There are many interesting destinations not that far from Dubai and perfect for short holiday breaks. Still, one of the most preferred and affordable destination is without a doubt the Omani city of Salalah. While the temperatures in the Gulf exceed 45 degrees Celsius during the summer, Salalh has a mild, autumn-like climate and attracts numerous Middle Eastern tourists.
Being neighboring countries, the United Arab Emirates and Oman have a lot of things in common, and if you want to spend your Eid Al-Fitr in a different setting, but still in a traditional way, Oman is the perfect place. Visiting its capital city of Muscat or the second popular city of Salalah is a great solution for the short break (three days) during the Eid Al-Fitr holiday because it’s really close and you won’t waste hours in flying, driving, and waiting on long check in lines. Being known since the 2nd century, Muscat is certainly one of the oldest cities in the whole Middle East and is famous for its beaches, diving adventures and shopping malls. And while its hot, arid climate isn’t very attractive to Emirati people, the atmosphere in Salalah is quite welcoming. The capital city of the Dhofar Governate is known as the perfume capital of Arabia and is like a piece of paradise because of its natural beauty, frankincense trees, its green landscapes, hills and water springs.
During the Khareef (monsoon) season the place is wrapped in thick fog which creates a serene and mysterious atmosphere. Here the wildlife is surprisingly common of Africa – leopards and hyenas, as well as Baobab trees.
Salalah is an antique city which combines the traditional Omani heritage and a more international culture – here you will see Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Budhists and Sikhs, and you certainly won’t have a problem with the language.
The easiest and fastest method to get to Salalah is by plane, as it is quite far away from both Abu Dhabi and Dubai. But the airline ticket is not very cheap – you will have to pay AED 5,135 for a return airfare from Dubai. Flying to Muscat might be a better option – if you fly with Emirates Airlines you will pay only AED 1,125 for an Economy Class return ticket. In comparison, flying with Turkish Airlines for instance, is far more expensive – the return ticket for Economy class is AED 5,580 per person! Another method for transportation between Dubai and Muscat is by car, of course, because the distance is only a little over 450 km. Well, it’s not advisable in fact – the temperatures are too high during the day, and it’s really not so pleasant to drive in such conditions. You can always get a bus and although it’s quite cheap – up to AED 180 for a return ticket, it’s not the most pleasant experience and it may take up to 7 hours!
So, flying is maybe the best option really, but try to book online at Emirates Airlines official website and you may even manage to get your hands on some of their summer promotions! Besides, you won’t have to pay any additional fees, airport taxes, and so on.
You need to book a hotel, too. It’s not too late to find discounts on hotel stays in case you know where to look for. Website Expedia.com will help you book a quality hotel in Salalah at the lowest price possible. They currently have around 10 hotels in Salalah, but some of them are out of rooms, already. While there are plenty of 3-star and lower quality hotels, guesthouses and villas across the city, the luxury places are not so many. One of them is of course, the 5-star Salalah Marriot Resort near the Mirbat Tourism Village, which has a private beach and a full-service spa. You will wake up to the ocean at your door in a deluxe room, studio, or in a superior room with extraordinary sea view.
You can also book a hotel at website Booking.com where you will find eight hotels in and near Salalah. The website allows toy to compare hotels by their prices, star ratings, customer review scores, and what facilities they offer.
However, if you actually decide to stay in Muscat for the celebrations, one of the best hotels in the city is Accor’s Ibis Muscat Hotel which is located in the Al Khuwair area and is close to the various ministries and embassies. It offers free Internet, a bar and a café, all-day dining restaurant, as well as a free underground car park, a business center and a fitness center.
This year’s Eid Al-Fitr celebration will be memorable for you and your family if you choose Oman and its beautiful city of Salalah. You will be surprised how naturally green the seemingly desert land can be!