The One Thing You Don't Want to Miss
You'll definitely want to check out Muscat's two mountainside forts - Al Jalali and Al Mirani - said to have been used as prisons during the 16th century Portuguese occupation. These seemingly invincible buildings have been since converted into museums, which have drawn the likes of royalty, heads of state and other foreign dignitaries. And from their position atop a mountain ridge, you'll be able to enjoy breathtaking views of the harbor and the old city - so be sure to bring your camera!
Other Fun Things to Do
- Take a fort and desert overnight tour where you will visit the 17th-century Nizwa Fort, Oman's most impressive tower. You will also see the Al Hamra date plantation and Bait Al Safah main visitor's attraction, which is more than 500 years old. After lunch, visit Wahiba Sands where you will experience the dunes . The tour then goes to Wadi Bani Khalid through the Eastern Hajar Mountains, offering a panoramic view of the landscape. Take a short trek to the deep blue pools of the wadi where you can enjoy a swim.
- Enjoy the tranquil art of game fishing, true Omani Style, on a tour. Learn how to detect a bite and when to strike in order to catch barracuda, hamour, mackerel, red snapper and more.
- Enjoy a boat ride to a nice bay and enjoy the blue waters of the Indian Ocean. View the many types of brightly colored reef fish and different types of hard and soft corals.
- On the Turtle by Night Experience, you will visit Ras Al Junaiyz, a sanctuary for green turtles. Take a short trek to the deep blue pools of the wadi where you can enjoy a swim.
Don't leave Muscat without a little underwater exploration. Though not (yet) well-known as a diving destination, Oman's 1700 kilometers of clear blue coastline consists of stunning coral reefs, scenic fjords and spectacular sea life - comparable to that of the most beautiful dive sites in the world. Rather stay above water? Explore the beautiful coast on a dolphin and whale watching tour or set out on a fishing boat to troll for Barracuda, Red Snapper and more.
Shopping for Bargains
The vibrant scene at the Mutrah Souq, Muscat's oldest market, is one of the city's main sources of entertainment. Browse a variety of goods and souvenirs like frankincense or gold and silver jewelry. Or dazzle your friends back home by bringing back a khanjar - the traditional silver dagger of Oman. You're bound to find better prices on items the further into the souq you go, and most of the shops do not have fixed prices, so it's always worth bargaining. Best of luck!
Get a Taste of Local Flavor
While the cooking styles of Oman may vary from region to region, the Omani people are all well known for their hospitality - and their coffee. Known as 'kahwa,' it is freshly ground from roasted beans and served in tiny cups alongside traditional treats like dates and 'Halwa' - a local favorite made from sugar and spices, and topped with sesame seeds or almonds. At mealtime, the largest of which comes in the afternoon, you can expect a rice dish, often mixed with spicy, flavorful chicken or fish.
What To Pack
In order to respect the local customs, the following clothing guidelines should be followed:
- Women should not wear strappy sundresses, miniskirts, shorts or low-necked dresses in public places (e.g. souqs, shopping area in the city and interior towns).
- Men should wear shirts or T-shirts and long trousers; shorts or beachwear should not be worn except at the beach or pool area.
Please do not take photographs of locals without permission. Women in particular should not be photographed. It is forbidden to take pictures of military facilities and in and around the Embassy. Please observe the "No Photography" signs.
The official currency of Oman is the Omani Rial (OMR), which is subdivided into 1,000 Baiza. It's always s a good idea to bring traveler's checks in U.S. dollars in order to avoid exchange rate charges. Major currencies and traveler's checks can be exchanged at the money exchange shops in the city and at the souq.
Weather in Muscat, Oman
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