Opened in 2011, this museum is made up of a cluster of houses and comprises three distinct sections. The '''Old House''' is set up with furnishings and displays appropriate to an Omani house between 1950 and 1970, i.e. before the accession of Sultan Qaboos. The still unopened '''Clothes Museum''' exhibits traditional Omani clothing as well as international costumes, and the '''Modern Art Museum''' displays modern artworks from Omani and international artists, hosting occasional special exhibits.
This short hike takes the walker away from the modern world of Muscat and also offers fantastic views of the rugged mountains surrounding the capital city. The path begins in Riyam Park, and follows a 5000-year-old trail used by miners to an abandoned village, then finally finishes near Mutrah Souq. Allow for 1.5-2 hours, with an additional 20-minute return walk along the Corniche. A decent trail map can be found [http://www.trekkingoman.com/content/tio_c38.html here].
A collection of about half a dozen medium sized shopping centres which is very popular with locals. The actual Sabco Centre has a small souq-like collection of shops that contains many of the handicrafts that are available in the Mutrah Souq. There is also a '''Godiva Chocolates''' shop (tel. +968 24 562367). Opposite the Sabco Centre is the '''Omani Craftsman's House''' that only sells guaranteed Made in Oman crafts at fixed (but relatively high) prices.
This German-operated center conducts diving trips and PADI certification courses. The private beach is open to day visitors (OMR2 on weekdays, OMR4 on weekends), and it is possible to stay overnight in one of their beach bungalows (OMR49-176, depending on season and size of party; breakfast and dinner included). There is no public transportation to this area, so visitors will need to take a taxi or rental car.
The maze-like souq (marketplace) is often described as the best in the Gulf region. The souq has many shops for jewellery, traditional Omani handicrafts and Omani food at reasonable prices. Some specific items to look for include Arab hand-embroidered mussar (shawls intended to be worn as turbans, OMR10+), garments, nuts, spices, incense, and earthenware. A few shops accept credit cards.
This is the third largest mosque in the world and mostly the entire complex is open to non-Muslim visitors; ladies are however expected to keep their heads, ankles and wrists covered while visiting the mosque. Must-sees in the mosque include the Swarovski crystal chandelier, the second largest hand made Persian carpet in the world, and the marble panelling.
Ferries arrive weekly from Khasab to the main port in Mutrah, departing every Saturday at 11:30 and arriving five hours later. Ferries departing from Mutrah leave every Thursday at noon. All ferries have free Wi-Fi, with lunch, snacks and beverages included in the ticket price. You should get your ferry ticket in advance to ensure your place on the boat.
Built as a prison in the rocky mountains in the 1580s during the Portuguese occupation, now converted into a museum devoted to Omani heritage. Unfortunately the fort is only opened to visiting dignitaries and heads of state and not open to the general public, but it's still possible to climb the steep stairs up to the top and to enjoy the view.
Flights from Amritsar on Wednesday and Friday (duration of flight 3hrs 15min, from Delhi on W, F (duration of flight 5 hrs 20min), from Kochi on Tu, Th and Su (duration of flight 3h35), from Kozhikode on F, Sa, Su (duration of flight 3h25), from Thiruvanantahapuram on Tu, Th-Su (duration of flight 3h45, or 5h20 if flight goes via Cochin).
This is the office of Sultan Qaboos, ruler of Oman. This beautiful palace stands on the head of a natural deep water harbour and is guarded on either side by the twin forts of Mirani and Jelali. Visitors are not allowed to visit the palace, but they are allowed to take photographs at the entrance of the palace.
This beach is quiet during the day, and more lively in early evenings. There are some small, excellent coral reefs just a short distance from the shore, suitable even for novice snorkelers. Clown fish, parrot fish, sea cucumbers, and occasionally sea turtles and rays can be spotted here.
Located on the beach road that goes between the Crown Plaza Hotel and the Intercontinental Hotel. It is so close that if you cross the road, you are on the beach. The larger drinks are about OMR2-2.2, but the view through the glass wall of the waves coming into the beach is excellent.
This boat was built in the dhow yards of Sur, south of Muscat. In 1980 Tim Severin and a crew of Omanis sailed in this vessel from Oman to Guangzhou, China in an effort to recreate the legendary voyages of Sindbad. Severin wrote about the undertaking in his book 'The Sindbad Voyage'.
This excellent museum is housed in a building built in 1845 as a royal summer home. The lower level has displays on Oman's history, and the upper level examines Oman's international relations and military history. All visitors are given a mandatory military escort.
This Portuguese watchtower has also been restored, and although the tower itself is closed to the public, the hill can be climbed for some great views of Mutrah and the Corniche. There is no clearly-defined path to the top; the easiest access is from the northwest.
