First Impression: Is this a city or a collection of mountain towns? Muscat is so spread out, it’s difficult to get a feel for the place as a city. Everyone we met was really down to earth and helpful.
Where I stayed: Mutrah Hotel. Basic, clean, nothing fancy, decent location for a city tour, we could walk to the souq from there and the restaurant across the street was pretty good.
What to wear: Conservative light and loose fabric-cover your knees, shoulders, and chest. I was there mid-October and it was still very hot!
What I did: The Grand Mosque is a must-see, woman must be covered from head to toe, men should be wearing pants not shorts. We went ‘downtown’ to see the Sultan’s Palace and the first around here. The buildings are beautiful in this area. We went to the beach for Crepes and relaxation in the afternoon. The Opera House was unfortunately closed when we went. In the evening we went to the souq to shop for silver and fabric and for dinner.
- Always ask your front desk how much a taxi ride from here to there should cost as the drivers will try to charge you double or more, there are no metres in the cabs.
- Not much to eat around Sultan’s palace so make sure you are fed and have water for maximum enjoyment. FYI the guards are friendly if you try out your Arabic on them.
- Eat Shawarma and Falafels at the souq.
- Have a Dosa for breakfast
- You can find beautiful old and original silver pieces at the souq, haggle for what you want. I bought an old man ring 10 sizes too big so I took it to a jeweller at home to cut it to my size and clean it.
Last Impression/Wishes for “next time”: Muscat was a last minute, poorly researched trip so I had no idea that Sea turtles frequented the beaches there otherwise I would have attempted to see them. I think I would stay near the beach next time. I would love to go mountain trekking and camping.