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Best tour guide in Salalah region

Dubai, UAE
3 posts
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Best tour guide in Salalah region

Longing for a quick escape from the dubai July heat, we decided to spend 2 days in Salalah, Oman, during the Khareef festival (celebration of the monsoon season). Although the monsoon brings thick mist over the mountains, it also blesses the region with beautiful greenery and most welcoming cool weather (low to mid 20's Celcius).

Our hotel kindly suggested that we contact a local omani tourist guide to show us around, named Ali Al-Shahary, and Ali proved to be the best tour guide we ever have had (and a little more reasonably priced than the other tour companies)!

Ali compiled a two day tour for us of all the sites that we were most interested in, including Job's Grave (Nabi Ayub in arabic, which dates back some 3000 years or so), the ancient ruins of Queen of Sheba Palace, the fascinating Blow Holes along the coast, frankincense trees, magnificent scenery on mountain drives and other natural beauty.

We were most pleasantly surprised, and grateful, for Ali's promptness, his absolute humility, friendliness, kindness, professionalism, amazing knowledge of the region and its history, and especially for moulding our tour to our personal tastes. For example, we really wanted to "eat like a local" (when in Salalah, do as the "Salalah-ians" do, right?!), so Ali took us to one of the many, so welcoming, roadside tented "stone barbeques" (especially for the Khareef Festival) where we enjoyed tugging into some good old rather interesting (only for the most brave tourists though), but absolutely delicious, local quisine with our hands, and refreshing fire-brewed tea.

Because Ali has lived in the region all his life, he was also able to take us to secret little "nooks and crannies" that most tourists don't get to see, where we found ourselves facing some of the most spectacular scenery in the entire middle east!

The people of Oman are so welcoming, hospitable, and very "down to earth", and this is exactly what we found in Salalah. During the monsoon season, Salalah locals love to venture up the mountain roads and picnic with friends and family out in the mist! We also had the lovely experience of being invited to join some of the picniccing folk. Eventhough we did not know them at all, and did not share a common language except for a few words, these lovely people were so welcoming in sharing their picnic blankets and mor delicious and unique BBQed lunch with us (lots of smiles, a few giggles and a beautiful arabic melody too!).

Right there, on top of the mountains, up in the blankets of refreshing mist, away from the busy road, we knew that our experience with these wonderful folk was something special that we would never forget our entire lives!

Our amazing couple of days in Salalah was all thanks to our brilliant tour guide (and new found friend), Ali Al-Shahary.

If you are interested in enjoying the beauty and rich history of Salalah, we highly recommend Ali Al-Shahary and his private tour company. Ali seems very highly thought of and well known amongst the community of Salalah, and we found him just by asking for "a really good tour guide"! Thank you Ali!!!!

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Oman
Oman
Middle East
Muscat, Oman
Level Contributor
6,288 posts
19 reviews
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1. Re: Best tour guide in Salalah region

ElizaDXB - great report, wish we'd known about Ali when we visited Salalah 3 yrs ago to meet up with parents who were on a one-day (6hr) bunkering stop on a cruise around the region. It would have given us the opportunity to experience the area as you did.

As a matter of interest, which hotel did you use as, obviously this would be of interest to others thinking of staying in Salalah - and there have been several questions recently on the Oman forum on this topic.

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Oman
Oman
Middle East
Dubai, UAE
3 posts
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2. Re: Best tour guide in Salalah region

Hi hugedxb, thanks for the note! With regards to hotel accommodation, we stayed at the Hilton Salalah. To be honest, for the price we payed (which was a little more pricey at that time due to the khareef festival) per night, we were expecting a lot more. We have stayed at other hotels in the middle east (including Muscat) which offered us a lot more value for our money.

The room was very clean and comfortable, but I did notice that altho you could be paying for a sea view room, if your room is lower than the 4th floor (as our's originally was), you look directly into palm trees instead of the sea!

The restaurants are pleasant, although again, for the price we paid (just over USD300-00 for a king room for 2 adults, incl. breakfast) the food was nothing spectacular (we preferred the roadside BBQ's). Breakfast did offer a good variety tho.

The pool area is very small and was quite disappointing, altho, there is a slide into the pool for those with children.

From the hotel you can walk directly onto a beautifully clean and safe beach tho, which is good for a stroll.

The location is not bad as it is just on the outskirts of town, altho, the shipping docks (free zone) are just next door, so for me it spoilt the scenery a little bit.

Entertainment is pretty non-existent, but in my experience, this is so through out Oman. There is "live" music in the downstairs bar, but no real atmosphere.

