This post had been a long time coming .. a month or so ago I flew out to Dubai to visit my family and a very special trip. Bearing in mind my sister had a 3 year old and a baby at the cutest age of 7 months, we thought it would be a good idea to put everyone in a car and drive 8 hours from Dubai to Oman! And to answer your questions, yes we are in actual fact crazy!!
So usually it takes about 2 hours by car to get to the border of Dubai-Oman but Muscat is another 6 hours drive from the border so off we went.
Travelling to Muscat
We hired the Range Discovery – a massive people carrier big enough to fit 5 adults and 2 kids. It was huge and must’ve been a pain to drive. But it was as comfortable as it could’ve been for a journey that long.
We got to the Dubai-Oman border in the SCORCHING heat of August. We had to get a visa for Oman from here which took about an hour for us all to get this sorted with the babies.
Driving to Muscat
I didn’t know what to expect as I’ve never been to Oman, but as we drove further away from Dubai, I felt more and more at home. Muscat is built out of a range of mountains and it was stunning. As we drove though the city, the mountain ranges just engorged the city on each side, it’s a beauty a camera can’t capture and words don’t do justice to.
Staying in Muscat
We got to our hotel at around 7pm, exhausted. The only one that seemed to be in good spirits was our little baby as he’d pretty must slept through the last 8 hours lol! Ahh that’s the life!
Our hotel, Al Bustaan Palace was at one of the furthest points in Muscat. The hotel was STUNNING!! The high ceilings, the regal decor, the deep colours of the Middle East just left us all stunned almost to disbelief that this was going to be our home for the next week or so. We later found out that this was actually one of the Sultan’s palaces which he later made into a hotel because he already had too many palaces around the city! Of course you do, Sultan!! Pictures don’t do this magnificent hotel/palace any justice at all..
The views from our hotel room were amazing and exactly what is so beautiful about Muscat, just look how close the mountains are..
I need to mention here the breakfast at the hotel, one of the BEST services I have ever encountered – it was such a pleasure. The breakfast was something else though… if you ever have the pleasure of staying here make sure you (and I mean DO NOT LEAVE WITHOUT IT!) try the lime/lemon juice – I had about 5 glasses full every morning!
And pretty floors that always matched my outfits…
I was blissfully unaware that Oman has a very strong historical connection to Tanzania. And this could only mean one thing – East African food galore! If you’ve ever been to anywhere in East Africa, you’ll know that we love our food. Growing up in Kenya, there are specific foods that I remember were a must – madaafu (raw coconut and especially the pulp), mandaazi (a sweet brioche type bread), and harrisa (a spicy corn soup) – luckily for me I managed to convince the head chef at my hotel to make them for me and low and behold for the next week I was stuffing my face with them all every morning!
One of the best places I went to was Bait al Luban. The best Omani food, the best East African foods 🙂
Oh and cute interiors…
Places to visit in Muscat
So much history in Muscat, here were my favourite places…
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
One of the most beautiful architectural mosques I’ve seen, and so underrated. I was sad to see that the mosque which could hold up to 20,000 guests was so quiet on both days we went, even though it was around Eid time.
Royal Opera House
With strength of the heat against the coolness of the white marble, this opera house is where the city holds all its’ events, arts exhibitions and concerts …
So different to the rest of the city, the old part of town was one of my favourite parts of Muscat. Walking through the streets of the souq felt as though I was walking through the streets of Syria or Palestine and it almost felt familiar, yet the artisanship was brilliant, the colours were stunning and the streets old. Just the way I like it.
Overall I had such a great time in Muscat – I don’t know whether it was because I was with my most favourite people on the planet, or because it was one of the rare occasions when I spent Eid with my family, or whether I genuinely loved the city. I loved how only a few hours away from Dubai and we were driving through ranges and ranges of mountains so close to the city, I love how the city is so technologically behind that when I tried to use my Starbucks app, they looked at me like I asked them for their left kidney.But most of all I loved the food, the people and how different it was from any place I’d ever visited, yet so underrated.
I would love to hear from you if you’ve been to Muscat 🙂