Muscat is the capital of Oman. It is a metropolitan area where you get the feel of city life in Oman. If you are a tourist visiting Oman for first time, you would want to explore Muscat for a few days as you head to the picturesque mountains, wadis and sand dunes around Oman. There is also a good number of expats working at the wilayats or provinces found in the interior areas of Oman which has a simpler way of living with few to none shopping malls and not much of a city life. So some expats, especially those who wanted to do a bit of shopping, misses the urban life from time to time and wanted a change of scenery, often would visit Muscat for a day or sometimes would have a 2-3 day staycation in affordable hotels in the city.
If you are an expat living far from Muscat planning a 3-day staycation or a tourist visiting Oman, here are a few suggestions to do in Muscat:
Disclaimer: I am have been living in Oman for only 10 months so these list would be a work in progress as I discover more things to do in Muscat.
1. Stroll around the malls
The malls in Oman may not be superior to other malls I have visited in other countries but it is the best place to start when you are in Oman. If you are one of the expats I mentioned earlier living in the interior areas of Oman and who is craving for some taste of the city life, the malls will quench your thirst for a bit of metropolitan living that you are missing. Check out the sales in malls because the prices can drop really low and give you a very good bargain. The malls have lots of food place options that would satisfy all palates. Try out new dishes, local Omani cuisine or the dishes you really miss from your own home country.
Usual malls to visit are:
Do your groceries at Lulu and Carrefour. They carry great products and most of what you need for your next cooking experiment or your current food snack cravings.
2. Walk at the Muttrah Corniche and shop at the Souq
Mutrah Corniche is one of Muscat’s panoramic tourist area to visit, an attractive scenic promenade stretching 3km along the waterfront. It is lovely to walk around the corniche area just before sunset, enjoying the breeze, the sunset and the scenery. Several tourist spot are found in area too. You can find the Mutrah Souq nearby, one of the world’s oldest Arabian markets.
Mutrah Souq is known to be one of the oldest Arabian markets in the world. Entering the souq is like transporting yourself into the world of Aladdin. You get to have wonderful finds from intricate vintage artifacts perfect for house decors & collection, bestselling aromatic frankincense, gold and precious jewels, colorful hand-made purses & glass lanterns, pashiminas and unique shiny sandals. I found some lovely lamps there too that I get to rub hoping there is Genie inside to grant my 3 wishes. It is the perfect place to go for tourists to buy souvenirs during their visit in Oman. Highly recommended place to stop-by when you are in Oman.
3. Visit Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
One of the places you need to visit if you are in Muscat is the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque dedicated to their beloved peace-loving Sultan that recently passed away the start of the year. It is a magnificent structure that is beautiful beyond words. The mosque was completed in 2001 and took six years to build. It covers a massive area of 416,000 square meters, and can hold up to 20,000 worshipers. The mosque is embellished in beautiful mosaic pattern that is purely an impressive art form. The mosque is open from 8:00 am to 11:00 am for non-Muslims every day except Friday.
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is one of the only mosques that allows non-Muslims visitors. Men and women must dress conservatively in long trousers and covered shoulders. Women must also cover their hair. One thing I learned from living abroad and travelling is that we must respectful of the culture of the country we are going to. Observe the rules of the country you are visiting. Let us be gracious visitors to the countries that has welcomed us in.
4. Check out Al Mouj Marina
Al Mouj Marina is located at Al Mouj, Muscat, which features the exclusive luxury yachting lifestyle in Oman. It is a great area to visit. It is found in close proximity to The Wave where you find great variety of restaurant, specialty boutiques, posh residential units and hotels.
An old highschool schoolmate in Saudi Arabia who is currently working as a doctor here in Oman for years now took me to this lovely place in Muscat when I just arrived in the country. You will find lots of Caucasian expats strolling around with their spouses and children. Most of them have residential units in the area. There are a good number of classy, more upperclass restaurants available in the area, perfect for date nights or girls’ night out for chats & a cold glass of beverage of your choice.
5. See the sunset at Qurum Beach
If you detest malls and want more of nature in Muscat, visit Qurum Beach. It stretches to 4 kilometres along the Muscat coastline. It is a great place for relaxing. You can just bring a thermos of your favorite coffee and sit the area near the beach, sipping your hot drink. You can go for a jog there too. They have a nice walkway for people who enjoys strolling, jogging or walking their dogs while taking in the wonderful scenery. There a lot of restaurants, cafes, bars that offer alcoholic drinks in the area. You can book watersports activities like jetskiing, parasailing and kayaking at Crowne Plaza found at the far end of the beach.
We visited Qurum Beach last night near sunset and the sky was a sight to behold with its pink tint painted in the horizon. We enjoyed yummy pancakes & crepes at The Crepe Cafe, which we enjoyed eating alfresco overlooking the beach. If you prefer more savory dishes, try out Slider Station.
6. Bring your kids to the Snow Park and Oman Aquarium at Mall of Muscat
If you have kids or are kids-at–heart, you can check out the Snow Park and Oman Aquarium in Mall of Muscat.
Here are prices and details for Snow Park Oman Aquarium:
We have been to the Snow Park during Christmas. It is a small area with a big slide for adults and kids that would reach a height requirement. There is an area to play “fake” snow and a little playground for little kids. Make sure to bring your own jackets because the park will not provide you with jackets and it is super cold inside.
We haven’t visited the Oman Aquarium to see what is inside. But you can also grab a table at Starbucks in the mall and there is a big glass window in the cafe where you see the fishes swimming in the Oman Aquarium.
There you go, 6 possible activities you can do in Muscat. Do share with me if you know more Muscat fun activities.