The staff are friendly and eager to please, altho many times they did not understand what we were asking for, but again, friendly, very attentive and they try and be helpful.

We did realize Salalah was for the sights and cooler weather, and fortunately we did not spend too much time in the hotel. In general, I'ld give the Hilton a 6 out of 10, and if we visit Salalah again, we would prefer to try another hotel.

Hope you find this helpful!

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Hilton Salalah
Hilton Salalah
1,081 Reviews
Salalah, Oman
Oman
Oman
Middle East
Muscat, Oman
Level Contributor
6,288 posts
19 reviews
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3. Re: Best tour guide in Salalah region

Thanks Eliza - loads more info (and not just for us). You've made us rethink our ideas about Salalah ... our first visit didn't really make us think it was somewhere to go back to. But from what you've said, coupled with what a friend of ours who lives in Muscat and has recently done a trip to Salalah, it should definitely be on our 'to do' list.

On our visit we stayed at the Crowne Plaza and wondered if we should have stayed at the Hilton instead? Answers since then have been mixed - so I guess you take your chance with whichever you choose.

However, if you have the details of Ali Al-Shahary's private tour company perhaps you could post the details (phone numbers etc) - even better a website if there is one.

We love Oman and visit from Dubai several times each year and until now had kind of written Salalah off. Now we'll really have to think again. Thanks.

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Oman
Oman
Middle East
Dubai
Dubai
Emirate of Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Lafayette...
2 posts
1 review
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4. Re: Best tour guide in Salalah region

We just read your post regarding Salalah. We are interested to know if we could get Ali Sharari's email address or web site so that we could hire him for a one day tour of Salalah. He sounds like the right guy for the right job. We enjoyed your description of the tour that you took. Alan Swimmer

southern england
1 post
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5. Re: Best tour guide in Salalah region

I have just joined up with trip advisor and read your post with interest. My wife and I were in oman at easter 2008 although we did not get down to Salalah. We did have an advantage as we were being "hosted" by an omani military officer and are of the islamic faith. However, one day he could not be with us and arranged for a local taxi driver he knew to look after us that day. Like your experiances with Ali Al-Shahary we found him to be so friendly and welcolming and very reasonably priced for the amount of time he was with us that day. Whats more he remembered us, as a few weeks ago he was in our home town improving his english (he is also a military man now) and saw me on a local bus. It was a bit of a shock to hear assalamalaikhoum (the arabic greeting) and turning around recognising a face but not being able to place it until he told me!!

Dubai, UAE
3 posts
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6. Re: Best tour guide in Salalah region

For those of you who are interested, here are Ali Al-Shahary's (best Salalah tour guide!) details:

Telephone: (+968) 95401513

PO Box 1131/211

Salalah

Sultanate of Oman

Email: alishaharya@yahoo.com

It was good to read the replies and interest to this original post, I hope everyone who goes to Salalah has a fantastic time!!

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Oman
Oman
Middle East
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
394 posts
23 reviews
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7. Re: Best tour guide in Salalah region

My email to Ali Al-Shahary keeps getting returned. Does anyone have an updated email for him?

Thanks

Lafayette...
2 posts
1 review
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8. Re: Best tour guide in Salalah region

We were in Salalah in November, 2008. We booked Ali Al-Shahary on line several weeks ahead for a day tour of Salalah after reading about him on this Trip Advisor website. We emailed each other several times and agreed on a price and all of that and we were looking forward to meeting this fellow and touring with him. We were on the Nautica Cruise Ship and had only one day to see Salalah. We arrived at the dock and looked for our tourguide and car and we were met by another man who was NOT Ali. Ali was leading a tour on one of our ships tourbuses and he assigned us to another person whom we did not expect. We were upset especially when we expected Ali after all we had heard about him on this site. We were not notified in any way that we were not to have Ali lead our tour and we paid the same fee to this man that we were to pay Ali ($200.00). The tour guide that we did have to use was a pleasant fellow but he was very hard to understand and he did not seem to be a trained guide in his own country. We did have an okay tour after all and we did get to meet Ali as we passed him on a path while he lead other passengers on a bus tour. Even though we had a decent tour, we feel that Ali was quite unethical in abandoning us on a "contracted" job so that he could make a larger income by doing the tour bus. Thus, I would not recommend this man for this job because he is not dependable, no matter how good he is when he shows up.

9. Re: Best tour guide in Salalah region

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Removed on: 29 July 2009, 09:05
Washington DC
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10. Re: Best tour guide in Salalah region

Do you have an e-mail address for Ali Al-Shahary in Salalah?

Thank you, Ann Clark