During our Oman Roundtrip this summer, we got to explore Oman and all its beautiful picturesque sights, that you might not get to see if you book an off the shelf roundtrip through a tour operator.
We are talking about a real adventure, an adventure where you actually have to make a hiking effort to reach to places you might not imagine existed. One of the best experiences I had during our trip was choosing a mountain hotel, that was so randomly situated and so surreal, that it was worth all the effort.
We reached the mountain peak of Jabal Akhdar, the green mountain, at sunset time around 6pm with no hotel reservation. After a whole day of driving around and randomly snacking on paratha and karak, we stopped at the mountain peak to admire the stunning sunset and decided to search for hotels in the area. Considering we were on the mountain peak, mobile reception is limited and hotel choices are very limited, too. We opened internet on our phones and googled ‘Hotels Jabal Akhdar’. After a few scrolls down, there it was.
We called them immediately and asked if they had some rooms available for us, without being aware about what we were getting ourselves into and which surprise was awaiting us.
We got the last rooms in the hotel and got the location per Whatsapp. We started driving after sunset and came to the conclusion that something must be wrong with the location pin we were given, since we were driving for a while and it was going downhill only. We reached a dead end which was located next to some random residential houses and parked the car.
We called the guy and he came to meet us. The spot we parked was a dead end, and it being dark, we didn’t see where exactly we were. He simply said “Park your car here, take your luggage and come with me!’. So we started walking in the dark, me wearing flip flops and an Abaya. I realized the walk was actually becoming a hike up the mountain again and I did not understand where we were going to. So we just followed the young Omani, and walked and walked and walked. After a good 45 minutes, we reached a place that seemed like an old abandoned mountain village.
It was an abandoned old mountain village, which consisted of rooms that are inbuilt into the mountain rocks. They have added an open-air shower and a toilet, as well as a welcoming living room type majlis, furnished in a traditional Omani floor seating, where dinner and breakfast is being served.
The deal included an Omani traditional dinner and Omani breakfast said the young Omani. He showed us the rooms and said we should feel at home. The fun fact about the food is, that its being cooked by the Omani family itself and delivered across the mountain valley by foot, in traditional Omani Tupperware, which ensures, that it stays hot after the rather long mountain hike. Usually whoever is available of the family members, will be delivering the food to the guests.
Our dinner which was a typical home made Beryani Omani style with prawns, extremely delicious I must say, was delivered by the twenty something youngster who guided us to the hotel in the first place. The next day’s Breakfast was served by a little 8-year-old boy, who made his way up to our place.
The idea of the mountain hotel, was created by the younger generation of that Omani family. They have partially refurbished it without any government support, transporting all the furniture and building materials through a zip line they build their selves. Their grandparents used to live there for generations, till one day they decided to move to a more modernized environment and moved to the opposite side of the mountain valley, into their newly made modern family house build by the mountain edge, which was easy accessible by car.
We woke up with such excitement, eager to go outside. So we rushed to the living room majlis, which had an amazing view and was built just by the mountain edge. We couldn’t believe our eyes.
Beneath us was this green gorge which was turned into a plantation, filled with hand planted fruit trees and date palms, hand-built Falaj’s (irrigation systems) which were harvested by the older generation of the village till today.
On the opposite side we could see in a far our car parked and the new houses these families actually lived in.
The mere fact, that we woke up in an old mountain village, so picturesque that it looks too good to be real, it’s an experience that was simply from another world. Our rooms were situated in the middle part of the village.
So off we went, to explore the abandoned village, which had lots of small little Omani doors, that used to be entrances to shops and family houses.
This experience is just an example, a part of a Oman Roundtrip, that we have carefully put together. We made sure that we are accompanied by an Omani so we get to explore areas that sometimes might be off limits for regular tourists.
So now, are you ready for an adventure with your friends, family, colleagues or your better half? Or even thinking about a Team Building trip?