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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good Morning Fellow Expaters!

I've only been in the UAE a little over 2 years now and have always wanted to do a roadtrip to Oman. I figured with Eid upon us and the inability to go too far for too long would allow me the opportunity to finally head East/South. Thus I've decided to plan a weekend getaway with the misses to Muscat.

I suspect at least a few posters have made the journey themselves and would love to get some feedback from these parties; just kind of wanted to know what I may expect, such as:
*Realistic travel time (Google Maps tells me roughly 4 hrs to where I'm staying in Muscat - Al Bustan)

*Any notable places I should stop along the way to make the most of the journey or areas of interest in Muscat

*I know you are required to have Omani insurance coverage on your vehicle before crossing the border - this has been confirmed by my insurance company. I assume all I do is provide border security with a copy of my policy along with passport?

*Any other items I may be missing

Looking forward to the feedback!
 

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Hi,
Have driven to Muscat via Hatta border a few times.
Lots of roadworks on Oman side and it is mainly a two lane dual carriage way with trucks using both lanes - so lots of slowing down on busy days.
The road sort of hugs the coast - but you don't get to see the sea!
Hatta border can get busy - especially at weekends and holiday getaway times.
You only need to show car registration card - never been asked to show insurance certificate (assume that the Arabic writing on card shows that you have Oman insurance).
Petrol is much cheaper in Oman - so fill up there!
Driving standards a bit lower than Dubai.
Plenty of speed cameras (But i ignore them - as never been chased for fines in UAE).
Worked on the Al Bustan hotel - when it was originally built for the GCC conference 30 years ago!
Cheers
Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wow, cheers for the prompt and thorough response Steve!

I suspect I'll hit a snag at the border due to it being Eid weekend, but appreciate reaffirming this as I will more than likely need to drag the misses to the car.

As for petrol, how frequent are stations on the main road?

I had no idea the Al Bustan had been around that long; definitely looking forward to the stay!

Can you recommend any Omani restaurants in Muscat? Always try to sample the local flavors/dishes!
 

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Wow, cheers for the prompt and thorough response Steve!

I suspect I'll hit a snag at the border due to it being Eid weekend, but appreciate reaffirming this as I will more than likely need to drag the misses to the car.

As for petrol, how frequent are stations on the main road?

I had no idea the Al Bustan had been around that long; definitely looking forward to the stay!

Can you recommend any Omani restaurants in Muscat? Always try to sample the local flavors/dishes!
Hi,
Plenty of petrol stations - typical roadside services but some have empty looking shops where you pay for the fuel. The ones nearer Muscat are better and have the usual McDonalds etc. attached.
Al Bustan is lovely and has been refurbished recently.
Can't remember any restaurants - as only really go to Muscat for business meetings these days and don't get time for big eats.
Will also go to Al Bustan later in the year with family for a long weekend - will sample Muscat as a tourist then!
Safe travels.
Steve
 

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I'd do the Al Ain route though Steve, just as soon as you get past the UAE border post and before you get to the Omani one, do a right and head that way, a much better road, single lane, more picturesque and you enter Muscat via the Mountains. Wonderful. Allow 5 -6 hours door to door.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Cheers for the heads up Rascal; the misses had also suggested this (though she'll be the one doing the site seeing as I'll be the chauffeur.
 

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I'd do the Al Ain route though Steve, just as soon as you get past the UAE border post and before you get to the Omani one, do a right and head that way, a much better road, single lane, more picturesque and you enter Muscat via the Mountains. Wonderful. Allow 5 -6 hours door to door.
Hi,
Thanks for the tip - we will use that route when we go as a family.
When I go on business trips - it is usually with a colleague from Dubai and he prefers the Hatta route.
Cheers
Steve
 

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And taking the slower Al Ain route, you can do this, as you drive through Nizwa, it's an easy extension but makes for a long day. there is however a hotel up there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Sorry, another quickie, but what about transporting of booze? I had planned to bring a few bottles of wine down. I assume as long as they are packed and out of sight, it shouldn't be an issue?
 

