Intrepid traveller Ali Hussain Mushaima is well-known for his unique Friendship Arabia tours - journeying by road from Bahrain to various corners of the world. The message has remained the same right from the time he launched his first trip, a 3-month drive to Europe, many years ago: spread the word about Bahrain, its people and all it has to offer. Ali's newest tour, a two month journey from June 23, 2010, is titled: "Tylos to Thassos, Voyage of Discovery".

Day 65: Time to say goodbye
Written by Ali Mushaima   
Wednesday, 26 September 2018 11:52

Day 65. It is the last day of our trip!

We decided on a 65-day tour to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the Bahrain Historical and Archaeological Society. We are extremely grateful to them, as well as to Bahrain Tourism, Bahrain Holidays, Zayani Motors and Gulf Daily News. Without their support, the trip would not have been possible.

Special thanks too, to the team members who left their families behind and joined the tour to promote Bahrain. There are many others who also deserve our heartfelt thanks—those who hosted us, helped us, gave us useful advice. Then there was the media who wrote about our expedition, and social media too who were in contact with us and featured our tour.

Thank you too to everyone who followed our trip, whether in print, or on Facebook and Instagram, and sent us messages of encouragement. You gave us the energy to keep going!

The car's performance was excellent right through the tour. It is currently in the port, waiting for the ship to depart to Saudi Arabia. As of now, I don't have a firm departure date, although I have been told it will likely be on October 1 by which time there will be enough trucks loaded for the ship to leave.

Meanwhile, you can relive our tour experiences through our photographs on Instagram.

From Turkey to Chios
Written by Ali Mushaima   
Sunday, 02 September 2018 19:50

The Friendship Arabia tour is now in Chios after several days in Turkey, where we explored the historical sites of Konya, Pamukkale and Ephesus (registered as Unesco sites) and then Laodikeia.

There we met an amazing person, Esat Sivri, who is very committed to a renovation of the site and has been supplying breakfast for more than six years to 200 archeologists and workers there. It was one of the highlights of our visit to Turkey to meet Esat, from whom we learnt a lot and who also inspired us to do more. We learnt from him that if you believe and are committed to something, you should never give up.

Now that we are in Chios, we will explore more of the island and learn more about how they cultivate the Mastic. On Friday, we will have the media of Chios Island in the square where we have permission to park the car in the centre and talk about Bahrain and how it is famous for its natural pearls.

We will also give away our travel book 101 Things to See & Do in Bahrainand answer questions about our country while also expressing our love for their island too.

The car's performance has been excellent, and we are grateful to our sponsors Bahrain Tourism, Bahrain Holidays, Zayani Motors and Gulf Daily News.

As we travel onwards, we will explore more of Greece to promote Bahrain in other parts of the country—something that is close to my heart and that of the rest of the Friendship Arabia team.

For daily images from the Friendship Arabia tour, please follow our Instagram.

Crossing Saudi Arabia
Written by Ali Mushaima   
Wednesday, 15 August 2018 00:00

In the past when we travelled to Europe, we only crossed Saudi to Jordan. This trip is very special for several reasons. First, Saudi is opening up for tourism and has a lot a lot to offer and not forgetting the generosity of the people. The experiences we had and the places we visited were amazing, and we regret not visiting these places before. It is a country that must be explored.

On the other hand people we met and talked to were amazed with our idea of using pearling as a key to raise awareness and promote Bahrain. Als,o we have copies of our 101 Things to See & Do in Bahrain book as well as our book of Chios island and there is strong interest from people to visit Bahrain as well as Chios when we talked to them about the bless tree of Mastic.

Today, we take the ferry and we will be on the ship for three days till we reach south of Turkey.

The team and I would like to thank our supporters and the Gulf Daily News for their backing.

From the Island of Pearls to the Island of Mastic
Written by Ali Mushaima   
Sunday, 12 August 2018 00:00

Time for another tour!

I, along with fellow adventurers Taha Alawi, representing Bahrain Holidays, and photographer Haider Rafeei, have just launched a six-week road trip from Bahrain to the island of Chios in Greece. ubbed as "From the Island of Pearls to the Island of Mastic", the tour aims to promote Bahrain's culture, history nd tourism. The road trip will cover over 10,000 km and pass through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey and Greece.

Chios is the fifth largest of the Greek islands, situated in the Aegean Sea, 7 km off the Anatolian coast. Chios is notable for its exports of mastic gum and its nickname is the Mastic Island.

Promoting Bahrain is, has been and will always be close to my heart and this tour aims to do the same.

Our earlier Friendship Tours have included Bahrain to Dublin in 2004, Bahrain to Britain in 2008, and Bahrain to Thassos, Greece in 2010. Chios is one of my favourite destinations, and I have published the popular travel guide '101 Things to Do in Chios' — one in the 101 Series of guidebooks.

For this tour, we are working with the Bahrain Historical and Archeological Society, and are proud to be supported by Zayani Motors and Bahrain Holidays.

Day 16: Back in Bahrain
Written by Ali Mushaima   
Tuesday, 17 April 2012 18:05

His Highness Abdul Aziz Bin Humaid Al Nuaimi after receiving the 101 Things to See and Do in Oman book
Shaikh Abdul Aziz Bin Humaid Al Nuaimi looks through the book
101 Things to See and Do in Oman after receiving a copy from Ali 

After taken Eleni to Abu Dhabi airport and saying goodbye, we drove to Ajman to meet His Highness Shaikh Abdul Aziz Bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, head of the Ajman Tourism Development Department, to present to him a copy of our book, 101 Things to See and Do in Oman. We also presented him with copies of other books that we have published.

