Oman, the Gem of the Persian Gulf
Oman a country of breathtaking natural beauty, spectacular landscapes and cultural traditions that remain remarkably undiluted. I wanted to spend the winter holidays somewhere warm, close to Bahrain but very different and everyone seemed to recommend Oman. Now I know why!
We decided to go for a one-week holiday, and I think it was enough to cover a lot of places. Our journey took us from Muscat all they way to Sur, stopping by Wadi Shab and Tiwi. This Blog post will only cover Muscat, but there will be a next one following that will cover the rest of the trip.
We stayed at the Tulip inn, an average hotel for a reasonable price. In general hotels in Muscat are quite expensive comparing to the quality that is offered.
On our first day we visited Mohammed Al Ameen mosque, a magnificent mosque located on top of the hill. The mosque is entirely white and the architecture is stunning, a must visit I would say.
Then we continued to the Sultan’s Palace, also known as the Alam Palace, located in the heart of the old Muscat. The palace is Oman’s most flamboyant example of contemporary Islamic design. The courtyard surrounding it mostly impressed me.
Our last stop was Souq Mutrah, which is considered one of the oldest markets in Oman dating back about 200 years. There are some good antique shops, textile shops, gold shops and bargaining is expected!
On the second day, we went to the Grand Mosque, which is open for tourists only from 08:00 to 11:00 am except Fridays. Also known as Sultan Qaboos mosque, it is a stunning “edifice of Art”. This beautiful mosque was started in 1995 and finished 6 years later. A visit to Muscat would not be complete without seeing it.
Muscat is so close to the sea, so after our mosque visit we asked the taxi driver to take us to the beach. He suggested Qurum beach. It’s a wide beach, not very crowded, and clean. It has a good selection of cafés and restaurants close by. It’s a beautiful place to walk and distress, bathe, or simply grab a cup of coffee by the water. The good thing is that it’s located close to the city center.
We ended the night visiting the Opera house another gorgeous architectural masterpiece. It hosts some of the biggest cultural events in Oman, and all the information can be found on their website (http://www.rohmuscat.org.om). We ate at the Indus, located in the Opera house and serving fine indian cuisine. Highly recommended!
1) One of the important things to take into consideration is that good restaurants and food is very hard to find. I would recommend making your research in advance.
Here are some very nice restaurants that we tried in Muscat and I can highly recommend.
- Ubhar $$
- Raouche (Lebanese) $$$
- The Indus (fine dining indian cuisine) $$$
2) Instead of taxing a taxi to go everywhere (which will end up to be very expensive), either hire a car or hire a taxi driver for an entire day. We hired a taxi driver for a full day and it was around 15OMR. For recommendations please contact Ill and me send you the contact of the taxi driver that we used.