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Old 4th April 2015, 00:01   #1
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Arrow Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip

A little flashback before the travelogue starts.

I started my NRI life in Sultanate of Oman in 2004 & was sent to Salalah from Muscat (where i landed) to take care of Yokohama/Kumho/Continental retail tyre business of my employer.

I got married while during the time & we started our life together in Salalah. We did not own a car then and we used to walk through the small city for shopping, eating out etc. The weather being moderate in Salalah unlike the usual desert climate made those walks enjoyable.

Later, I got my driving license in my first attempt (which is considered a miracle or luck - driving skills not taken into account at all) So the place is special in many ways. My wife has a UAE license now - I am expecting her to drive a bit of the 1200+ kms. More on that as the travel begins.

I have worked in Bahrain, Qatar & UAE, but never found a place which has so much natural greenery, you feel that this was part of coastal India before the continental drift.

I was contemplating between Chevy Tahoe 5.3 V8 & Ford Explorer 3.5 V6 and finalized Explorer from Thrifty since it is only me, my wife & 3 year old son; we would not need the extra space of Tahoe. More importantly the Tahoe costs more to rent & burns more fuel too.

The check post at Bureimi (UAE - Oman border) issues 1 month visit visa for all GCC resident visa holders (some professions are omitted from this facility), but i chose a safer option of getting the visa stamped in advance from Oman consulate in Bur Dubai. Rates are a reasonable OMR 50 per visa processed within a day.

The stay has been booked at Rotana Resorts (Rates Omani Riyal 80 with breakfast / OMR 50, no breakfast if booked through Agoda.com) Usually we don't eat breakfast worth OMR 30 (INR 4,890) i decided to go with Agoda & check out the buffet later if required. I remember a Gujarati Hotel... Milan (Thanks Google) inside Souq serving great VFM breakfast with very different accompaniments - need to check it out after a gap of 10 years as well.

The plan is to start early on 16th Thursday and reach Salalah by night.
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Last edited by Skyline GT-R : 1st May 2015 at 14:11. Reason: Adding details
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Old 1st May 2015, 14:26   #2
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Default re: Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip

A brief description of the route & timings to benefit anyone planning to do this trip.

We started at 5.20AM on Thursday 16th April heading towards Al Ain which is the last main town in UAE before crossing to the Sultanate of Oman. Odo reading 38250 Kms.

I entered the the border port at Mezayed instead of the usual Al Buraymi to avoid the possible long waiting. Odo reading 38436.

Entered Oman to Hafeet aroung 8.30AM after the Immigration procedures at UAE side & Oman side. Vehicle was checked thoroughly inspite of travelling as family.

My first international border crossing by road.
Attached Thumbnails
Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-p4150001.jpg  

Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-p4150002.jpg  

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Old 1st May 2015, 14:42   #3
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Default re: Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip

Reached the relatively big town of Ibri (you see only small villages en route) at 10.30AM. Refuelled although there was about quarter tank left.

Reached Military check post near Qarn Al Alam (Joining Route 31 on Google Maps) after driving through very sparse traffic through Route 29 for 175 kms.

It is a right turn to Salalah & Left turn to Muscat & Nizwa cities.

The checkpost seems to be a temporary set up in the wake of the Yemen scenario.

The roads are single carriageway throughout.
Attached Thumbnails
Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-p4150020.jpg  


Last edited by Skyline GT-R : 1st May 2015 at 14:44.
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Old 1st May 2015, 14:53   #4
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Default re: Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip

Reached Al Ghaba fuel station Odo reading 38801. There are 2 restaurants, a guest house (with clean toilets). Took rest for some time, refuelled since the next fuel station is at Haima 220 Kms away.

Reached Haima at 3.30PM Odo reading 38999.
Attached Thumbnails
Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-p4150027.jpg  

Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-p4150047.jpg  

Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-p4150048.jpg  

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Old 1st May 2015, 15:44   #5
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Default re: Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip

Next Stop was at Al Maha fuel station 70 Kms before Tumrait. Odo reading 39340.

We missed a Shell fuel station in Qitbit & almost ran out of fuel before reaching this fuel station. There is a small grocery shop inside.

Reached Thumrait at 7PM odo reading 39408 Kms.

Thumrait is an Mountain Airbase and there is a 99 kms travel to Salalah driving mostly downhill.

Reached our resort around 8.15PM. Odo reading 39513 Kms.

That is 1263 Kms driven in 14 hours with 7 breaks including the Immigration stop. The speed limit in the Route 39 is 120kmph, but everyone drives around 139 kmph to avoid the speed gun which clicks at 140kmph (There were not many that I noticed). There is speed limit & "Maximum allowed speed" which is generally +20 Kmph in most GCC countries.
Attached Thumbnails
Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-p4150056.jpg  

Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-imag4019.jpg  


Last edited by Skyline GT-R : 1st May 2015 at 15:46.
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Old 1st May 2015, 15:56   #6
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Default re: Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip

Nabi Ayoob (a.k.a Job in the Old Testament)'s tomb.

You get free Biryani packets here on Fridays
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Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-p4160099.jpg  

Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-p4160100.jpg  

Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-p4160103.jpg  

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Old 1st May 2015, 16:08   #7
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Default re: Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip

Taqah & Mirbat Castle built in the 1960's.

