Dubai salalah road trip

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September 6th 2012
Published: September 6th 2012
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“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

Dubai Salalah Trip

I was planning for salalah trip since i came to dubai 6 years back. The excitement gone far beyond imagination when my cousins visited the place and started poking me with beautiful travel stories. Salalah is like a mirage in desert n raining all the time (Khareef season) while rest of the Middle East is in scorching summer (July to Sept).

After a month long planning, we (Sunny, hari, nelson & I) started our road trip in a 4WD from Dubai on17th august 2012 at around 11.30pm and headed to Mezyad border from Al Ain. The immigration process at the border took around 30 minutes and then we headed straight for Ibri. From Ibri town, take right from the main round-about where you can see a signboard directing “Salalah". This is the shortest route which bypasses Niswa and Adam towns and will save a few hundred Kms drive. Follow the signs at every round-abouts to Salalah. You will reach a T-Junction on Route-31 which is approx 90 kms after Adam, towards Haima. Take right and proceed to Haima which is about 220 kms away. This is the longest stretch without filling stations in the trip. Always ensure to fuel the car at every available filling station. The road is very good except for couple of damaged stretches which are under maintenance. Still you can drive there at 140 or above. After Ibri the highway is single lane with no dividers. One must be very alert and careful especially while over-taking and night driving. If you feel tired, never drive without getting refreshed. Flash your headlamp if you see the approaching vehicle is not in it's track. Doing so will alert the driver. Haima to Salalah is approx 500 Kms but there are filling stations in between but not as frequent as you can see in UAE. Salalah is beyond the Dhofar mountain ranges which start at approx 50 Kms from Thumrait. It’s always better to cross these ranges during daytime. Salalah checkpost at Dhofar Mountains welcomed us with foggy climate n drizzling. That was the moment of a lifetime. We got down and enjoyed every bit of it. It was very foggy at the mountains and one needs to be really careful while driving. Once you reach the other side of the mountains, the sight is totally different - greenery everywhere pleasing and relaxing to the eyes - unlike the long drive you’ve just finished! When we reached Salalah crowne plaza hotel, our odometer reading was 1220 Kms and it took approx 15 Hrs, with short breaks at all fuel stations.

Salalah is a peaceful and scenic place, an apt place to relax and be away from the daily hustle-bustle of Dubai. It is better to have a guide there, if you are not familiar with the tourist spots and you can save a lot of time. Or buy a GPRS, which will guide you these locations. Never use your fog lamp while you drive there, else you will be fined by the police. There are many interesting places to be seen – Jebel Ayub (Job’s tomb), Ittine, Ayn Garziz, Al Mughsail bay beach, Hashiq, Mirbat (anti-gravity spot), Khor Rouri, Wadi Derbat, Ayn Razat, Ayn Sahalnoot, Coconut/Banana plantations at Hafah and many others… Surely you will enjoy your visit!


we did a basic search in wikipedia to know more about this city. i am just sharing these info for your understanding of the history behind this city. Salalah is the second largest city in the Sultanate of Oman, and the largest city in the Dhofar Provence. The coastal city of Salalah is a traditional stronghold and birthplace of the Sultan,Qaboos bin Said. The Sultan traditionally lives in Salalah rather than in Muscat, the capital and largest city in Oman; Qaboos has bucked this trend, and has lived in Muscat since he ascended to the throne in 1970.

The city of Salalah is known as the "perfume capital of Arabia". The city is also known as the attar capital of Oman. The city is a popular destination for tourism due to the natural attractions of the nearby mountains and abundant stands of frankincense trees lining mountain wadi courses. Around the city and into the mountains the countryside is lush and green during the monsoon period with the vegetation supporting herds of cattle. The climate supports wildlife often more commonly associated with East Africa, such as leopards and hyenas. Also plants associated with Africa, such as the Baobab tree, are common. Salalah and its surroundings is one of the few ancient areas on the Arabian peninsula that have extensive coconut cultivation

Salalah is a city of antiquity, boasting both the ruins of the fortified town Sumharam (Khor Rori), an important port from 100 BC – AD 400. Modern Oman is also represented by the Port of Salalah, located approximately 15 km to the southwest of the city. The strategic location of this port has made it one of the major entry points to India, the Middle East, and Africa.

Wadi Darbat
we made an itinerary since it was a short trip and we had planned to cover entire salalah in two days. so we have decided to visit wadi darbat( wadi is an arabic word for valley or small river), which is one of the main attraction of salalah. For those who want to visit this wadi, you can drive towards mirbat, after Taqa cross the Khor Rouiri Wadi Bridge and there is a road on the left side to Tawi Atair. About 3 km from there (uphill) the road to Darbat is on the left side. Once you go down the road for about 10 kms, you will see amazing landscape, greenery everywhere and a small river running through it.You should not miss this place in salalah.

