Your plane landed and you just have 24 hours to have the best experience in Muscat, what will you do?
Is it even possible to have a well-rounded experience of what the country is all about in only one day?
Making proper use of your time is essential, and just because you are here for a very short time doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on things that make Oman the land of infinite adventures.
Here’s a simple guide on how to schedule your day.
Between 5.30 and 6 AM
Many people summarise Oman as sea, sun and sand and this is quite a well-worded description. To experience the sun, head out to Riyam Park in Muttrah. It is from here that you’d see the glorious morning sunshine illuminating Muttrah Sea Road.
From Riyam Park, you have access to several key historical structures in the country — from Al Jalali Fort to Al Alam Palace even the historic villages surrounding the area. You’d also have easy access to the National Museum.
But since it’s too early, just enjoy the view, take in the surrounding and prepare yourself for a hectic schedule ahead.
Only open till 11 am, the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque should be your next stop. With its beautiful architecture, it is one of Muscat’s prized possessions with interiors that can truly wow. The main prayer room contains beautiful marble walls with intricate Islamic designs all throughout along with hand-stitched single piece carpet that is one of the largest pieces in the world! But it isn’t the only thing. In the main room also hangs a chandelier which is also one of the biggest in the world made with glittering Swarovski crystals.
Important: Both men and women are required to wear clothes that cover legs and arms. Women are required to cover their hair and neck. If unprepared, guests can rent a dress right outside the place to wear during the tour.
By this time, Muttrah or locally known as Old Muscat, would already be alive and filled with different activities. Let yourself roam the historical steps of the world famous Muttrah Souq! Here you can see for yourself one of the regions (if not the) oldest local markets in the region. Although the outside might look uplifted and sophisticated, the inside remains the same like it was back in the day with its narrow alleyways with hundreds of small little shops selling things from all over the region. Some of the famous Omani items to keep an eye out for are frankincense, Omani silver items especially jewellery, bakhoor (local Omani incense), mandoos (Omani handcrafted box), local materials and decorations, etc.
At this time, most of the souq shuts till after 4 pm, so like the shopkeeper be sure to treat yourself to some lunch! Along the road by the souq there are many restaurants that serve both local and international food, but our suggestion would be to treat yourself to a local Omani mandi or shuwaw to experience food like the locals do.
By this time, you have a few hours left to check out the inside of the National Museum. Check out the many things that make Oman unique including the oldest artifact discovered in the country — (we’re not going to spoil all the fun for you.) With the Al Alam Palace just a few steps away, indulge yourself with a few snaps.
Now with the sun about to set, the perfect place to head to will be the popular Qurum Beach. Here you can choose a lot of different activities to engage with — from jet skis and kayaks to simply just enjoying some of the food offered by the restaurants that line up the road close to the beach. Sunsets on “Love Road”, as it is popularly known, are beautiful and one can promise that they will remain a special memory forever. Before heading out of the area, be sure to walk to the end of the beach to where locals sell freshly grilled meats and fish called mishkaak which are marinaded and then served with a spicy or tangy sauce, cooked as you like.
Visible from the beach, head on over to the Royal Opera House Muscat which is not only the regions’ first opera house, but also a beautiful marble structure with lighting that makes the entire building attractive. Check out ROHM’s website and see what shows they have before hand. A night at the Opera is something you definitely don’t want to miss.
Grab dinner at one of the amazing restaurants at the Royal Opera House Muscat that not only cater to international cuisine, but also offer its guests authentic Omani cuisine.
This itinerary gives you a glimpse of what Muscat, (and Oman in general) is all about. But there are more to discover, so watch out for our next travel recommendations.