Muscat provides an intriguing window to the rich cultural heritage of Oman. Beautiful mosques and monuments, historical souks and warm hospitality make it a sought after tourist spot for the ones seeking an authentic Arabian experience. However, there is much more to the city than its history and heritage. From scenic sandy beaches to breathtaking outdoor adventures and sumptuous gourmet cuisine, a staggering range of attractions in Muscat delights one and all. Here is a list of some splendid attractions in the Omani capital.
Explore Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
One of the finest examples of modern Islamic architecture, this gorgeous mosque was a gift to Oman from Sultan Qaboos. The interior of the mosque enthrals with exquisite carvings and a precious Persian carpet. Women should cover their heads before entering the mosque. Avoid flash photography and clicking pictures of people at prayer.
Shop at the Muttrah Souq
A labyrinth of narrow winding streets buzzing with the chatter of boisterous traders and customers, Muttrah Souq is the perfect place to buy a souvenir or two. While haggling is acceptable, make sure you keep the negotiations healthy. Smile and be friendly, while bargaining. Although there is a huge array of things to browse through, some popular buys include spices, handmade bags, shoes and the aromatic frankincense.
Go Diving or Snorkelling
The waters around Muscat boast a rich marine life and draws diving enthusiasts from far and wide. Choose one of the many diving sites near the city and go explore what may be Oman’s greatest asset. The Daymaniyat Islands, about 20kms north of Muscat, is home to an amazingly diverse marine life including abundant fish life and lush coral reefs. Diving here is a memorable experience. To top it all, it suits divers of all abilities. Fahal Island and Bander Khayran are other famous sites.
Take a Wahiba Sands Full-day tour
An almost 200-km long stretch of deserted landscape, surrounded by the Hajjar Mountains and the Arabian Sea, Wahiba Sands is an ideal escape for adventure buffs. Drive through the massive dunes in a 4X4 vehicle, marvelling at the region’s surprising diversity of flora & fauna. Visit one of the Bedouin communities in the area to experience their unique traditions and culture. Plenty of local agencies and some reputable hotels in Muscat offer a full-day trip to the Wahiba Sands. Join one to enjoy a safe and pleasant excursion.
Enjoy Belly Dancing
Among the best known attractions of the Middle East, belly dancing is as surreal as it gets here. Many of the city’s nightclubs and bars have belly dancers who regale guests with their antics. Head to the ‘Zouk’ at the Crowne Plaza for a delightful night out in the city. Enjoy cocktails along with live music and belly dancing shows. Copacabana, Al Ghajal Pub, Trader Vics, and John Barry are other popular places to enjoy belly dancing in Muscat.