Things to Do in Muscat
Compared to the world's great cities like Singapore, Bangkok, or Dubai, the capital of Oman is the complete opposite, in a good way, of course. Muscat, a port city that is full of fresh air, dazzling souks and amazing seafood, is located on the Gulf of Oman. It is backed by the arid Hajar mountains, meaning travellers can easily hike the deserts at dawn, spot marine wildlife at sunset, and lap up the amazing Omani hospitality in between. If these reasons are not enough for you to choose Oman as your next vacation spot, keep reading and we will open your mind.
Muscat is filled with countless attractions, whether you are looking for casual sightseeing, family-friendly activities, or exclusive adults-only hangout spots. Apart from soaking up the architectural wonders and exotic culture that Muscat has to offer, the city’s unique cuisine will not leave you disappointed. This blog will be your guide to having a wonderful trip in Muscat.
The Grand Mosque
Our favourite site for all travellers has to be the Grand Mosque, which was only completed as recently as 2002. During Oman’s Sultan Qaboos rule, he has shared his wealth to provide financial backing for many of the country’s finest construction projects, but many believe that the most remarkable among all of these is the Grand Mosque. It shimmers and glistens from the top of its 50-metre gold dome right down to its pristine white marble flooring. Inside the Grand Mosque, visitors are greeted with extensive Persian carpets and enormous chandeliers. Travellers are welcomed inside from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. but it’s important to remember that male visitors should wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers, while women should be fully covered from the head to below the knee.
Souks and Boats
For those travelling with children, we have picked two worthwhile places to visit that will keep the whole family satisfied. The most magical attraction is Muttrah Souk, also known as Muttrah market. Your children will be fascinated by the colourful narrow, perfume-laden alleyways packed with shops selling exotic frankincense and myrrh, while the adults in the family can admire artwork and perfumes crafted by the locals.
Since Muscat is a city surrounded by water, travellers might as well take advantage of one of the most exciting modes of transportation – boats! Muscat offers a number of boat tour services encompassing everything ranging from dolphin spotting to island snorkelling. Both you and your little ones will definitely be amazed by the marine wildlife that is hard to find anywhere else.
Travelers looking for a romantic getaway from the busy city life will enjoy Oman’s wadis, or vertical deserts. Yes, vertical deserts do exist and they are even more exotic than they sound. These deserts consist of limestone cliffs incised with canyons. There are dozens of accessible wadis in Oman, but some of the most breathtaking ones surround Muscat. Hikers consider these wadis an absolute paradise as they can trek through the narrow channels, but fear not – those who prefer to enjoy nature in comfort can drive to these wadis too. Located in the wadis are ancient cave dwellings and old villages so long a part of the canyon that they appear to be growing out of the rock face.
After a long day trip at one of the wadis, make sure to pay a visit to the Royal Opera House. This breathtaking venue is definitely one of a kind with its astonishing interior design, which enhances your opera experience even further. The Royal Opera House showcases beautifully designed marble, inlaid wood, and arabesque designs. Here you will be able to watch world class opera and ballet performances.
Goats and Dates
Last but not least, there’s FOOD! One traditional dish which comes highly recommended, Shuwa is a must for anyone visiting Muscat. This dish is either lamb or goat, seasoned and marinated, wrapped in leaves, and carefully cooked for a long time in a pit in the ground to enhance the mouth-watering flavours of the meat. It is then served with rice. In addition to this traditional dish, dates are big in Muscat. They are always offered to any guest who enters an Omani home. Here in Muscat, dates are turned into delicacies that travellers can bring back home as souvenirs, so make sure you check out the souk so you can take a little bit of Oman away for your friends and family.