10 THINGS TO DO IN MUSCAT
Oman is a country of the Arab nation and is situated on the southeastern coast of the Arab Peninsula. The country is strategically located and holds a lot of political importance. Despite popular belief of the Middle East countries, the country of Oman is very safe. The Omani people are also very friendly and are always welcoming to the visitors. Therefore, the factor of safety should be taken away from your list of worries.
However factors like currency exchange, money and accommodation are something we cannot let go that easily. The capital of the country, Muscat, was awarded as the capital of the Middle East for tourism in the year 2012, and since then it has been receiving large number of tourists every year. So, you might find trouble in finding accommodation. Since it is one of the most developed cities in the country, it is lined up with some of the best hotels, but still, you need to find the best option as per your requirements, preferences and budget.
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Another problem is money management. If you do not have a well-devised plan, you might end up spending more money than you thought of. Since Oman has strict rules and regulations that tourists need to follow during their trip, they may end up paying hefty amounts of penalties. So, you can save this money by keeping in mind all their rules and regulations. Considering all these factors, here are some important tips or points related to currency and accommodation that you should consider when you are visiting the country of Oman.
VISIT THE SULTAN QABOOS GRAND MOSQUE
Located in the old centre of Muscat, the palace Al Alam of Sultan Qaboos is another interesting stop while exploring the capital. The Sultan’s palace lies at the end of a large avenue, boasting a bright blue and gold facade. The blue colour represents the sea and the sky of Oman, while the yellow represents both the sun and the oil found underground. Behind the palace is the sea, and next to it stands a guest house that hosts international authorities and chiefs of state who visit the country. Further up on a hilltop, with earthy colours, is the Portuguese Fort from the time Oman was ruled by the Lusitanian nation.
EXPLORE THE SURROUNDINGS OF AL ALAM PALACE
Located in the old centre of Muscat, the palace Al Alam of sultan Qaboos is another interesting stop while exploring the capital. It lies at the end of a large avenue, boasting its bright blue and yellow facade. The blue colour represents the sea and the sky of Oman, while the yellow represents both the sun and the oil found underground. Behind the palace is the sea, and next to it stands a guest house that hosts international authorities and chiefs of state who visit the country. Further up on a hilltop, with earthy colours, is the Portuguese Fort from the time Oman was ruled by the Lusitanian nation.
ATTEND THE NATIONAL DAY
The National Day in Muscat first began in 1970 and is an annual patriotic day to commemorate Oman’s independence earlier in 1650. The public holiday is traditionally celebrated with camel races, decorations and lighting in the colour of Oman’s flag (red, white and green).
Celebrated every year on the 18th of November, Omanis come together in a celebration which they prepare for all year long. It’s a time for family gatherings and public celebrations. For any tourist visiting Muscat (or anywhere in Oman) during this period, you’ll see parties and fireworks occurring in all villages and cities.
GET LOST IN THE MUTTRAH SOUK
Bazaars are often vibrant places, very common all around the Middle East. To walk along its corridors and alleys is a great way of catching a glimpse of the locals’ everyday life, even if you are not interested in buying anything. On the seafront section of Mutrah district, along the boardwalk waterfront of Corniche, is the Muttrah Souk, a true Arabic souk (open-air market) and the most popular part of Muscat. There, all types of spices are sold, together with traditional Arabic shoes, gold, fabrics and high-quality cashmere, souvenirs, decorative items and other miscellaneous trinkets.
An interesting feature is that its interior has an utterly ancient and traditional feel to it, yet the building where the souk is situated is rather modern and clean. It is worth getting lost through the neighbourhood streets nearby since the further you move away from the main avenue, the closest you get to discovering another Muscat – traditional, fascinating, and with a strong Indian influence.
GO FOR A STROLL ALONG THE MUTRAH CORNICHE
For those who enjoy people-watching or sitting on an esplanade/park bench and simply observe the surroundings, the Corniche of Muscat is a great alternative. It is a waterfront avenue with paths and viewpoints, situated in the Mutrah zone of the city, near the main entrance to the souk. The place gets particularly lively once the sun sets and temperatures lower, creating a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere, perfect for a late afternoon promenade.
SPEND AN AFTERNOON AT AL QURUM BEACH
Qurum Beach is a relaxing and enjoyable spot where to spend an afternoon in Muscat. It stretches along the Al Shati Street and into the Shati Al Qurum district where various cafes, restaurants, resorts, and the Royal Opera House can be found. At dusk, Omanis and ex-pats head to the city’s coastal areas to walk, run, play football or simply unwind.
Here you can partake in a number of exciting water sports and other activities. Whether you want a boat tour for your day trip or to just to relax by the palm trees, this beach will provide you with fun and relaxation.
VISIT THE MUSEUM OF ILLUSIONS
The Museum of Illusion in Muscat is the perfect place to take your friends and family to discover the mesmerizing world of illusion. This museum will trick your confidence in senses but will fascinate you at the same time.
The museum gives visitors the chance to simulate the eye and brain to believe things which are mind-blowing and physically impossible. It’s recommended to take many photos here to capture the memories.
TAKE A TRIP TO THE NATIONAL MUSEUM
The perfect opportunity to explore Oman’s cultural heritage from the earliest human settlement over two million years ago. The museum is dedicated to ensuring global tourists who visit understand and appreciate the cultural heritage, with the local historic architecture.
Established in 2013, the National Museum has over 5,400 artefacts and 43 digital immersive experiences. Based in the heart of Muscat, the National Museum is placed in a spectacular purpose-designed building. This is a great museum to visit if you’re travelling with children, with their learning centre, discovery areas, conservation facilities and their state-of-the-art cinema.
WATCH A CONCERT AT THE ROYAL OPERA HOUSE
The Royal Opera House is truly a piece of art and welcomes hundreds of talented young musicians to the stage each year. The venue is described as a heartwarming experience with beautiful craftsmanship. Experience a guided tour of the auditorium where you can explore the historic and breath-taking architecture whilst discovering the history behind it. If you’d rather have a spot of lunch, the Opera House (adjoined to the auditorium) offers afternoon tea at an affordable price.
Enjoy a day at the Opera Galleria for retail therapy and a bite to eat. The Opera Galleria is the new flagship shopping destination in the Royal Opera House, which is home to over 50 shops, including international brands, cafés, perfume shops and plenty of choice for dining.
VISIT THE BAIT AL ZUBAIR
The Bair Al Zubair is a museum located in Old Muscat, which welcomes tourists to view an extensive collection of valuable ancient weapons, jewellery, costumes and traditional household equipment. The museum is derived from the owner’s (Nasser Mazuri) private collection, who offers private tours at the Bait Al Zubair.
The private museum offers tourists a chance to explore the Omani culture and intricacies of the Omani society. Situated outside the museum is a replica of a traditional old village style house, it’s beautiful gardens, a traditional café and a gift shop. The museum’s grounds consists of five buildings (Bait Al Bagh, Bait Al Dalaleel, Bait Al Oud, Bait Al Nahdhah and Gallery Sarah).
If you are considering a trip to Oman, we would highly recommend a trip to one of the locations we’ve mentioned. Take what you have seen and make it a reality, but don’t forget that oman evisa! The oman visa system has changed and now you can do everything online. Find out about the things to look out for in Oman, get useful travel tips, or if you’re planning a business trip, check out our other blogs that outline these topics.