There is something about Oman. It’s really hard to place a finger on it, but when you think of Arabia, it is probably Oman you imagine even if you never visited it. Now imagine you are in old Arabia, wandering through the ancient souks marveling at the frankincense and spices, and if you may be imagining a place very similar to that of Mutrah Souk. No matter how many years have passed it seems the souk remains quite the same.
Wandering through the alleyways it seems the place goes on in all directions. Touts pushing scarves and scents from across the region and the world, and locals cloaked in white thaubs and black abayas share the paths with foreigners gawking and shopping.
So if you find yourself here, what should you do?
Probably spend a bit of time wandering and wondering at the surroundings and the atmosphere of the place. If you are looking for purchases do make sure to consider the frankincense and myrrh, which are local to Oman and among the best you will find in the world.
Oman is famous for their frankincense (from the South) and it’s worth picking up some here or if you find yourself later in Salalah as well.
The souk is rather large, covering quite a few streets and alleys all covered however for the protection of the sun and elements.
One of my favorite aspects of this souk is the location, abutting the beautiful bay of Oman and the corniche. Actually, it is a great place to go for a walk.
I will admit though that the restaurants near the souk do a good job of convincing you to sit down and eat or have a snack. I know I fell victim to their persistent sales pitch. Although I’m a bit of a sucker for a good lemon & mint juice.
Also, there are a few shops along the corniche as well but I don’t find them to be any better than the shops within the souk. If the weather is good it's perfect to wander a bit along the water.
The Souk is open daily from 7am-11am and then again from 5pm – 11pm. You’ll notice this as a common occurrence at markets in the middle east. They tend to close for several hours in the afternoon (generally the hottest times of the day)
Getting here by public transportation is a bit tricky. Taxis are easy and plentiful and not too expensive from most parts of the city. The Big Bus Tours in Muscat also stop here as one of the stops around the city (also an easy place to pick it up if that is of interest to you).
Be sure to haggle with the prices. As with many souks in the middle east, the local sellers are expecting people to bargain. Overall folks here are rather polite so it’s a good place to practice if you are not experienced with haggling.