So I’ve sort of gotten now into the next category: LODGING.
Bedouin camping at Al Areesh is an activity so I’ve already put some money towards that.
In Muscat I plan to use hotel points. Crossing my fingers there will be a hotel on the IHG Points Break list for which I stockpiled a bunch of points last month. If so, cost will be 5,000 points/night, roughly equal in value to $30ish. I don’t count it since I already have the points though, but you can see it’s a good deal!
There are only IHG hotels in a few places in Oman, so what to do? Hotels are generally rather expensive.
Here is where doing my homework has come in key: apparently locals and in-the-know tourists alike are very fond of “wild camping”. Apparently it’s completely legal in Oman to pitch a tent pretty much anywhere, as long as it isn’t on someone’s front yard or whatnot. Not what I would have expected in a somewhat conservative country like Oman. A tent can be bought in the souk or Carrefour in Muscat for $15-20, and away you go. Camping on the way to Ras al Jinz is free/cheap (note: you can’t camp AT R al J- this is illegal. But there is a hotel the next town over that lets you camp for free, and even use the facilities. I’ve read for some people this is free as well, and for some it’s 3 RO. Safer to budget $9).
Jebel Shams is known for its camping and I plan to be in place close to the trailhead so I can do the 8-9 hour hike early in the AM, and avoid some of the sun. It’s possible to do this for free from what I have read, though I might also opt for one of the nearby campgrounds. Still waiting for info on one of them, but the other is 16 RO a night (yikes!!). It includes dinner and breakfast, along with pool access (ridiculous in the middle of the desert), so I may end up springing for it after all. If I do one night at the campground, and one for free wild camping in the area (prolly the second night once I have the lay of the land), that’s 16 RO= $48.
The last day in Oman I’ll be heading to the airport for an evening flight, so nothing is required.
Final lodging cost: $80