Oman, One Of The Hidden Gems Of The Middle East
In early 2014, one of my friends said he was heading to Muscat, Oman for work. As I’d not been to Oman before and was always intrigued, plus I want to visit all the countries in the world, this was a no-brainer.
I flew from Dubai, United Arab Emirates (DXB), after spending the night and took a very early flight compliments of FlyDubai to the capital city of Muscat, Oman. I had zero expectations, but to explore the country, meet its people and have a good time. Plus I have a friend who also lives there so I had made plans to link up.
What I found what that the Omanis are very friendly people who welcomed me to their country. I had quite the fun time interacting with them and just having a wonderful time. Here’s what you need to know when visiting.
Muscat International Airport
The Muscat International Airport is about 29 minutes drive from Mutrah, the seaside hub of the activities in Oman.
Scheduled Service Airlines Serving Muscat, Oman (MCT):
Air Arabia (G9), Air Blue (PA), Air France (AF), Air India (AI), Air India Express (IX), Azerbaijan Airlines (J2), BS, Biman Bangladesh Airlines (BG), British Airways (BA), British Intl (BS), Eqyptair (MS), Emirates (EK), Estonian Air (OV), Ethiopian Airlines (ET), Etihad Airways (EY), FlyDubai (FZ), Gulf Air (GF), IndiGo Airlines (6E), Iran Aseman (EP), Jet Airways (9W), KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KL), Kuwait Airways (KU), Oman Air (WY), Pakistan International Airlines (PK), Pegasus Airlines (PC), Qatar Airways (QR), Regent Airways (RX), Saudi Arabian Airlines (SV), Shaheen Air (NL), Spicejet (SG), SriLankan (UL), Swiss Airlines (LX), Thai Airways (TG) and Turkish Airlines (TK).
Cargo Airlines Serving Muscat, Oman (MCT)
Cargolux (CV), DHL and Martinair Cargo.
Oman Air (WY)
If looking for a low fare, book at the Web sites for the low cost carriers as you’ll more than likely get the best value there.
There is an Oman Air Premium Lounge here. You can find additional information here.
Airport To The City
Walk to the nearby highway and take a local minivan from the bus stop to the city center. Or you may take a taxi for about 7 Rials.
Airport Area Hotels
Golden Tulip Seeb
Omani rial (OMR)
Arabic. English is spoken as well, but not widely.
For most citizens, visa is on arrival. Otherwise, you can apply online. Use this link to check visa requirements. Here is some additional information for U.S. Citizens.
As there are a lot of immigrant workers in Oman, the food is quite diverse. Here are some photos of a few things I saw.
Where to Stay
There are places to stay in all price range in Oman. You can do the Ritz Carlton if you like or a modest Guest House. Use the box below to find a place to stay.
Things To Do in Oman
Check out Muscat
So this is the capital and where the Sultan’s Palace is located. Not much happens here, its just has the parliamentary offices and other buildings. But its worthwhile visiting. All the action is in Mutrah.
I did not make it to Nizwa, but am told its worthwhile going. You’ll have to get one of the minivans to take you there.
In the town of Mutrah, there are many souks; these are traditional markets where you get any and everything. Some of the walkways are very narrow and some shops are literally laden with gold. You can also get frankincense and myrrh. As a matter of fact, Oman is believed to be have been and perhaps still is the center of the frankincense trade.
Visit the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
If you make it to Oman, this is a must see. Be sure and check the visiting times though and ensure that you observe the rules of dress and conduct.
– This is the heart of the country. It’s right by the port where all the cruise ships arrive and its bustling with activity. There is no shortage of cab at the port as you can see below.
The esplanade that is build around the port is amazing. You can pretty much walk as far as the eye can see. You also get a great view of the Al Riyam Park you see above. Just take some time to enjoy the views from this seaside port. If you don’t want to walk, you may also rent bikes.
Visit the Fish Market in Mutrah
This is located close to the cruise ship port. I love to visit fish markets as you learn so much about the people and their culture. If you don’t like fish blood and guts though, stay away.
Visit a Wadhi
A Wadhi is a valley in Oman, typically with a river running through it. I visited one just outside the city of Muscat and its pretty amazing. Its like finding an oasis in the desert really. This particular one actually has a cave at the end of it and you have to swim between this very narrow opening to get in the cave. But once you do, its pretty amazing. Caution, you must be a strong swimmer to make it as you do have to swim quite a bit to get there.