Shaikh Abdul Aziz was keen on finding out about the new book in the series that we are planning, 101 Things to See and Do in UAE, and he offered us his complete support. He had heard about our publications and expeditions from the Oman Tourism Ministry and wanted to meet us.

Day 15: Oman, a fond goodbye
Written by Ali Mushaima   
Monday, 16 April 2012 14:29

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque 

Today is our last day in Oman and we decided to visit Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. It is one of the most beautiful mosques in the world and it has also the biggest woven carpet.

This is a place no matter how many times you visit, you will always marvel at its beauty. While we were there we met a Dutch TV crew and we had a brief chat with them. They told us how much they are enjoying Oman. We presented them with copies of our book 101 Things to See and Do in Oman and wished them good luck with their filming.

Day 14: A day to give thanks
Written by Ali Mushaima   
Sunday, 15 April 2012 15:51

Mohammed Saleh Al haikh receive a copy of 101 Things to see and Do in Oman from Ali and Haider
Mohammed Saleh Al Shaikh receives a copy of
101 Things to See and Do in Oman from Ali and Haider 

We started our day by visiting the Bahrain embassy in Muscat and met with H.E. Mohammed Saleh Al Shaikh and presented to him a copy of 101 Things to See and Do in Oman. He asked us for more copies since the Indian Ambassador had called him and asked for a copy of the book.

He also congratulated us on the trip and gave us an idea for a new trip, maybe from Morocco to Manama and Muscat starting from the Ocean to the Gulf and he recounted his old days in school. The proposed trip would start in Africa to Europe and finish in Asia, and he also offered his support for the expedition. We thanked him for his great idea and assured him that we will consider it for one of our future expeditions.

Day 13: A fitting end to latest tour
Written by Sarah Clarke   
Saturday, 14 April 2012 15:14

Ali presenting a copy of 101 Things to See and Do in Oman to Khalid Bin Mohamed Bin Omar Bin Bahram 

Entering the Al Bustan hotel one cannot fail to be amazed by the enormous central hall complete with fountain and gigantic crystal chandelier. It is a fitting place to end the Manama, Capital of Arab Culture 2012 to Muscat Arab Tourism Capital 2012 Expedition and to launch our book 101 Things to See and Do in Oman. We brought with us Jameel Ebrahim employee of Bahrain’s Ministry of Tourism who we met today at the Ministry of Tourism in Oman. 

We were delighted to be greeted at Al Bustan by Yayha Al Kiyumi who first proposed the tour. He introduced us to guest of honour Khalid Bin Mohamed Bin Omar Bin Bahram, Assistant Head of Muscat Municipality who expressed great pride in Muscat and its status this year of Arab Toursim Capital.

Also present were many of our friends from the Oman Ministry of Tourism, our sponsors Omran including Abdul Wahid Al Farsi Omran’s External Affairs Manager, Bernard Viola, General Manager of Al Bustan Hotel and Bahrain Embassy representatives Deputy Head of Mission Khalid Al Mansoor and Ali Hassan, Culture Attache together with other embassy staff. 

Day 12: An oh-so-lucky Friday the 13th
Written by Sarah Clarke   
Friday, 13 April 2012 15:06

Ali showing Yahya Al Kiyumi the Oman images on the cars 

If I was superstitious I guess I wouldn’t have got out of bed this morning as it’s Friday the 13th. However, the sun streaming into my ‘tent’ at the Arabian Oryx Camp in Al Sharqiya Sands had me up and about in no time.

And what a wonderful night’s sleep I had - with only a night owl hooting occasionally and a solitary beetle scurrying across the room, the silence ensured my unbroken night’s rest. I don’t think I’ve slept that deeply or soundly in a long time. Each ‘tent’ has an en suite bathroom, air conditioning, tea and coffee making equipment and very comfortable beds. This is definitely the (easy) way to camp!

Day 11: Highway star, Omani style
Written by Sarah Clarke   
Thursday, 12 April 2012 15:49

Hamdan and friends enjoying the sunset at Arabian Oryx camp 

Have you seen the movie Thelma and Louise, the part where the two women are driving at speed down an American highway in their convertible with the top down, the wind blowing their hair artistically, music wafting gently on the air waves and the scenery flashing by in a delicate blur? 

Somehow I found myself today in my own movie set experience except this time I was in a jeep with roll bars, accompanied by 3 young Omani men, Arabic rock music boomed out and I fought to maintain some semblance of elegance by frequently adjusting my headscarf which preferred to blow crazily in the wind.  I failed in this regard and for sure had the wild, windswept look down to a T! 

Day 10: The call of the mountain
Written by Sarah Clarke   
Wednesday, 11 April 2012 15:24


The team outside the Omran Headquarters in Muscat  

Summer arrived in Muscat today with temperatures reaching 38 degrees.  While the others sleep, I am seriously thinking of sneaking off into the mountains where it’ll be a good 15 degrees cooler.   Trouble is with the vivid Oman-themed branding we have on the cars I would be too easy to track to my mountain getaway.  

Another reason for my desire to head up Jebel Akhdar (meaning Green Mountain) is that we visited our sponsors Omran this morning.  Lyutha Al Habsy told us about Omran’s latest projects including one to build a hotel on top of Jebel Akhdar.   

The pictures of the hotel’s stunning location at the edge of the canyon reminded me what a beautiful, unspoiled place it is and that I would love to see it again and soon.  So I guess I will just have to plan another trip – perhaps from the highest point in Qatar where I currently live to one of the highest points in Oman!  


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