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Cities and sights to see on an oman holiday

Cities and Sights to See on an Oman Holiday

Oman at a Glance

Oman is by no means a stereotypical holiday destination. With its vast gravel desert plains, its mountain ranges stretching along the coasts, crystal clear seas and ancient cities, this is an undeniably unique destination, and an Oman holiday is an exciting experience.

Oman is situated in South West Asia, on the coast of the Arabian Peninsula. Your holiday in Oman will see stark comparisons between the beautiful beaches and warm waters on the coast, and the gravel deserts inland. The area used to be covered by the sea, leaving fossilized shells waiting to be found in the deserts and on the coast.

Oman has four major cities: Muscat, Matrah, Sur and Salalah. Each city offers its own attractions and atmosphere, making for a varied Oman holiday.

Multi-Ethnic Muscat

Muscat is the capital city of Oman, and lies in the North East, bordered by the Arabian Sea and the rocky mountains of Western Al Hajar. The landscape is interesting, with volcanic rock lining the Gulf of Oman coast, and desert vegetation covering the land. An Oman holiday in this area offers a range of interesting activities.

The Qurum Nature Reserve is situated in Muscat, where you can learn more about the unique vegetation in this dry region. For some insight into the Hindu culture of Muscat, there are two temples which you can visit, both a Shiva and a Krishna temple; and for a bit of culture and history, there are a number of museums which you can explore.

The Seaport of Matrah

The city of Matrah is located within the province of Muscat. It is one of the largest seaports in the region, and was the former centre of commerce in Oman. A holiday to this city could give you an idea of Omani culture and trade, and there are some interesting sights to see too.

Pay a visit to Souq Muttrah, a traditional bazaar. You can buy the local crafts and enjoy the cultural experience of this community market. Another place worth seeing is Sour Al-Lawatiah, a small, traditional community of houses surrounded by an ancient wall.

Sail on a Dhow in Sur

Sur is the capital city of the Ash Sharqiyah region in north east Oman. Holidays including a visit to this city are of interest to those fascinated by the history of dhow building in this country. The city lies on the coast of the Gulf of Oman, and it was established primarily as a major dhow building town. Throughout the history of this city, locally-built beautiful wooden ships would set sail from Sur across the sea to China, India, Zanzibar, Iraq and many other international destinations.

A Tropical Escape in the City of Salalah

From June to early September, this city becomes a hub of activity, fairs and festivals. People from across the Persian Gulf flock to Salalah in summer to avoid the extreme and harsh heat in their own locations, seeking refuge in the tropical climate of this part of Oman. This period is called ‘Monsoon season,’ and the town’s population nearly doubles during this time. An Oman holiday to Salalah during Monsoon season will involve attending the local fairs, and the well-known event, the Khareef Festival at Ittin. It also a fantastic destination at other times of year with luxurious resorts to enjoy.

Salalah enjoys a tropical climate for most of the year, with summer temperatures reaching 40˚ and winter temperature only dropping as low as about 22˚.

An old zoroastrian tower in yazd

An Old Zoroastrian Tower In Yazd

For those of us who are fans of thrillers, the word “Silent hill” triggers the memories of different dreadful scenes like that of Hollywood movies. But when it comes to the root cause of choosing such a name for a thriller and the idea that inspired writers and stage-managers, only visitors of YAZD can tell you the real story.

This is a place on top of a hill where Zoroastrians brought dead bodies for vultures to eat, as a funeral formality. The place is surrounded by walls over 40 inches high, built to prevent others from seeing the frightening sight of the big birds using their powerful beaks, picking on the body of the deceased.

In less than an hour there remains nothing but wiped, cleaned bones. After the body was eaten, DAKHMEH guardians gather the remains and place them inside a hole at the centre of the structure. The bones are then sprinkled and washed with pure nitric acid and slaked lime for further purification. Under the hole, lie 3 sand filters which work to prevent the sacred earth from getting polluted by the skeletons.

The above ceremonial procedures were handled by the resident guardians who lived in a tiny roofed place near DAKHMEH on top the hill, while relatives of the deceased stayed in a house down the hill, never allowed to enter inside.

According to Zoroastrians beliefs, nature and its four elements of water – soil – wind and fire are sacred.  They believe, the more chaste and pure the deceased is, the more demons would come to devour his or her body. This makes it the most appropriate way of getting rid of a corpse when an animal feeds itself upon another.

DAKHMEH is situated right beside the Zoroastrians’ cemetery in YAZD. Whenever you travel to Iran, make sure you pay a visit to this wonderfully eerie place. Also don’t worry; you’ll soon forget the horrors of DAKHMEH, while sitting outside at night watching a blanket of stars above.

Masood Kazerani is a freelance journalist/ reporter specializing in current world affairs, travel and tourism. He writes for: http://www.hamsayeh.net

A “new moon” weekend getaway in forks, wa

A “New Moon” weekend getaway in Forks, WA

Just for fun, I’ve put together several trips to the Olympic Peninsula that roughly coincide with the projected November release of the second “Twilight” series film adaptation, New Moon. In all three scenarios, I used the same airline and car rental agency (because there really wasn’t a better price) which means the main difference, obviously, is in lodgings.

