Muscat, the capital city of the country of Oman, is truly one of the undiscovered treasures of the Middle East. The dramatic setting with the Arabian Sea on one side and the mountains on the other is a spectacular view that will have you snapping photos as soon as you set eyes on the city. Here you will a blend of the old and the new in the traditional values of a Muslim country with sprawling shopping centers that will blow your mind. The highways and transportation systems are world-class and the luxury of the hotels rival any you will find in the Western World. There are many day trips available to help you get to see the main sights. If you are looking for adventure tours in Muscat or the surrounding area call UB Cool, Oman based adventure tour agency and explore the secret destinations in Oman.
The souks of Muscat offer tourists an opportunity to buy may items at unbelievably low prices, especially 24-carat gold. The coastline offers the opportunity to engage in a wide variety of watersports activities in the temperate waters. Watch the dolphins at play just offshore, especially early in the morning.
Take a tour of the older area of the port city where you will find the Sultan’s Palace, with its two forts Jalali and Mirani guarding the entrance. These forts, which were built by the Portuguese in the late 1500’s, offer a glimpse into the culture and heritage of the country. A flight of steps from the harbour will take you inside the grandeur of Fort Jalali and you can sign your name in the gold book along with the signatures of dignitaries that have visited this location.
Museums abound in Muscat. You can spend as much time as you wish in the Oman Museum, which is housed in the Madinat Sultan Qaboos to learn the 5000 years of history of shipbuilding, Islam and the architecture of the country. Get a glimpse of everyday life when you visit the Bait Al Zubair, a museum dedicated to preserving the traditional way of life housed in a traditional Omani house. The four main exhibit rooms of the Natural History Museum will take you through the geology, physical features, sea life and the wildlife of Oman.
As one of the oldest cities in the Middle East, Muscat is a city where you have the opportunity to delve into history and culture in a big way. There are no high rise buildings in the city which gives the city a traditional Arab ambiance and any new buildings must conform to the Arab style of architecture. The Grand Mosque of the Sultan Qaboos will astound you with its many colors and lights. Take a guided tour and then take some time to look around on your own, keeping the instructions of the guide in mind so that you don’t enter any restricted areas. Women must keep their heads covered when inside.
There is no public transportation available in Muscat and visitors may have a difficult time getting around on their own. The streets are not named and the locals use landmarks to help in finding their way. Taxis are available and if you do not speak the language, you should have the name of the location you wish to visit written down so the driver can read where you want to go. When dining in Muscat, it is also essential that you follow the rules of etiquette. For example, eating with your left hand in this country is considered rude.
There are many day trips available to help you get to see the main sights of the city and the surrounding towns and villages. For Oman hiking tours, we recommend Wadi Bani Awf and Snake Canyon Hiking tour or a hike trip to Wadi Shab. One word of caution it is very hot in this country, so you do need to have your sunscreen along so you don’t become badly sunburned.