Conveniently positioned on a millennia-old commerce route which served as an necessary, pure itinerary to Mesopotamia and Persia and, in the present day, the place a big a part of world’s petrol passes by, Muscat, the capital of Oman, has been a metropolis of significant significance for hundreds of years.
Due to this fact, it doesn’t shock me that Muscat is a kind of capitals with so many layers of historical past, whose strategic location made it notably interesting for fairly a number of empires, from the Persian Sassanids to the Arabs, the Ottoman and the Portuguese, the final one being defeated in 1744 by the identical dynasty that has been ruling since then.
Immediately, Muscat is a contemporary metropolis, the place you’ll find all the luxurious the Gulf Monarchies are well-known for, but, not like Dubai, it has an actual soul, its personal character, traditions, and historical past.
It’s a captivating capital, like nowhere else within the area.
This information comprises every little thing you have to know to go to Muscat, together with locations to go to, transfer round, the place to remain and different curiosities and suggestions.
Intro to Muscat
Greatest time to go to Muscat
Orientation in Muscat
The place to remain in Muscat
How you can journey to Muscat
Locations to go to in Muscat – 3-day itinerary
Day excursions in Muscat
Transportation in Muscat
Extra suggestions for touring to Muscat
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Muscat is a metropolis that has been rising on me.
I’ve visited Muscat a number of occasions, the primary time in 2014, and the final one in December 2018.
After I first visited it, I really didn’t prefer it a lot.
We had come through the totally sizzling and humid month of July, plus we had executed completely no analysis concerning the metropolis, as we had been simply anticipating to hang around within the metropolis’s downtown for some time, but it surely seems that Muscat doesn’t actually have a metropolis middle. It’s a metropolis composed of a number of cities situated all over, so for those who don’t actually know the place to go, you simply find yourself seeing vast avenues and site visitors.
However then, I saved coming again, with just a little extra information and touring expertise, so I began discovering all these neighborhoods and locations to go to in Muscat, one after the other, studying about its nice historical past and hanging out with the sort Omanis.
What I like about Muscat is that, not like different capitals within the area, they didn’t have to waste cash in constructing extravagant buildings to be able to seem within the World Guinness Information, I suppose as a result of they didn’t have to, as folks journey to Muscat as a result of it is a actual, welcoming metropolis, inhabited by down-to-Earth Omanis who will bless you with their kindness and hospitality.
Learn: Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) journey information
Greatest time to go to Muscat
You will need to journey to Muscat throughout the correct season:
- Summer season: Keep away from it, completely. Temperatures common 45ºC, plus this can be very humid, day and night time. Mainly, life stops just about throughout this season.
- Autumn and spring: Summers are lengthy, so attempt to additionally keep away from late spring and early autumn as a result of the climate will nonetheless be fairly insufferable.
- Winter: Greatest time to journey to Muscat. Nice climate all day lengthy.
Learn: What to do in Dubai in 1 week
How you can orientate in Muscat
Muscat is sort of a linear metropolis that stretches over 70km following the shoreline.
Town is unfold out, making it unattainable to stroll, and troublesome to maneuver round by public transportation, and it’s composed of a number of neighborhoods, so totally different from one another that they might actually be like small cities, most of them not being walking-friendly both.
Which means that Muscat isn’t a kind of cities the place you simply go for a random stroll and see what you stumble upon, however planning forward earlier than leaving your resort or home is a should.
Sultan Qaboos Avenue is a multi-lane freeway that goes by the center of town, making it fairly straightforward to orientate, as regardless of the place you go, you have to enter it after which depart it on the respective exit.
It’s a weirdly deliberate metropolis, however the reality is that each one capitals within the Gulf Monarchies are deliberate in the same means however, when you get used to, it needs to be straightforward to navigate.
The place to remain in Muscat
Muscat could be very huge, so you will need to select the correct lodging primarily based in your most well-liked space. Right here is a few steering.
Ruwi – For finances vacationers and backpackers. It’s like Little India, the place you discover one of the best and least expensive Indian eating places and it has essentially the most handy location, as it’s near every little thing and it’s the place the primary bus station is. Superb for individuals who don’t have a automotive.
In Qurum: The place expats stay in, so you discover the biggest choice of Western-style eating places, bars, lodges, and the nicest seaside.
In Outdated Muscat – Cheaper than Qurum and near Oman’s predominant points of interest. Good for sightseeing.
How you can journey to Muscat
- Touring to Muscat by air – Muscat Worldwide Airport is rising so, in the present day, you discover loads of connections with a number of cities in Europe and Asia. However, I like to recommend you test the flights to Dubai first, as it’s often cheaper.
