In March 2007, it seemed like the ideal time to finally make our trip to the Arabian Peninsula. We decided to fly to Oman after reading various Lonely Planet travel forum articles and getting advice from friends because it was said to have lovely natural scenery, a rich culture, and not be overrun by tourists yet.
Internet searches revealed that not all significant airports provide a direct route to Muscat, the capital of Oman. The ticket cost from Frankfurt or London was between 500 and 600 EUR. However, as we reside in Tallinn, Estonia, we must also fly there. A Matkapunkt travel agent recommended a possible starting point for the journey from Riga by flying Turkish Airlines. The price for the ticket was 510 EUR.
Our trip started on Sunday morning with a 300-km drive from Tallinn to Riga. We started at nine o’clock. As it was Sunday, the roads were quite empty, and we managed to be in Riga even earlier than needed. We parked the car in the long-term car park at Riga airport (it costs 25 LVL a week).
The check-in counter opened two hours before departure, and as we were earlier, we were one of the first to check-in. Although we had seats pre-booked, a problem occurred at the counter: one ticket from Riga to Istanbul was missing. Turkish Airlines’ clerks asked me to come to their office; I only told myself that the worst thing that could happen was I had to buy a new ticket. We contacted the travel agent, and everything ended happily – Turkish Airlines let me fly without an additional charge! I don’t even know the reason for the missing ticket, but I know I will check tickets more carefully next time. This is for sure!
Turkish Airlines surprised us positively—everything happened on time, there was plenty of legroom, and the food was some of the best we ever had on flights. And the price was reasonable.
We landed in Muscat at 2 AM. Seeb International Airport is small but efficient. First, we had to buy a visa. We stood in the queue at the money exchange because we had read earlier that you must pay for a visa in the local currency, the Omani Rial. Happily, it came out that currency exchange also takes money for the visa – no need to fill in any blanks – a single entry visa was issued for a month.
And now we are here—in the middle of warmth, after a cold and dark winter. It was an enjoyable feeling to be here. We paid 8 Rials (OMR) at the taxi counter for a ride, and after 30 minutes of the ride, we were at the door of the Naseem Hotel, Muscat.
The trip continues to Muscat and Mutrah.