What to do in Four Hours ashore in Muscat Oman – a Cruise Port Guide…
We had previously visited Muscat, Oman Cruise Port and spent a really full day there which you can read about here . We were happy to be returning and really like Muscat – it’s clean air and low rise buildings are a real change from the UAE. If you have a chance to visit make sure to grab it with both hands!
This time we were on a repositioning cruise from Dubai to Singapore and for some reason we only had a relatively short six hour stop in port and, with sunset falling about 4 hours after our planned arrival time so we took the advice of the Cruise Addicted Facebook group on our options and the best spot for a perfect sunset view. As you know, I am a sucker for a sunset and I’m happy to report that group member David Innes was spot on with his advice so I am sharing here with you too!
Muttrah is the area of Muscat closest to the ship…
and it is within easy, flat walking distance of the port gate. We docked at 14.00 but there were delays getting people ashore and the cruise excursions had priority so we had lunch on board. Leaving the ship at 15.00, passing the the cruise terminal in order to get our Visa we reached the port gate and set off on a leisurely walk along the Corniche (sea front) to the shops and Souks of Muttrah.
Arriving during the afternoon meant that
a lot was closed including the fish and fruit markets which we had visited last year. Many shops aimed at visiting cruisers and other tourists were open though including a money exchange and a couple of souvenir shops at the Souk entrance. However the majority of shops in and around the Souk were shut until 16.00 or later then staying open late into the evening.
Wandering the lanes of the Gold Souk and of the more general Grand Souk is a great way to spend an hour or so soaking up local culture even if you don’t want to actually spend any money! There are nice cafes (no alcohol) just outside the Souks and all along the Corniche – we enjoyed fresh coconut water straight from the nut for less than 50p – very refreshing!
is at the opposite end of the Corniche – about 20 minutes walk from the port gate. Built by the Portuguese in 1580 the fort is a wonderful spot to look down over the port and the town – especially as the sun sets and Davids advice was to get there before the sun set to get a good position.
The 300 odd steps to the very top of the fort are achievable and well maintained but there are good views even from the lower levels.
As the sun goes down it becomes easier to spot the guard towers in the mountains above which formed a protective ring around the port. David had advised us to wait until the Muezzin begin the call to prayer from all the mosques below. The sound bounces off the surrounding hills and you seem to be in the centre of a 360* wall of sound!! A magical moment and very special to hear.
Excellent value ‘excursion’
The ticket office for the Fort was completely closed up (apparently it usually is!) but the fort itself was open so we didn’t pay anything at all for a really special experience shared with other tourists and locals alike. It obviously is the spot to end a day in Muscat – worth a visit even if you are visiting in daylight hours but very very special at dusk.
We weren’t at all concerned about walking back to the ship in the dark, the lighting was excellent and we never felt the slightest bit uncomfortable or concerned – far preferable to a coach excursion in the dark! We spoke to fellow passengers who had decided to give Muscat a miss due to the late arrival time combined with the early sunset.. we were really glad we didn’t!
I hope you enjoyed reading this extra Cruise Port Guide and that it will be useful to you. If we’ve tempted you to visit Muscat you can search for a cruise here…