Here’s My Guide On How To Travel To Khasab Oman On The Musandam Peninsular.
Khasab Oman is an absolutely spectacular and off the beaten track destination to visit. Khasab is the largest city on the Musandam Peninsular, and this isolated exclave is separated from the rest of the Sultanate of Oman by rough seas and the United Arab Emirates.
It’s by no means easy to reach, and it’s not a particularly cheap destination to travel to, but make the effort and you’ll be royally rewarded with the incredible scenery of the Khasab Fjords and a traditional Omani way of life that is only just beginning to wake up to the opportunities of tourism.
This guide is here to help you to travel to Khasab Oman. It’s truly an untouched place, and a place that deserves much more tourism, so get in early before the world wakes up to the beauty of the Musandam Peninsular!
How To Travel To Khasab Oman On The Musandam Peninsular
The Musandam Peninsular and Khasab are separated from the rest of Oman. That of course, makes it a bit tricky to travel to. The easiest way is of course to rent a vehicle and drive, but this can be expensive, and if driving from Oman would entail either loading the car up on the ferry or crossing the border to UAE and then crossing again to Musandam, meaning more visas and more hassle.
There are a few alternative options available to the adventurous traveller however.
How To Travel To Khasab Oman On The Ferry From Muscat
The easiest way to get in from Muscat is by flying, there are daily domestic flights which are only slightly more expensive than the ferry, but that’s no fun at all. The most adventurous route is to take the ferry from Muscat to Khasab.
The National Ferries Company runs a fast ferry service to Khasab, on brand new catamarans. On board the seats are comfortable and there’s even a complimentary food and drink service. Travelling to Khasab takes you through the spectacular Strait of Hormuz, past hundreds and hundreds of oil tankers and cargo ships, and it really gives you a sense of the importance of this narrow sea lane in world politics and economics.
The ferry however, does not run direct from Muscat to Khasab. No, that would be too easy. The ferry departs from a place called Shinas, which is in fact a 3 hour drive up the coast from Muscat. If taking a car on the ferry you will of course need to drive up to this port, however if travelling on foot, then the National Ferries Company run a bus in conjunction with Mwasalat, the national bus company, which departs from the Al Athaiaba bus station in Muscat and is specifically scheduled to drop passengers off for the ferry, and it’s all included in the ticket price too.
The only unfortunate thing is that due to the tiny population of Musandam and the low demand for travel here, the ferries only run a few days a week.
The ferry can be booked via email, over the phone or in person at the National Ferries Company office which is near to the Muttrah Souq. You can find timetables, prices and maps for the ticket office and bus terminal below.
For contact details, then please visit the official website HERE. They were very prompt when responding to emails, but just be aware that you must provide your passport details- take it with you when booking at the office- and it is only possible to pay by card, not cash.
You must purchase your ticket at least 24 hours in advance too, or you pay a premium for a same day departure. If doing the trip in reverse, you can book the ticket at the ferry port in Khasab.
The whole trip takes around 7 hours from Muscat. 3 hours to Shinas- the bus departs around 4 hours prior to the scheduled departures below- 1 hour at the port loading up and then 3 hours on the ferry.
Be aware that once you arrive in Shinas, you need to first enter the small ticket office by the drop off point to exchange your paper ticket for a boarding pass for the ferry. After this you need to go into the police checkpoint in the room next door, where they check your ticket and passport, then you drop off your luggage, and then finally you may board.
Once you land in Khasab, there’s a passport check, you collect your baggage and then you are in Musandam!
There’s no public transport or even taxis in Khasab, but the ferry port is only a 15 minute walk from the city centre, just turn left out of the gates and walk along the road.
Shinas – Khasab Ferry Schedule:
Muscat – Shinas – Khasab Bus And Ferry Combo Ticket Prices:
Shinas – Khasab Only Ferry Ticket Prices:
Location Of National Ferries Company Ticket Office In Muscat:
Location Of Al Athaiba Bus Station In Muscat:
How Travel To Khasab Oman From Dubai
Khasab is becoming more popular with expats living in the UAE, and it’s simple enough to drive from Dubai to Musandam. The coastal road is absolutely spectacular as well, one of the best scenes I’ve witnessed out of a car window!
When I visited Khasab Oman I decided that I wanted to travel onward to Dubai, rather than going back on myself to Muscat again. However close it looks on a map though, this becomes either an unnecessarily difficult journey to complete, or an expensive one.
There is no public transport between Khasab and Dubai, or anywhere else in the UAE for that matter. There are no taxis in Khasab either…
There are plenty of people driving between Khasab and Dubai, so you do have the option to hitchhike or ask around at the hotels for anyone travelling with a spare seat.
The other option is to arrange a transfer with one of the numerous tour companies in Khasab. This may prove again to be expensive however, with prices ranging up to 50 Omani Rial for a transfer all the way to Dubai for instance. The cheaper alternative is to arrange a transfer to the border, from where you can then walk through immigration, and hopefully find a taxi into Ras al Khaimah. From RAK there are hourly busses to Dubai.
