THE PERSIAN GULF
An innovative itinerary and pioneering approach to
island-hopping in the Arabo-Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz
>Traveling across the oases, the Daymaniyat Islands and the Musandam Peninsula in Oman,
UAE's deserts and finally Hormuz island and Queshm island in Iran <
Rich in oil, gas, historic trading ports, remote islands and mystique, few geographical regions are as evocative and as controversial as the Persian Gulf. This body of water and surrounding land is the heart of Arab consciousness and pride. No wonder, then, that Iran and her neighbors to the south have long argued over its name. Arabian countries may call it the Arabian Gulf or just The Gulf, but for all Iranians in the south, including the Bandari (traditional Iranian Arabs), it can never be called anything but the Khalij-e Fars: Gulf of Persia.
This is not a place blessed with many must-see sights – actually, none. Some would even say there aren’t many reasons for non-Iranians or Arabs to visit. Well, we had already done island hopping in the Indian Ocean, SE Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific, but to us the attraction of island hopping in the Persian Gulf was the novelty of the itinerary. Indeed, if outlandish ports such as Muscat, Sohar and Badar-e-Abbas doesn’t sound interesting already, the exotic-sounding islands will send most people scurrying for a map to look up destinations such as the Daymaniyat Islands, the Musandam Peninsula, Hormuz Island, and Queshm Island – all places on our innovative itinerary during this trip.
This region demonstrated to us that is has its very own flavor with lively colorful bazaars, charismatic local smugglers and traders, beautiful Bandari women wearing leather face masks, old Portuguese forts, bone-dry islands, deep salt caves, weird rock formations, inland deserts and mountains in shades of pink, red, purple and yellow, overlooking white shorelines where turtles, flamingos and wild camels roam or sunbathe. Oh, and did we mention that we went drift diving among splendid coral gardens and whale sharks off oil rigs in the geostrategic choke point for the most of the world’s oil? A quite extraordinary experience.
Also see our 'Persia' page covering a journey across classical Iran, our 'Hippy Trail' page covering more remote parts of Iran, our 'Kurdistan' page for the Kurdish provinces inside Iran bordering Iraq. In Iran, we also climbed 'Damavand', the highest mountain in the Middle East.