The capital city of Oman, Muscat is an important port-town, spanning an approximate area of 3,500km2, with a population of 1.56 million as of September 2015. Muscat has a rugged terrain, with most of its hills devoid of vegetation with hot and arid climate throughout the year.
Famously known as the Jewel of Arabia, Muscat is a popular tourist destination. You will find plenty of things to do in Muscat without which your Omani adventure will not be complete. You can begin your tour from Ruwi, which is the commercial hub of the city. Here you will find a splendid combination of modern and traditional buildings that are constructed beautifully. The Sultan’s Armed Forces Museum will also prove to be a worthy addition to the things to do in Muscat. The political and military history of the country and city can be experienced in the Bait Al Falaj fort which is also a working military base. If you are a history and culture enthusiast, you must add visiting the Old Muscat in your list of things to do in Muscat. The traditions and culture of Muscat can be experienced at the Bait al Zubair Museum. From Omani jewelry to the traditional weapons, you will find it all here. The ceremonial palace of Sultan, called the Al Alam Palace is also located in the old city and has a beautiful structure painted in blue and gold. The famous Jalali and Mirani Forts are located just behind the palace.
Wondering about more places to visit in Muscat? Just as you exit the old city, you will enter the Corniche. Famous among tourists for the parks, you can take a stroll in the cool evenings here amid the breeze from the Gulf of Oman. Other places to visit in Muscat include the Muttrah, which begins just as the Corniche ends. Among the things to do in Muscat, visiting the traditional souk in Muttrah is a must for all the visitors. You will find here three distinct markets where you will find everything from fish, fruits and vegetables to Arabian items that will take you back in time. Trade has been taking place in this traditional souk for centuries in the same way. You will find plenty of things to do in Muscat, especially in this part of the city. When in Muscat, you should also see the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque famous for its beautiful architecture and large area. Want to visit a beach? You will find that in Muscat too. Visit the Shatti Al Qurum Beach which is pristine, gorgeous and peaceful. With a number of cafes, restaurants and hotels nearby, you will find plenty of things to do in Muscat.
Oman’s premier venue for musical arts and culture is the Royal Opera House Muscat. With its Islamic and Italian architectural style, it was built on the royal orders of Sultan Qaboos, completed in 2011. With a capacity of 1,100 people, the opera house is the first in the world to be equipped with Radio Marconi’s multimedia interactive display setback systems, Mode 23.
For those who love music and culture, there are a lot of things to do in Royal Opera House Muscat. Some of the most famous and well known names in opera and ballet perform here, with the production winning international acclaim. There is an online reservation system with collection of tickets at the door, and a strict formal dress code for those attending a performance in the audience. The season is extended from September to May.
There are many interesting things to do in Royal Opera House Muscat, which include viewing actual operas and many other performances for which you can buy tickets online or at the box office. Apart from its glorious interior, the Royal Opera House Muscat offers public tours, workshops, open houses, seminars in English and Arabic both.
The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque was the ruler’s way of thanking the country after completing three decades of his reign, located in Muscat, the capital of Oman. This magnificent piece of modern Islamic architecture was completed in 2001, taking a total of 6 years and 4 months. Indian sandstone was use to build the astounding structure, requiring nearly 300,000 of it. The mosque spans an area of 416,000 square meters.
For those who are eager to visit this grand marvel, there are many things to do in Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. For starters, you can hire a tour guide to take you to the main prayer hall which is breathtakingly rich and can accommodate 20,000 worshippers. The Persian carpet present in the mosque is the second largest hand woven Iranian carpet in the world.
There are many things to do in Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosques, for non-Muslims, the mosque is open from 8:30am to 11:00am. Buses for tour are available outside the mosque. For women, Abayas and scarves can be rented from the mosque café and gift shops. There are many fountains, chandeliers and beautiful gardens to see here, and you will find the staff exceptionally friendly.
One of the most interesting museums located on Al Saidiya Street in Oman, the Bait Al Zubair Museum is owned and run by the Al Zubair family. Often referred to as the key player in preserving and advancing Oman’s cultural heritage, there is a considerable amount of ancient weaponry, household equipment, and costumes from ages long past on display here.
There are many interesting things to do in Bait Al Zubair, including a wide range of exhibitions hosted every year in its galleries that are admired equally by both locals and international visitors. It also offers a wide range of curatorial and art consultancy services with the partnership of Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa. The museum is spread across three buildings with the bulk of its collection concentrated in Bait Al Bagh (Garden House).
For those who admire ancient traditions, there are many things to do in Bait Al Zubair. Opposite the Garden House is Bait Dalaleel, which offers a coffee house with traditionally refurbished rooms in Omani style. The 3rd building is Bait Al Oud (Grand House) has interesting displays of old maps, black and white photos from the 19th century and old Islamic coins.
Located in the French Embassy building in Muscat, the Omani French Museum is a white building, essentially designed to be a palace and a gift to the French Consulate in 1896. The museum opened on 29th January 1992, focusing on the historic relationship between the Republic of France and Sultanate of Oman dating back to the 18th century.
For visitors, there are many things to do in Omani French Museum, which include attending exhibitions and having a look at the interesting collection of documents and artifacts relating to the friendship between France and Oman. Those who visit the museum can also find a mosque and can view the Harbor of Sultan by standing on site.
There are a lot of things to do in Omani French Museum such as viewing photos of early Oman along with displays that show furniture, clothes and photographs of early French diplomats. Museum is open from Saturday to Thursday with a ticket ranging from 500 Baisha to 1OMR. There are also displays that show life of Muscat in the early 19th century including jewelry, ceramic arts collection, valuable stamps and costumes.
Established in 1985 and located at the Ministry of Heritage and Culture Complex is the Oman Natural History Museum. The museum is considered as one of the major Omani houses, exhibiting the aspects of life since its very first appearance in various forms on the Sultanate territory. The museum is brimming with information regarding local flora and fauna, geography, and geology of Oman.
Site seers and visitors have a lot of things to do in Oman Natural History Museum starting from the rare exhibits of tree fossils and coral fossils dating more than 260 million years. There are also displays showing remains of prehistoric animals such as reptiles, butterflies along with indigenous collection of birds, insects, mammals and botanical gardens.
Another highlight among the things to do in Oman Natural History Museum is a visit to the Whale Hall which has graphic elements and interactive displays to help you explore the marine life of Omani waters. There is 13 meter long sperm whale skeleton placed at the centre of the hall, this fossil was washed up to the Omani coastline in 1980s. The hall also has bones and skulls of other remains of marine life.
The Wahiba Sands are also known by the new name of Sharqiya Sands, and Ramlat-al-Wahiba. It is a name for a section of a desert region within Oman. This popular desert region was named after the Bani Wahiba tribe. The site has been one of great scientific interest ever since an expedition that took place in the 1986. The survey noted reports of the diversity of fauna and flora with difference in terrain. A total of 220 wildlife species and 16,000 invertebrates were found in the region, with 150 native flora species.
The region lies to the south side of the Ibra stretch, and is called as the sand sea. Some of the things to do in Wahiba Sands is to take a trip to the sand dunes, and enjoy the different terrain and the smoothness and beauty of the dunes in the desert. Many visitors opt to spend the night between the dunes and enjoy a great camping experience. Visitors also enjoy activities like dune bashing, camping, trekking, quad biking and sandboarding, just to name a few. Many also enjoy horse and camel rides on the sand dunes and can get great sunset views and starry skies while out in the desert stretch of Wahiba Sands in Oman.