4 THE MUSANDAM PENINSULA
2 HOURS 10 MINUTES DRIVE VIA SHEIKH MOHAMMED BIN ZAYED ROAD
The Musandam Peninsula looks like a series of Norwegian fjords, reconstructed by an oil-rich sheikh, complete with hilltop villages and winding mountain roads. But, unusually for this part of the world, it’s all natural. Officially Omani territory, it is a thumbnail of an enclave, surrounded by the United Arab Emirates. In Musandam you are a world away from the glitz of Dubai; this is “Arabian Nights” territory. You can rent a dhow, smoke shisha, count the dolphins and snorkel among the blue bays, or picnic on deserted beaches and gaze at the stars at night. For sybarites seeking a luxurious place to stay, it doesn’t come much better than the Zighy Bay Hotel. Reach it either via a rocky, twisty path over a mountain, or, if you feel like channelling your inner James Bond, by paragliding down into the bay. Once unclipped from your chute, you’ll discover a stylish resort with villas made of stone and wood, a giant swimming pool, bicycles and a Six Senses spa (rooms from $500 a night). But beware of the goats in the surrounding mountains: a friend of mine had his passport chewed by one, which took a bit of explaining to the local authorities.