After five hours flight from Bangkok we are landing in the capital of Sultanate of Oman – Muscat. We had enough time to read about Muscat on the plane so we couldn’t wait until we get there…
It is a quite significant change when you come from Thailand to Oman. However, people are very nice and everything is clean. In comparison with Thailand people here are also linguistically better equipped. Europeans are for them still a bit exotic which means they are asking million questions about everything and with this also practice their English. The taxi driver was really cool guy full of information and he gave us many good tips on what to see in Muscat.
Our hotel Ramee Guestline Hotel in the Qurum area is located in the city centre but we were surprised with the fact how large Muscat is. The nearest beach was very close, about 5-minute walk from the hotel but to get anywhere else, whether it’s the old town, the market or the Great Mosque is about a half an hour drive. When we told the taxi driver that we like to walk he just smiled. With such a long distances and incredibly cheap gasoline there is no point to walk and everyone is driving. Right after we dropped our bags we went to the beach. The taxi driver also told us the sea here is saltier than in other countries so I decided to put him to the test. And he was right again… Evening bath in the sunset was really amazing.
We were lucky to meet one German on the beach who had a rented car and offered to give us a lift to the most famous market in Muscat – Mutrah. After a souvenir shopping and excellent kebab with even better juice we took a taxi back to the hotel. Since the next day we had time until lunch time we agreed with the taxi driver we do a city tour with him tomorrow and then he will take us to the airport.
Right after the breakfast our driver Saeed was waiting for us in front of the hotel as we agreed. We started our tour in the market Mutrah where we went yesterday and carried on along the port right into the city centre. First stop was the fish market with some fish I’ve seen first time in my life. After this experience Saeed took us to the museum in the fortress where we found out interesting things about Oman’s history.
Our next steps went to the city centre to Sultan’s palace. The whole square with all government buildings covered with shiny marble looks like from the fairy tale. Beautiful lawns look like in Wimbledon, everything clean and tidy and in the centre of this all shines gold-blue-white building of Sultan’s palace.
Sultan is very famous and people of Oman love him. Even though the palace is a beautiful building, Sultan itself doesn’t live there. He just uses it during state visits to represent the country. Our last stop was the visit of Grand Mosque of Sultan Qaboos.
The entry is only allowed if your whole body is completely covered. It looked like I won’t be able to go inside because all my clothes were safely stored in the bag at the airport. That was the time when Saeed stepped in again and saved me. He borrowed their typical dress – disdasa from one of his friend, gave me his own cap – kuma and I was ready to go inside. With all this plus my beard I probably looked like the locals because one of the German tourists came to me and told me how beautiful “my” country is and how she liked Muscat. I like to play these games and we really had a good chat that I am glad she liked “my new home” and gave her a few tips what to see while she’s in Muscat.
The Mosque itself is the third biggest Mosque in the world and inside there is second biggest handmade Persian rug in the world. It’s really massive and above the rug there is huge a few tones weighing chandelier. Visit of the Mosque is really worth and all I can say is just well done to those guys who build this place.
This was our last stop and full of good vibes we headed towards the airport. We board the flight towards London and waved goodbye not just to Oman but to our whole trip in Asia.
What to say at the end? All I can say it was fantastic experience and we are taking home very nice memories. Oman and Thailand are amazing countries with so much to offer and everyone who’s been there will prove I am right. Every one of them has its own style and both of them had a big impact on us. We left a piece of our hearts there and hope one day we’ll come back. There are still many places in these countries we haven’t seen and we know for sure they are worth to explore…
Tip 1: Ask the taxi driver to show you around because they know best what to see, where to eat and how to get you into the Grand Mosque even when you don’t have the right clothes.
Tip 2: Go to Mutrah market and have a delicious food there for reasonable prices. If you want to buy some souvenirs this is the right place.
Tip 3: If you want to see all attractions in the city in a one go, buy a day ticket for Big Bus Tour. You can get off at any attraction, visit it and get on any next bus.
Total costs: 12 days (Thailand + Oman): £1100.00
(prices as of March 2013)
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