Don’t count on finding onward transport though from the border, when I was there it was very quiet. The easier option would be to pay out for a transfer to RAK, to the bus station. Again prices would be very negotiable, and it’s best to try and arrange via email with a company in advance to get quotes, or even potentially share lifts to cut costs.
I received a complimentary ride from Khasab to Ras al Khaimah bus station with Dolphin Khasab Tours. I then took a bus to Dubai, jumped on the metro and made it to a hostel. The whole journey took around four hours in total including waiting time and border crossings.
Busses from Ras al Khaimah to Dubai run every hour until 9pm, and cost a mere 25 AED, so even if you fork out the cost of a transfer to RAK then this is still cost effective- in relative terms.
Visa Requirements For Travel To Khasab Oman
If you travel to Khasab Oman from Muscat via ferry or plane you will never have technically left the country, so you can enter Khasab on your existing Omani visa. If however you travel via land through the UAE, you would need to exit and then re-enter Oman. For this you would need either a multiple entry visa or you would need to pay for a new visa at the border into Musandam. If you are travelling directly from Dubai then the border works just like any other border entry point into Oman.
Currently, many nations are able to purchase 30 day tourist visas at entry points to Oman- I’m British and I paid 20 Omani Rials for a 30 day visa– however this is likely to soon change, as the Omani government introduces a new e-visa scheme whereby visas will need to be purchased and applied for online, in advance.
Entry and exit to the UAE is fairly straightforward for most nationalities. I received a 30 day entry stamp at the border by Ras al Khaimah. The process was easy and efficient on both sides of immigration.
Where To Stay In Khasab Oman
Like the rest of Oman, there is no cheap accommodation in Khasab, and certainly no hostels. The whole ‘city’ is very small, and the hotels are all spread out along the harbour front and within walking distance of the ferry port.
I stayed at the Diwan Al Amir, which was the cheapest room for a solo traveller that I could find. It was close to the ferry port, had a balcony, TV, WiFi and a good buffet breakfast. Everything you need really and more.
If you fancy a bit more luxury though, the best option in Khasab- and most expensive- would be the Atana Musandam Resort which features a swimming pool, gym and is right next to the Lulu Hypermarket.
Things To Do In Khasab Oman
Now to the really important part of this guide on how to travel to Khasab Oman. What is there to do in Khasab?
There is is a lot to do! Khasab is honestly one of the most spectacular places I’ve ever visited, the natural beauty is astounding and while the actual city of Khasab is rather small, there’s still a laid back, interesting feel to the place.
Here’s a quick run down of the highlights:
Explore The Fjords Of Oman
This is the main reason to visit Khasab! The city is surrounded by a huge network of fjords that twist and turn for miles. It’s beautiful. Really beautiful. The best way to explore is by boat of course, and there are several companies based in Khasab that arrange tours. I visited on a complimentary day tour with Dolphin Khasab Tours and I highly recommend them – I’m not just saying that, they were excellent, helping me organise and arrange everything.
The tours are all run on traditional Dhow boats, and will include lunch, drinks and snorkelling equipment. There are great snorkelling spots in the fjords, and opportunities to kayak and even camp over night on the beaches.
You get to see the scenery and also witness the day to day life of Khasabians, many of whom live in remote villages in the fjords, accessible only by boat.
This little castle is unassuming, but incredibly interesting. It’s very well preserved and dates back to the 17th Century when it was constructed by Portuguese colonisers looking to gain strategic control of the Strait of Hormuz. There’s a great information centre, where you can really learn a lot about the local culture and history, and from the ramparts there are great views over Khasab. The ticket price is cheap too.
At a separate castle on mainland Oman- Nakhal Fort near Muscat- I even saw a sign promoting Khasab Castle as the best in the country. Supposedly this castle won a prestigious tourism award in ‘an Oscar like ceremony’. Those are the tourism board’s words, not mine, but if that doesn’t make you want to visit Khasab then I really don’t know what will.
Watch The smugglers Racing Across To Iran
Beautiful scenery and Oscar winning castles aside Khasab is most famous- or more correctly, infamous- for it’s long history of smuggling. Every day small, fast boats fly out of the harbour, racing across the Strait of Hormuz to deliver anything from fridges and televisions to nappies and goats to the people of Iran. This is big business, but dangerous business. The Omani authorities tolerate the practice, as long as the boats are out of the harbour by sunset, so late in the day you can witness hundreds of these motor powered craft setting off into the distance. The Iranians aren’t so tolerable however, and many return with bullet holes and bullet wounds to Khasab.
Eat At The Telegraph Island Restaurant
There are a few good restaurants in Khasab serving Omani food. The Telegraph Island Restaurant is the pick of the bunch. It’s attached to the Lulu Hypermarket, but has an outside seating area offering views of the harbour and the smugglers, and they serve anything from deliciously spicy curry to huge plates of grilled meat. All for a very reasonable price too.
Have you visited Khasab recently? Help me to keep this guide up to date for other travellers by commenting below if you have any new information, or useful tips!
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My Full Day Dhow Tour was provided complimentary by Dolphin Khasab Tours, a local operator who provide eco friendly tours in Khasab and Musandam. All the opinions in this article are of course my own though, and after experiencing Khasab with them I would certainly recommend them as an excellent way to see the fjords.