island of Hawaii, the biggest island, is perhaps the most bio diverse of the islands, ranging from lush tropical foliage to lava-ridden volcanoes, and beautiful beaches surrounded by snow-capped mountains. There is something here to entice every traveller and is a perfect family destination. Have a look at three eco lodges on offer: Lova Lava Land Eco-Resort is a rustic and budget-oriented experience in creative and sustainable off-grid accommodations. Guests choose between sleeping in Pele’s Paradise Yurt or two renovated VW Camper Buses, saved from a landfill and now turned into themed stationary accommodations (Daisy the Daydream Bus & Garth the Gecko Bus). The property boasts a lava rock outdoor shower, communal kitchen, 100 per cent off-grid solar electricity with free wireless Internet, a handson vermin culture composting programme, and much more! Lova Lava Land’s overriding goal is to give tourists a more sustainable (and budgetfriendly) option for their Hawaiian vacation and to offer a unique learning onsite experience that guests can take home to incorporate into their daily lives. A new plant is planted on the property for each reservation - which is turning the lava at Lava Land into a beautiful carbonfriendly sea of green! Volcano Guest House is a bed and breakfast that operates more like a lodge. It has recently added six bedrooms in two houses to its five cottages. The twelve acres of cool, high altitude tropical

From top: garden, exterior, bedroom. Lovo Lava Land

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rainforest is set at the edge of the protected forest of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, within five minutes drive from the park entrance. They have been operating green since 1987, long before green, sustainable, and eco-tourism became the buzz. They help with supplies for kids, lava viewers and hikers, as well as providing recycling, greenhouse-dried linens, solar heat and breakfast. In their new expanded form they are welcoming groups, reunions and tours of up to 30 people. Waianuhea, Inn of Luxury and House of Aloha, is a bed and breakfast with a vision to provide soothing, peaceful and luxurious accommodations. Escape to the serenity and enjoy the views of the summit of Mauna Kea and the Pacific Ocean surrounding. You can spend the day on the grounds with many beautiful spots for a lazy picnic or siesta. Quiet country back roads make for great bike rides and long walks. Nearby is the old Honokaa town with its western charm, which is centrally located on the Big Island, halfway between Kona and Hilo, the main towns of Hawaii. It is at a 760m elevation

Clockwise: veranda, bedroom, exterior, children’s bedroom. Volcano guest house

on the lush rural Hamakua Coast and offers a different perspective of life in Hawaii. For more information http://www.ecotropicalresorts.com/pacific/hawaiianislands.htm

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OMAN DIVING

k c e r w r i s s a n u Al M

Amphibia explores Al Munassir wreck lurking 30m deep off Muscat’s stunning coast

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ying peacefully in the clear blue waters at Bandar Khayran lies the Munassir Wreck. A former Royal Oman Navy landing craft, this 84m ship was purposely sunk in 2003 as part of the tourism development plan to upgrade the Eco Tourism and Dive project. Over the years an artificial reef has formed rendering Al Munassir an important part of the eco system, and is now home to various species of fish and other marine life.

visibility, the overpowering wreck engulfed our view the second we plunged in. As we approached the lurking mass, a school of fusiliers circled beneath us; their silver and yellow markings glistening brightly in the shafts of light piercing through the blue. We descended down the line, which led us to the bottom of the anchor resting at 12m, adjacent to the captain’s cabin. As

we entered the large room (still intact with bathroom), the space suddenly filled up with the ubiquitous cave dwelling dusky sweepers, their copper colour reflecting the light from the misty windows. The bowl of the toilet itself has been re-homed by a 1.5m long honeycomb moray eel; do not be misled by its docile nature, as it is very territorial and can pack a nasty bite. After having explored the captain’s cabin, we glided to the starboard side of the ship where the open sided passageways running along her side, led us to an open corridor lined with soft corals and a variety of fish swaying in the current. This was a tasty appetiser for the much anticipated Winch Room that lay just around the corner.

Around 25 minutes by boat from the Marina, Al Munassir has a permanent buoy line attached to it as the murky waters can often be misleading. It mainly facilitates descending and ascending to the wreck, making it easier for the divers to venture exploring. It also protects the wreck being damaged by anchors. This particular day we descended down the line into the turquoise blue waters, and with over 25m clear

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Fusiliers

Upon entering, our eyes took a moment to adjust to the looming darkness as we hovered mid-way taking in its surrounding beauty.


down to 50 bar on our dive gauge, we made a quick ‘ok’ sign all round and exited through the windows positioned right above the propeller. Ascending to 16m, we encountered schools of snapper and fusiliers hovering above the heli-deck and as we started making our way towards the front, three giant barracuda and a school of jack fish zoomed past us. This wreck has plenty of windows to peer through on your way up and two lift shafts lead to the storage area below with a protruding gun turret. Life is certainly bountiful in and around the wreck; you will not be disappointed with the amount of visual stimulation on display.

The whole space possesses the heli-deck as its ceiling and is surrounded by open walls, yet is crammed with colourful aquatic life. Our buoyancy in check, we floated with the myriad of one spot snappers as giant parrot fish glided around below them nibbling on the various corals protruding off the wreck. Free swimming moray eels (which are more habituated to hiding in small spaces) glided along the passageways towards the port and starboard sides. We followed them at arms length where they led us to a 1.5m motionless feather tail ray resting underneath the main winch, the rhythmic movement of his gills the only sign of life. During the day this lonesome individual conserves his energy and as night falls he goes on the prowl for some wholesome dinner. We were careful not to disturb it and moved around the main winch, the latter covered in purple and white broccoli coral, dead man’s fingers and whip coral,

surrounded by shimmering reef fish. Such a serene place, we could easily spend hours loitering around but at 22m, the lack of bottom time pushed us to speed up our venture through the rest of the wreck. Barely

Our last bit of ascent was at the front of the ship where parrot fish, emperor angelfish and butterfly fish darted in and around us, with several lion fish hiding in the dark open shafts leading to the deck below. Unfortunately, before we knew it, our dive computers started wailing at us to ascend and as we made our way towards the buoy line, the safety stop allowed us to take in one last look. The crystal clear blue water allowed us to see the breathtaking mass of ship beneath us shimmering in the afternoon sun, while the cheeky fusiliers played with our bubbles. This stunning wreck dive is suitable for all diver levels and is a haven for many species of fish, eels and rays. Held in pristine condition, Al Munassir is a spectacular wreck dive guaranteed to entice nature and wreck lovers alike. We loved it, we guarantee you will too. Contact Amphibia: 96289664

Barracuda

Butterfly fish bon voyage

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PROPERTY

Jebel sifah The stunning setting will soon house luxurious high end residences, a 150-berth marina, marina town and five-star hotels

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he Sultanate of Oman has emerged as one of the favourite tourist destinations in the Middle East capitalising on its overwhelming natural beauty. Complemented with a sound infrastructure, robust economic growth, employment opportunities and the warm hospitality of the inhabitants, the country has etched a place as a unique destination with a natural and traditional charm. In 2006, Egypt’s Orascom Development Holding (ODH) and Omran, representing the Ministry of Tourism, came together to establish Muriya Tourism Development Company, the single largest tourism development company in Oman. The combined efforts of both companies have led to the development of Oman’s premium properties. In its first year, Muriya announced a number of ambitious projects in stunning locales across Oman that include two Integrated Tourism Complexes (ITCs), namely, ‘Salalah Beach’ in Salalah and ‘Jebel Sifah’ in Sifah, a boutique hotel on ‘As Sodah Island’ and a city complex in Muscat heartland. The unique selling point of Muriya’s

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projects is the low-density building policy, a concept exemplified by Orascom’s flagship development, El Gouna. It was announced right at the inception that only 25 per cent of the land will be constructed on, leaving the remaining 75 per cent to commune with nature. Time and again, it has also reiterated its commitment to take the lead in promoting environmentally and socially responsible tourism adopting stringent measures to preserve the flora and fauna of the country, one of the prime assets of Oman. The company is offering an extensive choice in properties with diverse architectural styles that will, at the same time, be integrated with Omani culture and traditions. Another attraction for foreign investors is 100 per

cent freehold ownership in dedicated zones referred to as ITCs. The Ministry of Tourism has confirmed that a residency permit will be granted to foreign investors and their immediate family members when purchasing a freehold property within an ITC.

Project overview Located 45kms from the capital, Jebel Sifah is spread over an area of 6.2 million sq m. This dramatic mountainous setting will be home to luxurious high end residences, including villas and apartments, up to 150-berth Marina and Marina town, retail shops, two boutique marina hotels and four 5-star hotels. Renowned hotels such as the Four Seasons


Hotels & Resorts, Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts and Angsana Resorts & Spas, Cheval Blanc and Missoni hotel are planned along the beachfront at Jebel Sifah.

