Thursday, September 6, 2012


I only booked three days in Muscat just to break up the journey to Ethiopia. So I decided not to try and do too much.

It became apparent quite quickly that Muscat is a car city. The roads are excellent, wide and well maintained. The heat makes walking uncomfortable, as I discovered when I walked from Muttrah to Old Muscat - only three kilometres, but with almost no shade along the route I must have sweated three litres!


muscat street

muscat waterfront

omani bank

You can tell there is money here. There is a lot of new construction going on, new cars everywhere - and at a set of lights I saw what was probably a prince or sheikh impeccably dressed behind the wheel of a Hummer.

I found a cheap hotel ($62pn) in the area called Ruwi which is about 6kms from Old Muscat. The latter is a bit of a misnomer because as far as I could see there was nothing old left about the place! Between Ruwi and Old Muscat is Muttrah which has much more the feel of an old town.

Muttrah has a lovely old souq. Not quite as atmospheric as those found in Damascus or Istanbul but still worth a visit.

muscat souq

souq interior

My days here have been spent wandering between the three main centres. The old forts which dot the hills are only viewable from the outside. I spent an hour or so in the 'Ghalya Museum of Modern Art' - an unusual place which was more accurately an ethnological museum displaying a 'typical' Omani house from the 1970's - an oddly eclectic arrangement of household items of English, African, Oriental and Arabic origin.

I enjoyed strolling along the Corniche (the ocean front) - a pleasant place to wander as the ocean breeze kept the temperatures down.

muttrah corniche

street game

quick paddle

muscat castle


muscat royal palace

palace and castle

Three days was quite sufficient!

(ps: on my last evening before setting out to the airport I was loitering around the entrance to the souq when a brouhaha erupted with police and sirens blaring and a clearing of the public from around the road out the front of the souq. Wishing to avoid being in the way I walked just inside the souq entrance - and who should walk in, within a couple of metres of me but Australia's Governor General Ms Quentin Bryce!)

1 comment:

Hannah said...

Gorgeous spot, love the white buildings against the rocky outcroppings. Sounds like a fun 3 days and at least you were in good company;-)