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".

Tourism on fast track
Written by Friendship Arabia Team   
Sunday, 01 April 2012 22:34

Posted by Alicia de Haldevang in the Gulf Daily News:

Six travellers have embarked on a road trip through the GCC to promote tourism and bilateral relations between Bahrain and Oman.

They will launch a new book, 101 Things To See and Do in Oman and its Bahrain edition, 101 Things To See and Do in Bahrain during the expedition.

The Friendship Arabia team comprises Bahraini, British and Greek photographers and writers, who left Bahrain today in a two-car convoy and will travel through Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE before finishing in Oman next week.

The trip is being sponsored and supported by Oman-based company Omran, the Omani Embassy in Bahrain and the Omani Tourism Ministry.

"The trip will promote historical and cultural ties between the two countries, particularly because Manama is the Arab Capital of Culture for 2012 and Muscat is the Arab Capital of Tourism for 2012," said expedition leader Ali Hussain Mushaima during a final meeting at the Omani Embassy in Hoora yesterday. 

Read the full story


The start of a new tour
Written by Ali Mushaima   
Sunday, 01 April 2012 13:16

 The team at the start of the tour

In celebration of Manama being named Capital of Arab Culture 2012 and Muscat Arab Tourism Capital for 2012, the Friendship Arabia team is embarking on a new tour "Manama to Muscat" beginning today, starting from the Embassy of Oman in Manama and finishing in Muscat.

The tour will cross Saudi Arabia and visit Doha, Abu Dhabi, Buraymi in Oman, Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah and Musandam in Oman.  The group will then take the ferry from Khasab to Muscat.  The aim of the trip is to highlight the historical ties and friendship between Bahrain and Oman and also to promote Oman as a year round tourist destination.

During the two week expedition, the team will give away copies of the 101 Things to See & Do in Oman.  They will visit a number of major shopping malls along the route to publicise Oman and highlight what the country has to offer as a holiday destination.

The Friendship Arabia team is extremely grateful to Ministry of Tourism in Oman and Omran for sponsoring the expedition and to the Al Bustan Hotel for sponsoring the launch of the Group's 101 Things to See & Do in Oman travel guide on April 14.

Tour Map 

Live pottery expo held
Written by Rebecca Torr   
Sunday, 12 December 2010 14:45

Costis at Al A'ali Shopping Complex 

Mr Chrisogelos conducts a pottery demonstration at Al A'ali Shopping Complex 

From the  Gulf Daily News  |  Traditional pottery experts from Bahrain and Greece showed off their skills during a live exhibition at Al A'ali Shopping Complex from December 2-8, 2010.

Costis Chrisogelos, from Thassos, Greece, took part in the live pottery event along with Bahraini potter Majeed Al Shougul.

The pair worked together in A'ali for more than a week in preparation for the exhibition, organised by Bahraini publisher Ali Mushaima.

Visitors to the mall could even have bespoke items made on request, as the potters worked against a backdrop of photographs depicting Bahraini potters taken during the 1950s and 1960s.

360º Virtual Tours: A Primer
Written by Ammar Hammad   
Sunday, 03 October 2010 21:37

While 360º virtual tours are not something new, I have found a way of using many specialized tools, from taking the photos and stitching them together to post processing and wrapping it in a format that can be used on many media such as the web, CDs and even portable devices such as phones.

[Click here to view an example of the 360º virtual tour] 

These tools have made making these virtual tours extremely reliable and relatively quick compared to other all-in-one solutions, while retaining the highest image quality available. 

Due to file size constraints, the details that can be seen on the virtual tours on this website are a fraction of the details that can be viewed on the original images. A full resolution virtual tour would be good enough for HD viewing.

Tour ends, but memories will live on
Written by Ali Mushaima   
Saturday, 31 July 2010 11:07

With outside temperatures well over 40C, a water truck cools the road to prevent the asphalt from melting 

On Thursday morning Khadija, who works in the hotel Rosa Damascina, made us breakfast and hotel owner Ahmad Sadat, who was also our guide during our last visit to Syria en route to Greece, came and had a coffee with us and wished us all the best for the long drive back.

It is very hard to leave Syria. Every time we visit this country, especially the capital, I am reminded of the quote by Ibn Jubair: "If there was a heaven on earth, it would definitely be Damascus." It is considered one of the oldest constantly inhabited cities in the world. 