Construction progress Construction work is in progress at different stages in all the 18 apartment blocks around the marina, while finishing work is nearing completion on five blocks. The 63 villas, a part of the initial release, will be designed in eight different styles of which 41 are nearing completion. In Q1, 2011, Phase I customers will start receiving the handover of their villas and apartments. With the construction work in full swing, Muriya will shortly announce the release of new units and new schemes. Selective hotel-

managed new apartments and villas will offer a unique rent back guarantee programme and will be operated by top brand hotels, a first of its kind associated with freehold properties in Oman. The new villas to be released will have new convenient sizes. An on-site sales office will be set up soon, to further enhance the service to the customers, including an on-site visit. Muriya has also

set up a Home Design department, and will provide owners furniture packages, interior finishing, audio-visual packages, landscaping and upgrade options. The roads leading to Sifah will be widened for safe access to the destination. The internal roads within the project have already been laid out, providing clear access to the properties and the marina. Final revetment for internal roads will be finished by the beginning of next year. The central hub of ‘Jebel Sifah’ is the marina that will be bustling with an array of activities surrounded by lively restaurants, cafĂŠs and apartment blocks with narrow, shaded, cobbled roads when completed. Even so, a lot of thought and attention has gone into the planning to ensure that the feel and look of the place remains open and uncluttered, at the same time aesthetically pleasing. The marina was flooded in November 2009 and will be soon ready for berthing boats. High quality weather-resistant pontoons have been put in place that will provide space for up to 150 boats. A promenade will weave through the lively marina town that will also accommodate a marina boutique hotel with 55 rooms. Today under finishing, the marina hotel will open in Q1 of 2011 and will be managed by Muriya Hotel Division. Muriya has secured a portfolio of the most reputable and prestigious hospitality brands for Jebel Sifah that include the Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts and Angsana Resorts & Spas, Missoni Hotel and the fourth hotel will be operated by a famous French hotel company. In partnership with the iconic fashion house of the same name, Hotel Missoni will be stylish, intimate, contemporary and eclectic in design. Construction for the Missoni Hotel is scheduled to start at the end of 2010.

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TELL US

The Hague Modern-day city in an old jacket

Classical concert, part of The Hague Festival

Patrick Peters takes us on a whirlwind

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he Hague is my hometown, but due to certain circumstances, I have left on several occasions to travel or live abroad. Nevertheless, I have always returned home but not without reason. The city behind the dunes feels like a populated museum, and is a great place to live and visit. The third largest city of the Netherlands, The Hague, founded around 1230 AD, has played a crucial role in Dutch history and has remained the political seat of power. The Dutch royals still live and work here. Its beautiful palaces, embassies and other historical buildings portray the characteristic Dutch architecture. In the last 10 years the city has undergone an extensive amount of development and now also has some interesting modern architecture. The inner city (3sqkms) is made out of small streets and large green boulevards where you can find many great art galleries and museums. Next to all the great indoor art, The Hague embodies the Dutch saying that “true art can be found on the street�. You can find permanent and temporary expositions throughout the city. At night, you can enjoy the mouthwatering culinary scene and a great nightlife. The inner city is small enough to

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Noordeinde shopping area during the day of Princes

see on foot or by canal boat. For those who love the outdoors there is also plenty to see outside the city centre such as parks and natural reserves. The Hague is also attached to the seaside suburb of Scheveningen, which is worth a visit for its lively atmosphere and long beaches. The Hague is truly a melting pot of nationalities with around 50% of its inhabitants coming from outside The Netherlands. Many descendants of former Dutch colonies such as Indonesia, Surinam and the Antilles islands have settled here. The international city of peace and justice also attracts a lot of expatriates who really add to the social dimension. The interaction between all these different groups is what makes this town come alive.

Sand

res in sculptu

ningen

Scheve

It does not really matter what time of the year you visit. There is plenty to do throughout the year and the character of the city changes with each season. So, come and see my enticing city and be surprised with all it has to offer.

Three things that make it special Diversity and location - The Hague is

the Netherlands in a nutshell. It provides everything you can find in other Dutch cities, is conveniently located between Rotterdam and Amsterdam, and close to other typical Dutch cities like Leiden and Delft. Ambition - The plan is to make it the European cultural capital in 2018 and we are already well on our way. The development of facilities and activities are in progress. People - Its people are known for their


provides a panorama view of The Hague, Scheveningen and the North Sea around 1881.

Three shopping places Binnenhof

ag a Mesd

m

Panora

typical sense of humour and hearts of gold.

Best restaurants

Garoeda - Indonesian food is the unofficial

Dutch cuisine. This 50-year-old restaurant is a household name in the area where you can enjoy a light lunch or a complete belly popper. Restaurant Pavlov - provides more than just great food. The laid-back atmosphere is welcoming after a busy day of sight-seeing or shopping. Wox - this fusion diner is among the best in the city. Despite the outspoken design, it feels homely and familiar. On the weekends the tables are shoved aside which allows for some dancing.

Entertainment

Royal theatre - is considered the most

important podium in the Netherlands for international performances. Even if you are not in the mood for a play, the monumental building itself is worth a visit.

Grote Marktplein (large market square) - whether you just want to have a coffee in

the sun, a nice dinner or dance the night away, this is the place. It draws a mixed crowd with people from all walks of life, ages and nationalities. Crazy Pianos - is located near the beach and is one of the happiest places in Scheveningen. Live musicians that know almost every tune from the 70s, 80s and 90s and a crazy crowd make it an unforgettable experience.

Three must sees

binnenhof (Inner Court) - the centre of

political power is situated in a breathtaking complex of buildings from different eras starting from 1280 AD. It is easily accessible, and if you are lucky you might catch politicians commuting on bicycles. Just outside the premises is the Mauritshuis, a museum with world-renowned collections from the work of several Dutch masters, including Rembrandt, Brueghel and Vermeer. The centerpiece of the collection is Vermeer’s ‘Girl with a pearl earring’. Scheveningen - located outside the centre. This beach town, with beautiful scenery, attracts around 10 million visitors yearly. You can stroll along the boulevard or walk into the dunes that offers the city first line of defence. Throughout the year you can visit one of the many beach parties, look at some amazing sand and ice sculptures, or see some breathtaking firework shows. Panorama Mesdag - this 360 degree painting by Hendrik Willem Mesdag is the largest (120m wide x 14m height) in the Netherlands. It

noordeinde Palace shopping - the

street where the Prince of Holland lives and works also provides a great shopping area. A large number of boutiques, galleries and jewellers give you the opportunity to pick up a gift or souvenir. Passage - this 19th century gallery is the only remaining covered shopping streets in Holland and resembles those found in Brussels, Paris and many historic Italian cities. The glass-roofed mall is home to many specialist shops, restaurants and a large international bookstore. Haagse markt - the largest European outdoor market is located just outside my doorstep. Here you can shop for almost everything you will need during your trip or back home. More important this will really give you an insight into who lives in The Hague.

Restaurant Wox

tre

l thea

Roya

ge

Passa

Noordeinde shop

ping area during pr

insjesdag

G

aroeda

bon voyage

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SPA

Shangri-la’s Barr al Jissah

CHI SPA

knowledge and understanding, representing will power, clarity and wisdom. The water formula treatment that Himlaka (my therapist) prescribed me balanced the body’s flow of energy while boosting the immune system while stimulating skin rejuvenation.

I

t’s a language you wont understand but an experience you may never forget,” said the sweet smiling receptionist as I entered the premises. The CHI Spa renders you to walk around in a reverie, where one can literally spend the whole day here, mind floating, body indulging and soul embracing the facilities and treatments on offer. In traditional Chinese philosophy, “chi” is the universal life force that governs overall well-being and personal vitality. For people to maintain good health, it is believed that their chi must flow freely within the body. The Chi concept, original to the ShangriLa Hotels and Resorts, embraces a Chinese wellness philosophy based on the five elements: earth, fire, water, air and wood. Upon arrival, you will fill out a small multiple-choice questionnaire before making your way to the relaxation area. This will aid the masseuse choose the appropriate aromatic oils that compliment your taste. After having chosen my favourite colour, palate, weather condition and time of the day, my personal element sign was water. Water is the element of motivation,

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The treatments incorporating traditional Himalayan therapies are based on the principles of restoring balance and harmony to the mind and body. Designed to create a sanctuary of tranquility CHI, The Spa, features some of the largest and most luxurious private spa suites and villas in Muscat, all within a secluded village-like setting of luxuriant landscaped gardens.

There are a total of 12 treatment villas, each containing a private bathroom and vanity area, shower, bath and relaxation area, accompanied by an outdoor garden court complete with sun-beds and outdoor showers. The main relaxation area is decorated with elaborate mosaics from floor to ceiling and the guests are greeted with rain saunas, rain showers, herbal steam rooms, ice fountains, snail tundra and tropical experience showers built to cleanse and refresh; and last but not least, the vitality hydro pool which promotes revitalisation and reinvigoration. After my hour long intake on the facilities mentioned above, I surrendered to one of Chi’s signature


treatments: The Aroma Vitality, a gentle, soothing massage which intertwined elements of Swedish, Shiatsu and Reflexology combined with the therapeutic qualities of oriental aromatic essential oils. This massage is specifically designed to strengthen the body’s vital energy and you will emerge with a renewed spirit and an invigorated soul. Himlaka provided me with her intuitive touch accompanied to the restorative powers of fragrant oils, aromatic herbs and spices. After the soothing footbath, I lay down on the massage table as the thoroughly relaxing treatment overtook my being and sent me off into a sweet slumber. What seemed like a short time later (an hour had actually passed), a little ding of the bell awoke me as gentle Himalayan music serenaded me back to reality. The treatment included Fennel, a warm lotion containing diuretic properties, Palmarosa which calmed and uplifted the senses, Patchouli, an anti-depressant and anti-anxiety relief and Mandarin, which aids in the digestive system balancing and strengthening the body’s core.

HIMALAYAN HOT STONE MASSAGE Terry Mathukutty provides a man’s perspective

V

isiting the Chi Spa after a long time was a nostalgic moment. Ever adamant on trying something new, I opted for the Himalayan Hot Stone massage. For the men who feel spas are solely for women, I can only advise them that they don’t know what they are missing. The massage was a lymphatic one, involving oval-shaped stones from Kokanoor in the Himalayas, soaked in warm essential oils and herbs. using the Chinese five-sense theory of air, earth, fire, water and wood, the therapists were able to determine my needs and temperament. After changing into a bathrobe, I was led to the waiting area where I enjoyed all the five-star facilities on offer. The rain room, sauna, ice shower, vitality pool and Jacuzzi were definitely a bonus over other spas. An hour later I was led down a maze

of pathways to my outstanding villa. Its elegant interiors follow the very essence of Zen with calming colours, soothing music and my attentive therapist made it an overall endearing experience. After a foot wash and scrub, the massage began with increasing intensity and vigour flowing from head to toe. What began as curiosity turned into an intriguing experience and ended in ultimate relaxation. The intense feeling of hot stones and oil rubbing up and down the body was indeed de-stressing and soothing. Smiling and ever attentive staff made my experience at CHI extremely memorable. The treatments were immaculate, ritually methodical and effective. Walking out of the Chi Spa, completely rejuvenated, only left me wanting more. I will definitely return to try out some more signature treatments.

