Eid is upon us, and we all know what that means: Holiday! For many it means an influx of monetary gifts, but some of us have outgrown that phase, so it mostly means a vacation off work, university and other stresses. And what better way to spend that vacation but abroad; away from the traffic clogged roads full of people celebrating Eid and going on Eid outings, away from the choc bloc full of malls, and off that couch in which we find ourselves spending most of the vacation on (since everywhere is crowded anyways).
Why not sway off the usual Khaleeji beaten path this Eid and visit countries that aren’t high on the Gulf tourist’s radar. We all know that Eid holiday is not the longest holiday around, but the destinations we’ll recommend are not that far off anyways; some are just around the corner from where you are situated, okay not literally but on a jet-plane they can be.
Khaleejesque recommends the following destinations:
Whitewashed houses splashed out on idyllic mountains, scenery so unlike what you’d expect in a Gulf Country, with scenic beaches to back it up as well. A place you’d relax at, soak up some sun, culture and sights. We don’t know why it’s not the most popular destination yet, but we sure know that it’s going to be big one day.
Khaleejesque recommends staying at the Shangri La Resort – on most days you won’t exit the resort. It has everything you need water sports wise, fine cuisine restaurants, a never ending beach that encompasses three hotels (all part of the chain which cater to different budgets) – making people watching as well as vacationing go hand in hand.
To See and Do: Visit Nizwa, the Old Souq, snorkeling at Bandar Kheiran, fishing, and touring Bahla Fort.
Dead Sea, Jordan
Visit the lowest place on Earth, as well as the saltiest sea in the world all at one place, Jordan’s Dead Sea region is eye opening. Not only is it one of the region’s must see places, it also has a couple of resorts that contend with the best worldwide. Just a couple of hours from the famous City of Petra, part of the Seven Wonders of the World, you can sight-see some of Jordan’s landmarks, float buoyantly and never sink, as well as just chill-ax (chill and relax).
Khaleejesque recommends staying at the Kempinski Resort Ishtar in the Dead Sea, Jordan. A beautiful resort with a killer landscape and scenic view, most rooms overlook the Dead Sea, with the resort consisting of a series of endless pools, and olive trees that give it a mystical feel and smell. The beach is fairly big for that area, with an endless supply of Dead Sea mud supplied to you in barrels, and Evian water sprayers to cool you off. At night, you can actually see the opposite coastlines of Palestine and the invaded territories littered with lights.
To See and Do: Splash on the dead-sea mud and act like a monster on the beach (don’t worry you’ll see many mud-clad beach goers), hit the spa, soak up the suns, visit many of Jordan’s biblical landmarks, see Petra, and paint the town red in Amman.
A country that is smack dab in the middle of both continents, and is called the bridge between the East and the West, Istanbul is a hustle and bustle city that encompasses an East meets West flare. From it’s amazing mosques such as the Hagia Sophia, to the glistening waters of the Bosporus, to the old crowded Grand Bazaar, to the packed museums with artifacts that date back to the days of our Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him); Istanbul has everything a traveler could ever wish for, and for those obsessed with the Noor and Muhannad soap opera, well it was shot right in this very city.
Khaleejesque recommends the Four Seasons Bosphorus. You can’t go wrong with a Four Seasons hotel and it’s amazing views of the Bosphurus – the most famous stretch of water in all of Turkey. Why? Because it cuts between the European part of Turkey and the Asian part- a natural boundary between those two continents.
To See and Do: See Dolmabahce Palace, Hagia Sophia Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace Museum. Haggle and get lost in the Grand Bazaar. Catch a performance of Suffi Dervishes. Immerse yourself in what once was called the great city of Constantinople.
Khaleejesque wishes you a safe, fun packed Eid holiday wherever you choose to spend it.
Previously Published in September 2009
Images: Shangri-La Muscat http://www.shangri-la.com/en/property/muscat/barraljissahresort . Kempinski Dead Sea Resort http://www.kempinski-deadsea.com/. Four Seasons Istanbul. http://www.fourseasons.com/bosphorus/