- Touring to Muscat by land – Oman shares a border with UAE, Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
- UAE – Touring from Dubai to Muscat is a 400km drive. You may come by automotive however there are additionally buses from Bur Dubai. Learn my 1-week itinerary to the UAE
- Saudi – Apparently, the border was lately opened, however there aren’t any buses and it’s really quicker going by UAE, which might be a 1,300km drive from Riyadh to Muscat. Learn my journey information to Saudi Arabia.
- Yemen – The border is open however it’s a very lengthy drive and, most probably, you gained’t be coming from there.
- Touring to Muscat by boat – You may come by ferry from Musandam, an exclave inside UAE that belongs to Oman. Learn my Musandam journey information.
Locations to go to in Muscat – 3-day itinerary
Primarily, there are four neighborhoods value visiting in your Muscat itinerary: Mutrah, Al-Bustan, Ruwi and Al-Qurum.
After which you have got Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque which is situated someplace on Sultan Qaboos Street.
Map of the issues to do in Muscat
Locations to go to in Muscat on day 1 – Mutrah and Al-Bustan
Mutrah and Al-Bustan, the final one being the precise Outdated Muscat, had been two separate cities, or localities, whose harbors used to compete with one another someway, Mutrah primarily serving because the participating harbor of Al-Bustan, subsequently Muscat.
Nevertheless, Mutrah additionally grew to become a affluent city for the easy motive that Muscat was not simply accessible by land, as a result of mountains, so the camel caravans most well-liked to enter the area through Mutrah.
They had been two cities that complemented one another and in the present day, they’re the precise soul of town and the place essentially the most fascinating locations to go to in Muscat are.
Issues to do in Mutrah
Fish Market – From large tuna to marlin, this is among the greatest locations to go to in Muscat and the best fish market I’ve ever visited within the Gulf, higher than the one which was once in Dubai, for the easy motive that right here, the stalls are run by native Omanis. Attempt to go early, round 6-7am, when the market is busier. If you happen to come at 9-10am, among the stalls are already empty.
Mutrah Souq and lanes – Mutrah Souq is yet one more souq and, truthfully, my one in every of my least favourite issues to do in Muscat, because it has develop into a touristic souq stuffed with souvenirs and really annoying sellers who don’t allow you to benefit from the place. There are, nonetheless, some components of the souq the place the locals purchase, just like the Gold Souq, however total, after visiting tens of souqs throughout the Center East, this one isn’t notably thrilling.
Extra fascinating for me was wandering round Mutrah’s maze of streets, discovering conventional outlets and kind-hearted Omanis, but in addition a big Indian and Bengali inhabitants. You’ll discover that this space is definitely inhabited by the Omani poor, one thing you’ll by no means see in Qatar or UAE, which ends up in the conclusion that Oman is a traditional nation.
Shia District (Sur Al Lawatia) – Like most Shia communities across the Arab world dwelling in primarily Sunni nations, the Omani Shia inhabitants dwelling in Sur Al Lawatia is paranoid about outsiders, because the small Shia districts have at all times been a goal for terrorist teams similar to ISIS, particularly in Lebanon. I learn that guests should not welcome within the space, however I did enter and no person stated something to me. Nevertheless, cover your digital camera and don’t take photographs, not even together with your telephone.
Corniche – A cool place to stroll round and take photos of Mutrah’s skyline. Additionally, take a look at the harbor, the place the Sultan’s spectacular non-public yacht is anchored – when he isn’t utilizing it.
Mutrah Fort – Constructed by the Portuguese within the 16th century throughout their rule, Mutrah’s fort dominates the jap fringe of Mutrah. The fort isn’t very thrilling however the views are nice and entrance is free.
Issues to do in Al-Bustan (Outdated Muscat)
Al-Bab al Kabir (Muscat Gate Museum) – This superbly renovated constructing was once the primary entrance to Muscat and in the present day, it has a museum that showcases the historical past and growth of Oman.
Al Mirani Fort – Additionally constructed by the Portuguese within the 16th century, that is my favourite fort to go to in Muscat (there’s a third one seen from right here named Al Jalali) however you aren’t allowed to enter. Nevertheless, from outdoors you have got nice views of the Outdated Harbor and a special perspective of Sultan Qaboos’ non-public palace.
Al Alam Palace – The Sultan’s non-public residence design appears to have been taken from Aladdin’s film. You may’t enter, and I doubt they provide excursions, however the exterior of the constructing is exclusive.
Nationwide Museum – It showcases the historical past of Oman, from the primary human proof 5 million years in the past to in the present day. Entrance prices 5OR (13USD), which is sort of expensive for a museum on this area, as each Riyadh and Dubai’s nationwide museums value a number of cents.
