Wednesday, November 24, 2010

About the Oasis of Arabia - Salalah

Just noticed that this is the hundredth article of this year 2010 on my blog.. and is also my first travel post. We had recently been to this place called Salalah and I thought it is an interesting travel to share with the blogger world. You'll find a lot of articles and write-ups online about this, so what I am giving here is only an outline of what captivated our eyes and head during the trip.

Salalah, the oasis of Arabia is a coastal town in the country of Oman. The lush green lawns, shrubs, trees, coconut groves and banana plantations you see definitely makes you double-check if you are in the God's own Country- Kerala, India. Salalah is on the foot hills of the Dhofar mountain range. This mountain range is said to be lush green during the " Khareef " or rainy season. Khareef lasts from June to September. The scenic beauty of the place makes it a major tourist attraction even in the off-season period.

November temperature goes up to 32 degrees during the day and drops down to 20 degrees at night in Salalah.As you drive around to visit various local attractions, you get to see the withering remains of the September greenery. The varying shades of the Dhofar mountain range is worth a picture.

Per information from some locals and long time residents of Muscat, a lot of vegetables and fruits are grown in this surprisingly fertile land and exported to other places in Arabia. The tender coconut stalls are very popular here. Your trip is not complete without a tender coconut. The banana plantations are vast spread and hence the raw bananas are good sale pieces on the coastline.

The Salalah coastline has a lot of beaches open to the tourists. Sunset on the horizon is a must-see scene during your visit.

The locals are mostly natives of Oman and Pakistan. You also get to see a lot of people from Turkey and India living in Salalah. The widely prevalent language in Salalah in Arabic, though for us Indians, Hindi and understanding of Malayalam would be sufficient. When talking to a non-Indian, if you have to speak English, cut all the connecting words and excess verbiage in your sentence to get the correct response. An interesting example we heard was this: Evenings good babies play. It means, This park is good for babies to play in the evenings. All sentences have to be tagged along with a hand signal - signalling the place or context of discussion. Amusing and nice .. Wonder if Grammar has a role at all here?

A lot of rent-a-car outlets are available if you want to drive around yourself. Average rates would be 15 to 20 OMR per day. You can also hire a city taxi and asked to be driven around. A tourist guide book, a map booklet that has pictures of the local attractions would help you ask your way around in town.Don't forget that you cannot use your super high level fiction book or corporate standards of language here. People are willing to take time to understand your language and do their best bit to help you. Thats the best about the locals here.

You might have to call up and make reservations for your stay in the hotels here. Some hotels do not appreciate advance reservations. A two-star stay costs about 15 OMR and the city center has quite a number of nice accommodations that make your stay very comfortable.

You will need two full days average time for sight-seeing in Salalah. If you are a hurried tourist, you can finish the entire trip in less than two days time. If you are visiting Salalah during Khareef, three days trip to Salalah would ensure you don't miss any seasonal attraction.

It is important that we adhere to decent dress discipline. Clothes that are too casual - those that reveal more than they cover - are not welcome. You might need to carry an umbrella or scarf to cover your head when you are roaming in the afternoons, as the heat may be too much to bear. Winter clothing is not a must, but during Khareef it can get really cold though the temperature doesn't drop much.

In the next to next posts I'll post some snap shots and descriptions of the attractions in Salalah.


Casey said...

Sooper Nice! Totally enjoyed ur travel post and the pics too. Looking forward to the other snaps and posts 'bout Salalah.

Priya H said...

Interesting place I guess. Glad that you took time off to enjoy the beauty.

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