The Sultanate of Oman’s geographical location makes it a wonderful destination for nature lovers and is blessed with amazing landscapes like rugged mountain valleys, naturally formed caves, sink-hole, Wadis(dry river bed which is full of water in rainy season), deserts, fjords, secluded beaches, canyons and many more. Oman is located in the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in western Asia and is surrounded by mountains, deserts, and water. In this post, let’s go for a natural wonders day trip from Muscat. As whole Oman has wonderful places, you need a lot of time or many days to cover each area, this time I concentrated on Muscat region and nearby areas and therefore read about things to do near Muscat and let’s go from Muscat to Bimmah Sinkhole tour which is a long and hectic day trip.
Day Trips From Muscat | Oman Sightseeing Tours
After having interesting Muscat City tour and historical tour to Nizwa fort from Muscat, let’s go for nature tour from Muscat which is also top listed in Oman sightseeing tours. Muscat to Bimmah Sinkhole is the most recommended day trip in Oman with many enchanting stops in between.
FIRST STOP – QANTAB BEACH | MUSCAT TO BIMMAH SINKHOLE TOUR | THINGS TO DO NEAR MUSCAT
A small stretch of rocky beach which is at 15 km from Muscat. Located in fisherman’s town, this beach is very quiet and peaceful. This beach has many fisherman’s boats and you see many naturally cut rocks tapers down to blue waters. I loved how the waves were crashing these black rocks and the shades of deep blue are amazing here. Walking on the pebbled beach is fun here.
This beach is surrounded by many traditional quaint Omani style houses and huge rocks on another side. Camping is not allowed here and I am not sure of wearing swimsuit here. Many fishermen will approach you and ask you have a sail across the sea for few Omani rials and they promise to show some hidden gems of this area in traditional wooden boats.
You can also wander around this small town of Qantab which is actually inhabited by a fisherman. Some of the houses are very interesting and you can also see how locals actually live.
SECOND STOP – BANDAR AL KHIRAN | MUSCAT TO BIMMAH SINKHOLE TOUR | THINGS TO DO NEAR MUSCAT
Hidden beauty in Oman which not many people know about it and even this place was not added in our itinerary. It was added last minute due to a recommendation by local staff in our hotel and so we made our second stop to this last minute addition. A hilly drive of approximately 20 km from Qantab town and through sand mountains you can reach Bandar Al Khiran. It is a very secluded area and windy too, but the view of deep blue waters, surrounded by sand-colored mountains is amazing from here. This place is beat for relaxing as it is very peaceful and the views are stunning.
You can camp overnight here and can also plan a day picnic from Muscat to here. If you descend down or hike down then you can enjoy the beach and waters too. The coral-filled waters of this area are home to many exotic marine life creatures like turtles, sea horses, unique species of fish makes it a favorable location for divers, snorkelers and swimmers.
Nearest Luxurious Beach Resort to enjoy this area is Shangri-la Al Jissa. Click here to book this resort.
To reach here is slightly tricky as from the main road there is a sharp curve to the unpaved side road. This unpaved side road is a very steep upward curve and once you headed on to it, there is no chance of taking a reverse. When you reach the tip of the curve and move down then you will feel that your vehicle will fall from the cliff into the water, but there is unseen flat area after the tip, from where you can take a turn and move down. A highly photogenic place.
When we descended, we met some of the very beautiful road barriers. Check the local and favorite animal of Oman. Carefully drive, because sometimes fleet of goats come between the road or sometimes cross the road.
THIRD STOP – BIMMAH SINKHOLE(MAIN ATTRACTION) | MUSCAT TO BIMMAH SINKHOLE TOUR | THINGS TO DO NEAR MUSCAT
Driving through the beautiful Quriyat town(where you can take a short glimpse of the city and can wait for few minutes for freshening up or some snacks in between), go along the highway 17 towards the city of Sur.
Bimmah Sinkhole is also known as Hawiyat Najm and therefore you would find the signboards of Hawiyat Najm Park. Follow these signboards and when you reach very close to the destination then there is an exit with signboard named Sinkhole. Follow it and from the main road, you have to drive a few kilometers at side road to reach the exact place. Don’t get confused with the signboard named Bimmah and take a wrong exit as Bimmah is a nearby village. Many people get confused here and they cannot reach on the exact location. So the thumb rule is to follow the signboard with the name Hawiyat Najm Parm and then sinkhole. If you are coming from Muscat side, the mountains are on your right and the sea is on your left. The drive is across the sea.
From the entrance of the park to the sinkhole the walk is of 100-150 meters and then you have to take approximately 80 long steps to reach 30 m deep sinkhole. Hold the railing as these steps are steep and when you look down sparkling emerald waters, those who have fear of height can tumble down.
THE STORY / FORMATION OF BIMMAH SINKHOLE – It is one of the most stunning sinkholes in the world. According to Daily Mail it the world’s most stunning sinkhole.
LOCAL BELIEF – According to local belief, it is said that this sinkhole has been created by a falling meteorite which caused a depression in earth and water came out. That is why it is called Hawiyat Najm which translates into Meteor Falling in Arabic.
