The tarmac road linking Muscat and Sur is a relatively new development and has dramatically shortened this journey. You still pass sweeps of stunning white sand beaches, and through the picturesque wadis of Shab and Tiwi, where streams trickle out from steep, mighty canyons and through small fishing villages down to the sea. A short way from the road you can also stop at the ruins of ancient Qalhat, most notable for the distinctive tomb of a local saint, Bibi Maryam.
At Bimmah you’ll find a sinkhole, a large collapsed cave dropping some 20 metres from the limestone surface to the clear water below. Just outside Sur the modern world intrudes in dramatic fashion, with the vast mechanical workings of the LNG plant, exporting gas, Oman’s most precious natural resource.