Wander and Travel to ….Muscat in Oman, a hidden gem in the desert which features both stunning scenery and some of the friendliest people anyone can meet.
While everyone floods to Dubai in terms of a Middle Eastern getaway destination, why not consider Oman? A truly wonderful place to visit and explore and truly off the beaten track whilst also being accessible and safe.
WHERE TO STAY: GRAND MILLENNIUM HOTEL MUSCAT
Upon arrival in Muscat, we stayed at the Grand Millennium Muscat which is located in a great location in the city. It is easily accessible and very modern with very professional and friendly staff. The hotel is also directly connected to the Muscat Grand Mall which has a variety of restaurants and shops to walk around.
The hotel swimming pool on the roof offers fantastic panoramic views of the whole of Muscat and visitors can just enjoy chilling out and having a full drinks and enjoy the sunset over the city.
The airport is just 15 to 20 minutes away by bus and we caught the easy to find airport bus. When we were dropped off, we walked about ten minutes to reach the hotel. The hotel is also very close to the huge Avenues Mall and the grand Royal Opera of Muscat.
Address: Grand Millennium Muscat
Dohat al Adab Street Al Khuwair Muscat, Muscat 118 Oman
Telephone: 00 968 22 342222
TRANSPORTATION: “TALAL TRANSPORT”
Via the hotel, we booked our transportation to visit the major tourists sites such as the Bimmah Sinkhole and the Wadi Shab via Talal Transport. Our driver was Sayed and he drove us on on two occasions for at least nine hours each. He was a great and professional guide. He became a friend and we are still in touch!
I would recommend Talal Transport if you need a driver to visit different destinations in Muscat.
BIMMAH SINKHOLE: DESERT OASIS
Fancy a swim in one of the most naturally beautiful places in the world? Look no further then the Bimmah Sinkhole. With it clear and turquoise blue / green water, it is truly an oasis in the middle of the desert.
It takes about ninety minutes to drive there from Muscat (depending if you stop for food or drinks along the way) and there is not much to see along the highway except for more highways, distant mountains and the endless desert.
Upon arrival at the Bimmah Sinkhole, visitors will be truly astonished by the serenity and natural calm of the site. Legend has it that the sinkhole was created by a shooting star as the hole seems so out of place especially when surrounded by the barren desert; in fact it is a water-filled depression which has evolved through thousands of years.
It is possible to swim and even cliff jump off at the Sinkhole and if you are lucky then you could be the only person in the sinkhole and you can enjoy it as a private swimming pool. The water is clear and there is also a shallow part and a deep part in terms of the depth of the water and if you are patience and sit on the side, small fish will come up to you and nibble away at your ‘dead’ skin.
Please note that the Sinkhole is not attended by anyone and pretty much empty aside from an adjoining park and the car park so visitors have to be careful as medical assistance is a long way away.
Address: Dabab Sinkhole هوية نجم, Oman
THE WADI SHAB
For the really adventurous and for those who want to have a physical challenge, you can look explore the amazing terrain of the famed Wadi Shab. This is an area of deep gorges and hiking trials which tower over a river which varies in width though you follow the river to a hidden secret cave.
The secret cave and waterfall is deep inside the valley so seasoned hikers will have to also bring a change of clothes as they will have to swim to reach the waterfall.
Again, please note that the Wadi Shab is not really attended by anyone and so visitors have to be careful as medical assistance is a long way away. It is hot so please make sure you have enough water and the proper swimming and hiking gear. The further you go into the Wadi Shab, the rocks becoming more slippery so caution is advised.
To reach the start of the trail, a person has to catch a boat for a few Omani Rial and the trip is very short and of course, you have to do the same on the way back.
ADDRESS: Wadi Shab, 50km West of Sur, Sur 411, Oman
For this who enjoy getting a bargain and hunting for souvenirs then it is worth travelling to Nizwa to check out their famed Souq. Upon arrival, visitors will have the chance to amble around one of the oldest souqs in the Oman. There are many local delicacies which can be brought as well as special souvenirs. Part of the souq (nearest the fort) is dedicated to handicrafts and bargain hunters can try and find a great new deal for themselves.
On the day that we were there, the temperatures were in the mid 40Cs while the car heated up to about 50C so it is best to stay in the shade!
ADDRESS: Nizwa, Oman
Mutrah Souq is probably one of the oldest bazaars in Oman yet it has a feel of both the modern and the traditional. Upon arrival, it takes a while to navigate all the different alleyways which are filled with different types of shops which sell all types of items.
Mutrah Souq is best known for the noise, sights and smells which people can experience immediately upon entering it as well as the unique items and handicrafts like old silverware, clothes, lanterns and different types of foods and spices, which can be purchased inside.
ADDRESS: Mutrah Corniche, Muscat, Oman
SULTAN QABOOS GRAND MOSQUE
One of the highlights of the trip to Muscat was visiting the majestic Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. The design of each building was simply stunning and each piece of architecture looked brand new as the venue was impeccable.
The mosque was gifted to the people of Oman by the Sultan Qaboos to mark his 30th year of reign and it is vast in size and nature. The mosque is about twenty years old and was completed in 2001. It was no mean feat of construction and it took a whopping six years to build.
ADDRESS: Sultan Qaboos St, ولاية بوشر، Oman
BAIT AL LUBIN RESTAURANT
For some of the best in Omani cuisine, you can check out Bait Al Luban. Oman Cuisine is a mix of different cultures and influences which include Arabic, Persian, Indian, Asian, Eastern Mediterranean, and African cuisines. There is a wide choice of food items which include Majboos which are a traditional mixed rice dish that originated in Saudi Arabia.
Bait Al Luban serves an authentic Omani cuisine in a wonderful setting in a traditional yet still modern setting.
ADDRESS: Harat a’Shamal street مسقط OM MUTTRAH CORNICHE OM، 130, Oman
ROYAL OPERA HOUSE MUSCAT
For art and culture lovers, look no further than the Royal Opera House Muscat. Another wonder of design, the Opera House hosts cultural events the whole year round and also has modern restaurants such as Caramel which is fusion food.
ADDRESS: Royal Opera House، Al Kharjiyah Street، Muscat 103, Oman
Wander and travel to Muscat in Oman as it is truly a hidden jewel in the Middle East.