It was the administration HQ then, but now maintained as museums.
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Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-p4180332.jpg  

Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-p4180333.jpg  

Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-p4180409.jpg  

Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-p4180340.jpg  

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Old 1st May 2015, 16:23   #8
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Default re: Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip

Sumhuram Archeological remains.

Looks like pile of bricks, but was a busy port exporting Frankincense to all parts of world as early as 3 BC. It is being rebuilt, expect it to return to original state in another 4-5 years.
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Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-p4180356.jpg  

Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-p4180363.jpg  

Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-p4180364.jpg  

Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-p4180372.jpg  

Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-p4180373.jpg  

Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-p4180367.jpg  

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Old 1st May 2015, 17:21   #9
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Default re: Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip

Mughsayl Beach is a popular and must see spot. Water gushes out of rock formation near the sea as waves hit especially during high tide.

Lots of camels are seen on the roads. A collision with a camel is sure to ruin the car if they fall on the car. Warning boards of "Camels crossing" are frequent.
Attached Thumbnails
Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-p4160088.jpg  

Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-p4160161.jpg  

Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-p4170276.jpg  

Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-imag3782.jpg  

Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-p4180399.jpg  

Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-imag4158.jpg  

Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-imag3969.jpg  

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Old 1st May 2015, 17:27   #10
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Default re: Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip

The road from Salalah to Yemen via Dalkuth.

One of the best driving roads if you are in the right automobile but not popular / famous.
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Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-imag3910.jpg  

Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-imag3913.jpg  

Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-imag3916.jpg  

Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-imag3919.jpg  

Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-imag3945.jpg  

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Old 1st May 2015, 17:53   #11
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Default re: Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip

The return journey was on 20th April. We started late around 10AM & reached Dubai at 10PM with 5 stops en route. BHPians used to the Dubai fuel stations need to keep in mind (especially while travelling with family) that fuel stations in Oman does not necessarily have good toilets & the entire Mezayed - Salalah stretch has only basic restaurants where cleanliness is average.

Unfortunately the Milan restaurant which i wanted to re visit after 10 years was too crowded when I managed to get there so skipped it...there is always a next time.

The city (or town rather) has remained largely unchanged except for the Sultan Qaboos Mosque being built & some dividers appearing on the roads. However there are some flyovers being constructed right now so expect some development in the coming years.

I am glad that I took the Explorer. The SUV performed well, had required space, the handling was acceptable for the size and comfort.

We spent around 25 hours in the car clocking 3000+ kms and are looking forward to another trip soon. Thrifty were really professional to deal with & arrange to pickup & drop the car according to my convenience.

The only bad side about the trip is that whenever my son Jaisal (3 years old) sees a Silver colour Ford Explorer in our parking lot nowadays, he goes near it and yells at me "Tata pova" (Let's go for a drive)
Attached Thumbnails
Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-imag4309.jpg  

Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-imag4316.jpg  

Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-imag4330.jpg  

Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip-imag4332.jpg  

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Old 4th May 2015, 09:40   #12
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Default Re: Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 4th May 2015, 15:05   #13
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Default Re: Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip

Great report @Skyline GT-R. Salalah is a beautiful city and reminds me of coastal Kerala. The roads, the coconut trees, the bananas hanging in the shops. Did you have chance to visit an farms over there?

I had done a similar trip in 2009, but via Sohar as my cousin was staying there. We took his 2004 Nissan Pathfinder and it was an overnight drive. We used to stop at all fuel stations to top up as the 3.5 V6 was consuming petrol in good rate. The speed was a bit higher and there were no cameras on the single carriage highway (never got flashed) at that time. Everyone was sleeping in the car except me. We stayed in Samaharam Tourist Village, easily got accommodation there in a Chalet as it was off season.

While coming back we had a similar experience as as yours. We missed the fuel station which is inside a compound. The low fuel light lit up and we were driving at 80 kms to conserve fuel for quite some distance. Luckily we found one fuel station and filled up from there.

Our trip was very short, we started on a Thursday night from Sohar and came back on Friday evening itself. We spent only few hours in Salalah. I would like to go there once more to enjoy the city in a slow pace. I need to convince my wife for a elaborate road trip soon.
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Old 9th May 2015, 01:55   #14
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Default Re: Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip

Did not venture into any farms, but drove past & took a short lunch break near one. Had been into farms while working in Salalah before. It is a natural wonder that a small piece of land is so fertile at the corner of a sand mass.

Between Haima & Thumrait there are no cameras which i noticed. You can do any speeds there. I had my 3 year old son with me therefore did not push it.

There are enough fuel stations if you do not miss any. Many online travelogues suggested filling up at every station which i feel is necessary only if if you are driving fuel guzzling V8s.

I was considering Samharam Tourist Village, but decided to pick Rotana because it had a kids activity facility. Later found that it is meant for 4+ ages
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Old 11th May 2015, 12:07   #15
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Default Re: Ford Explorer: Dubai (UAE) to Salalah (Oman) Road trip

Amazing.

Salalah is called the mini-Kerala by the Keralities here

3000 kms round trip should have been fun. Tahoe must have been altogether a different experience. That SUV is a monster, with a football ground at the back.

A collision with camel even lands you in jail right? That is, if you are not dead. I heard such rumors before.

The road from Salalah to Yemen looks narrow and I am sure it must be an amazing one, since no one actually goes to Yemen.

It was good reading through your reports and is there no speed cams after Dubai-Oman border?
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