Zighy Bay: Best-kept Secret

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Updated 16 January 2013
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Zighy Bay: Best-kept Secret

Zighy Bay is located on the northern Musandam Peninsula in the Sultanate of Oman, a two-hour journey from Dubai. The setting of this beautiful ethnic village-style resort and reserved marina is outstanding, with dramatic mountains on one side and a 1.6-kilometer sandy beach on the other. This is an ideal place for a relaxing and rejuvenating experience, especially for those who are looking to get away from the stress of their hectic modern lives.
The ride to the resort is made for adventure lovers, especially if you are driving from Dubai to Oman, as the landscape is rugged with mountains of different shades and sizes. At the Omani borders you will be struck with a colossal mountain with a narrow pathway for vehicles; Zighy Bay is literally on the other side of this mountain. Upon reaching the climax of the mountain, the beautiful resort will come in full view, surrounded by the famous Omani palm trees.
This resort is also called Six Senses and it’s known for the best wellness and detox program and above all a great spa and vacation destination. Six Senses offers you three options to get to the resort; either via a speedboat, or a winding 4x4 drive down the hill, or a free-flying adventure as a companion passenger with the resort’s own professional paraglide pilots.
I was welcomed at the gate by three brown goats, which are the unofficial mascot of Six Senses Zighy Bay, since they are seen everywhere and are even allowed inside the property. Six Senses is not your usual resort, as it resembles in many ways a traditional Omani village, with narrow sandy paths between villas, and bicycles as the preferable means of transportation.
Six Senses consists of 82 pool villas, adapted according to traditional Omani style to reveal the true authentic culture of this country.
The resort offers two restaurants within a walking distance from your lavish villa accommodations, as well as a wide-array of exquisite dining choices that require prior booking and a short car ride. The Spice Market is located in the heart of the resort, offering Arabian food in a traditional and relaxed atmosphere among bold colors, wooden furniture and food made in an authentic mud kitchen. The Sumer House is an open-air international restaurant that offers lunch and dinner. It has a beautiful view of the pool and wadi area. The chef prepares a new dish everyday from his team’s own catch of the day and organic garden.
For a breath-taking mountaintop view visit Sense on the Edge, located 293 above sea level, for a modern fine dining restaurant experience. This restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy an evening overlooking pristine Zighy Bay. If 293 meters isn’t high enough, there’s an extra-special and private dining experience at the Starlight Table. Nightly, a couple can reserve this intimate table, completely removed from the rest of the restaurant for a special evening.
Ask the butler to reserve you a place at the Shua Shack, which gives you a perfect opportunity to learn about a traditional Bedouin meal experience. This is a true family style culinary experience, which begins with a selection of local and organic salads, followed by the main course of lamb prepared in the resort’s underground oven (Shua) and finally a delightful taste of Arabian sweets.
Six Senses has its own organic garden that a special team of graders and farmers nurtures. Visitors can ask for a tour and see the source of their vegetables, fruits and some of the spa products. Walking around you only find palm trees and no flowers; that’s because flowers are not indigenous in this area and Six Senses wanted to provide a true reflection of an Omani authentic village.
Six Senses is committed to protecting the environment and have instilled this environmentally conscious and sustainable way of living in many forms. A prime example of this is they do not have imported bottled water. Instead, they purify and bottle their own wellness water in glass bottles that they re-use.
Zighy Bay is not only about relaxation; this small village offers many activities thanks to its location between the sea and the mountains. If you don’t suffer from a fear of heights, paragliding is a great start. Paragliding will take you to the top of Zighy Mountain, around the edge of the mountain range, where you can explore the bay from 293 m upwards, before landing on the soft sandy beach. Another flying option is the Micro-Light, which starts from the sandy runway on Zighy beach to give you a spectacular panoramic view of the village. Tired of flying? You can go back to basics and try mountain biking, to explore the Hajar Mountains with their wide variety of plants and animals.
Plan your epic day out by taking a 45-minute drive along the coast that brings you to the oldest functioning mosque in the UAE. Then finish your drive to the foot of the waterfall with a dip into a fresh water spring. From there trek into the stunning canyons, climb and swim through rocky gorges and enjoy the stunning terrain along the way.
Sightseeing starts with a 45-minute boat ride along the Musandam coastline, which brings you to Aqaba fishing village. After exploring the village, take a walk along the coastal pathway. The trail takes you along the ancient path between villages, just inches from the sea. You will pass by hundreds of abandoned houses, graveyards, a mosque and fort with a unique underground jail.
Alternatively you can opt to spend an outdoors adventure learning to climb mountains with specialists from Six Senses who will teach you climbing techniques, belaying, climbing knots and introduce you to all the technical gear needed for this adventure.
Aqua activities are also available. Diving gives you the opportunity to witness first-hand Oman’s spectacular reefs, rock formations and a colorful selection of marine life. You can also enjoy a Musandam tradition on the bay by reliving the history of a dhow boat on the Gulf of Oman, as you slop slowly through the ocean, beside the fjords of the spectacular Musandam Peninsula and explore small bays and unique fishing villages carved against a mountainous terrain. Another option would be to catch your own dinner by heading off to the open ocean with Six Sense’s best fishermen. You might be lucky enough to catch a local Red Snapper using traditional hand lines and then cook it with the help of the chefs for a delicious family feast.
Six Senses has even taken into account families with under-age children, creating a Kids and Teenage Club to ensure children enjoy a pleasurable time at the resort as well. Outdoor and indoor activities, including movie nights are scheduled for young ones, allowing you and your partner the opportunity to relax at the spa or by the beach.
I have intentionally left the best description of the resort to the end. Six Senses is known for its spa pyramid that represents the foundation and creation of the spa experience. It is formed by three primary senses; sight, sound and touch. The second stage builds upon this experience by appealing to the more acute senses of taste and smell and the apex symbolizes the unique sensory experience of a Six Senses spa.
The spa offers a unique Omani touch with signature treatments, local organic treatments, a traditional Hammam experience and lifestyle wellness programmers with special visiting practitioners. Try the Wonders of Oman treatment, which is a three-hour program that begins with a warm sea salt bath with fresh mint from the resort’s very own organic garden, followed by an aromatic local coffee body scrub. The exotic pleasures continue with the Arabian Body Rasul famous for it’s slimming and purifying powers, before the final unwind of an essential oil massage. You can later linger as long as you want in the open-air relaxing area with a refreshing date juice and almond stuffed Zighy dates.
For yoga fanatics, the spa offers a beautiful deck overlooking the resort in an open area to practice yoga in the presence of professional instructors that will supervise your exercise and teach you new techniques.
Over all, Six Senses Zighy Bay is a must visit; you can go to relax, explore, detox and enjoy a multitude of outdoor activities. However, to really indulge in this resort you have to let go of your worries, focus on yourself for a change and submerge yourself entirely in the beautiful Omani landscape.