This two-hour treatment left my body relaxed and replenished, my mind void of stress and anxiety, and my soul reinvigorated and eager to conquer the day. My ‘chi’ flowing freely and my whole raison d’etre personified, I was ready to seize and confront the day. Carpe Diem.

t 776 666 or visi To book call 24 t ca us a.com/m www.shangri-l

bon voyage

45


LANDMARK

n k

A

ngkor, the ancient capital of the Khmer Kingdom of Cambodia, is a spectacular landscape of crumbling stone reliefs, massive towers, encroaching jungle roots, orange-clad monks and spectacular sunset reflections. Angkor is the most popular tourist destination in Cambodia and one of the most iconic and awe-inspiring sacred sites in the world. Its central attraction, Angkor Wat, proudly featured on the Cambodian flag since 1863, is believed to be the largest religious structure in existence. Voted as sixth among the 12 Wonders of the World, Angkor Wat is the most preserved temple in the vast Angkor temple complex. Situated 5.5kms north of the second largest city in Cambodia, Siem Reap, it was built in the 12th Century by the King of the Khmer Empire, King Suryavarman II. First constructed and dedicated to the Hindu God Vishnu, Angkor Wat was the King’s capital city and state temple. It was later converted to Thervada Buddhism, and continues to remain until present day. The temple is a huge pyramid structure and is admired for the grandeur and harmony of the Khmer architecture, its extensive bas-reliefs (shallow, projected images) and for the numerous devatas (guardian spirits) adorning its walls.

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at This sixth wonder of the world is so spectacular and mysterious, even its name invokes fascination


The compound at Angkor Wat covers an area of 1,500m by 1,300m and is surrounded by a vast moat measuring 180m wide. Along the causeway leading to the enormous entrance gate are balustrades shaped as giant serpents, which are believed to represent emblems of cosmic fertility. The temple consists of a towering complex of terraces and small buildings that are arranged in a series of three diminishing stories and surmounted by five towers. The roofed and unroofed structures are covered with bands of finely carved stone sculptures. The carvings are magnificent and its length consisting of several hundred metres, is quite mind-boggling. Angkor Wat combines two basic plans of Khmer temple architecture: the temple mountain, the standard design for the empire’s state temples, and the later galleried temple, based on early South Indian Hindu architecture. Designed to symbolise Mount Meru, home of the devas (Gods) in Hindu mythology, it is surrounded by a moat and an outer wall measuring 3.6kms long with three rectangular galleries, each raised above the next. At the centre of the temple stands the quincunx of towers symbolising the five peaks of the mountain, and the walls and moat surrounding the mountain ranges and ocean.The outer gallery measures 187m by 215m, with pavilions rather than towers at the corners. Connecting the outer gallery to the second enclosure on the west side is a cruciform cloister called Preah Poan (the “Hall of a Thousand Buddhas)”. An engineering marvel of Khmer architecture, the temple was made out of enormous amounts of sandstone, as much as the pyramid in Egypt - over 5m tonnes. One modern engineer estimated it would take 300 years to complete the colossal sized complex. Work on the structure, however, began soon after King Suryavarman came to power and was finished shortly after his death. It took no more than 40 years to complete.

When to go

A trip to this fascinating piece of history is tremendous at any time of the day, but the best time is between 1pm and 2pm, in optimal lighting conditions to maximise the visual impression. Sunrise and sunset are also an illustrious spectacle.

The climate

Angkor is hot and sticky throughout the year. Peak season is from November till February, when the weather is dry and temperatures the coolest (25-30°C).

Location

Angkor is located around 20 minutes to the north, by car or motorbike, from central Siem Reap. There are direct flights from Bangkok or Phnom Penh (the capital) to Siem Reap.

Getting around

There is a one-day, three-day and a week-long pass. You will need at least three days to see it all. Cars with drivers can be hired for single or multiple days. The charge varies from uS$25 per day to uS$50 for a driver and an English-speaking guide. Tuk-tuks or motorbike drivers can also be arranged through guesthouses, for uS$12 a day just for the main Angkor temples.

Vast and geographically as large as Paris, Angkor Wat represents a whole complex of wonderful temples, stonemasonry and artwork. Within an area of 200sqkms, it has some of the most imposing monuments in the world, including around a thousand temples. Photographer enthusiasts flock to the Angkor subcomplex called Ta Prohm where roots of banyan trees, appearing like giant octopus legs, entangle large buildings. It is such an overpowering sight, seeing nature enrapturing history. Angkor Wat, the largest complex in the world, continues to be a major attraction for tourists into Cambodia. This inevitably entails hotels and restaurants being built to accommodate the increase in tourism and therefore drilling into the ground. In turn, this could unfortunately lead to a decrease in the stability of the complex resulting in fissures, cracks and even total collapse. The government has undertaken strict measures to ensure their main landmark is not damaged and carries out any renovations that are required.

bon voyage

47


DIVING - INTERNATIONAL

Mozambique

Lisa Armstrong takes us on just another day at the ‘Office’

I

t’s a beautiful Mozambican morning. The sun is rising over the flat, calm Indian Ocean as we sit down to enjoy our morning coffee and discuss our imminent dive. With the dive kit already checked and loaded onto the 8m Superduck RIB, José our highly skilled local skipper, is waiting for us on board. We head to the beach and line up along the boat helping José push it into the water and await his command to hop into the boat as

Humpback whales

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he expertly manoeuvres us out through the surf. The divers on board are familiar with how we launch our boat, all the safety rules and the diving and marine animal encounter procedures. However, I give a brief on the slight changes for this particular morning’s dive at the ‘Office’. Nearing the destination we kit up, do our last checks and ride to the exact GPS mark for the North drop-off. The dive sites in this part of the world are all amazing. Situated 11kms out to sea, this

particular dive site is a haven for manta rays and sharks. The boat ride out takes around 20 minutes and you will often see dolphins swimming by the boat and, in season, the glorious humpback whales. Excited to plunge into the deep blue, we roll backward from the boat and land in the midst of a massive school of big-eye kingfish, their silver skin shimmering off the sunlight. As I peer down I see a huge dark shape advancing over the reef, so we drop to the ledge and


watch the large 3m wide stingray glide towards us mp hri s accompanied by six cobias, tis an m and two remoras attached to ng ari his body. They are all swimming pe S towards me and I’m worried the ray will get caught in my buoy line but it turns just in the knack of time. I feel the displacement of the water as its wing tip touches my head. Grinning from ear to ear and just managing to keep my regulator in, I turn to watch it gliding over the other divers as we all stay motionless staring at the shadow slowly fading off into the distance. As my divers turn back to me, we all grin at each other and energetically signal the ‘OK’ sign with both hands.

Blue ribbon eel

ple

Sea ap

The ‘Office’ forms an almost ‘S’ shaped reef, with a maximum depth of 28m. If you swim away from the reef, the sea floor starts dropping away at rapidly increasing depths, as the site is found on the pinnacle of a ridge that carries on for kilometres, dropping down to over 70m in some places. On the top of the ‘S’ shaped ledges, the depth can vary between 19m-24m. At the bottom of the ‘S’, there are gulleys to swim through and ledges to look under. This stunning underwater topography attracts an abundance of aquatic life. Manta rays are so often encountered here that a listening station has been erected just off the main diving route. Another amazing thing about these dives is that, not only is there the possibility of swimming with these big animals, but you can also find the smaller rarities like ribbon eels, nudibranchs, sea apples and the spearing mantis shrimp. As the reef continues, there is a 4m wall with a

Nudibranch

White tip reef shark

cave at the bottom that is home to the white tip reef sharks. We find two honeycomb moray eels stretched through the same hole, and a spearing mantis shrimp poking his eyes following our every movement. The sea apple illuminates the path, its bright red and yellow colouring a strong contrast against the grey-green of the sea floor. The reef emits a kaleidoscope of colour as we pass chocolate dips, lionfish, leaf fish and gobies while being followed by a curious old woman angle fish, that cheekily munches on our small bubbles. As we approach the cave we see one white tip reef shark swimming around the entrance. We descend and move in a little closer to see two more sharks lingering inside. Very docile for such creatures. Dive time at the bottom is around 35 minutes, but you can stretch out your underwater time by ascending as slowly as possible and this also maximises your chances of devil ray encounters. Adding a slow ascent along with the safety stop,

pushes the dive time to around 50 minutes. As we get closer to our five-minute nodecompression limit, we head over to the sand, as it is always covered with yellowbanded snappers and palette surgeon fish. As we ascend we see a massive 4m manta ray heading for the last cleaning station, but unfortunately we can’t go back down so we watch from above as it circles beneath us. As we start our safety stop, most of us are still peering below, trying to see the dark outline of the manta. Out of the corner of my eye I see the first devil ray swimming in circles around us attempting to entice us to play. More of these swaying beauties emerge and we end up having a ten-minute safety stop as we watch them dance below us. This has been an amazing dive and upon surfacing, there are silent beaming smiles and cheerful shrieks of delight, as we hand up our kit to José and climb back in the boat. The ride back was full of animated conversation and rehydration fluids. I always feel blessed as this was just another day at the ‘Office’. bon voyage

