One of my favourite things about living in the UAE is being able to spontaneously message a friend and make a last-minute plan when the sporadic public holidays get announced. When those long weekends swing into the city, we tend to swing straight for the airport… and when that’s not possible, we plan a road trip.
From Dubai to Khasab, Oman (by road)
It’s approx 198km from Dubai to Khasab. If you have a friend with a 4WD – take those wheels for your Dubai to Oman road trip! Grab a cooler box and fill it with snacks and water; download a handful of kickass playlists; and you’re good to go! Here’s the (extremely) straight-forward route from Dubai to Khasab by road…
Dubai to the Oman border:
- Wherever you are in Dubai, get onto the E311, north-bound towards Sharjah
- Keep straight on the E311 road for approx. the next two hours (this will take you through Sharjah, past Ajman and Umm Al Quwain)
- After about 80km, you’ll need to follow the sign for the E11 to Al Ittihad
- Continue on the E11 for about 40km until you reach a roundabout. At this roundabout, take the third exit for the E18 which takes you left on the Al Manama-Ras Al Khaimah Road.
- Continue on the E18 until you reach the next roundabout
- At the roundabout, take the first exit onto the E11
- Continue on the E11 until you reach the Border Crossing and Passport Check for Oman (you’ll pass the turn off for Jebal Jais on the way – UAE’s tallest mountain!)
Oman border to Khasab:
This is where the road trip really starts.
- All you need to do is follow the 02 – Khasab Coastal Road and it will take you straight to Khasab (approx 36km)
The O2 road hugs the Oman coastline. It is an awesome drive that takes you up and down winding roads, with plenty opportunities to stop and soak up your surroundings. Just like landing on the runway of a new country, the Khasab Coastal Road will leave you with that cross-country excitement!
Khor Najd Viewing Point
‘The Norway of the Middle East’… and the bit you most care about! We had to venture 25km SouthEast of Khasab to find this hidden gem. Essentially, you drive through Khasab and out the other side of it. Follow the Jabal Sayh Road and look out for the turn-off for Khor Najd.
This is where our 4WD had to kick into action. It took us about 20 minutes to get to the to the top, and there are a few stomach-churning views on the way up the narrow, rocky road. The view from the top, however, is spectacular.
You can descend down the winding gravel road to the Rawdah Bowl and dip your toes into the water, but it was the height of a hazy summer when we were there, so we sat on top of Mo’s 4WD and soaked up Khor Najd from there!
Tip: bring a GoPro and a suction cup (plus extra batteries) for your windscreen. It’s worth filming the road ascent to the top of Khor Najd!
E-Visa for Oman
You’re going to need an Oman visa for this road trip. There are several Oman e-visa sites; my friend Mo went with the Royal Oman Police Evisa process; he got the approval within an hour. I followed the same process straight after him; here’s how to get the Oman visa:
- Go to the Evisa Oman site
- Click ‘Apply for a Tourist Visa’
- Fill in your details
- A verification message will be sent to your email
- Follow the steps to complete the process and pay
- We got a 29A GCC Resident Visa, which allowed for a 28-day single entry
- Price: 5 Omani Riyals (just under AED 50!)
- The Oman Evisa confirmation summary is then sent to your email address.
- Print the evisa summary document and bring it with you to the border
Important: The Oman evisa approval can take up to 24 hours. It was a little careless of me to apply for my Oman Evisa at 10pm at night when we were driving to Oman the next morning, but the evisa process as a GCC resident was painless. I got the approval by 12.30am (2.5 hours after applying).
I advise saving yourself a little stress, and doing it a little earlier!
FYI: As of 2018, despite completing the evisa process online, you still have to go through all the usual steps at the Dubai-Oman border, which means a lot of queuing during public holidays. It’s a massive shame given the digitalisation of the visa process, but I’m sure it will continue to evolve in 2019.
Every Dubai expat has their own reasons for being here, but a common factor amongst most of my Dubai friends is their love for exploration; they live in one of the world’s best travel hubs and they intend to make the most of it while they’re here. Having Oman as a next-door neighbour is a definite win for any adventurer!