SCIENTIFIC EXPLANATION – But according to geologists, it is caused by erosion of Earth’s upper crust layer due to the interaction of limestone with underneath water. Underground it is connected with the Arabian Sea which is 600 m from the sinkhole. This 50 m x 70 m(approximately) and 30 m deep depression filled with beautiful emerald colored water is must visit attraction in Oman or included in things to do near Muscat.
When you descend down the steps, you can see the changing colors of emerald shades of water which is due to the angle of your vision and sun above. Also, you can see each and every different layer of rock/crust and shades of water vary. The water is very clear and is comprised of a mixture of fresh and seawater. You can spot little fishes in it. At first, take a walk all around the rim for best photos and then descend down slowly. This is a perfect example of amazing natural creation by underground water reacting with limestone rocks and carbonates with erosion and formed a depression. These limestone rocks got dissolved and left a hole which is filled with emerald clear waters. Here the sound is also echoed.
GENERAL TIPS FOR BIMMAH SINKHOLE –
- This sinkhole is located in a gated park with picnic benches and eating area. Restaurants/cafes are not present and so carry your own food/drink.
- Basic facilities toilets, washrooms, and changing areas are located in the entrance. In the park, the swimming costume is not allowed but near the sinkhole, you can wear your swimsuit.
- No Public transports take you here and therefore you have hired a local tour or can drive your own vehicle.
- Taking leap/jump in the sinkhole is prohibited and also swimming is allowed at your own risk.
FOURTH STOP – WADI TIWI OR WADI SHAB – MUSCAT TO BIMMAH SINKHOLE TOUR | THINGS TO DO NEAR MUSCAT
Wadi Shab is one of the one of Oman’s most beautiful and peaceful Wadi. But this Wadi cannot be reached by car as you have to take a hike on a mountainous trail, and steep ravine for 60 minutes from the main area. You can read more about the best Wadis in Oman which are worth visiting.
Wadi Tiwi is on the other side but can be reached through 4 x 4. So we opted for Wadi Tiwi because it was a long day and we were totally exhausted. Wadi Tiwi is in Al Sharqiyah region and had after nearby Tiwi village.
It is 160 km from Muscat on the way to Sur. The unpaved road can be dangerous during rain and the slope is steep with many blind curves.
After this hectic trip, we returned to Muscat and had dinner in the city. If you want to go further then do a night stay in Sur. Either you can return back to Muscat and stay there or you can proceed further for having a night stay in Sur. Sur is a famous tourist attraction for rarest marine species. You can find the rarest breed of turtle here on the beach. Turtle laying eggs in the night is the most famous attraction and many reserves arrange the tour for this. Also, Sur being a coastal town is famous as for centuries-old shipbuilding and a port town. It is said that Sur is the hometown of Sindbad the Sailor. As I have to return another day to Dubai, so skipped Sur this time but will visit soon as the road trip to Oman from Dubai is a very convenient option for long weekends or during a small break.
GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR THIS DAY TRIP FROM MUSCAT | MUSCAT TO BIMMAH SINKHOLE TOUR | THINGS TO DO NEAR MUSCAT
- Carry Towel, another pack of dry clothes as you have to take a dip in the water at many places whole day.
- Wear comfortable footwear, preferably waterproof
- Don’t eat very heavy meals as many times drive is very steep and you can have dizziness or mountain sickness.
- Prefer to drive or rent a 4 x 4. If you are not driving 4 x 4 then you park your car beside the unpaved road and hike down or climb up the region by foot.
- The whole day you have to walk and climb a lot, so be prepared for this. Some places are not stroller or wheelchair
- Fuel your car/vehicle to full tank from Muscat.
- Carry small eatables and loads of water with you. Also carry a hat, sunscreen, and shades as it is an open-air
- You will not find many fancy eat-outs or restaurants in between.
- Start as early as possible. I started around 8:45 – 9:00 A.M. but it is better to start at around 8:00 A.M.
- Follow Google maps as it guides you perfectly even on unpaved roads.
- Public transportation will not take you there. You can reach driving on your own and local tours.
- Very Safe and locals are welcoming. Oman is a conservative country so be respectful in wearing dresses. No exposure of knees and shoulders( both men and women).
- Swimming at Wadis and sinkhole is at your own risk.
BEST TIME TO VISIT – OCTOBER TO APRIL
NEAREST INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT – MUSCAT
STAY RECOMMENDATIONS AT MUSCAT
HOW TO REACH MUSCAT FROM DUBAI– From Dubai, you can reach Muscat by SELF-DRIVE or there are many buses which run between these two cities. Mwasalat air-conditioned buses with toilets run between Dubai and Muscat. From Dubai, bus 201 leaves at 7.30am, 3.30pm and 11 pm from 800m north of Deira City Centre and arrive roughly six hours with a stop at the border and later at Azaiba station in Muscat. The cost of a ticket is around 55AED. From Muscat bus leaves at 6.20am, 3.20pm and 11.20pm and take around 40 minutes longer. Buses make a small stop in Sohar (Oman). Women traveling alone usually sit at the front of the bus. The cost of a ticket is around 5.5OMR.
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