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MUSEUM

bait al baranda Visit this museum showcasing the folk arts, musical instruments and fishing equipment of Muscat

T

he Bait al Baranda museum is located close to the Muttrah harbour, fish market and the corniche. Take a right before the Al Mina’a roundabout, which will lead you into the parking lot of the museum. Dating back to 1931, the building which is now Bait al Baranda, literally meaning ‘villa with a verandah’, was renovated by the Muscat Municipality in 2004, and was opened as a museum in December 2006 by Sayyid

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Haitham bin Tariq al Said, Minister of Heritage and Culture. The first two rooms in the museum display the works of various artists with each exhibition changing every two weeks. However, during the summertime, the rooms house various workshops such as pottery, poetry, art and photography to both kids and adults alike. This museum has a number of different rooms which are equipped with


Opening Hours: Saturday – Thursday: 9am – 1pm, 4pm – 6pm Closed on Fridays and public holidays Entry fees: Adults: OMR1.000 Children: 500 baizas (Children under four years old are not allowed) Telephone: (+968) 24 714262 Fax: (+968) 24 714261 Email: baranda@omantel.net.om

audio and interactive technology, encouraging guests to participate, while learning about Muscat’s history dating back to over 100mn years ago. Some of the displays include the demonstration of plate tectonics and how the mountains, sinkholes and sand dunes in Oman were formed. Also displayed is a skeleton structure of the herbivorous Rhabdonon dinosaur, which was excavated in Muscat. A room dedicated to folk arts of Muscat showcases traditional Omani culture, including attire, musical instruments and fishing equipment. There is a reconstruction

of a tomb from the Bowshar Settlement in the Iron Age dating back to the first millennium BC and interesting facts about different archaeological sites. Learn about the Muscat Harbour, which was an important port in the trade route of years gone by and the different local fishing boats that sailed the seas. Various interactive quizzes are dotted throughout allowing visitors to test their knowledge on facts they have learnt in the museum. Once you have finished wandering through the museum, sit down and relax in the Kargeen Coffee Shop for some refreshments. bon voyage

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ROOM WITH A VIEW

The Chedi, Muscat Hyesha Barrett comes away all Zen after her sweet stay at the Club Suite Voted in 2008 as one of the ‘best overseas leisure hotels in the Middle East, Africa and the Indian ocean’, The Chedi, Muscat certainly lives up to its world-class distinction. Perfectly located within short driving distance from the airport and the main attractions dotted around the capital area, this eye-capturing hotel sits between the stunning Hajar mountain range and the Gulf of oman’s warm turquoise waters. I always enjoy fine dining in this exclusive hotel. This is the first time however, that I have spent the night and experienced the five-star facilities available. After the hotel check-in I awaited olga, the petite bubbly hotel representative, as I enjoyed a tangy, minty orange juice in the world-renowned lobby, exquisitely draped with dimly lit Arabian style lanterns hanging from the pyramid ceiling. The calming water garden passageways surrounding the premises and leading off to my Club Suite emanated an overall meditative sentiment. upon entering my room, the inner ‘child in a sweetshop’ emotion couldn’t help but burst out. I was greeted with complimentary champagne, a full mini bar with snacks, wireless Internet access, flat screen TVs, two Ipod stations with Bose digital surround sound system, lush bathroom with a rain forest walk-in shower - the showerhead double the size of my own - and an exquisite terrazzo sunk-in granite bath. Seriously, who doesn’t appreciate a bathtub with steps! Wooden parquet as flooring and black granite as counter tops, you can see a lot of thought has gone into creating a ‘perfect blend of omani architecture and a profound Asian Zen-style’ space. A nice match of subtle vibrant colours filtered throughout the whole suite, as minimalist furnishings adorned the sitting room, the latter connecting the bedroom with a private terrace. The full-length windows surrounding the bedroom and seating area overlooked my private landscaped garden, a short walk to a private stretch of sandy beach. What more could one ask for, strolling under the starry night listening to the soothing sounds of waves caressing the shore, having one of the best sleeps I’ve had in a long time, to enjoying a full continental breakfast after my ‘tropical’ shower. I could have enjoyed breakfast in bed (the option is available for the suites), but I didn’t want to pass on the opportunity to catch up with olga over several cups of steaming hot coffee. I can promise you will come away with a spring in your step. I did.

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bon voyage

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RESTAURANT REVIEW

RBG

T

We savour the flavours of RBG

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he lively RBG (Red Bar & Grill), introduced for the first time in the Middle East in association with the Park Inn brand, is situated on the ground floor of the Al Khuwair Park Inn hotel, to the left of the main entrance. Greeted by friendly faces, the staff tended to us immediately and took us to our table to sit down for a mouth-watering meal. The interior of the restaurant is quite spacious and can accommodate up to 80 guests, and in the cooler winter months an additional 30 guests can be seated around the tables on the outside terrace. The design of the restaurant featuring shades of red, black, grey and white mixed in together with different textures of wood, marble and glass creates a contemporary, elegant feel. RBG is an ideal place to host a variety of events such as dinners, functions, receptions and birthday parties.

with a basket of fresh bread and butter to nibble on while we ordered something to drink and decided on what to eat.

In the centre of the restaurant chefs are busy preparing meals in the show kitchen. With the lovely aroma of delicious food wafting through the air we couldn’t wait to see what the menu had to offer. We were presented

The menu presented an exciting range of delectable starters, mains, side dishes and desserts to choose from, as well as an assortment of thirst-quenchers such as milkshakes and smoothies. Although RBG


is known for its specialty burgers and steaks, the menu also boasts an array of local favourites, international cuisine and signature meals. The menu for the business lunch priced at OMR7, changes weekly.

Menu description

Background music generated a relaxed mood to the overall alluring ambience and all of these factors blended in well together making the venue an inviting scene. The service by the staff was excellent, the food delicious, and all in all, it was a very memorable meal.

Starters • Clam and corn chowder oMR3.500 Prepared with veal bacon, potatoes and chives and served with two bread sticks The clam chowder was a thick, creamy soup and was a nice start to the meal. The potatoes, veal bacon and chives created a good combination and the crispy bread sticks rounded it off nicely. • Blackened salmon salad oMR6.000 Barbequed, served with coriander, lime, avocado, radishes, lettuce, green pepper, cherry tomatoes, croutons with garlic butter and a creamy dressing The salmon is put in a marinade for 48hours. The chef informed us that it is a favourite among guests. It had a good flavour and colour, was cooked to perfection and all the tastes of the different fresh ingredients combined perfectly. • Tiger prawns oMR4.500 Barbecued with garlic butter and lemon served with a lemon wedge, fresh rocket and a tangy dressing

The barbecued prawns added a different twist to the starter instead of it just being boiled. The garlic butter and lemon provided a lovely zest and the peppery rocket and tangy dressing enhanced this taste explosion.

Main courses: • Portabello mushroom burger oMR8.000 Topped with goat’s cheese and honeymustard onions, served with chunky chips The chunky crispy chips accompanying the burger were served in a mini frying basket, a very innovative idea indeed. The burger itself was delicious and it was nice to try something different. The goat’s cheese with the honey-mustard onions was an interesting combination and worked very well with the beef and mushroom. • Double cut lamb chops oMR9.000 Served with onion rings, potato mash and fresh rocket The lamb chops were satisfactory with a good flavour. The meat was cooked well and the sauces served on the side were tasty.

Desserts • Chocolate brownie oMR4.000 MR4.000 Served with nuts, vanilla ice-cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce, topped off with a strawberry The chocolate brownie was also said to be a favourite and it is easy to see why. The warm brownie was moist with a marvellous texture, and the contrasting cold vanilla ice-cream served with it makes the dish a definite winner. • Cheesecake oMR4.000 Served with maple caramel and completed with passion fruit and a chocolate swirl The cheesecake had a lovely fluffy consistency, but somehow lacked a bit of flavour. • Meringue dessert oMR3.500 Served with strawberries and ice-cream The meringue was superb and baked to perfection. The outer side of it was crunchy while the inner part was still nice and chewy. The strawberries and ice-cream teamed up well with the meringue.

Star Ratings Atmosphere Food Price Location Service Tel: (+968) 2450 7888 bon voyage

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NATURAL WONDER

DANCE OF THE

spirits The northern lights have had a number of names throughout history. The Cree call this phenomenon the ‘Dance of the Spirits’. Terry Mathukutty unravels their beauty

U

ndoubtedly, auroras are the most enchanting natural phenomenon on earth. They are natural light displays in the sky usually observed at night, and are particular to the Polar region. Occurring in the ionosphere (80kms and above) and visible between 65 to 72 degrees in the north and south latitudes, this places them in a ring just within the Arctic and Antarctic circles. Auroras can be spotted throughout the world and from other planets. However, areas near the magnetic poles are more fortunate to enjoy this beautiful display of lights due to the longer periods of darkness, and the presence of a magnetic field. This includes northern Greenland, the Scandinavian coast, Siberia, Alaska in the north and Antarctica in the south. Auroras

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are also known to occur deep inside the Polar Regions, but these are infrequent and often invisible to the naked eye. In northern latitudes, this display of lights is known as the aurora borealis, named after the Roman Goddess of dawn, Aurora, and the Greek name for north wind, Boreas. The chances of experiencing the auroras increases the closer one is to the North Pole. Auroras seen near the magnetic pole are often displayed overhead, but from afar they illuminate the northern horizon with a greenish or a faint red glow. Aurora borealis’ southern counterpart, the aurora australis or the southern polar lights, have similar properties, but are visible from the higher southern latitudes in

Antarctica, South America and Australasia. A quick science lesson for you: Auroras are the result of the emission of photons in the Earth’s upper atmosphere, when ionised nitrogen atoms regain an electron, and oxygen and nitrogen atoms return from an excited state to the ground state. The nitrogen atoms are ionised or ‘excited’ by the collision of solar wind particles being funnelled down and accelerated along the Earth’s magnetic field lines. Excitation energy is lost by the emission of a photon of light, or by collision with another atom or molecule. Oxygen emissions are green or brownish-red, depending on the amount of energy absorbed, whereas nitrogen emissions are blue or red. A colour differential, therefore, occurs with altitude;


at high altitudes oxygen red dominates, then oxygen green and finally nitrogen blue or red when collisions prevent oxygen from emitting anything. Green is the most common of all the auroras. Auroras are more frequent and brighter during the intense phase of the solar cycle when coronal mass ejections increase the intensity of the solar wind. Though the auroras appear either as a diffuse glow or as curtains that extend in the east-west direction, they also form quiet arcs or active auroras that evolve and constantly change. In the northern hemisphere, prime viewing locations of the auroras include Fairbanks, Alaska, and locations in eastern Canada. Auroras are savoured the most in Europe, Iceland and northern Scandinavia. In the southern hemisphere, the auroras frequent uninhabited regions, making sightings of the southern lights, the aurora australis, much rarer than the aurora borealis.