Part of the international luxury chain. In Bar al Jissah, which is about 30 minutes outside central Muscat. The hotel can be challenging to find, so make sure you have a good map if you are driving. The Shangri-La is on a beautiful section of the coastline.
Nearly 300 avian species have been spotted here, some during migrations and others living here year-round. The wetlands were developed by the Haya Water company, which offers guided tours, bookable [http://www.haya.com.om/tabid/121/Default.aspx online].
This is a family-oriented beach, with picnic benches and shaded areas. In the evening near the desalination plant there are several food trucks which offer good and inexpensive fare, including grilled meat and fish, lentil soup, and potato salads.
These two easy treks offer beautiful views over the coastline. Both trails begin in Bandar Jissah. Trail map for [http://www.trekkingoman.com/content/tio_c52.html C52]; trail map for [http://www.trekkingoman.com/content/tio_c53.html C53].
78 rooms, each a 32” LCD TV, DVD player. Amenities include a restaurant serving Mughlai and Afghani dishes, an open to sky Atrium with children’s play area and dining facilities, and ballrooms for wedding receptions and functions.
A large, photogenic ruined mud-brick fortress in a scenic location. Behind the fortress are scattered ruins and a long rampart wall, still unexcavated. Along the ridgeline in the hills are some prehistoric beehive graves.
Runs buses to Muscat from Dubai (duration of journey: 6 hrs). Within Oman there are daily buses to Muscat from Buraimi (via Sohar), Nizwa (2hrs 20min), Salalah (13 hrs, reservation required), Sanaw and Sur (4 hrs 15 min).
Traditional Omani food served in a traditional setting. There is an outdoor seating area for shisha smokers, and a surprisingly good selection of vegetarian options. Reservations are recommended, particularly on weekends.
Conducts diving trips and a full range of PADI courses, as well as dolphin-watching tours. Diving destinations include the Damaniyat Islands, Fahal Island and Bhandra Kharan, with other destinations depending on demand.
Amouage perfume is the most expensive perfume in the world, and visitors can learn about its production. It is recommended (but not required) to call beforehand to ensure that someone is available to show you around.
This renovated house from the 1930s has exhibits illustrating the history of Muscat. The lower level is devoted to pre-history and palaeontology, while the upper level is devoted to human history and ethnography.
Built at the same time as Al Jalali Fort which it faces across the harbor. This fort has also been converted to a museum which is closed to the general public, but it can be freely appreciated from the outside.
This place is mentioned in various guidebooks as the only 'authentic' Omani restaurant in town - and its fame means that this is now popular with tourists. The food is acceptable, if a bit pricey.
Held annually from late January to early February, this month-long event celebrates Omani culture and traditions with demonstrations, food, dance and music performances, and other entertainment.
The recently renovated corniche area is a popular place for a walk and also for its many not-so-expensive eating places. There are also good view of the fishing dhows in the harbour.
This stunning building is the venue for a wide range of performing arts, including western classical music, classical Arabian music, jazz and flamenco, and ballet and modern dance.
This museum marks the location of the old city wall, and has the original city gates which were used until the 1970s. The location offers good views of Old Muscat and the palace.
A full-dome digital system, which can accommodate up to 60 visitors. Two shows a week are presented in English; call or email to confirm times and to make reservations.
Built by the Portuguese in the 1580s, this fort is not open to the public, but visitors are permitted to climb up the hill to the outside for a good view of the area.
No facilities except open showers. Clean and well-maintained, with places offering jetskis for rent near the Intercontinental. This beach gets very busy on weekends.
Built originally to house a regional conference in the mid-80s, the hotel is famous for its brunches. Worth visiting just to check out the lobby and hotel grounds.
This park also has a small funfair with rides. Great views can be had from the giant incense burner perched on the hillside. Visited in ''The Amazing Race 9''.
A bustling flea market with everything from jewellery, camping gear, carpets and even cars. There is a section with clothing, and food stalls are also nearby.
Oman Avenues Mall is the largest shopping mall in Oman. Offers shopping, dining, kid zones and entertainment to locals and international tourists.
Operates flights to Muscat from many airports in the Middle East, Asia and Europe. Domestically operates flights to/from Salalah and Khasab.
Has extensive rose gardens, a large manmade waterfall, a lake and an amusement park which is a must to visit during the Muscat Festival.
The museum itself features displays on Omani social history, while tours are frequently run of the neighbouring reconstructed townhouse.
Located directly on the beach, with onsite restaurant and bar, gym, tennis court, outdoor pool, and free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel.
The most popular Turkish restaurant in Muscat, with excellent fish dishes. Take-away and delivery available in the Al Khuwair area.