Sumhuram ruins (Khor Rori )

After the wadi visit, we drove
sumhuram ruinssumhuram ruinssumhuram ruins

a well and a stone basin connected with a drain channel.. hari wanna take a bath in Queen of sheeba's bathtub
towrds khor ruri. Visit sumuhuram ruins if you are keen in history. According to wikipedia, Khor Rori is an Early South Arabian archaeological site near Salalah in the Dhofar region of modern Oman. The small fortified town was founded as an outpost for the kingdom of Hadramawt in modern Yemen around the turn of our era, but the site shows signs of Hadrami settlement back to the third century BE. The settlement was probably abandoned in the seventh century. One of the Queen of Sheba's palaces was located here.

Inscriptions at Khor Rori reports that the town, called "Sumhuram", was founded on royal initiative and settled by Hadrami emigrants. Dhofar was the main source of frankincense in the ancient period, and it seems likely that the foundation of the settlement was in part motivated by a Hadrami wish to control the production of this valuable commodity.

Christian interpretations of the scriptures mentioning the Queen of Sheba in the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament, typically have emphasized both the historical and metaphorical values in the story. The account of the Queen of Sheba is thereby interpreted by Christians as being both a metaphor and an analogy: the Queen's visit to Solomon has been compared to the metaphorical marriage of the Church to Christ where Solomon is the anointed one or the messiah and Sheba represents a Gentile population submitting to the messiah; the Queen of Sheba's chastity has also been depicted as a foreshadowing of the Virgin Mary; and the three gifts that she brought (gold, spices and stones) have been seen as analogous to the gifts of the Magi (gold, frankincense and myrrh).

Anti gravity Spot

After exploring Khor ruri, on the way to mirbat we decided to look for a very famous and unique place known as antigravity spot ( about 8 km before mirbat), there is no sign board mentioning this spot except a board showing Tawa atir. From there we took the road to the left. Then we saw few more cars over there. We parked the car behind other cars and turned off/ neutral my car and released the brakes. Then it started to happen. We experienced most amazing thing. Our car started to roll uphill slowly but steadily by its own. Then we got down from the car including the driver. We took videos of that otherwise no one gonna belive that.. I don’t know the scientific reason behind it. But it was amazing n unbelievable..

Blowholes at Al Mughsayl

Many locals suggested us to visit blowholes at al mughsayl area. those blowholes are present on a long stretch of sandy beach that extends for 6 kilometers in length from Wadi Mudam almost to Wadi Aful, with Wadi Ashawq in the center. They lie next to Jabal al Qamar. The road from Salalah city, descends down towards Wadi Mudam on way to Al Mughsayl, and runs parallel to the beach between a mountain front on the north and the beach on the south. Eyes meet a broad coastal plain, which are a kilometer wide, and it continues westward until it is cut off by limestone cliffs that descend to the sea and towards the blowholes. Just next to the blowholes is a huge rock that forms an overhang known locally as the Marneef Caves. South side of these caves completely opens to the sea. As you walk from car park to ground zero, you have to traverse your way through these caves. These caves are similar to what Blowholes are made of.

These blowholes are one of the major tourist attractions in Salalah. Sea water blown out of the holes can reach upto heights of 30 meters if the weather conditions are right.

Frankincense Park

Next day morning, on the way back to dubai, we took a detour to visit Frankincense Park which is near Tumrait before entering Dhofar Mountains

a bit of history on frankincense.Frankincense has been traded on the Arabian Peninsula and in North Africa for more than 5000 years. It was offered on the specialized incense altar in the time when the Tabernacle was located in the First and Second Jerusalem Temples. It was often associated with myrrh and with it was made an offering to the infant Jesus

The Incense trade route or the Incense Road of Antiquity (see also the spice trade) comprised a network of major ancient land and sea trading routes linking the Mediterranean world with Eastern and Southern sources of incense, spices and other luxury goods, stretching from Mediterranean ports across the Levant and Egypt through eastern Africa and Arabia to India and beyond. The incense land trade from South Arabia to the Mediterranean flourished between roughly the 7th century BCE to the 2nd century CE.

Back to dubai

Return trip was not that exciting since we knew that its gonna take long 15 hours and 1300 kms to reach back to dubai. we were all tired travelling last few days and no one really want to drive. Also there was a mad rush in petrol pumps and we had to wait 3 hrs in one petrol pump to fill the tank. we might run out of petrol if we skip those pumps. so no other choice but to wait in a long cousin, nelson took up his driving craziness and drove the lady till dubai. we took around 18 hours to reach back to duabi.. around 50 persons were died in salalah road in those 10 days of Ramdan we can realise, it was an adventourous n exciting trip.

Additional photos below
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23rd September 2012

Dubai and Oman
hello traveller! beautiful pix!!! a question: what would you recommend and why? we are planning a road trip from dubai to salalah. Or is it better from Salalah to Dubai? best wishes from switzerland
23rd September 2012

Dubai and Oman
hello traveller! beautiful pix!!! a question: what would you recommend and why? we are planning a road trip from dubai to salalah. Or is it better from Salalah to Dubai? best wishes from switzerland
25th September 2012

dubai to salalah
hi lea, thanks for ur comment.. i wud recommend u to start ur road trip from dubai, a right place for hiring a rent a car, hotel stay, taking a visa to oman etc. it is good 2 visit salalah during rainy season ( Khareef season), which is b/n July to sept.

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