When to go

Around the clock sunlight is common in places above the Arctic Circle between the months of April and September. Therefore, viewing the auroras can be difficult. And the aurora australis might be observed from May to September, but it’s unwise to visit during the treacherous Antarctic winter. In the northern regions such as Alaska, the best time to view the auroras is during the equinox (March and late September-October), as this time of the year offers the best trade-off between mild weather and dark skies. The farther away from the auroral oval you live, the smaller your chance of seeing this eye-capturing natural beauty. People in the northern United States may be able to see the auroras several times a year, while people living in the south-eastern US may only have the opportunity to enjoy them a few times in a century. The most active region of the auroral oval typically becomes visible around midnight. This region is also the widest part of the oval in the north-south direction, so the best chance of seeing the auroras is around that time. Besides location, weather and light pollution also affect chances of seeing the auroras. To capture the ethereal beauty of the lights, a long exposure (greater than 10sec) and a tripod is a definite must. bon voyage

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OFF-ROADER

Land Rover LR4 An evolution of the successful LR3, the Land Rover LR4 will make you look and feel like an off-road pro. Malcolm Xavier tests it out

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Aug - Sept 2010 2010 July - August


D

eciding on an SuV is not always the easiest choice to make, especially if you are an avid explorer. You generally have two choices - either buy two vehicles, a car for your office commute and a specialist off-roader for the weekends. or buy an SuV that you feel offers the best compromise. The problem with the first option is the cost, and with the latter it is the trouble of finding just the right compromise between day-to-day usability and off-road capability. Now though, it seems that Land Rover has a solution – the LR4. The previous generation LR3 was a complete redesign while still retaining most of the key features of the previous Discovery. They even solved most of the reliability woes of the previous generation model. In doing so the LR3 set the benchmark for nearly every SuV that followed and offered a near perfect compromise to the problem we mentioned earlier. So, now in its fourth generation, aptly named the LR4, Land Rover has rightly taken the ‘why fix that which isn’t broken’ approach. As such, little of what can be seen with the naked eye has changed. For starters, the headlights have been slightly

altered with new LEDs and there have been changes made to the tail lights, grille and bumper. The interior of the LR3 was always very pleasing and few vehicles are able to provide you with such flexible seating and such a commanding view of the road ahead. The LR4 is no different, if anything it is even more refined and comfortable. But all these changes are but the tip of the iceberg as most of the changes that justify the new badge are under the skin. These changes are numerous and minute but in the end they all add up. Essentially what Land Rover has done is, taken the LR3 and honed its abilities to perfection, as opposed to redesigning the entire vehicle. And believe us, it shows the moment you take to the road in one. The first difference that is apparent is the all-new engine from Jaguar. It is a five-litre V8 beast that produces 385bhp and 520Nm of torque. No matter how good you are at maths or how well you know cars, nothing can prepare you for how deceptively quick the LR4 is in a straight line. And if anything,

the vehicle handles corners even more impressively. Granted, it isn’t exactly the most nimble vehicle in its class but when you consider its size, weight and ground clearance, you can’t help but come away amazed. once you hit cruising speeds, you will start to notice just how quiet and compliant the LR4 really is. Aside from a little wind noise, which is expected from such a boxy vehicle with rather large mirrors, there is little else to complain about in terms of refinement, and all the while the suspensions do a great job keeping you comfortable and relaxed. When you head off-road, the LR4 finally unleashes its secret weapon – its Terrain Response System. This is the very same system that made the LR3 as good as it was off-road. The only hint you have about this system inside the car is a tiny knob near your gear leaver with five symbols on it. But what this tiny knob does is truly amazing. Each of the symbols stand for a different type of terrain namely ‘Road’, ‘Sand’, ‘Gravel and Snow’, ‘Mud and Ruts’ and ‘Rock Crawl’, and together they cover the entire gamut of terrain types that you can ever expect to come across. upon engaging any of these symbols the vehicle sets itself up just right to handle the respective type of terrain without you actually having to do anything. And to further complement this amazing system there are a set of two more toggles and a single button that make the system all but flawless. one toggle controls the height of the vehicle while the other sets up the ‘Hi’ or ‘Low’ range. The button on the other hand activates the Hill Decent Control system. In short, the entire system can make even an amateur off-roader feel and look like an absolute pro with minimalist effort; it is borderline unfair on everyone else that doesn’t own a Land Rover. Finally, to seal the deal even the basic model has the Terrain Response System, equipped with most of the features and safety equipment that you will ever need, making it more than sufficient for most people. But spending more on the LR4 will only serve to make the deal even sweeter.

bon voyage

59


travel HOTELS

AL DAKHILIYAH

AFRICAN

1

Al Bahjah Hotel..................................................3 star hotel.......................24424400

52 Al Diyar Hotel.......................................................2 star hotel.......................25412402

Caravans

2

Al Bustan Palace Intercontinental........5 star hotel.......................24799666

53 Al Jabal Al Akhdar Hotel.............................2 star hotel.......................25429009

Zanzibari Island Restaurant & Coffee Shop......................................24497783

3

Al Falaj Hotel........................................................4 star hotel.......................24702311

54 Falaj Daris Hotel .............................................3 star hotel.......................25410500

ARABIAN

4

Al Khuwair Hotel Apartments..................1 star apartments........24478171

55 Golden Tulip Nizwa Hotel..........................4 star hotel.......................25431616

Al Deyar

...............................................................................................24603553

5

Al Maha International Hotel....................4 star hotel.......................24494949

56 Jabal Shams Nomadic Camp Centre.Desert Camp....................99382639

Al Khanjar

...............................................................................................24795545

6

Al Reef Hotel Suites.........................................1 star apartments........24494638

...............................................................................................24601996

7

Beach Hotel...........................................................2 star hotel.......................24696601

AL BATINAH

Al Hooti Al Istanbuli

...............................................................................................24480900

8

Bowshar Hotel.....................................................3 star hotel.......................24491105

58 Al Nahda Resort & Spa...............................5 star resort......................26883710

Al Katkoot

...............................................................................................24542883

Camilia Hotel........................................................1 star hotel.......................24837460

59 Al Sawadi Beach Resort..............................4 star hotel resort........26795545

Al Khaima,

Majan Hotel..................................................................24592900

10 Crowne Plaza Muscat....................................4 star hotel.......................24660660

60 Al Wadi Hotel.......................................................3 star hotel.......................26840058

Lyali Zaman..................................................................24498818

11 Golden Tulip Seeb............................................4 star hotel.......................24510300

61 As Suwaiyq Guest House............................1 star hotel.......................26862241

Al Reef Al Lebnani ................................................................................................24485775

12 Grand Hyatt Muscat........................................5 star hotel.......................24641234

62 Crowne Plaza Sohar.......................................5 star hotel.......................26850850

Al Tanoor

...............................................................................................24776666

13 Hala Hotel Apartments.................................2 star apartments........24810442

63 Green Oasis Hotel............................................2 star hotel.......................26846077

Al Zafran

...............................................................................................26841111

14 Holiday Inn - Al Madinah.........................4 star hotel.......................24529700

64 Sohar Beach by Swiss-BelHotel.............4 star hotel resort........26841111

Arab World,

Al Ghubrah.....................................................................24491734

15 Hotel Muscat Holiday....................................4 star hotel.......................24487123

MUSANDAM

Ruwi High St.................................................................24798119

Automatic,

Al Khuwair......................................................................24487200

65 Esra Hotel Apartments...................................2 star apartment..........26730464

As Seeb.............................................................................24424343

66 Golden Tulip Resort Dibba........................4 star resort......................26836654

Qurum................................................................................24561500

67 Golden Tulip Resort Khasab....................4 star hotel.......................26630777

Bareeq Al Shatti.........................................................24605735

68 Khasab Hotel.......................................................2 star hotel.......................26730271

Beirut Restaurant ...............................................................................................24568411

69 Six Senses Hideaway Zighy Bay..........5 star leisure resort....26735555

Beituti

...............................................................................................24692121

DHOFAR

Bin Ateeq,

Al Khuwair......................................................................24478225

CBD.......................................................................................24702727

70 Al Hanna Hotel...................................................2 star hotel.......................23290274

Camilia Restaurant and Café........................................................................24706663

71 Al Jabal Hotel.......................................................2 star hotel.......................23210611

Fatair Al Khaleej ...............................................................................................24798184

72 Areen Youth Hostel Apartments ..........2 star apartment..........23234810

Hormuz

...............................................................................................24709070

