If you are a Filipino working in Dubai and your working visa is about to expire, you know the drill. Book for that ticket and exit to Muscat, Oman then follow the signs for connecting flights and hop on the same plane going back to Dubai and wait at Sharjah Airport for your new working visa or your new tourist visa, whatever case you may be in. If you look out the plane window, expect a view of a desert with some plants struggling to be noticed. Not enough greens to see. Dead lifeless desert and barren lands.
So yeah. You could say it looks really boring that you wouldn’t give the time of day to visit let alone explore this place.
That’s my initial thought. But then I still got curious and want to find out if Muscat would be different from Sharjah or Ras Al Khaimah.
Oman offers so much things after all. Thanks to my special guy (who I was sort of seriously dating when I was in Dubai) because if it wouldn’t be for him I wont be able to learn that Muscat is really and truly a beautiful city.
Muscat is just about 4 hours travel time by car, depends on what route you will be taking (If it’s the Sharjah route, allot an additional hour for traffic) and an hour and a half by plane. It’s not a popular tourist destination but there are still interesting places to see like The Grand Mosque -Muscat Oman. It is somehow similar to the one in Abu Dhabi If you love history and curious about Islam then you’d appreciate this type of tour.
Oman shares land borders with the UAE in the Northwest that’s why it is the preferred exit country for most expats in Dubai because it’s just an hour away by plane and a safe country compared to Kish Island in Iran. I went here wearing a modest outfit just to make sure that I won’t get into trouble with the police or anything.
The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque-Oman
A stunning mosque with a very elaborate architectural designs found on each different sections of the area. A huge chandelier made of 600,000 Swarovski crystals with a 24 carat gold plating can be found inside. For dress code, women should wear modest outfit and requires an Abaya dress. You can rent one for only 2 riyals outside the mosque vicinity.
Islamic patterns are not just beautiful but they also symbolizes spiritual qualities that Islamic arts often represents., either objects of nature or verses or phrases from the Quran. Arabesque, geometric and calligraphic patterns all in one form that pronounces mystical and religious interpretations adds to the charm of each mosque thus making them even more sacred and holy.
Opening Hours: During mornings 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM Saturdays to Thursdays
Dress code: For foreign visitors, jeans are allowed for men. For women make sure to wear an abaya dress. You may rent one at the mosque.
Muscat Grand Mall
To be honest, there’s nothing fancy or special about this mall it’s just that, since we had a quick tour, this is one of the places we visited. Where else can we look for a place to eat? and any place where we can get what we need (ATM, essentials etc) right? But again, if you happen to visit Oman, this is so far the best mall they have.
Opening Hours: 8: 00 AM- !2: 00 AM
The next day was saved for a road trip going to Jebel Shams. It looks super similar to RAK. We rented a car and decided to check this barren mountain. We didn’t do anything interesting other than parked right here and ate our lunch while listening to Progressive House with the volume annoyingly high. The guy was a dj btw so I had to put up with his type of music. Not that I hate it but sometimes I prefer mellow ones, especially in quiet places like this. Also, he likes these types of places because he can get his hands on me and enjoy the privacy. If you are living in Dubai, kissing in public isn’t allowed. So most of the time, couples often find sneaky ways to make out. Pretty boring I know.
The road trip was scary and thrilling at the same time. All the roads are deserted and it would be difficult for you to drive here with a 2wd vehicle. I enjoyed the drive so much because I had time to enjoy spacing out. Good thing he knows this and pretty much respected my weird activities most of the time. If you are planning to camp out here, bring enough food and any type of emergency essentials. Driving at night isn’t advisable.
Jebel Shams is good for physically fit people who love to do some trekking. Some of the trails aren’t too steep however it’s a long stretch of path near the ridge walk so it’s best that you are prepared and always have a jug of water with you or something.
Oman isn’t boring like most Filipinos think. Well, depends on what kind of tourist you are and what kind of activities you plan to do. This is a quieter version of Sharjah in my own opinion.