August 4, 2010

Muttrah, Muscat and the Memories...

I was supposed to fly to Moscow from Abu Dhabi but due to some failed arrangements and long story cut short, I diverted to Muscat. My sisters weren't able to join me as they couldn't take longer leaves. So, after they left for KL, I ventured on my 2nd solo trip.

My days in Muscat were very enjoyable thanks to my CS host, Zeina.
with the lovely Zeina

She was the perfect host anyone could ever ask for. Not only she's fun to hang out with, I was treated like a family during my stay at her house. She took a day off from work to accompany me sightseeing around Muscat and then drove all the way to Nizwa for a day excursion. I also had a taste of local lives in Muscat thanks to her. We went strolling down the beautiful beach, sipping tea and exchanging stories over the seaside cafe, played bowling, spent an evening out at the bar with her friends. Ah I miss those moments so bad... Wish I could go there again one day to visit her. 

She got involved in an accident a couple of weeks before that, so we had fun going from one car showroom to another looking for her perfect new car. We even had a test drive on the latest Honda Accord Coupe. Do you know how cheap cars are in Oman? That car was priced at OMR10000! Damn that was really cheap ok (if compared to Malaysia)! I'd definitely buy it here if the price is the same.

Anyway, I was there on weekdays and she had to work of course. So, I was on my own on some of the days.

the Corniche

Went to Muttrah, the historical and cultural heart of Muscat. The attractions are close to each other so it's perfect for a walking tour. There are the harbour, forts, museums, souq and even UFO for you to spend your time.

Can you spot the UFO?

Incense burner watch tower

Oman was once occupied by the Portuguese. So, there were a lot of forts built around Muttrah and Muscat to protect the sea lanes. Nowadays, the forts are used as military posts and are closed for the public so we can only photograph them from down the hill.

Muttrah Fort
Al Jalali Fort

Al Mirani Fort

One of the oldest souqs in Oman is the Muttrah Souq. Here, shops and stalls offer jewellery, precious metals, antique coins, handicrafts, artefacts, carpets, incense, perfume, fabrics, lamps and many more.


Just a short walk from Muttrah will lead you to Old Muscat. And the entrance is via a spectacular double carriageway, the Muscat Gate. This is actually a museum too. 
Muscat Gate

Around Old Muscat, you can visit Bait Al Zubair Museum for a showcase for traditional Omani crafts and culture.

I didn't have a chance to visit it as it was closed when I reached there in the afternoon. Just for your information, some of the attractions or local shops in the Middle East countries will be closed for a few hours during the afternoon. Unlike us who only get 1 hour lunch break everyday, they get 3-4 hours afternoon break! From what I heard from the locals, it is because the weather is too hot they just wanna go home and sleep. They will resume business in the evening when the weather is cooler.  

Then, there's also the attractively unique architecture, Qasr Al Alam Royal Palace. This is the office of Sultan Qaboos, ruler of Oman. 

Although visitors are not allowed inside, it is worth traveling to the palace just to see the spectacular views that it offers.

I leave you with Muttrah view at night... 

Beautiful, isn't it?


Lady of Leisure said...

wow thanks for sharing.. spectacular view..! i suka tempat yang banyak tinggalan sejarah like muscat ni..
al jalali and mirani tu dulu prison kan? bertuah nya u boleh lawat ke tempat2 ni..

June Malik said...

bestlah rara, u r always up and travelling ..

rara said...

lady: ha'ah.. dulu both forts tu prison.. insya allah u pon one day boleh sampai sana :)

kak june: once in a while je kak june.. ni banyak cerita backdated..

p!nkerton said...

bestnye, view kat muscat tu cantek!
wow lampu aladdin! ko beli tak mun? boleh gosok2 buat wish? ;p

rara said...

fatih: hahaha.. aku tak teringat pulak nak beli lampu aladdin tu gosok2 buat wish.. ni yang nak kena pegi balik ni!

Ernie Khairina said...

historical, cultural + souq..perfect la utk sight seeing! hmm... best la tempat's been a while since my last vacay, ntah bila dapat berjalan lagi =P

rara said...

ernie: tungu aariz besar sikit, bawak la dia jalan2 :)