Muscat Love? The Take Away On Our Port Call In Oman’s Capital City

At The Muttrah Souq

Muscat, Super Exotic But Comfortable For Westerners

Leaving Port Qaboos, the port for Oman’s capital city, what was the take away on Muscat?

Hot In Muscat

Note the temperature, 39 Celsius, about 102 Fahrenheit

First impression: It was hot, with the heat registering 39 Celsius, or about 102 Fahrenheit, but with nearly no humidity.

Oman Landing Card

Don

Landing cards are distributed when leaving the ship’s gangway and must be returned upon re-embarkation.

Silver Spirit in Muscat

Muscat is a relatively modern city, nicely balancing the need to maintain tradition while also keeping pace with the 21st century.

Second impression: Muscat feels safe. For Westerners, Muscat is super exotic but also has the feel of being non-threatening.

Our tour guide remarked, perhaps not as she had intended: “We have no democracy and no thieves.” Even if she failed to adequately express what she was thinking, her remark was food for thought in more ways than one.

Muscat market

Muscat presents a mix of Arabic and non-Arabic culture. Tourists are welcome.

Third impression: Muscat presents a comfortable mix of Arabic and non-Arabic culture. We experienced Arabic culture but had no trouble communicating in English.

Market in Muscat

Signs are in Arabic and English.

Splendours of Muscat

We saw the highlights of Muscat on a Silversea excursion.

Our 4.5-hour Silversea tour, Splendours of Muscat, took us to a mosque, a museum, a market and more.

The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

Palatial: The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. No, that

About 20 minutes from the terminal, the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is pretty much a show mosque, in that it is not used often for religious services, even though it can accommodate up to 20,000 worshippers. It’s primarily designed for tourists to visit and admire.

Muscat Market

At the Muttrah Souq, indoor market

The Muttrah Souq piqued our visual and olfactory senses. In the sprawling indoor (and cool but open-door) market, we browsed colorful garments, perfumes and jewelry sold by polite vendors hawking in English and Arabic.

Perfumes

The sweet smells of herbs, spices and perfumes.

Shops welcomed us with the smell of incense and exotic fragrances such as jasmine, saffron, herbs and spices.

The Muttrah Souq

East meets West in Muscat.

Bait Al Zubair

At the Bait Al Zubair, a museum

Our tour included a visit to Bait Al Zubair, a museum showcasing Oman’s traditional crafts and culture.

Al Alam Royal Palace

Al Alam Royal Palace is the official estate of Oman

Our guide told us that the monarch is 70 years old and added that he is extremely benevolent. If you (meaning an Omani) want a new house, our guide said, you appeal to the monarch and he builds you a house.

Leaving Muscat

Goodbye Muscat

While there are mosques and palaces aplenty, Oman’s distinguishing feature are its wadis, which are lush oases of palm trees, colorful flowers and green grasses. We saw quite a few of these areas in Muscat. In fact, my first and last sensory perception of Muscat was of the sweet smell of jasmine. That’s an enduring memory, and a pleasant one.

Click here to view a Flickr slideshow of Silver Spirit’s visit to Muscat, Oman.

Read more about Muscat on Avid Cruiser’s Port Profiles.

 

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  • Anonymous

    I wonder how the women feel about having their photos taken. In some countries it is forbidden. You don’t seem to miss a photo opportunity. Do you have any tips for taking photos in conservative countries?