73 Crowne Plaza Resort Salalah..................5 star hotel.......................23235333

Jabal Lebnan

...............................................................................................24698098

74 Haffa House Salalah......................................4 star apartment..........23295444

Kargeen Café,

Al Harthy Complex...................................................24560531

75 Hamdan Plaza Hotel.....................................3 star hotel.......................23211025

Centrepoint.....................................................................24694048

76 Hilton Salalah Resort.....................................5 star hotel.......................23211234

MQ Complex.................................................................24692269

77 Safeer Residence Salalah..........................3 star villas.......................24480308

Layali Zaman

...............................................................................................24498818

78 Salalah Marriott Resort................................5 star hotel.......................23268245

Meknes

...............................................................................................24475497

79 Samahram Tourist Village .......................3 star hotel/villas........23211420

Mombasa

...............................................................................................24480340

AL DHAHIRAH

Ofair

...............................................................................................24482965

Samar

...............................................................................................99273529

79 Ibri Oasis Hotel...................................................2 star hotel.......................25691626

Shahrazad

...............................................................................................24776666

AL WUSTA

Shiraz

...............................................................................................24660660

Tarboosh

Opp Sabco Centre.....................................................24565673

80 Duqm Tourist Guest House.......................1 star hotel.......................25427191

Al Ghubrah.....................................................................24498553

81 Ghaba Guest House .....................................2 star hotel.......................99358639

The Arabia Courtyard...........................................................................................24524400

82 Uwaifiyah Guest House...............................1 star hotel.......................25428273

The Khanjar Omani Cuisine...........................................................................24795545

BURAIMI GOVERNORATE

Turkish House

...............................................................................................24488071

Ubhar

...............................................................................................24565689

84 Al Dahrah Hotel.................................................1 star hotel.......................25652995

Wadi Hadramout Restaurant........................................................................24475282

43 Desert Nights Camp........................................Desert camp....................92818388

85 Al Barka Hotel Apartments ......................1 star hotel.......................25654955

CAFES

44 Ibra Hotel................................................................1 star hotel.......................25571873

86 Al Masa Hotel ...................................................2 star hotel.......................25653007

Abala

...............................................................................................24695903

45 Masirah Hotel......................................................2 star hotel.......................25504401

87 Hamasa Hotel ..................................................1 star hotel.......................25651200

Al Ahli Café

...............................................................................................24424400

46 Nomadic Desert Camp.................................Desert camp ..................99336273

88 Al Salam Hotel....................................................3 star hotel.......................25655789

Al Falaj Coffee Shop.............................................................................................24702311

47 Sur Beach Hotel.................................................3 star hotel.......................25542031

89 Haima Rest House..........................................1 star hotel.......................23436061

Al Maha

...............................................................................................24487123

48 Sur Plaza Hotel...................................................3 star hotel.......................25543777

90 Al Jazeera Guest House..............................1 star hotel.......................25427555

Al Mas

...............................................................................................24491105

49 Turtle Beach Resort.........................................Resort....................................25543400

88 Mahoot Guest House ..................................1 star hotel.......................25427272

Art Café

...............................................................................................24558176

50 Raz Al Jinz Scientific Centre.......................1 star hotel.......................96550606

89 Al Majd Hotel Apartments .......................2 star hotel.......................25688272

Barista

...............................................................................................24571531

90 Wahat Al Barka Hotel Apartments ....1 star hotel.......................25650955

Café Barbera

...............................................................................................24603505

9

16 Intercontinental Muscat................................5 star hotel.......................24680000 17 Majan Continental Hotel.............................4 star hotel.......................24592900 18 Midan Hotel Suites..........................................3 star hotel.......................24499565 19 Mutrah Hotel........................................................2 star hotel.......................24798402 20 Nuzha Hotel Apartments.............................1 star apartments........24789199 22 Park Inn...................................................................4 star hotel.......................24507888 23 Qurm Beach Resort.........................................4 star resort......................24605945 24 Radisson BLU Hotel Muscat.....................4 star hotel.......................24487777 25 Ramada Muscat................................................4 star hotel.......................24603555 26 Ramee Dream Resort...................................3 star resort......................24453399 27 Ramee Guestline Hotel................................4 star hotel.......................24564443 28 Ruwi Hotel..............................................................3 star hotel.......................24704244 29 Safeer Continental Hotel..............................3 star hotel.......................24471111 30 Safeer Hotel Suites...........................................2 star hotel.......................24691200 31 Safeer International Hotel..........................3 star hotel.......................24473900 32 Safeer Plaza Hotel Suites...........................3 star hotel.......................24471000 33 Star Hotel Apartments...................................2 star apartments........24498008 34 Sun City Hotel.......................................................1 star hotel.......................24789801 35 The Chedi Muscat.............................................5 star beach resort.....24524400 36 The Treasurebox Muscat Hotel..............2 star hotel.......................24502570

AL SHARQIYAH 37 1001 nights...........................................................Desert camp....................99448158 38 Al Areesh Camp.................................................Desert camp....................24493232 39 Al Naseem Camp.............................................Desert camp....................24493232 40 Al Qabil Guest House....................................1 star guest house.....25581243 41 Areen Youth Hostel Al Ashkara..............2 star apartments........25566266 42 Bidiya Tourist Camp........................................Desert camp....................99332914

51 Swiss-BelHotel Resort Masirah..............4 star resort......................25504274

91 Al Buraimi Hotel .............................................4 star hotel.......................25642010

...............................................................................................24475501

RESTAURANTS, CAFES

MUSCAT

directory


Thai Basil

Café Ceramique ...............................................................................................24566617

The Noodle House ...............................................................................................24558377

INDIAN

Café de Lotus

...............................................................................................24560439

...............................................................................................24499565

Al Masa Mall...............................................................24543154

The Pavilion

...................................................................24814008, 24812006

Birijani House

...............................................................................................24488478

Café G Patisserie ...............................................................................................99531999

Tokyo Taro

...............................................................................................24702311

The Bollywood

...............................................................................................24565653

Café Samaharam ...............................................................................................24707207

Wok Of Life

...............................................................................................96549654

Bombay Chaat Corner........................................................................................24796042

Café Unique

FAST FOOD

...............................................................................................96684686

Copper Chimney ...............................................................................................24780207

Café Vergnano 1882...........................................................................................24692370

Chicking

Markaz Al Bahja - ................................................24540200

Curry House

...............................................................................................24564033

Caribou Coffee

...............................................................................................24694473

Muscat City Centre - ..............................................24489575

Curry Leaves

...............................................................................................95267540

Casa de Café

...............................................................................................24499565

Coral Express

...............................................................................................24540200

Divine

...............................................................................................24705070

Colombian Aroma Café......................................................................................24693131

Dairy Queen

Jawaharat A’Shatti....................................................24693031

Dosteen Restaurant..............................................................................................24622850

Costa Coffee

Seeb Intnl Airport......................................................24519734

Lulu, Ghubrah..............................................................24504504

Happy Village

MQ........................................................................................24692858

Seeb Intnl Airport......................................................24519468

Horizon Restaurant................................................................................................24798252

Muscat City Centre....................................................24535895

DQ Grill & Chilli ...............................................................................................24693031

Kamat

Oasis by the Sea.......................................................24605574

Domino’s Pizza ...............................................................................................24479111

Ruwi....................................................................................24783300

Al Asfoor Plaza............................................................24571236

Dunkin’ Donuts ...............................................................................................96177967

Keranadu

...............................................................................................24564443

Lulu Bouwsher............................................................24503861

Hardees

Qurum................................................................................24564642

Khana Khazana ...............................................................................................24813466

Bareeq Al Shatti.........................................................24692699

Al Khuwair......................................................................24489575

Khyber

...............................................................................................24781901

Cinnzeo

...............................................................................................24699660

Muscat City Centre....................................................24558020

Koliwada

...............................................................................................99421778

D’Arcy’s Kitchen ...............................................................................................24600234

Airport Roundabout.................................................24521133

Lazeez

...............................................................................................99273529

Glacier Café

...............................................................................................24540391

Hot and Crispy

...............................................................................................24699524

Grind Floor

...............................................................................................24487777

KFC

Al Khuwair......................................................................24566999

Le Mermaid Café ...............................................................................................24602327

Muscat City Centre....................................................24497909

Majlis al Shams InterContinental...........................................................24680000

Ruwi High St.................................................................24704040

Mokha Café

Grand Hyatt...................................................................24641234

Qurum St..........................................................................24566999

Shangri-la’s Barr al Jissa Resort & Spa.........24776666

Seeb....................................................................................24543030

Motif Beach Café ...............................................................................................96179800

Near Airport...................................................................24521414

Patisserie

...............................................................................................24521234

Azaiba Roundabout................................................24566999

Petit Café

...............................................................................................24603555

Lulu, Ghubrah..............................................................24502888

Pooldeck

...............................................................................................24680000

Al Madina Plaza........................................................24566999

Rumours Café

...............................................................................................24692121

McDonald’s

Al Khuwair......................................................................24482046

Second Cup,

CCC Qurum......................................................................24566616

As Sarooj................................................................... 24691033/4

Shatti Al Qurum..........................................................24699951

Muscat City Centre....................................................24545773

Bareeq Al Shatti.........................................................24697776

Book Roundabout ..................................................24421119

Sirj Tea Lounge ...............................................................................................24641234

Qurum behind CCC .................................................24565798

Fahad Plaza, Ruwi 96..........................................................................................96725845

Starbucks,

Ernts and Young bldg...........................................24567644

Nozha

...............................................................................................99273529

Muscat City Centre ....................................................................96473113, 24558063

Jawaharat A’Shatti....................................................24601457

Papa John’s Pizza, Lulu, Ghubrah.............................................................24501111

