Muscat: A husband-and-wife couple which has spent its free time travelling to over 64 countries so far has hailed Oman as a “hidden gem” that the world must see.
Mitchell Hyde and Thuymi Do, founders of travel website Adventure Faktory, have been to Oman some 10 times in the last two years, with the Sultanate’s natural beauty, hospitality and culture drawing them back from their base in Dubai, time and time again.
“Although Oman is so vast and beautiful, we know there are many gems that need to be visited,” said Thuymi. “There are so many spots in Oman that are unrivalled in beauty in the region, and no one even knows where they are or how to get there. The fact that so many GCC residents have not yet been to these places makes our trips there even more special. This is what we aim to discover and share.
“We have spent time in Musandam, which is close to the UAE border, the capital, Muscat, and have also stayed in a stunning location in the mountains in Jabal Akhdar,” she added. “We have camped at other locations, and driven around as well, and we cannot wait to see Wadi Shab and Salalah, both high on our visit list for Oman.”
Australian Mitchell, who works as an international schoolteacher, and his Canadian wife Thuymi, who is a freelance consultant, began Adventure Faktory three years ago, providing insights into and helpful tips on what to do and where to go in places they have visited. “There is certainly a huge range of activities to do in Oman,” remarked Mitch.
“One thing we really enjoy is that there is literally every climate there. Within a few hours, you can drive from beautiful white sandy beaches to mountains with hiking paths.
“We also think Oman has the blessing of having incredible wadis that the whole world needs to know of, as soon as possible.
“Swimming with dolphins in Musandam was a highlight for us and something that we recommend to everyone,” he stressed. “Another memory that sticks out was climbing the Via Ferrata at the Alila Hotel. In general, we think just hiking in the Omani mountains is quite special, compared with any other places in the region.” The couple was also happy to share its experiences of the traditional hospitality and culture that Oman is known for. “We were just driving around Oman and were randomly invited by a group of locals for a picnic overlooking the mountains,” recalled Mitchell. “There was little conversation, just a whole lot of scrumptious food and plenty of smiles. Their kindness totally made us appreciate the moment even more.”
Having now travelled extensively throughout the world, Mitch and Thuymi have some priceless advice on how to keep the costs down while on the road.
“Accommodation booked earlier is more rigid but is usually cheaper,” revealed Thuymi. “When we are on the road, we always try and visit supermarkets so we can make our own food. This ensures we eat well and keep down the costs of eating out.
“Talking to locals is great, as they can guide you to the best cheap and unknown spots a city has to offer. We are also very cautious about what we spend on and write everything down,” she added. “This enables you to know where to cut spending and where to invest more, considering the experience we are having in the country in question.”
“More travel is better for you,” emphasised Mitchell. “It is a big world, and there is plenty to discover; travelling gives you an insight on how other people think, feel and act. It will make you learn more about patience, acceptance, which we think makes you a better person.”