When we were still planning our Muscat trip, I came across the Big Bus website and thought why not travel the city aboard it? While it’s pretty easy to book a taxi and rent it for a day, we found taking the double-decker bus more comfortable, safer and reasonable. That being said, we purchased a ticket priced at US$46.80 (172 AED) per head and we’re ready to conquer the city!
On our first day, we covered Old Muscat where we knew will eat a huge chunk of our time. And since our second day is a Friday, we aimed to visit places that are open on weekends. Most stops of the big bus fall to this category.
The tour starts at Muttrah Souq. Just approach the guys wearing their yellow-and-red uniform and they’ll guide you on this. I’m not being biased because they are Filipinos, but really, they are accommodating and helpful. We learned that the Big Bus tours is just new in the sultanate, like 2 months old. These guys, together with their double-decker buses travelled all the way from Dubai.
A low resolution (yet good enough to help you plan your itinerary) map is available for download here. The following are the 12 stops of the Big Bus Muscat.
1. Muttrah Souq
2. Churches and Temples
A 15-minute walk from the stop is the Royal Opera House.
4. Qurum Beach
There’s a nearby mangrove area and you’ll go past modern and big, white houses of the rich
5. Qurum National Park
6. Central Business District
An interesting thing to note is that as per Muscat’s city planning, buildings and houses alike should be either white or beige in color. Buildings are restricted to (8 or) 9 storeys only.
The clock tower is a landmark in the CBD
On your way here, you’ll pass by the Friday market, Gate of Oman and Al Bustan Palace Hotel
8. Marina Views
9. Al Alam Royal Palace
10. Bait Al Zubair
11. Portuguese Forts
When we felt tired, we boarded the bus and did an almost two-hour road trip around Muscat. I personally like the commentary feature of the bus as it was informative (it should be!) and you have the freedom to listen or not, because sometimes, I prefer silence when looking around. :p Aside from the hop on-hop off facility, a free service to Sultan Qaboos Mosque (definitely a must see!) is also included in the package. And since we boarded the bus on a Friday, we were entitled to the free shuttle the following day. I say it was well worth it and I highly recommend it!
Check out the rest of my Muscat Series: