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  • Muscat The Capital
  • Shopping Malls
  • Mutrah Souq
  • Cinemas & Dining Out
  • Health Care Centers Near SQU
  • Transportation

Muscat, the capital of Oman, is a place where tradition meets modernity in a dramatic setting, with mountains on one side and the Arabian Gulf on the other.  This attractive city provides a glimpse of all that the country has to offer.  The souk and fish market can be found in Mutrah district while world class shopping malls are located throughout the capital area.  Muscat is world famous for its cleanliness, spacious parks and roadways lined with green lawns and flowers.



Background

As mentioned previously, Muscat Governorate is considered the pulsating heart of Oman. It is linked to Port Sultan Qaboos by Muttrah Corniche where the visitor to Muscat can view the wonderful variety of nature: golden beaches, mountainous heights, and golden sand dunes (Bawshar Sands).

 

Perhaps what is striking about Muscat Governorate and its states is the breathtaking intermingling of ancient cultural heritage and modern style. You will see houses, gates, old markets, small shops, and winding roads redolent of authentic history, side by side with modern markets, shops, buildings, and streets stamped with modern architecture. This allows Oman to preserve its historic character, and at the same time enjoying its contemporary spirit. Muscat is renowned as one of the cleanest Arab capitals, and has gained the honour of winning the Cleanest Arab City Contest several consecutive times.

 

Climate
The climate in Oman is characterized by two seasons: winter and summer.  Winter normally starts in November and it lasts till end of February. Summer is between April and October when the weather is hot and humid.  Mild weather is experienced on the mountains and in the Dhofar region all year round, which also enjoys a regular monsoon season between June and October every year.  An ideal time to visit Oman is between October and April with temperatures averaging between 25 and 35 degree Celsius during the day and between 17 and 19 degree Celsius in the evening. 

www.met.gov.om

 

Moderns shops and traditional souqs (Arab Markets) are located throughout the Sultanate with the largest concentration in the capital area around Muscat.  Traditional crafts include silver and gold jewelry, khunjars, hand-woven textiles, carpets and baskets are available to visitors and bargaining is expected as it is considered part of the culture.  Certain antiques; however, may not be exported.

 

On the other hand, Muscat has come a long way from the simple old souks to the bustling, ultra modern shopping complexes that have sprung up in the city in recent times.  The shopping malls are mostly situated in Qurum, but the biggest and popular malls are the Muscat  City Centre which is located in Seeb and Qurum City Center located in Qurum.

 

Muscat has a wide variety of shops for your everyday clothing needs.  From high-end designer shops, to affordable local boutiques, to the one-stop shop department stores, to the ultimately cheap bazaars. You name it, they have it.  

You may want to visit the closest malls to the University listed below for your clothing needs.

 

  • Muscat City Center    Seeb
  • Markaz Al Bahja    Al Mawaleh
  • Babil Shopping    Al Khoud, Souk
  • Bushra Al Khair    Al Khoud, Souk
  • Lulu Hypermarket    Seeb



Mutrah Souq is one of the oldest markets in Oman, dating back about 200 years.  Its antiquity has perhaps increased the extent of its beauty, magic and allure.

 

You cannot see Mutrah Souq from the outside, as it stretches deep within the city.  The market starts at gate facing the Sea of Oman and Mutrah Corniche, and ends with another gate in the city’s old quarters that usually receive the majority of visitors coming from other Omani towns and villages.

 

Mutrah Souq is a prototype of old Easter markets, characterized by narrow winding alleys roofed with wood. This souk goes by another name among the Omanis; the Market of Darkness, due to its myriad of alleys and roads lined by shops that block the sun during the day.  This name applies specifically to the section that extends from the Prophet’s Mosque to Khawr Bimbah.  Muttrah Souk has two markets known as “the small market” and “the large market”. The Market of Darkness is the small market, whereas the large market is the wholesale market.

