Oman : Sur
Sur is a small but fascinating town; here you will find the last vestiges of Oman's amazing seafaring history in the form of its famous Dhow building yards. Although they are now quite small the dhow yards are still in use and a walk through the yards early in the morning or late in the evening will be accompanied by the hammering and sawing (only recently employing modern tools) of tradesmen hard at work hewing timbers to shape and constructing the dhows. It is still amazing to think that the boats are all built by eye; there haven't been any blue prints for generations! This alone makes Sur worth a visit especially as dhow building is becoming a lost art.
To the east of Sur is the town of Ras al Hadd and the nearby green turtle nesting beaches of Ras al Jinz. During the turtle nesting season (approx Sept - Dec) these ancient beasts haul themselves onto the beach which is a now protected nature reserve and requires a permit to visit. As most of the turtles come ashore late at night we are able to arrange an overnight camping trip which will give you the best possible chance of seeing them.
The drive from Muscat to Sur (or vice versa) is also an interesting adventure with long stretches of white sandy beach, the famous Bimah sinkholes and many historical sights en route. You could camp along this route.
The Sur Beach Hotel is the best of a very limited number of hotels in Sur, however, whilst it is clean and comfortable it is starting to show its age as the furnishings are quite dated and the whole establishment has a slightly 'past its best' feel. Please don't let this put you off though, most people only spend one night in the town to see the traditional working Dhow yards and it is a perfectly adequate place to lay your head after a day exploring the local area.
As the name suggest the hotel is located on the edge of the town on a stretch of public beach and has a restaurant which serves basic but hearty food and there is also a pool. The rooms have small balconies and either face out over the sea or back over the car park towards the hills in the distance.
For the more adventurous rather than stay in Sur we can also organize the option of camping or staying in Barista huts at Ras Al Hadd which is next to the famous Green Turtle breeding beaches of Ras Al Jinz. Ras Al Hadd is in quite a remote location further along the coast from Sur and is the eastern most tip of the country. Visits to the turtle beaches require a permit and are conducted late at night (with a guide) when the turtles come ashore to lay their eggs.