Musandam: A Dose of an Omani Dhow Cruise

I was in Dubai for a business trip when one of my UAE-based friends suggested that we visit Oman on a weekend. As neighbouring countries, Oman can be accessed by land. One frequently visited place is called Musandam. It was my first time to hear about this region in Oman and so I was prompted to google about it.

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Boy, I was surprised to learn that such natural wonder exists at this part of the Arabian Peninsula. So without much of my friends’ convincing powers, we found ourselves one weekend, on our way to Musandam. The land trip wasn’t really long and the sights along the way kept me musing.

We later on reached a gate where our papers/ documents were verified. It signaled that we have already reached the Sultanate of Oman. A few more minutes and we were already parked at an area that is so close to the waters. It was pretty impressive. My first impression is that Musandam is a place where the mountains meet the sea (in this case, the Gulf of Oman). We were then transferred to an Omani Dhow or a traditional Omani cruise boat. These kind of boats are very popular in this side of the world. They have been used to sail into the fjords and have been the perfect mode of transportation for a relaxing trip into the Musandam Peninsula.

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As we begin our dhow cruise, I couldn’t help but be in awe of the picturesque landscape and seascape of Musandam: from the lovely fiords (a long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs), to the stunning contour of the Hajar Mountains, and the emerald to azure waters of the Arabian Sea. These sights of blues and browns are a total opposite of Dubai and Abu Dhabi’s steel and glass vista. No wonder this has become a famed getaway destination for tourists. The dhow experience itself is very relaxing as the cool sea breeze waff through my face.

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After an hour or so, our dhow stopped in the middle of the cerulean waters of Musandam. We were then told to get out of the boat and explore the waters. My friends and I decided to go swimming, snorkeling and later on tried the banana boat. I was laughing at myself because it was my first time to ride the banana boat. You see, in the Philippines, banana boat rides are very popular especially in Boracay and Puerto Galera. I have been to these beaches several times yet I haven’t tried going for a banana boat ride before. After we did these water activities, we were treated to a sumptuous lunch. Later on in the afternoon, we got to try boat fishing.

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The dhow cruise experience ended with a sunset view of the ‘Norway of Arabia’. True enough, Musandam is a remarkable blend of seaside fun and quaint mountain views. What a weekend getaway with friends (shout out to Elaine, Ela, and Hazel for joining me in this trip), and that truly makes you realize that “Oman is an island…” I mean, “No man is an island”. So what are you waiting for, “don’t be a wasted soul, be “juan”derlust”. Take it easy.

Siete Pecados (Palawan, PH)

“The water doesn’t know how old you are.” – Dara Torres

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When in Coron, one probably would spend most of his time doing various water activities. One particular site known as a haven for snorkelling is Siete Pecados. There are several stories as to why the place is called such. For obvious reasons, Siete Pecados pertains to the cluster of 7 scattered islets-slash-rocks nearby mainland Coron (off the shores of Maquinit Hotspirngs). This is a protected area in the town that boasts amazing underwater wonders, from coral formations to colorful fishes.

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The emerald coloured sea water is crystal clear that one can easily look into the approximately 25 to 30-foot sea bed from the boat. The marine life in the area is evidently teeming. One would definitely enjoy snorkelling or even skin diving here. Just be cautious because there are certain areas where sea urchins abound. (This place was pretty memorable as I had some issues with the sea urchins, hahaha).

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By the way, an entrance fee of Php100 is collected prior to swimming/snorkelling in the area.

Where To Stay:

Apartelle de Gabrielle  –  #231 National Highway Poblacion 5, Coron, Palawan; Contact Nos: 02-7882468 / 0921-4520473 / 0921-4521009 / 0905-3640753; Website:apartelledegabrielle.webs.com

Balay Majika Lodge – Real Street, Poblacio 3, Coron, Palawan; Contact Nos: +63 919 3169030 / +63 9178563187 / +639087316543; Website: www.facebook.com/MajikaTours

Busuanga Island paradise – Km. 12 ,Hi-way, Brgy. Guadalupe, Busuanga Island, Coron – Busuanga Road, Coron, Palawan; Contact No. (02) 911 9180; Website: www.busuangaislandparadise.com

Coron Backpacker Gusethouse- Coron-Busuanga Road, Coron; Contact No: 0916 400 4871; Website: http://www.palawan-coron-backpacker.com

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Coron Ecolodge – Calle Real Poblacion 2, Coron, Palawan; Contact Number: 0919 204 8824; Website: http://www.coronecolodge-palawan.com

Coron Gateway Hotel – Barangay Poblacion 1 , Coron, Palawan; Contact Nos: (+632) 887-7107 / 887-2420. Website: www.corongateway.com

Centro Coron Bed & Breakfast – National Highway, Barangay 4, Coron, Palawan: Contact Nos: 09277454625 | 09491414177; Website: www.centrocoron.com

Coron Village Lodge ­– Brgy. Poblacio 1, Coron, Palawan; Contact Nos: +639081089772 / 4252231; Website: www.coronvillagelodge.com

Princess of Coron Resort – Nueva Street, No.6 Barangay Poblacion, Coron, Palawan; Contact No. 0916 540 0288; Website: http://www.princessofcoron.com

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How To Get There (Coron – Siete Pecados)

From Manila, tourists who wants to visit Kayangan Lake can take a flight going to Busuanga. Upon reaching Busuanga, tourists should take a 40-minute land trip (usually a van) bound for Coron town proper. There are also various passenger ships that ply the Manila-Coron route. Once in Coron, hire boat for rental.

Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’…