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Updated by Joanna James on Aug 13, 2018
Headline for Top 5 things to do in Muscat - make your trip unforgettable
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Joanna James Joanna James
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Top 5 things to do in Muscat - make your trip unforgettable

The city of Muscat has the perfect combination of dramatic landscapes, modern comforts and age-old traditions to draw travellers from around the world. Here are the top 5 things to do in the city.

1

Marvel at the Grand Mosque

An architectural masterpiece, the grand mosque was a gift to Oman from the Sultan Qaboos to mark the 30th year of his reign. The mosque is massive and is surrounded by landscaped gardens, giving it the feel of a serene oasis. The second largest Persian carpet in the world can be seen inside the mosque; 600 women took over the course of 4-years to hand weave the intricately designed carpet, which was once the largest in the world. The main prayer hall is filled with beautiful geometrical designs and houses a magnificent chandelier. Non-Muslims are allowed to enter between 9 am to 11 am, and are required to wear clothing that covers their arms and legs. Women must cover their heads and wear loose fitted clothes. The grand mosque is situated near the outskirts of the city so if you're not sure how to get there, feel free to inquire with any of the Oman hotels if they organize tour guides.

2

Catch an opera performance

Constructed by the same architects who design the grand mosque, the royal opera house is a majestic landmark that is worth seeing just to admire the stunning visual combination of inlaid wood, marble and Arabic designs. Some of the biggest operas have performed here since its opening, with the production quality on par with the best international operas. The opera season runs from May to September, and you can check online to see what operas are scheduled for the season.

3

Shop at the Mutrah Souq

The Mutrah Corniche is home to several stunning mosques and buildings with traditional latticed work which provides a stunning backdrop during sunset. However, aside from the picturesque landscape, the bustling Souq is another good reason to head down to Mutrah. The Souq retains all the charm and chaos of a traditional Arabic marketplace. Visitors can browse through shops selling Indian and Omani wares along with a few antique pieces thrown together with textiles, jewellery and souvenirs. Prospective buyers are expected to bargain, however you won't get big discounts here. Cards are accepted in most shops but bring cash if you want to score a better deal.

4

Explore Muscat's Old Town

Muscat's Old Town is famous for its 16th-century forts and the Al Alam Palace (Sultan's Palace). The 2 forts are settled on neighbouring cliffs which look out over the Gulf and form the boundary of the historic capital. With its scenic landscapes and a blend of ancient and modern architecture, there are plenty of things to see and experience here. Explore the remains of the city walls, or discover the nation's rich history at the numerous museums.

5

Dune Bashing at the Wahiba Sands

A 3-hour drive from Muscat will take you to the Wahiba Sands, a stark desert with massive dunes as high as 100 metres, perfect for dune bashing. Dune bashing isn't for the faint of heart as an experienced driver will take you hurling over dunes at top speeds. Most of the stays the likes of Oman hotels do organise day trips for guests so you can forego dealing with unknown tour operators during your stay.