 

When passing through this souq, your senses are tantalized by the aromatic smells of frankincense, incense and Arabian perfumes. Mutrah Souq is known for its handicrafts like silverware, daggers, traditional clothes, new apparel and shoes, in addition to the famous Omani sweets (halwa), spices and braziers (receptacles in which incense or frankincense is burned).

Cinemas
    The most popular English-language cinema is the one located in Shatti.  It has 3 screens and is usually the first (along with the one located in Markaz Al Bahja) to show the latest movies.  The Markaz Al Bahja Cinema is located in the Mall of the same name in Al Hail.  It is at the first exit after the airport if driving from Ruwi.  The cinema is situated on the basement of the mall and features mostly English language movies.(http://www.totalmuscat.com)

Dining Out
    There are a wide variety of restaurants in Oman offering all types of cuisine, including Omani, Arabic, Indian, Oriental, European and American dishes. Al Khoud has quite a big number of restaurants- mainly Indian and Turkish- cafes and shwarmah stands. Al Khoud is also home for two well-known Omani restaurants that offer customers a taste of the most popular Omani dishes. There are a lot of scrumptious dishes to choose from such as the famous Shuwa, Maqbous and Mashawi.  Upscale restaurants are mainly located in Qurum and Khuwair.
Should you be invited into an Omani house, it is customary to remove one’s shoes before entering your host's house. Traditional Omani meals are eaten with hands, using the right hand only although as the guest, you won't be expected to do so.  Muslim law forbids alcohol, however alcoholic beverages are available in most hotel bars and restaurants where visitors to Oman may drink.  It should be noted that Omanis are not permitted to drink alcohol in these establishments and visitors are cautioned not to offer drink to locals as this may inadvertently cause offense.
(http://www.exploreoman.com)
Aside from the eateries mentioned above, you can always go to your favorite fast-food chain, in case you don't feel adventurous when it comes to food.

Sultan Qaboos University Hospital attends to the medical needs of the Omani Students, faculty, staff and international students who are on postgraduate scholarships.  Its services include first aid, consultations and starting medication for common ailments.  For all your other medical needs, there are also a number of medical and health centers near the University that you can go to.

Dental Clinics
Al Balsam Al Shafi Dental Clinic    Seeb Souk  Tel. No. 24423002
Badr Al Samaa Polyclinic                Seeb
Aseriya Dental Clinic                       Al Khoud, Souk
Retag Dental Clinic                          Al Khoud, Souk
    

Hospitals
Star Care Hospital    Near Muscat City Center, Seeb
Badr Al Sama Polyclinic    Seeb

Pharmacies
Muscat Pharmacy       Al Khoud Souk
Belqees Pharmacy     Al Khoud Souk
Waleed Pharmacy      Al Khoud Souk



Taxi
    Licensed taxis are painted orange and white and do not use meter.  The approximate fare in going to SQU from the nearest place (Al Khoud) is 0.300 to 0.500 baiza.
 (http://www.asiarooms.com)

Baiza buses
    Baiza buses, colored orange and white, serve all major roadways, as well as a wide and loose network of smaller byways in the greater Muscat metropolitan area.  These shared taxis are available from the airport and throughout the city; they will take you to virtually any destination, as long as you find one that is going in your direction.
 (http://www.hoteltravel.com)  
    Muscat can be reached by bus from Dubai, while there are also bus links from the capital (Muscat) to many other Oman cities like Sur, Salalah, and  Buraimi, operated by Oman National Transport Company (ONTC). They even have buses from Salalah going to Dubai and back.  For detailed information of the buses schedule you may want to visit their website. www.ontcoman.com  

Car Rental
    Renting a car is probably the most convenient way to see the city of Muscat and its environs. Most signs are clearly written in both Arabic and English.  Major car rental companies are located within Muscat. You can book a car in advance with any of  these  companies to ensure that they are waiting for your arrival.  (http://www.worldexecutive.com)