Muscat is comfortably nested in between the Gulf of Oman and the jagged chocolate hued Al Hajar Mountains is the capital of Oman.If there is one major attractant in Muscat, then it has to be the luxurious and magnificent structures distributed all over this bustling metropolis. Muscat is overflowing with a large number of must visit places to and must do things for all travellers. Major attractions of the walled city of Muscat are two 16th century Portuguese forts, Al Jalali Fort and Al Mirani Fort that reveal the colonial past linked to this city which is on display to the current day traveller.
The next in the series of attractions is the royal Qasr Al Alam palace. This palace belonged to Sultan Qaboos of Oman certainly adds a dash of opulence to the city and adds to the already existent tourist value. Stop in for some time at Muttrah Corniche Area to witness some local life and home to latticed buildings and mosques, along with the local culture while travellers stay in Muscat. The Omani capital is interspersed with majestic mosques amongst which Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, is a breath taking and an architecturally brilliant example.
There are a few great beaches in Muscat where travellers can spend their day watching the waves quietly splash onto the shore. Qurum Beach and Qantab Beach are a few of the famous beach spots amongst others. Muscat is also home to museums such as Bait Al Zubair, Sultan’s Armed Forces Museum and Oman Natural History Museum that lay the foundation to understanding both Muscat and Oman in a better manner!
With such an awesome list of things to do in Muscat, it is certainly one of the best cities in Oman that travellers just cannot miss on their journey through the gulf states. Cozmo Travel would recommend a few special activities to travellers when in Muscat, and here are some suggestions:
Try Bartering or BargainingMuscat’s Muttrah Souk is a labyrinth of ceramics, jewellery and camel-themed souvenirs. The best buys are butter-soft llama wool pashminas, leatherware and exquisite gold jewellery. Most stalls are open to bartering, but not on jewelry which is sold by weight. If you’re a haggling novice, start with an offer around forty to fifty percent of the vendor’s opening price, and aim to meet somewhere in the middle. Sellers know their bottom line: if they’re happy to let you walk away from a sale, you’ve crossed it.
Walk Through A Stunning MosqueDuring his majesty’s 45 years of rule, Oman’s Sultan Qaboos has lent his wealth, name and rich cultural influence to many of Muscat’s magnificent constructions. The most remarkable among monuments in Muscat is the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, where sunlight makes the tips of the four minarets, the 50 meter high gold dome and even the white marble flooring, sparkle and glimmer. The men’s prayer hall can be visited by men and women is visually stunning, with vast Persian carpeting and beautifully crafted chandeliers. Cozmo travel recommends men to wear long sleeves and trousers and women should wear clothes to extend below their knees along with a scarf to wrap their hair.
Oman’s Past Expressed as WeaponrySwords and daggers are fundamental and unique to Oman’s heritage with swords and a dagger finding a place on the esteemed Omani national flag. Even though affluent people in Oman wear the khanjar (traditional dagger), the craftsmanship involved in these daggers is almost revered. The Bait Al Zubair Museum and the Sultan’s Armed Forces Museum present a large variety of historic weaponry that range from pearl-embossed straight swords to blades that are inscribed with Koranic verses to guns and modern weapons.
An Experience of Fresh SeafoodWhile grilled meats, hummus and flatbreads are heaped onto many a restaurant table, Muscat is primarily a city for seafood aficionados. A popular preparation in Muscat is kingfish curry, which can be described as pieces of fish simmered in a broth of coconut, turmeric, ginger and garlic and if preferred by travellers fish can also be freshly caught and freshly grilled for a delicious meal. Travellers can feast on the ‘catch of the day’ with a beautiful view of bobbing yachts in the waters of the Gulf of Oman, at the highly recommended Blue Marlin restaurant. Cozmo Travel recommends travellers to build their appetite as platters at the restaurant come heaped with grilled tuna, prawns, kingfish and large lobsters.