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Packed and out of site and you'll be fine, I've done it many times, even in an open top Jeep with a cool box in the back, tied down of course, with food over the top of the 48 cans in there... ;-)

As you do.
 

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Thank you for the trip advise to go over the mountains. I am not quite yet in Oman, even though my avatar says so, but I visit hopefully still this year and look into "the sun".

Maybe Oman needs me as a solar power developer with experience from South Africa...
 

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Thank you for the trip advise to go over the mountains. I am not quite yet in Oman, even though my avatar says so, but I visit hopefully still this year and look into "the sun".

Maybe Oman needs me as a solar power developer with experience from South Africa...
I'd suggest Masdar need you more, or the new solar power plant or, or, or....
 

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Has anyone taken Al Ain route as suggested by Rascal?

Judging from Google maps, Al Ain route is 1 hour longer than Hatta route. Question whether it is worth an extra effort and time to go Al Ain route with 8months baby?
 

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personally, I always use the Al Ain route as there are better services this side of the border before setting of and the route from Al Ain out to Nizwa and Muscat has more forts, more tombs and a lot more service stations. Also, large swathes of the road have been dual carriageway'd.

Hatta is fine for border runs but I prefer the mountain routes. Lots of speed cameras on both so set your cruise control and sit back.

Not sure why an 8 month baby comes into it - unless you are planning on him/her taking a spot of driving ?
 

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personally, I always use the Al Ain route as there are better services this side of the border before setting of and the route from Al Ain out to Nizwa and Muscat has more forts, more tombs and a lot more service stations. Also, large swathes of the road have been dual carriageway'd.

Hatta is fine for border runs but I prefer the mountain routes. Lots of speed cameras on both so set your cruise control and sit back.

Not sure why an 8 month baby comes into it - unless you are planning on him/her taking a spot of driving ?
Sometimes this extra hour makes a difference, especially with infant, hence my question on whether it is worth an extra effort of time and driving.

Google maps is showing 468km and 4h50mins to Al Bustan via Hatta from my location
and 596km 5h43min via Al Ain and then routes 21 and 15

So essentially it is 130km and one hour more. I am just trying to figure out which way will be the most convenient for us, but with wife at the back, I would not mind a scenic drive.
 

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The road via Hatta and down the coast is soooo boring, monotonous, it's like the road to Abu Dhabi but with the odd hold up at a roundabout in a town.

That's why the mountain route is so much better, yes it's longer, but time will fly, especially for the last 2 hours, and the view over muscat on a clear day (which you should have at the moment) is fantastic.
 

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The road via Hatta and down the coast is soooo boring, monotonous, it's like the road to Abu Dhabi but with the odd hold up at a roundabout in a town.

That's why the mountain route is so much better, yes it's longer, but time will fly, especially for the last 2 hours, and the view over muscat on a clear day (which you should have at the moment) is fantastic.
Many thanks for comparing it to Abu Dhabi road, I have better picture now. I will do Al Ain route.
 

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I had one of my employees (US passport) trying to go to Oman today, and was stopped due to paperwork needed that he did not have. He was stopped at both the Hatta border and Al Ain.

He was in a company car and they were requiring a NOC and other documents not only at the Oman side which we had but also on the UAE side. He never got in and said the lines were very long, complete searches of all vehicles. First time this has happened to us, we go often for business. Not sure what is going on?
 

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I had one of my employees (US passport) trying to go to Oman today, and was stopped due to paperwork needed that he did not have. He was stopped at both the Hatta border and Al Ain.

He was in a company car and they were requiring a NOC and other documents not only at the Oman side which we had but also on the UAE side. He never got in and said the lines were very long, complete searches of all vehicles. First time this has happened to us, we go often for business. Not sure what is going on?
Was he a resident ?

Was it a NOC for the car or for him ?
 
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