Whether you’ve got your plane tickets already booked – or are looking for a little R&R closer to home, Mikaela Estera rounds up our top picks for the ultimate Eid break getaway!
Eid Al Adha is fast-approaching around the corner, starting on Sunday, August 9 and running until Thursday August 15. Add on to that the weekends before and after and you’ve got yourself an extra-long break to look forward to! How you spend it is up to you, but we’ve done our research to bring you five of the most marvelous staycations and getaways to help you detach and de-stress this holiday. From beautiful destinations within Oman, to budget-friendly locales abroad – you’ve got options!
An easy drive from Muscat – roughly 200kms via the coastal highway – Sur lets you peek into the past to Oman’s rich maritime heritage and offers various historical and cultural attractions that make it a consistently popular location among residents and tourists. Not-to-be-missed are the nearby Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve, the Al Ayjah Lighthouse, the iconic Fatah Al Khair dhow and Sunaysilah Castle. If you want to stay a few days, there are lots of affordable hotels available but, as a general rule, best to book in advance as things tend to book up fast ahead of Eid. This way you’ll get your best value for money too!
You’ll have to travel 450kms from Muscat along the Nizwa road going to Shannah and then take another hour-long ferry ride to get to this camper’s haven! Ninety-five kilometres long and 14kms wide, the beauty of Masirah Island is untouched. Known for kitesurfing, whale-watching, deep-sea fishing, and bird- and turtle-watching it’s a nature-lover’s paradise! You can also hike to the island’s Jabal Al Humr peak for an exhilarating aerial view!
The city of Salalah is a gem in the south of the Sultanate – and there’s no better time than now to travel there during the monsoon or ‘khareef’ season when the land is blessed with light rains and cool air, the grass green and lush, and the trees and foggy hills ready to welcome you with their splendour. You can also take in the annual Salalah Festival with its hot air balloons and family entertainment.
To reach Salalah – the capital city of Dhofar Governorate, you can either drive there if you don’t mind a 1,015kms epic road-trip, or else grab a one-and-a-half-hour flight via Oman Air or SalamAir. Once there, take the opportunity to visit the Sultan’s Palace – the ancestral home of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said. Though not open to the public you can take photos outside and it’s a popular selfie spot for those who come to admire its incredible architecture from afar.
You can also visit Al Baleed Archaeological Site – a 13th-century UNESCO World Heritage Site, or Taqah Castle which is now a museum that exhibits traditional Omani weaponries. Head over to Sumhurum (Khor Rohri) if you’re keen to explore Omani artifacts, or if you’d rather get out in nature head to the iconic Mughsail Beach and Al Marneef Cave. And for families, a trip to the newly-opened Hawana Aqua Park is a must; also, don’t forget to scope out the Dhofar anti-gravity point new Tawi Atair where your vehicle can travel up to 40-60kms per hour without acceleration – as though being pulled by a magnetic force.
The ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’ is ready to welcome visitor this Eid with golden sandy beaches, lively waterfalls, gripping wildlife safaris, and enticing local cuisine. Offering tourists a laid-back and quiet holiday vibe it has long been one of the world’s most ruggedly beautiful bucket-list places to visit. Some of its most popular places to visit are the heart-warming Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, and Yala National Park. To help with your planning, some airlines are even including all-inclusive packages for Eid. On the AirArabia Holidays website alone, roundtrip packages, including hotel accommodation for a two-night, three-day stay are just RO156 per head for a family of four at the time of publication, with the option to add on customized day tours to your itinerary. Rates are ever-changing though, so advanced booking is key to getting the best offer!
Located between the Himalaya Mountains and captivating Indian jungles, Nepal offers visitors an exotic appeal with a perfect blend between ancient and modern. While there, don’t miss the chance to visit the historic Durbar Square, listed now as a UNESCO World Heritage Site where the Nepali Royal Family lived until the 19th-century. Nepal also offers plenty of temples and fascinating jungle safaris – but if you want some truly heart-pumping adventure, opt for a short trek to the Himalayas, mountain-biking in the Kathmandu Valley, or river-rafting on the Bhote Koshi River. If you want to have an idea of the budget you might need for trip, AirArabia Holidays is advertising, at the time of publication, a roundtrip ticket and hotel accommodation for a two-night, three-day stay for a family of four turns up rates as low as RO146 per head. It’s up to you if you want to avail a package with day tours, or if you’d rather explore this mountain paradise at your own leisure.