Issues to do in Muscat on day 2 – Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque and Ruwi
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque – Of all of the vacationer locations in Muscat, that is, undoubtedly, essentially the most visited one. A fully excellent mosque primarily fabricated from marble that has one of many largest Persian carpets on this planet, weighing 600 tonnes of effective wool and cotton in 28 colours and made by 600 feminine weavers. It additionally has an enormous chandelier which was once the most important on this planet, till its neighbor Abu Dhabi constructed a much bigger one for the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
A tremendous mosque, actually. Attempt to go there early as a result of it’s value spending two hours a minimum of and it solely opens from eight until 11am (for non-Muslims). On Friday, the mosque is closed. Do not forget that males ought to cowl their knees and ladies their head, shoulders, and legs. Entrance is free.
Ruwi – Skipped by most vacationers however, in my view, one of many prime locations to go to in Muscat, Ruwi was once a small village hooked up to Muscat and Mutrah and, in the present day is popularly known as Little India, just like Deira in Dubai, as most of its inhabitants are Indians, Bengalis, and Pakistanis, from many alternative social and financial ranges.
Which means that right here you discover the biggest choice of superb Indian eating places, most of them being very low-cost. Within the night, Ruwi’s souq will get very busy, particularly on Friday.
I used to be really staying right here throughout my final go to to Muscat, as it’s low-cost, has one of the best meals, is near every little thing and has the primary bus station to go wherever in Muscat and Oman, together with a direct bus from the airport.
What to do in Muscat on day 3 – Al Qurum
Sit back within the expat space – If you would like a change from Arabic and Indian meals, this a part of Al Qurum (highlighted within the map) has a wide variety of eating places and outlets of all types, from French bakeries to seafood eating places and several other worldwide chains. The realm additionally has 5-star lodges the place you’ll find bars. I had a beer on the Dealer Vic’s inside Intercontinental Resort.
For that reason, that is the place most Western expats stay, and you will notice that it’s really a very totally different world from Ruwi and Mutrah.
Al Qurum Seashore – The perfect and cleanest seaside within the metropolis, alongside whose shores coconut palms develop, which offers a type of Caribbean contact. Native households additionally come right here for a picnic on weekends.
Royal Opera Home – Some of the iconic buildings in Muscat is the Royal Opera Home. I like to recommend you come right here at sundown, when the constructing partitions purchase a fantastic orange coloration and, when it will get darkish, they gentle it up with totally different colours. You may enter the primary corridor however, if you wish to go to all the constructing, you have to go on a tour, which prices 5OR.
Day excursions in Muscat
If you wish to go to Muscat on a tour, together with day journeys, I strongly advocate the fellows from GetYourGuide, as they provide a big number of excursions at a aggressive value, plus you’ll be able to ebook them on-line with only one click on. These are among the excursions they provide:
Muscat half-day metropolis tour – A straightforward approach to discover town. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE
Nizwa day journey from Muscat – Go to one of many oldest cities in Oman. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE
Wahiba Sands and Wadi Bani Khalid – Go to the precise desert dunes and to one of many biggest wadis. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE
Dolphin watching and snorkeling – The waters outdoors of Muscat are filled with dolphins and an unbelievable marine life. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE
CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL THE AVAILABLE TOURS IN MUSCAT!
Transportation: How you can transfer round Muscat
Attending to and from the airport:
- By taxi – I like to recommend you obtain both Uber or Careem however, for those who don’t have web entry, a taxi journey to Mutrah for instance, ought to value round 6-8OR. Notice that they may attempt to cost you extra.
- By bus – There’s a crimson bus that goes all the best way to Ruwi alongside Sultan Qaboos Street, so relying on the place you’re staying, it may be very handy.
Transferring round Muscat by common taxi – If you happen to don’t have a automotive, taxis are the best way to go in Muscat. They don’t have taximeters, nonetheless, and taxi drivers from Muscat are actually annoying as a result of they at all times attempt to rip off vacationers. Like I stated, your greatest guess will likely be utilizing both Careem or Uber.
Renting a automotive – Renting a automotive will really be cheaper than relying on a regular basis in taxis. I like to recommend you ebook it by Rental Vehicles, a search engine that discover you one of the best automotive delas in Muscat and any metropolis.
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE LATEST CAR RENTAL DEALS IN MUSCAT
Bus – The bus that goes all the best way from the airport to Ruwi stops in a bunch of locations in between, together with the Opera Home (Qurum) and close to Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. There’s additionally a bus that goes from Ruwi to Mutrah. A single ticket prices a most of 500 baisas, relying on the place you go.
Hitchhiking – For finances backpackers, I’ve to say that hitchhiking inside Muscat is pretty straightforward, so don’t be afraid of doing it! Omanis are tremendous type and love assembly foreigners! For extra finances suggestions, learn my backpacking suggestions for Oman.
Additional suggestions for touring to Muscat
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