My choices of airports for each scenario are Cleveland-Hopkins, Akron/Canton, and Pittsburgh International. The cheapest rate available for me was at Pittsburgh International, through Delta Airlines. For a 3 day, 2 night round trip ticket from Pittsburgh to Seattle Tacoma International, the fare was $205 per person. The next cheapest was $293 on Frontier Airlines out of Akron/Canton. Since both flights have 1 hour layovers, the question for me becomes “which would be more within my budget: an additional $88 for airfare or roughly $60 to fill my tank twice driving between Pittsburgh and Cleveland”? Add in airport parking fees, and its looking like driving out to PA is the better deal.

Once you arrive in Seattle, you have a 3-7 hour drive ahead of you (depending if you decide to travel northward or southward). For airfare, I used TripAdvisor.com but for the car rental – since I’m a huge fan of William Shatner – I went with Priceline.com. Of all car rental agencies available at the Seattle Airport, Dollar Rental offered the best rates. An economy car is roughly $30 a day or $92.47 for our 3 day trip.

Your choices of lodgings are based on your accustomed level of comfort and your expected daily travel times. In scenario #1, I chose the Forks Motel. Their off season rates begin from 10/15 to 5/14, so in November the daily rates for a room with one queen sized bed and shower are $52 (single occupancy), $57 (double occupancy) and $59 (double occupancy) for 2 queen beds (why anyone might want two beds for a single occupancy is beyond me, but that rate would be $54 a day). The Forks Motel is located on Highway 101 right in town so you are, essentially, right in the heart of the story. For a two night stay is scenario #1, the total cost is $104-$118.

Scenario #2 – We move south of Forks to the Kalaloch Lodge, located right along the pacific coast. Their daily room rates currently ranges anywhere from $149 to $188 single or double occupancy, they are a little pricey but you have your choice of private cabins, the secluded Seacrest Building or staying in the Main Lodge itself. They also offer two “Twilight” themed room packages (1 night for the New Moon package and 2 nights for the Twilight at Kalaloch package, $149+ and $199+ a night respectively) which include a Forks area map highlighting all locations listed in the book, Twilight water bottles, Twilight Trivia and a Special Twilight dessert. The amazing coastal views, beautiful pacific -northwestern woodland surroundings and spectacular room amenities, this is the most comfortable of the three choices but also the most expensive. Since the entire purpose of the trip is a “Twilight” themed weekend getaway, I’d choose the Twilight at Kalaloch room package; making the total cost for the two nights stay $398+.

From the extravagant to the minimal, scenario #3 is the least expensive “travel package” but it requires a certain amount of willingness to “rough it”. The Rain Forest Hostel is 13 miles closer to Forks than Kalaloch and offers common rooms, campsites and trailers for couples. Their daily rates start from $5 per person for the camping areas to $21 per couple for the trailers. They provide blankets and pillows, but there is an additional one time charge of $1 if you don’t provide your own sheets. There is also a full kitchen, showers and laundry room that are shared by all guests and you have to do 15 minutes worth of chores for each night you stay, but really the price can’t be beat. I’m kind of a private person, so I’d either chose a campsite or a trailer, which means my total cost for a 2 night stay in the final scenario would range from $10 to $42 dollars (plus a half hour worth of chores).

Totaling it all together – airfare, car rental, and lodgings – the total cost for each scenario package is:
#1 – $401.47- $415.47
#2 – $695.47+
#3 – $307.47 – $339.47

Airfare and Car Rental prices are subject to change, so the earlier you reserve your trip, the better.

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Hotel deals are apt for both leisure and business travellers

Hotel Deals Are Apt For both Leisure and Business Travellers

Whether you are a business traveller or a leisure traveller, you can easily avail of the advantages of hotel deals. Hotel deals are apt for helping you save money and, at the same time, enjoy all the comforts of a quality accommodation.

Travelling involves a good amount of expenditure on transportation and accommodation. In addition to the travelling fare and lodging costs, there are other expenditures which are inevitable. Therefore, it is essential to plan your total budget in the most optimum way. If you want to cut down on your cost of travelling, hotels deals are the best solution for you. Hotels deals are a combination of lodging and various other facilities at a reasonable cost.

Many hotel deals include discount hotels in their list. Most of these cheap hotels are centrally located and offer easy access to places of tourist attractions and business centres. This helps you save on your expenses. Hotel deals mostly include lucrative free services, such as free breakfast or dining facilities, free laundry, and free car parking facilities, making your trip, be it business or leisure even more affordable.

In addition to this, hotel deals help you plan your entire trip. Both business and leisure travellers find it convenient because they do not have to undergo the herculean task of searching for a discount hotel and arrange for other amenities after landing at their place of destination. Moreover, hotel deals offer value for money to both business and leisure travellers by helping them avail of an accommodation and other facilities at a cheaper rate.
Hotel deals play a key role in helping you remain within your budget. Besides, it is very easy to book a hotel deal. There are many online hotel booking services that offer a comprehensive list of hotel deals. One such online company is the hotelsonline.com. Hotelsonline is one of the most popular online hotel reservation sites that provides excellent deals on hotels, ranging from cheap discount hotels to luxurious star rated hotels globally. For more information on London hotels to hotels all over the world, log on to hotelsonline.com.