Syria is also described as the most outstanding country in the world because it underlies the history of humankind in time and place. A journey through Syria becomes a journey of discovery filled with constant wonder due to the various arts, culture, civilizations and sense of beauty, and especially due to the overwhelming generosity of Syrian hospitality.

A scenic stopover at Nigde
Written by Ammar Hammad   
Wednesday, 28 July 2010 15:30

Nigde Fort 

After spending the night at Nigde for much needed rest, we visited Nigde Fort which used to serve as a jail in the republican era. The fort was completely restored in 2007.  

Since it is on a hill, it has become a popular spot for locals and tourists to sit and dine and look over the city.

Farewell to Greece
Written by Ammar Hammad   
Monday, 26 July 2010 17:50

Sea view from Chora Samothrace 

Yesterday we left Greece en route to Bahrain. We spent our last day walking around the little town of Chora, the capital of Samothrace. 

We had a light lunch before heading to the port where we took a ferry to Alexandroupolis. It was a relatively short drive to the border. Crossing the Greek-Turkish border went very smoothly.

It was sad leaving Greece, we had such a great time there. The Greek people and government were very hospitable. We enjoyed the places we visited and we will miss our old friends and the ones we were very fortunate to meet this time around.

Samothrace a real tour find
Written by Ali Mushaima   
Sunday, 25 July 2010 05:20

 Sanctuary of the Great Gods in Samothrace

After we left Philippi, we drove to Alexandroupoli, to take the ferry to Samothrace – it is just over a two-hour journey. After our arrival, we drove to our hotel, Samothrace Village on the main road, next to the sea.

Samothrace is located in the northeast Aegean, opposite Alexandroupoli, 29 nautical miles distant. It belong to the Perfecture of Evros and covers an area of 178 sg. km, with population of 5,000. It is still relatively untouched by mass tourism. It was first inhabited in the Neolithic era, in around 1000 BC Thracian colonisers came here, intermarrying with the indigenous population.

Afte we woke up the next morning, we drove to the Samothrace Museum for a tour and also visited the sanctuary, which attained its zenith in Hellenistic times. Then we drove to Therma for lunch and refreshment, after which we went to a small waterfall and met some locals who advised us to go to see the big waterfalls.

Digging into prehistoric times
Written by Ammar Hammad   
Friday, 23 July 2010 19:55



Take the 360º virtual tour of Dikli Tash

Ali and I woke early this morning to catch the ferry leaving Thassos to the mainland, and headed to Philippi where we were to get a tour of the Dikili Tash excavation site.

We got there and Dr. Demetra and Dr. Zoe showed us around and gave us a brief history about the excavation that started during the 1920s and the significance of the site. 

We were also lucky to meet the Mayor of Philippi, Mr. Lazaros who wanted to check the progress of the excavation and got the chance to talk to him about future cooperation and he was more than happy to help in any way he can.

Time to plan the return journey
Written by Ammar Hammad   
Thursday, 22 July 2010 19:28

 The water at Saliara beach has a distinctive green appearance because of the marble sand

It's been a few easier days here in Thassos, and we took this time to wind down a little and plan the return route. Ali was busy looking at different options and as for me, I got hired to do a virtual tour for the hotel we stayed at earlier (Blue Dream Palace).

Yesterday, we visited Saliara (baby bib) Beach which was recommended to us by many locals. Its water has a distinct green appearance since the sand here is  marble rather than the regular sand found at other beaches. 

Cheers (again) to Thassos!
Written by Ammar Hammad   
Monday, 19 July 2010 19:31

 The LR3 passes the off-road test with flying colours

This is our second day in Thassos since we started our trip back to Bahrain. Earlier this morning Taha and I had breakfast at a restaurant called Cheers, owned by an English couple who visited the island a while back and got caught in its charm and decided to stay and call it home.

While the island is known for its spectacular beaches, it's also a popular spot for hiking. After breakfast, all of us went off-roading, trying to reach the highest peak of the island. We were very close but unfortunately the end of the road was completely out of reach and we couldn't continue. 

The LR3 did an admirable job cutting through the forest and unpaved roads, not a complete surprise but an excitement nonetheless. We took plenty of photos like we always do.


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