Category Archives: Musandam

Khasab Hotel, Musandam

If you ever make it to Musandam (which I highly recommend), Khasab Hotel is a nice midrange option for hotels.

I didn’t end up staying in this hotel, but the prices were much lower than the Golden Tulip Khasab.  You can check out the rates (which they oddly call “tariff”…) here on their website, but I recommend calling and negotiating as you can often get a better deal that way.  Keep in mind that breakfast buffet comes with the room. (They should add that to the website, I think!)   20% discount on their listed prices from June 1st to 17th of August!

The restaurant didn’t look like much, but then again there are plenty of restaurants around Khasab worth checking out anyway.

Pretty decent pool at Khasab Hotel

Interesting items found in the Khasab Hotel gift shop

If you want to enjoy Musandam for a few days and don’t want to break the bank doing so, Khasab Hotel seems like a nice option. Tel:  +968 26730267 / 26730271  Email : khoman@omantel.net.om                                                   Website: http://www.khasabhotel.net/  Anyone reading this ever stay at Khasab Hotel?  If so, how was your experience?

Here is a great review of the hotel from fellow blogger, “A Nomad in the Land of Nizwa”.

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Bukha Fort, Musandam Governorate, Northern Oman

Bukha Fort was built in the 17th century by Saif bin Sultan Al Ya’rubi, a powerful ruler whose influence extended into Persia, India and East Africa.” (A Concise Guide to Musandam, Ministry of Tourism)  It is one of the landmarks that is impossible to miss as you drive from the UAE border to Khasab, the capital of Musandam.

The watchtower is said to be pear shaped in order to repel cannon balls more effectively than your standard, cornered towers.

The tower lookouts could see invaders clearly, whether approaching from land or sea.

The fort was renovated in 1990.

That structure in the foreground is “the prison pit”.

A closer look at the ancient prison.

An ancient torture device that I’ve seen at several of the fort throughout Oman.  They would lock your legs into the cut out sections of wood there.

Up to the main tower and best view from the fort

Looking in the opposite direction of the sea is this lovely view of the surrounding mountains and one of Bukha’s ancient watchtowers on an overlooking hill.

View from Bukha fort looking down the coast in the direction of Khasab

Interesting info from Khasab Fort Museum about how Bukha was Oman’s first offshore oil field.  “The Bukha field was discovered in 1979 and began production in 1994.  The gas is trapped 3,000 meters under the sea bed in limestone.  Very light oil condensed from the gas fetches a high price on the international market.”  That container contains Bukha field gas-condensate.  The museum reports that the quality of the oil is so high that it could be used to run a car automatically without further refining!

View of Bukha fort and town during lowtide from a little park at Bukha Marina

Weekly Photo Challenge: Down

On a recent trip to Oman’s northernmost region, Musandam, these signs warning of rocks possibly falling down are not to be taken lightly!

Tried to get a pic through the windshield of the roadside cliffs.  It’s only been a few years since Musandam has been accessible by road.  The newly constructed western coastal road (connecting to the UAE) has cliffs hanging partially over the road which seemed ready to fall down.

Looking down on the coastal Musandam road from the highpoint of Al Harf village.

Looking down on the least inhabited side of Bukha from an ancient watchtower on the highest point of this coastal city. Gorgeous area!

3 ladies from the coastal village of al Jerry sitting down and enjoying one another’s company.

I saw this goat way up on an interesting looking cliff and thought to myself, “How on earth did he get up there?” and “How is he going to get down?”

Moments later it was the goat’s turn to wonder the same thing about me!  🙂

This goat, jumping down from a small village cemetery in Musandam, reminds me of the lyrics to the Tom Petty song, “Learning to Fly“: “I’m learning to fly, but I aint got wings.  Coming down is the hardest thing!”

This last pic was taken back in Muscat.  My friend and old colleague from Handong University in South Korea, Mark, visited us recently.  He came down from a vacation in Dubai for a quick 23 hour visit.  This pic captures the moment where Mark almost went down in history as the first tourist to be devoured by dinosaurs in Oman! (Phew, that was a close one!)  🙂

Khasab Castle, Musandam

The Musandam Peninsula is the smallest and most northerly region of Oman, covering an area of approximately 3,000 square kilometers.  It is separated from the rest of the country by the United Arab Emites (UAE) and its rocky headland juts out into the Straits of Hormuz, giving it strategic dominion over one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.  The population of the Peninsula is approximately 30,000 with the greatest concentration of people living in Khasab, the capital.”

Khasab Castle is one of the major tourist attractions in Musandam.

A picturesque fort on the inner cove of Khasab Bay overlooks the harbour and represents Khasab’s eastern line of defence.”

Contained within its low, crenellated walls is a massive central tower (pictured here) that predates the fort itself and preceded the arrival of Portuguese in the 16th-century.”

For the sake of tourists, Khasab Castle (like many of the main forts and castles in Oman) has rooms with signs posted in Arabic and English, informing visitors of their use in ancient times (such as this Coffee-Making Room).  They are arranged in such a way that as you enter each room, you feel like you’re stepping back in time to experience a more traditional way of life.

The Kitchen

A Portuguese garrison occupied the site until 1644, when Imam Nasir bin Murshid Al-Ya’rubi united Oman’s land forces and, supported by strengthened naval forces, regained control of the coast.  The fort was renovated by his successor, Saif bin Sultan Al-Ya’rubi in the latter half of the 17th century, and was used as a strategic outpost by the rulers of the Al Bu Said dynasty in the centuries to follow.”

Khasab Fort is open all year round to visitors from Saturday through Thursday, 9:00am to 4:00pm, and on Fridays from 8:00am to 11:00am.  Traditional Musandam boats and houses are on display in the castle courtyard, and additional exhibits are being developed in the central tower and residential wings to showcase the heritage and culture of the region.” (from “The Concise Guide to Musandam“, Ministry of Tourism)

Here’s a nice layout of the fort/castle which is one of many great items on display in the central tower museum.

Khasab Castle first entered the annals of history when an Admiral of the Portuguese fleet, Ruy Freire da Andrade, used it as a base in his attempt to recapture Hormuz, in 1624.  The attempt failed, and it was not long before the Portuguese were forced to leave the region.” (from “Khasab Castle: Experience History” pamphlet, Ministry of Tourism, researched and written by Dr. Patricia Groves (a fellow Canadian living in Oman!))

                            One room on display is the regional “Wali” or Magistrate’s office from years ago.

I really enjoyed walking around Khasab Castle and learning all about the distinct Musandam culture and the local population’s reliance on the ocean and trading history with Persia (or Iran) over many centuries.  I disagree with the book “Oman Off-Road” which reads (in describing Khasab Fort), “Unless you are a serious history buff, Khasab Fort is nothing special, but its setting, dominating the coastline near the older part of Khasab, is impressive.  Best seen from the sea, its design and structure make it similar to forts in the rest of Northern Oman.”  I’m glad I ignored their advice and chose to see the place for myself! Khasab Castle and its exhibitions throughout the courtyard and various rooms offer real insight into regional culture.  There is plenty to see and do there.  If you ever make it to Khasab, don’t just drive by this gem of a site!

“The House of the Lock” (Bait al Qufl)

The walls of a bait al qufl could exceed 1 metre in thickness, and were comprised of individual stone slabs, lifted into place by as many as 7 or 8 men at a time.”