Oman Photo Gallery - East Coast Drive

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Prepare to spend a day driving along the east coast from Sur back to Muscat. The distance is very manageable at a bit over 250km, but the time is spent at many stops en route. Highway 17 is well-paved with fairly sparse traffic, but expect speed cameras everywhere.

The first stop is Qalhat, once a major port but now a small village with the ruined Bibi Miriam Mausoleum. Until the end of the 15th century, the hills brought water to this area, and the small lagoon offered a good place to drop anchor. An earthquake destroyed the city, then the Portuguese invaded, killing the population and burning everything else.

The mausoleum sits on top of the hill overlooking the once great city. Unfortunately, it is closed and there is a lonely guard on site watching the crumbling ruins.

From here, it is not a long drive up to Wadi Shab, a must-see so you will likely be overwhelmed by tourists as opposed to locals. The first challenge is to find a parking spot.

After finding that difficult parking spot, the next step is to walk to the river mouth under the highway bridge. Small boats take you across to the other side for 1 rial, where you can start the 3km walk into the wadi.

The dirt paths are manageable but there are sections where you need to swim your way through. Bring proper attire. Do not wear flip flops for this long walk.

Tired from the walk, the good news is things will get easier from now on. Continue driving north towards Bimma.

The attraction here is a huge sinkhole, which is 40m x 20m with swimmable waters. This site is well manicured for tourists with a proper parking lot and nice paved paths with a staircase down.

After plenty of swimming at the previous 2 stops, the next attraction is the historic town of Quriyat, just 80km from Muscat. The Portuguese invaded in 1508, destroying the town and slaughtering its inhabitants.

A modest fish market occupies the waterfront. I came a bit late in the afternoon so most of the catch has probably been sold..

The seafront corniche is a good walk and locals could be seen enjoying this grey day.

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