Muscat: Our first foot on Sultanate of Oman

By far Muscat is the capital and largest city of Oman. We decided to visit this place on a business trip but we made it Business cum leisure and yet we landed and covered one more destination on our checklist. Being an Indian passport holder, we were left with  minimum choice of country which offers Visa free. Again Oman is not an exception, though government has recently announced Visa on arrival for Indian passport holders. if they carry Permanent residency or Long term visa of countries like US, UK, Australia, Schengen etc.

We had US visa on our passport which made it simple to apply and get the visa within 24 hours of application. You can get round-trip ticket from as low as 10k INR from Mumbai. Yes, it’s that cheap. So getting a trip to Oman can be budget friendly too.

Let us share our experience about this place and what to see and do if you happened to visit this place sooner or later.

Explore the City:  Our impression of this city before visiting was like some dessert and under developed city probably but we were amazed to see how developed the city was infrastructure wise. Being less populated it feels good to drive around and explore the vibes of the city. There are no skyscrapers except few in downtown but mostly commercial. The houses are coloured in white or off white; this makes this place uniform and beautiful to look around.

People: The locals of this city are generally very humble and welcoming if compared to other neighboring Middle East countries. You will find them friendly and easy to talk to at any level; from taxi driver to Govt employee.

Some of these places below which you should not miss

Grand Mosque

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When in Oman there is one attraction that stands out from the rest, The Sultan Qaboos Grand mosque. This chandelier is located in the center of the men’s prayer hall and measures a staggering 14 meters and weighs 8,5 tons. It holds 600,000 shining bright Swarovski crystals, 24 carat gold plating and took more than four years to complete. The Mosque is embellished in beautiful, colorful mosaic patterns. There is no official number stating how many stones have been used, but it is sure an astounding sight.

Al Alam Palace

The front of the Sultan's Palace.

The Al Alam Palace is the ceremonial palace of Sultan Qaboos of Oman. The palace is located in the heart of the Old Muscat

Royal Opera House

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The Royal Opera House Muscat  is Oman’s premier venue for musical arts and culture. The opera house is located in Shati Al-Qurm district of Muscat on Sultan Qaboos Street.

Al Jalali Fort

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Al Jalai Fort is a fort in the harbor of Old Muscat, Oman. The fort was built by the Portuguese Empire. Today little remains of the Portuguese period apart from a few inscriptions in that language. It has been converted into a museum of Omani cultural history.[6] It is open to important people such as visiting heads of state, but not to the public.

National Museum

The National Museum of the Sultanate of Oman is the Sultanate’s flagship cultural institution, showcasing the nation’s heritage from the earliest human settlement in the Oman Peninsula some two million years ago through to the present day.

Mutrah Souk

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The main thoroughfare of the souq carries mainly household goods, shoes and ready-made garments. Further inside, there are mixed smells of frankincense, perfume oils, fresh jasmine, and spices. There are also tiny shops (on the side streets and alleyways leading up to the souq with Omani silver, stalls of white dish dashas and embroidered kumahs, brightly colored cloth, and multicoloured head scarves. 

Wahiba Sands (if possible)

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Though we missed this one, but we would surely like to visit on our next visit if we happen to come again. A desert safari here is worth considering.

A trip of 3-4 days is enough to explore this beautiful city, though some people might want to stay longer to explore some other destinations. Overall the budget and people friendly country must make it to you must visit list.

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