The city of Khasab is located on northern Oman’s Musandam Peninsula which juts out between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman in the Strait of Hormunz next to United Arab Emirates. This small city has many foreign residents and vacation homes for Omanis living on the mainland. Ferries and a highway give easy access to UAE tourists visiting Khasab. It has a hot desert climate with average rainfall just over 7 inches, falling mostly from December to March.
Oman is a traditional Islamic country so shoulders and knees should be kept covered in respect to the residents while visiting there. Arabic is the official language, but many other languages are spoken and a lot of the people there know English.
The city was originally built by the Portuguese in the 17th century as a supply point to obtain water and dates for their naval ships sailing through the strait. The town is protected from floods by three large dams. Khasab has some resorts and hotels and is a popular weekend spot for people from the UAE as well as a vacation place for mainland Omanis. It is also well situated for trade with UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Iran.
Currency is the Omani Rial. It takes about $2.60 USD to equal one rial. There is a substantial population of Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, like in mainland Oman, who work in a variety of jobs including restaurants, grocery stores, supermarkets, and as tour operators.
KHASAB CRUISE PORT
MSC Lirica docked at Khasab harbor, about 3k from the city center. Shuttle busses were available for a nominal fee for an all-day ticket. For people who don’t mind walking it’s an easy walk into town. We were given port entry cards as we disembarked the ship, which are given to cruise ship passengers in lieu of a visa which would otherwise be required for people from some countries, though nobody ever asked to see those cards at any of the three ports we visited in Oman.
There’s a tour desk in the port building where passengers can book last minute tours. An amphibious vehicle was parked near the ship waiting to fill up with tourists booking there. They could also book a ride on a traditional dhow boat.
More options of things to do could be had just outside the port building where people with signs offered independent tours. The van/taxi city tours went to a mosque, a couple forts, and some shopping, all places that those who don’t mind a bit of a hike could walk to if they had enough time. There were also boat tours, including the dhow boats, for a bit less than the price inside the building, which cost less than booking through the ship. Some of the outside people were willing to bargain a bit on the price.
Along the road into town, not far from the port, there were shops advertising various tours so people could likely also book something to do there. The road splits before reaching the main part of town with the main road going left into town. The right fork leads to the other side of a canal in an area that is mainly residential, but there is a fort and a superstore on that side of the canal.
THINGS TO DO IN KHASAB
Visit the Portuguese built Khasab fort (castle) with museum and tunnels, sail in a wooden dhow boat for dolphin watching, fishing, or snorkeling, go diving, see the fjords, or visit Telegraph Island. There’s also beaches and parks. Book a 4×4 mountain safari, paragliding or parasailing. Or just go into town and have a look around. There are a few cafes and small shops, but no bars – it’s a dry town.
Excursions offered from our ship in Khasab included a scenic dhow boat tour with swimming stop, a dhow boat tour with fishing and snorkeling stops (and they also had a dolphin watching stop, though that wasn’t listed in the excursion details). Other excursions included a city tour and visit to Bukha, a town an hour away on the boarder to UAE, and a safari 4×4 drive to Jebel Harim, or the mountain of women with scenic stops along the way.
Copyright My Cruise Stories 2022