Saturday, July 1, 2017
Bahla Fort in the middle of the afternoon, dragging three sleepy, thirsty, over-heated kids;)
Over the Eid weekend, on our way to Jabrin to take pics of the kids in their Eid outfits, we saw that Bahla Fort was open, and dragged the kids (eight month old, two year old, and 6 year old) through Bahla Fort instead.
This was probably a mistake. It was the middle of the afternoon, and to see a fort in Oman is hard with toddler-age kids. Not all stairways are safe. Most don't have railings. Some iron over well openings are not secured. There are defensive places in the forts' structures meant for dropping stuff, like rocks and oil, or shooting arrows, down them, and kids can fall down these if they are skinny or small enough.
For example, when my oldest was three she tried to slide down a chute that is meant for pouring hot oil on invaders at Rustaq castle...which would have been a drop to the death if we hadn't caught her in the nick of time. If she hadn't gleefully shouted "slide!!!!" before she'd gone for the chute, we might not have had the notice to do so. We never saw the chute until she was almost scooting down it.
Even me, I've nearly fallen out of a tower or two in my day, when the less restored ladders fell apart while I was still on a wrung, etc...
So with little kids, seeing any Forts but Nizwa and Jabrin can be a major challenge.
My husband swore though, that he was willing to take on the challenge of seeing Bahla fort (briefly) on. Briefly is funny, because Bahla fort is huge. I was being a grouch so he was trying to make me happy. Forts, ruins, and castles, usually make me happy.
I didn't yet. I either didn't find it, or the building that people insisted it was, was locked. I'll read and double check before I go back. That building, I have to see.
The GPS location of Bahla Fort according to Y magazine is N22º 57’ 52.141 E57º 18’ 2.236 .
The hours for the fort (non-holiday or Ramadan timings) is (supposedly, I can't confirm) weekdays Sat-Thurs, 8am-4pm, and Fridays 8am-11am.
It was Eid weekend, and a Wednesday, when I was there, and the 8am-4pm hours seemed to be in effect. I think they've improved the opening hours a lot from days past. Ramadan hours were posted but I forget what these were. Still reasonable, a later start time I think but I can't recall with accuracy. In the past, the fort being closed, was probably because the opening of it to the public was only a soft opening in 2014i-sh, and the official full opening was only last year I believe?
...People still seemed not to know where the entrance to the Fort was, (it is from the front off the main road) but you can't park here. You have to go park to the side (near that Mosque and walk up a bit to the front). Tourism Ministry, as ever, fix your signage!
My Omani husband was directing a bunch of Indian expat tourists who couldn't find the way to get into the fort.
Admission costs for Omanis and expats (this one is unique to Oman) is 500 baisas per person. I am not sure if they charged for my kids. I think they did for the six year old, but not the others.