Monday, Oct. 13, 2008


Avoid the controversial dolphinaria that have recently opened in Creek Park and on the Palm and head out to the glorious Musandam peninsula to see bottlenoses on their home turf. About two hours' drive away, and part of the neighboring country of Oman, the Musandam is not for those on a tight timeline. But a day or two spent on its east coast will draw gasps from even the most experienced traveler. While there's not a great deal to do in the area's main town of Khasab (although the Old Souk is worth a visit) it acts as a springboard into the dramatic waterways known as the "Fjords of the Middle East." There's only one major hotel, the Golden Tulip, from which you can organize your early morning boat ride. Your gaze will be torn between the dramatic cliffs surrounding you and (if you're lucky) the dolphins yo-yoing in and out of the water alongside. A blissful experience.

The easiest way to reach the Musandam is to rent a car (try Fast Rent A Car) and drive the 65 km (40 mi.) north. Don't forget to ask for Omani travel insurance when renting, as you will need it to get your visa at the Omani border post. Also, make sure that you have a visitor visa that allows you to reenter the UAE after your trip; check with the Dubai Department of Tourism (971-4-223-0000) before leaving the UAE.