Sohar

...............................................................................................95119656 ...............................................................................................23289260

...............................................................................................24564995 Al Khuwair......................................................................24479243

Al Araimi Complex ................................................................................................24566180 Al Khamis Plaza ...............................................................................................24562791 Al Harthy Complex ................................................................................................24564481 Al Wadi Commercial Centre...........................................................................24564782 Alasfoor Plaza

...............................................................................................24564686

Capital Commercial Complex (CCC)...........................................................24567338 Jawaharat A’Shatti Complex...........................................................................24692113 Khimji Megastore ................................................................................................24708075 Markaz Al Bahja ...............................................................................................24540222 Sabco Centre

...............................................................................................24562761

Zeenyia’s Collections............................................................................................99775721 CENTREPOINT Al Khuwair

...................................................................96473101, 24601569

Muscat City Centre....................................................24558861

MQ........................................................................................24697220

Salalah

MQ........................................................................................24699367

Qurum................................................................................24571100

MUSCAT CITY CENTRE

Surf Café

...............................................................................................24776666

Muscat Intnl Airport.................................................24519468

Muscat City Centre (Mall).................................................................................24558888

Sidewalk Café and Deli.....................................................................................24563058

Penguin

Ghubrah...........................................................................24493963

Aftershock (Fashion)..............................................................................................25558016

The Crépe Café ...............................................................................................24558530

Seeb....................................................................................24422004

Bata (Footwear) ...............................................................................................24558855

FAR EASTERN

Sultan Qaboos University....................................24413144

Emax (Electronics) ...............................................................................................24558062

China Mood

...............................................................................................24764000

Pizza Muscat

Al Khuwair......................................................................24483393

Camaeiu

China Town

...............................................................................................24567974

Al Harthy Complex...................................................24565618

Fat Face (Fashion) ................................................................................................99708330

Chinese Garden ...............................................................................................24489414

MBD.....................................................................................24817715

Gap (Fashion)

...............................................................................................24558095

Golden Dragon ...............................................................................................24697374

PHD by Pizza Hut ...............................................................................................24822555

Home Centre

...............................................................................................24558063

Golden Oryx

Subway

Al Khuwair......................................................................24593963

Max (Fashion)

..................................................................................... 24558981/82

...............................................................................................24702266

...............................................................................................24558590

Jade Garden

...............................................................................................24605945

Al Masa Mall...............................................................24604664

Origem (Fashion) ...............................................................................................92648542

Lai Thai

...................................................................98025189, 98025191

CCC........................................................................................24560327

Oysho (Fashion) ...............................................................................................24558865

Magic Wok

...............................................................................................24537118

MQ........................................................................................24694774

Rado (Watches) ......................................................................9776492, 92247101

Marjan Restaurant and Pool Bar..............................................................24641234

Muscat City Centre....................................................24558080

Salsa (Fashion) ...............................................................................................24558631

Narjeel

...............................................................................................24560606

Taza

...............................................................................................24489779

Palayok

...............................................................................................24797290

The Cream & Fudge Factory..........................................................................24695305

White Company (Home)...................................................................................99124278

Wally’s

Zara (Fashion)

...............................................................................................24558887

Zara Home

...............................................................................................24558869

Silk Route Chinese & Thai...............................................................................24696967

Markaz Al Bahja.......................................................24540200

Sunglass Hut

...............................................................................................24558869

RETAIL

RESTAURANTS, CAFES

Café Capuccino ...............................................................................................24564443


directory Orient Holidays ...............................................................................................24478902 OUA Travel

...............................................................................................24559900

Al Ibtisama Trading..............................................................................................24703404 Al Maha Car Hire ...............................................................................................24603376

Airborne Travels ...............................................................................................24479295

Premier Tours

...............................................................................................99222620

Al Maskry Rent a Car..........................................................................................24595241

Amazing Arabia ...................................................................24701454, 99310005

Rawabi Desert Adventures..............................................................................95201107

AST Car Rental

...................................................................24571311, 23298085

Al Ahlam Tours ............................................................................................244892612

Remal Al Sharqiya Tourism............................................................................24544525

Avis

...............................................................................................24607235

Al Areesh Wahiba Camp..................................................................................99317107

Rusayl Travel

Budget

...................................................................24683999, 24510816

Al Daleel Tours ...............................................................................................23296503

Salalah City Services.............................................................................................23299663

Dollar Rent a Car ...............................................................................................24487841

Al Ghadeer

...............................................................................................99325441

Salalah Tourism ...............................................................................................23292289

Elegant Rent a Car ...............................................................................................24571951

Al Ghubayra

...............................................................................................24812874

Sama Al Wasil Tourism Village...................................................................99604004

Europcar

Al Haditha

...............................................................................................24603587

Shanfari Travel and Tours................................................................................27602710

Global Car Rental ...............................................................................................24697140

Al Hashar Tourism & Travels.........................................................................24836100

Sumahram Falcon ................................................................................................95774166

Hertz

...............................................................................................24566208

Al Hasn Araimi Travel..........................................................................................24799966

Sun and Sand Tours............................................................................................99373928

Mark

...............................................................................................24785050

Al Maskry Tourism and Travels...................................................................24595241

Sunny Day Tours, Travel and Adventure ...........................................24490055

Al Naheem

...............................................................................................24478192

Steps Travel and Tourism.................................................................................24488891

Al Noor

...............................................................................................99318822

...............................................................................................24799966

Al Dar Taxi

..................................................................................24700555/777

United Tours

...............................................................................................24787448

Allo Taxi

...............................................................................................24697997

Al Raha Tourism Camp......................................................................................99343851

Zahara Tours

...............................................................................................24400844

Muscat Cab

...............................................................................................96429096

Comfort Line

...............................................................................................24702191

Hello Taxi

........................................................................................ 24607011/2

Al Sawson

...............................................................................................24485637

Arabian Sands Tour Services..........................................................................24785027 Arabian Sea Safaris..............................................................................................24693223 Arise Travel and Tour..............................................................24605825, 99642291

Flight Information ...............................................................................................24519456 Aeroflot

...............................................................................................24704455

Ahlan Lounge

...............................................................................................24519088

Al Turki Transport ...............................................................................................96429096

Bahwan Travel Agencies..................................................................................24797405

Air Arabia

...............................................................................................24700828

Comfort Line (Muscat - Dubai).....................................................................24702191

Choice Holidays ........................................................................................ 24660364/7

Air France

...............................................................................................24562153

Oman National Transport Co.........................................................................24590046

Desert Discovery ...............................................................................................24493232

Air India

...............................................................................................24799801

Desert Thunder ...............................................................................................95555153

Air Maldives

...............................................................................................24566046

AST Tours

...................................................................24571311, 23298085

...............................................................................................24683900

Air New Zealand ...............................................................................................24700326

Elite Travel & Tourism.........................................................................24485020/2880

Bangladesh Airlines (Biman)........................................................................24701128

Eihab Travels

Empty Quarter Tours.............................................................................................99387654 Ena Tourism

...............................................................................................23298500

Global Tours

...............................................................................................24484156

Golden Oryx Tours ................................................................................................24489853 Gulf Leisure

...............................................................................................24693561

Gulf Ventures

...............................................................................................24559985

Kanoo Travel

...............................................................................................24700249

British Airways

...............................................................................................24568777

Cathay Pacific

...............................................................................................24789818

Egypt Air

...............................................................................................24794113

Safety Line

...............................................................................................96429096

Bait Adam

...............................................................................................24605033

Bait Al Baranda ...............................................................................................24714262

Emirates Airlines ...............................................................................................24404444

Bait Al Zubair

Ethiopia Airlines ...............................................................................................24660314

Children’s Museum........................................................................................ 24605368/9

...............................................................................................24736688

Gulf Air

...................................................................24703222, 80072424

Indian Airlines

...............................................................................................24791914

Iran Air

...............................................................................................24787423

Japan Airlines

...............................................................................................24704455

Nahkal Fort Museum..........................................................................................26781384

Kurban Tours &Travel.........................................................................................24699886

Jet Airways

...............................................................................24813321/5844

Mark Tours

National Museum ................................................................................................24701289

Kenya Airways

...............................................................................................24660317

Khasab Travel and Tours.................................................................................26730464 ...............................................................................................24782727

Currency Myseum ................................................................................................24641510 Muscat Gate Museum........................................................................................24739005

Natural History Museum..................................................................................24641366

Marmul Travel and Tours................................................................................24482868

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.................................................................................24566737

Majan Travel

...............................................................................................24785728

Kuwait Airways ...............................................................................................24701262

Oil & Gas Exhibition Centre............................................................................24677834

Mezoon Travel

...............................................................................................24796680

Lufthansa

Planetarium

...............................................................................................24796692

Midland Tourism ...............................................................................................24566524

Malaysian Airlines ................................................................................................24560796

Moon Travels

Middle East Airlines..............................................................................................24796680

...............................................................................................24793551

Nahar Tourism Oasis...........................................................................................99387654 National Travels & Tourism (NTT)...............................................................24660376 Nomad Tours

...............................................................................................95495240

Nomadic Adventures and Tours.................................................................99336273 NTT Tours

..................................................................................... 24660378/70

OTTB

...............................................................................................24789845

Oasis Tours

...................................................................24499922, 99440441

Oman Geo Tours ...............................................................................................24600914

Oman Air

...............................................................................................24707222

Omani Heritage Museum................................................................................24600346 Oman-French Museum......................................................................................24736613 Salalah Museum ...............................................................................................23294549

Qatar Airways

...............................................................................................24771900

Sohar Fort Museum..............................................................................................26844758

Qantas

...............................................................................................24559941

Sultan’s Armed Forces Museum.................................................................24588700

Saudi Arabian Airlines........................................................................................24789485