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Asir’s ancient villages revived under tourism plan

Governorates of the region have introduced programs and activities aimed at visitors and tourists. (SPA)
Updated 16 June 2019
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Asir’s ancient villages revived under tourism plan

  • The municipality of Dhahran Al-Janoub has equipped the ancient palace on King Khalid Road to be the headquarters for all activities of the initiative

DHAHRAN: A “Hospitality” initiative, implemented by Prince Turki bin Talal, governor of Asir region, under the slogan “Hello 1000,” has restored ancient sites and villages to boost tourism in Asir.
Governorates of the region have introduced programs and activities aimed at visitors and tourists.
In Dhahran Al-Janoub governorate, officials and residents have focused on restoring ancient sites in the area, including the Elephant’s Road, mountain inscriptions and archaeological villages.
Dhahran Al-Janoub Gov. Mohammed bin Falah Al-Qarqah, said that summer activities made the Hospitality initiative a basic pillar, and a starting point for all programs and events.
The municipality of Dhahran Al-Janoub has equipped the ancient palace on King Khalid Road to be the headquarters for all activities of the initiative. The palace contains a museum and a historic photo gallery.

FASTFACT

Folklore and poetry evenings are also held every Monday evening during summer.

Al-Qarqah said that large numbers of tourists are keen to visit the area, especially in summer.
A “Tourist Caravan” takes visitors to sites and archaeological villages every Tuesday, using special cars with tour guides.
The initiative includes a “Helping the Visitor” program implemented by Al-Bir Charity Association in Dhahran Al-Janoub to provide assistance to visitors in case of emergency, including financial aid, housing and transportation.