A chain of supermarkets sells a wide range of items.. Many of them are on the main Sultan Qaboos highway making them easy to spot.
A fortified house built at the beginning of the 20th century, now restored and with excellent views from the top of the building.
This small museum has displays detailing the relations between France and Oman, with many colonial objects from the 19th century.
A tired and run down hotel that is more the standard of a third world back packer establishment, but has an interesting bar.
This private museum has six permanent displays explaining the formation of, and modern extraction of oil and natural gas.
Has interesting displays of Omani currency, both coin and notes, with specimens from early history to the present day.
Customs suits costing from OMR50-60 each in fabrics from pure wool, wool blends, Cashmere, Mohair, Angora and linen.
Has good views of the harbor, but with two nightclubs is quite noisy at night. Free wi-fi available only in lobby.
This small museum has a good collection of archaeological exhibits, and is worth visiting for the excellent views.
Flies from Amman to Muscat on Tu, Th, F and Su, arriving in Muscat next morning (from JOD535 return, Sept 2010).
This is an opulent building designed by a Yemeni prince in what seems almost a parody of Arabian palace styles.
Known for good drinks as well as good food. Reservations recommended if you come here for dinner. Expensive.
This is a long stretch of beach, with some sections quite busy, and some sections accessible only with 4WD.
This location is particularly convenient if you're looking to stock up before heading to the mountains.
Embassy closed in 2011 for budgetary reasons; nearest diplomatic mission is in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
This restored Portuguese watchtower on the waterfront is a good place to catch views of the sunset.
Offers flights from Cairo to Muscat M, W-F, arriving in Muscat next morning, duration of flight 4h.
A free weekly newspaper offering light reading, published every weekend by the ''Times of Oman''.
Daily flights from Frankfurt to Muscat with a technical stop in Abu Dhabi, duration of flight 8h.
Offers less expensive food than the other Chedi outlets, with the same understated chic ambience.
Sells prized Omani silver, crafted into contemporary jewellery and gifts in a Muscat workshop.
A small glossy magazine with tips on tourism, local trips and eating-out, published monthly.
In the centre of Ruwi and close to the main commercial area. A popular choice for tourists.
Oman's favourite supermarket chain with a branch off Sultan Qaboos Street in Al-Khuwair.
Traditional Omani seafood. Reservations strongly recommended; smart casual, nonsmoking.
A gallery representing primarily Omani artists, and a few Oman-based western artists.
Fast Arabian/Lebanese-style food available for takeaway or eat-in on the first floor.
This gallery is operated by a non-profit group which encourages cottage industries.
One of Oman's most-widely distributed English newspaper, also available in print.
Flights from Islamabad on M, W, Th, Sa and Su and from Peshawar on W, Th and Sa.
Oman's oldest English newspaper, printed Sa-Th, available online and in print.
Exceptional, traditional Omani dishes with a modern twist, very highly rated.
There is another Carrefour located in Muscat city centre (see listing above).
Indian cuisine. Smart casual dress, reservations and credit cards accepted.
Named after the hotel, this beach has a good view of the mountains behind.
This center offers diving trips, as well as a full range of PADI courses.
2 flights per day from Sharjah to Muscat, duration of flight is 55min.
Non-smoking rooms, gym onsite, free Wi-Fi, luggage storage available.
3 flights per day from Abu Dhabi to Muscat, duration of flight 1h05.
Has a grand view north up the beach towards the Intercontinental.
A charming bed and breakfast just across the road from the beach.
Mountain bikes can be rented here by the day, weekend, or week.
Ideal place for a break during a walking tour of Old Muscat.
10 flights per day from Dubai to Muscat, flying time 1h.
Five star luxury with traditional Omani architecture.
Daily flights from London Heathrow to Muscat.
Includes breakfast and free Wi-Fi.
Wedged between the Arabian Sea and the rugged Western Hajar Mountains, the city referred to as Muscat is in fact several smaller towns which have grown together over time. These include old '''Muscat''' (also known as the 'walled city'), site of the royal palace; '''Mutrah''' (also spelled ''Matrah'' or ''Matruh''), once a fishing village and home to the labyrinthine Mutrah Souq; and '''Ruwi''', which is the commercial and diplomatic quarter of the city. The metropolitan area covers 3,500 km², and this tripartite division can be inconvenient for the visitor especially as much accommodation is located a fair distance from sights of interest. Unlike other cities in the Gulf, notably in the UAE and Qatar, Muscat does not have an ultramodern skyline. Following the preferences of the Sultan, modern construction is required to adhere to traditional Arabic architectural styles, resulting in a more low-key urban landscape.