Experience Modern Palatial ArchitectureA natural starting place to gaze at royal architecture is the Al Alam Palace, a dazzling gold and blue royal residence. Travellers can move to the Royal Opera House, an excellent synergy of Omani and Italian-imported marble that complements the Burmese teak elements added to the interior of the Royal Opera House. The Al-Bustan Palace Hotel is the next opulent Omani masterpiece recommended for travellers and it consists of an brilliant atrium that equals many museums with a height of 38 meters and blended with art deco and impressive Arabian stylings.
Dolphin Sighting in MuscatWitness the awesome spectacle of mid-air acrobatics of energetic dolphins on a boat tour that covers parts of the Gulf of Oman. On a good day travellers are able to view numerous dolphins that are known for mid-air pirouettes, as they swim about the Gulf of Oman in the hunt for tuna and sardines. Providers such as Ocean Blue Oman have regular two-hour cruises, with great chances of seeing these playful cetaceans in the azure waters of the Gulf.
For Trekking EnthusiastsWhile some of the most impressive hikes are accessed from Nizwa, the previous capital of Oman, which is about 90 minutes by drive and located southwest of Muscat, the capital city itself is surrounded by the grand Al Hajar Mountains. Cozmo Travel recommends travellers to put on sturdy walking boots for the rocky ‘C38’ trail from Riyam Park in Muscat into the hills. The hard work going into a two hour trek will be rewarded with a great bird’s-eye view of the port and fortresses and the beautiful mountain solitude. The best time to go trekking in Muscat is from October to April.
Muscat – A Haven for Exotic Fruit, Dates and Omani HalwaIts traditional in Muscat for guests in Omani homes to be greeted with cardamom-scented coffee and sticky dates. However there are are 35 varieties of dates to experience ranging from the ‘caramel-like’ Khalas dates to the darker less sweet Farth dates. Cozmo Travel recommends travellers to browse through a wide range of fruit and vegetable at the market in the Sultan Qaboos Port. Another sweet snack guaranteed to instantly win over travellers is the Omani halwa which can be described as a gelatinous treat made from caramelized sugar, wheat starch and saffron and can be found at Muscat’s Muttrah Souk.
The Endless Desert AwaitsLocated west of Muscat is the world’s largest uninterrupted ‘sand desert’ that extends across the Arabian Peninsula. It covers parts of Oman and parts of neighbouring countries such as Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates. A noteworthy location is the ‘Rub’ Al Khali’ (the ‘Empty Quarter’) which is estimated to be 583,000 square-kilometres of uninhabited dunes. Photographers venture here to be enchanted by the play of light on these huge hillocks of sand and travellers venture here to camp under the stars. But the desert location is increasingly becoming a preferred destination for adventure travel. Desert tours on rugged 4-Wheel Drive SUVs take travellers on off-road tracks through the Al Hajar Mountains before going on a spin around the dunes.
Sunset Experience at Muttrah CornicheMuscat’s popular promenade, Muttrah Corniche, stretches from the Sultan Qaboos Port, along the waterfront, following the Al Bahri Road. One side of this picturesque path bypasses glistening shopfronts and the sky-blue Al-Lawati Mosque and on the other side, ‘dhows’, which are traditional sailing boats, distinctive of this region, sway in the Gulf of Oman. Travellers can spot the bulky sixteenth century Muttrah Fort while walking along the promenade, and can view the lookout tower in the shape of a giant incense burner, that towers over the lush Riyam Park. Strolling along the Corniche is highly recommended around sunset, when the sea glitters in hues of magenta and orange, and while the divine Azzan resonates from the tall minarets.
Muscat is a limitless destination travellers and is filled with culture, excitement, natural heritage, monuments and an incredible landscape. For travellers, Muscat offers Oman’s diverse, unique and pristine landscapes complemented by numerous activities and a taste of the distinct national culture of Oman. A beach holiday in Muscat tops the wish list of travellers and Cozmo Travel can surely arrange for both flights as well as hotel stay in Muscat.
In summary, Cozmo Travel would surely recommend Oman as it is quickly becoming a favoured destination for scuba diving, fossil hunting, desert camping, for places to purchase frankincense, for places to visit ancient forts and for travellers to watch turtle hatching. The spectacular diversity in the Omani landscape translates into a myriad adventures for travellers from all around the globe.
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