Sur Maritime Museum.......................................................................................24541466

Singapore Airlines ................................................................................................24791233 Sri Lankan Airlines ................................................................................................24784545 Sudan Airways

...............................................................................................24816565

Swiss Air

...............................................................................................24787416

Oman National Transport.................................................................................24490046

Syrian Airlines

...............................................................................................24797567

Oman World Tourism..........................................................................................99252680

Thai Airways

...............................................................................................24705934

Oman Discovery ...............................................................................................24706424

...............................................................................................24675542

Pakistan International Airlines......................................................................24792471

Royal Jordanian ...............................................................................................24796693

Turkish Airways ...............................................................................24703033/2778

BUS TRAVEL

Tour Oman

Al-Qandeel Travel & Tourism........................................................................24643877

TAXIS

...............................................................................................24700190

TO BE LISTED EMAIL: bonvoyage@deenarmedia.com

MUSEUMS

...............................................................................................24510012

CAR HIRE

Adonis Oman Travel and Tours............................................................ 24693371/2 Advantage Travel and Tours..........................................................................95220095

AIRLINES

TRAVEL, TOUR OPERATORS

travel


..........................................................................................24605593

UAE

..........................................................................................24600988

Austria

..........................................................................................24793135

United Kingdom

..........................................................................................24497078

Bahrain

..........................................................................................24605074

Uruguay

..........................................................................................24568202

Bangladesh

..........................................................................................24567379

United States of America..................................................................................24643400

Belgium

..........................................................................................24562033

Yemen

Brunei

..........................................................................................24603533

Canada

..........................................................................................24643400

Chile

..........................................................................................24561977

BOATING

China

..........................................................................................24696698

Capital are Yacht Club........................................................................................24737712

Colombia

..........................................................................................24816264

Desert Thunder

Cyprus

..........................................................................................24490200

Grand Hyatt Boat House..................................................................................24641234

Denmark

..........................................................................................24526000

Gulf Leisure

Egypt

..........................................................................................24600411

Marina Bander Al Rowdha............................................................................24737288

Finland

..........................................................................................24701454

Ocean Boats Diving and Sea Tours.........................................................92645889

France

..........................................................................................24681800

Rawabi Desert Adventures..............................................................................95201107

Germany

.............................................................................24832482/164

CYCLING

Greece

..........................................................................................24706648

Muscat Cycling Club ..........................................................................................99324594

Holland

..........................................................................................24603706

DIVING AND SNORKELLING

India

..........................................................................................24684500

Al Sawadi Beach Resort....................................................................................26795545

Iran

..........................................................................................24696944

Amphibia

Iraq

..........................................................................................24604178

Blu Zone Watersports.........................................................................................24737293

Al Lilac Beauty Centre.........................................................................................24483994

Ireland

..........................................................................................24797083

Desert Adventures ..........................................................................................95201107

Al Nahda Resort and Spa, Barka..............................................................26883710

Italy

..........................................................................................24693727

Desert Thunder

..........................................................................................95555153

Japan

..........................................................................................24601028

Dimaniyat Diving

..........................................................................................99311350

Jordan

..........................................................................................24692760

Global Scuba

..........................................................................................99317518

Korea

..........................................................................................24691490

Gulf Leisure

..........................................................................................24693561

Kuwait

..........................................................................................24699627

Musandam Extra Divers....................................................................................99877957

Chi Spa, Shangri La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa.................24776666

Lebanon

..........................................................................................24695844

Muscat Divers

..........................................................................................99355671

Daksha’s Salon ...............................................................................................24562596

Malaysia

..........................................................................................24698643

Muscat Diving and Adventure Centre.........................24485663, 99239658

Emirates Medical Centre...................................................................................24604540

Mexico

..........................................................................................24561977

Ocean Boats Diving and Sea Tours.........................................................92645889

Morocco

..........................................................................................24696152

Oman Dive Centre ..........................................................................................99379031

Mozambique

..........................................................................................24594207

Sub Aqua Dive Centre Salalah.....................................................................92471073

Netherlands

..........................................................................................24603719

GOLF

New Zealand

..........................................................................24794932/5726

Ghala Wentworth

Norway

..........................................................................................24603706

Al Maha Golf Club ..........................................................................................24522177

Grand Spa (Bareeq Al Shatti)........................................................................95588880

Pakistan

..........................................................................................24603439

GAME FISHING

Hana’s Slimming & Skincare........................................................................24697270

Palestine

..........................................................................................24601312

Grand Hyatt Muscat ..........................................................................................24641234

Philippines

..........................................................................................24605140

Gulf Leisure

Portugal

..........................................................................................24561400

Muscat Game Fishing Club.............................................................................99322779

Qatar

..........................................................................................24691153

HIKING

Russia

..........................................................................................24602894

Desert Thunder

Rwanda

..........................................................................................24487978

Muscat Diving and Adventure Centre.....................................................24485663

Manal Beautician ................................................................................................24479655

Saudi Arabia

..........................................................................................24601744

Rawabi Desert Adventures..............................................................................95201107

Muscat Beauty Salon..........................................................................................24562541

Somalia

..........................................................................................24697977

HORSE RIDING

South Africa

..........................................................................................24694791

Al Sawadi Beach Resort....................................................................................26795545

Spain

..........................................................................................24691101

Al Sawahil Horse Riding...................................................................................95177557

Sri Lanka

..........................................................................................24697841

Desert Thunder

Bikers Oman

..........................................................................................99556430

Harley Davidson Owners Group.................................................................99310853 Oman Automobile Association.....................................................................24510239 ROCK CLIMBING................................................................................................................ Muscat Diving and Adventure Centre.....................................................24485663 Rob Gardner

..........................................................................................95555153 ..........................................................................................99819005

..........................................................................................99239658

SAILING Castaways Sailing Club..........................................................35086284, 24594613 Desert Thunder

SPORTS

..........................................................................................24600815

MOTOR SPORTS

..........................................................................................35555153

SPORT FISHING Grand Hyatt Boathouse.....................................................................................24641234 Gulf Leisure

..........................................................................................99819006

Muscat Diving and Adventure Centre.....................................................24485663 Oman Dive Centre ..........................................................................................24824240 Marina Bandar Al Rowdha............................................................................24737288 Rawabi Desert Adventures..............................................................................95201107 Water World Marine ..........................................................................................24737438

..........................................................................................96289664

..........................................................................................24591248

..........................................................................................24693561

..........................................................................................95555153

..........................................................................................95555153

Ayana Spa

...............................................................................................24693435

Beauty Centre

...............................................................................................24697585

Beauty Today

...............................................................................................24568991

Essence Spa

...............................................................................................24603225

Europe Beauty Centre & Health Club - CBD.....................................24797813 Europe Beauty Centre and Spa - Wadi Kabir.................................24815805 Grand Spa

...............................................................................................24695766

Holistic Skin & Hair Care...................................................................................24601134 Hollywood Beauty Centre.................................................................................24568292 Kaya Skin Clinic ...............................................................................24601700/4300 Kottakal Arya Vaidya Sala...............................................................................24701555

Muscat Slimming Centre...................................................................................24565687 Nadia Beauty Salon.............................................................................................24689777 Nails Spa

...............................................................................................24699440

Raz Hair and Beauty Salon...........................................................................24692219

Sudan

..........................................................................................24697875

Qurum Equestrian School.................................................................................99832199

Syria

..........................................................................................24697904

ICE SKATING

Signature

Sweden

..........................................................................................24708693

Ice Skating Centre ..........................................................................................24489492

Sri Sri Ayurveda Clinic..............................................................24480874, 92800793

Switzerland

..........................................................................................24568202

KAYAKING

Taiwan

..........................................................................................24605695

Al Sawadi Beach Resort....................................................................................26795545

Tanzania

..........................................................................................24601174

Muscat Diving and Adventure Centre.....................................................24485663

Thailand

..........................................................................................24602684

Rob Gardner

Tunisia

..........................................................................................24603486

Oman Dive Centre ..........................................................................................24824240

Turkey

..........................................................................................24697050

..........................................................................................99239658

...............................................................................................24490282

The Chedi, The Spa...............................................................................................24524400 Tips and Toes Nails Spa...................................................................................24603969 The Spa Bar for Men..........................................................................................24698681 Touch & Glow Beauty.........................................................................................24791979 VLCC

...............................................................................................24695157

BEAUTY

EMBASSIES

Algeria


L E V

A R T

Z I U

Q

2

1 Which is the smallest ocean in the world?

Which is the largest island in the US?

3

If you wanted to visit the Black Forest, which country would you visit?

5

4

Which is the driest country in the world?

Which is the smallest continent in the world, in terms of area?

8 Which is the world’s oldest living civilisation?

6

7

Which is the world’s tallest hotel?

Which is the tallest mountain in Europe?

10 What was St. Petersburg called for most of the 20th century?

Win! Answers for the last issue quiz are: 1. The Andes 2. Angel Falls, Venezuela 3. Damascus, Syria 4. 564kms 5. Russia 6. Tasmania 7. Siam 8. Hong Kong 9. Goa 10. Canada 11. Vatican city 12. Five 13. The Nile 14. Sicily 15. Durand Line

9 The island of Rhodes belongs to which Mediterranean country?

PADI DI DIv DIvIng vIng lI llIcence Icence

Winners: Toshali Sanjay Rahul Mehra Fatma Khalfan Al Hinai Shannon Christopher Peter Hill

get a chance to win a PADI scuba diving licence. Send in your answers before October 1st to bonvoyage@deenarmedia.com Note: Judges’ decision will be final. Correspondence after the entry deadline will not be entertained. Incomplete or illegible entries will be disqualified. Winner must provide valid ID to claim prize. Allow up to two weeks to process.


Bon Voyage August-September 2010