We opened the curtains and saw clear skies (not surprisingly) in the morning and it seemed that it is hot day again. As yesterday we missed fish souq, we started our day with that. The fish market smelled as it supposed to. Every morning from 4am you can buy the daily catch, ranging from fish, squid and crabs. We were there not so early and also saw at the souq fishermen unloading their boats, sorting the fish and taking the fish across the parking lot, this was very interesting.
After checking out from Naseem hotel (they accepted only cash as a payment) we were heading towards Yiti Beach, it is about 25 km from Muscat. We had read the comments that LP directions are not correct. We also had the other book - Oman Off-road Explorer, which also had a route to Yiti beach and we decided to follow those directions. Although we tried to follow the directions very, we still were at the same roundabout three times. The reason was actually the same both directions - after Hamriya roundabout they suggested to turn to the road which is one way going the other way. We asked locals for help.
Our main map was in Lonely Planet Arabian Peninsula guidebook and we had several times then we missed the good map. I even can not answer the question why we did not buy one. Maybe it was because we felt very safe asking help from locals and they were extremely helpful. One guy even asked us to follow his car, he showed us the right turning place.
The route took us to the mountains; the whole 40-minute-drive was very scenic. We stopped for buying a water and ice-cream in the village shop and after that we were there. Yiti Beach is a beautiful, deserted sandy beach flanked by two rocky cliffs. We did not see any services on the beach itself, we were only visitors. Later one couple also came for a picnic lunch.
After first tanning in Oman, we drove forward. Our destination for a day was Sur, the beach town 220km south of Muscat. We followed the Oman Off-road Explorer book. Actually the book was a great help during the whole trip in Oman.
We picked the road by the sea to Sur. It was said in the route description that 4WD car is needed for that coast route. And yes, even in the beginning the road was hilly and rocky. At one point we saw that road construction is going on. And next we realized that we are in the middle of road construction – the road was not finished yet. But with our Toyota Prado we managed to cross few hundreds meters to the road. After that it was much easier already – mostly the road was already paved and it was easy to drive there with no traffic at 120 km/hour.
At the route we saw mountains and villages, goats and camels. We stopped in coastal town Qurayyat for quick lunch. Tasty sandwiches and soft drinks for four people cost in the coffee shop only 2OMR (4EUR).
As Off-road Explorer suggested we also stopped at Sink Hole (Dibab Lake Park). We were not prepared for picnic, but there were bathroom facilities and several picnic tables available. Despite the facilities the place looks quite disused. The sinkhole itself is great but I would not come here only because of that. But if the sun is right it could give good photo opportunities. There is also possibility to swim if you step down to the hole, although the water is quite salty.
After passing many cute villages we finally reached Sur. The 220 km drive with lunch break and stop at the sinkhole took us about four hours. We selected Sur Beach Hotel from Lonely Planet hotel selection. The receptionist was very polite to us, without asking he showed us the rooms and said that he will give us discount. It seemed that it is not the season there at the end of the March, so we paid for a double room 25 OMR (50EUR) and he told that the list price would be 35 OMR (at the stand it even said 42 OMR). The rooms were really nice, with balcony and view to the sea.
After swimming in the pool and shower we had only one problem to solve – where to have dinner. We did not want to have it in the air-conditioned hotel restaurant, we wanted something REAL. The receptionist suggested us to go to Zaki restaurant. And we really value highly this suggestion. The food was excellent (mutton tikka, kebab, rice and noodles), fresh juices extremely tasty and it cost only 10 OMR for four people. It seemed that the place was also popular for locals – the tables were fully and many cars just drove to pick the food. We really loved it there, sitting sipping a mango or kiwi shake at the Zaki and just being part of the local life.