Dubbed the "Norway of the East" thanks to its vast lakes and towering mountainous landscape, Khasab is the capital of Oman's Musandam Peninsula that overlaps into the United Arab Emirates next door. The bustling port towards the north is a hub of activity and an icon of the city, with waterside eateries and traditional tea shops overlooking all the hustle and bustle. This port area is famous throughout the Middle East thanks to its thriving privacy trade; smugglers zip along the 35 miles of water to Iran in their modified fiberglass boats packed with US cigarettes, trading them for goats before making the short journey back to the port.
This trade has been a long tradition of Khasab, and the additional income is generally welcomed by the locals. Tourist numbers are slowly creeping up too - partly thanks to a brand new highway that links up with Dubai in the East - and the old town centre has plenty in the way of attractions to keep the day trippers busy. Historical souqs still stand as the main places to do some bargain hunting, and popular boat trips cruise along the picturesque rocky shoreline around the Musandam Peninsular.