With the first leg of my epic journey wrapped up in Melbourne, I shipped the bike to Oman. Since it would take 45 days, in the interim I flew to India to sort my Visas for the next phase that is the Middle East (Oman, UAE, Iran, Turkey), UK & Europe.
A respite from the travel, I enjoyed my time back home with family and friends who were all too eager to hear my travel stories. This in turn helped me to sit back and really soak in all my experiences.
The second leg commenced on January 27th, 2016 when I flew into Oman where the bike was awaiting clearance at the port. As mine was an exceptional case, the customs department took a few days to give the go ahead on the clearance. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really ride the bike post the clearance as it was badly damaged during the shipment. The bike was delivered to the RE showroom where the team took special care to ensure the bike was back to top condition. All the part replacements and a complete service, including the customs clearance, took a good 10 days. In the interim, I was spoilt for choices during my stay in Oman. I was enjoying my ride on a series of bikes (HONDA VTX 1800cc, Harley Davidson XR1200 & Yamaha Vmax 1700cc), thanks to a good friend.
Close to 3 weeks in Oman gave me a lot of time to explore Oman’s vast and varied landscapes. From the Wadis and mountains, to the heritage sites and off road trails, it has something to cater to everyone’s interest. We did a run to visit the Bimmah Sinkhole, a deep natural depression filled with water what the locals call Hawiyat Najm and believe was caused by a meteor that fell on that spot. The next stop was Ras Al Hadd, a turtle reserve where annually thousands of turtles migrate from the shores of the Arabian Gulf, the Red Sea and Somalia to lay their eggs on the Sultanate’s shores. But our timing was not ideal as the peak season to witness this phenomenon is July – October as approximately 20,000 turtles lay an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 eggs each year.
We further headed to Wadi Bin Khalid that comprises a long series of plantations and villages that lie in or close to the Wadi floor. Water flows perennially from a natural spring in the upper reaches of the Wadi supporting the abundant vegetation that makes it such a beautiful spot. The ride to the Wadi was an amazing experience in itself as we rode through winding roads surrounded by mountains consisting of spectacular and vivid rock formations, green with copper oxide and rust red with iron ore. We entered late in the evening but was lucky enough to catch the sunset. We rode almost 650 kms and it was too much to pack into a day. The ride back to Muscat caught me unaware as I ran out of fuel. Well I have to say it just added to the whole adventure and experience.
Later during the week I rode to Jabal Shams which is one of the highest peak in GCC. The ride up was through dirt roads and it was a test on the bike. The Black Pearl fared well and rode through the rough terrain without breaking a sweat. It was all worth it as the view from the top was mind blowing. On the way back I stopped by at Nizwa, it’s a an ancient city with a fort that is a must see based in Northern Oman. It was one of the first cities of Oman and was the capital during the 6th and 7th century. The city has preserved its traditional character encapsulated within newer architecture. Today the city is known for date cultivation, the most highly prized varieties being Khalas and Khunaizi.
The city of Muscat has a very distinct character. It’s a developed city with malls and a good number of restaurants catering to all the regions. The city is quite laid-back, no high rises and a single tone to all the buildings. The belief is that, no building should be taller the mosque towers.
Oman is an amazing place to ride and the roads are really smooth to the extent that we can nearly see our reflections in the afternoon. Hence one has to be really careful while taking corners at high speeds. I also explored the Bedouin culture by riding into the villages with a friend, both of us on our Royal Enfields. The terrain consisted of loose sand, stretches of uneven tarmac and gravel, interspersed with certain stretches of boulders. We literally pushed the machines to the limit on these terrains.
On my ride to the UAE, I stopped by Sohar and took some time to explore the city. This is considered the home of Sindbad the sailor and is located near the Sawadi Island diving paradise. It’s a clean, safe beach with a plethora of archaeological features. There is a large Souq with handy tailors, fruit sellers and fishermen vying for space, and its fort which stands apart with its four-story walls and six towers, is an imposing sight overlooking the bay. It is a port city and is witnessing a lot of opportunity thanks to the expansion of the port.
Another place that is paradise is Salalah. Unfortunately I had to avoid it as this wasn’t the best time to be there and it was clearly not worth riding 1000 kms.
The land of surprises…
When I announced that my next port of entry would be Iran, I received a lot of opinions and concerns regarding the same. I had done my
Warrier's Trail is a crazy dream of a simple guy that was inspired by a desire to travel, meeting people, see places and live life full of uncertainty.
The dream is to travel 40 countries, in over 500 odd days in 5 regions (S.E.Asia, Australia, Middle East, Europe & Africa)
A journey of exploration!