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World Travel Guide > Guides > Middle East > Oman > Muscat

Muscat Weather

39°C

Local time Muscat

Currency

Travel to Muscat

Flying to Muscat

Oman Air operates direct flights to Muscat from the UK. Alternatively, there are plenty of indirect options involving one change, including flights with Emirates, Etihad Airways, Gulf Air, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines. There are no direct flights from the USA. Cheaper flights to Muscat are usually available during the summer months when temperatures are scorching hot.

Flight times

From London - 7 hours 35 minutes; New York - 15 hours (including stopover); Los Angeles - 19 hours (including stopover); Toronto - 16 hours (including stopover); Sydney - 17 hours 30 minutes (including stopover).

Travel by road

A modern infrastructure of roads links most cities in Oman with Muscat. Traffic drives on the right and the minimum driving age is 18. The speed limit on major highways is 120kph (74mph), reduced to 100kph (62mph) within city limits, and enforced by speed cameras. In built-up areas, speed limits are usually 60-80kph (37-50mph).

Road accidents are common but most drivers follow the rules. It is possible to drive to Muscat from the UAE, crossing desert landscape through one of three border posts. Extra insurance is generally needed to take a UAE hired car over the border and the car has to be returned to base.

An International Driving Permit is required though often a national driving licence is accepted.

Emergency breakdown services

The Royal Oman Police (tel: 9999) respond to emergency calls but many roads outside the capital area are infrequently used and waiting times are long. It is important to carry water and to stay with the car if stuck in remote areas.

Routes

Highway 1 travels along the coast from the United Arab Emirates into Muscat. Highway 17 continues southeast of the city near the coast, while Highway 15 heads inland.

Coaches

Public transport is provided by Oman National Transport Company (ONTC) (tel: +968 2412 1500; www.ontcoman.com). Buses connect Muscat with all parts of the country from the main station on Al-Jaame St in Ruwi. ONTC runs a daily service between Dubai and Ruwi bus station in Muscat.

Time to city

From Dubai - 5 hours.

Travel by Rail

Services

There are currently no rail services in Oman, but there are plans to construct a rail network connecting the country with the rest of the Gulf region. See www.omanrail.om for updates.

Featured Hotels

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Marina Hotel

For this price don't expect the Ritz. Overlooking Mutrah fish market this is a simple harbourside hotel offering great views of Muscat's famous corniche. It's basic and its basement bar can be a little noisy but its location is within walking distance of Mutrah Souk making it convenient for sightseeing.

Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa

Though just a short drive from the city centre, you'll feel a world away from the hustle and bustle of Muscat at this secluded 5-star gem. Actually encompassing three luxurious hotels, it's an oasis of calm, beauty and fantastic fine dining. Its tastefully decorated rooms are huge and come with air-con, Wi-Fi and flash TVs. A real treat.

Grand Hyatt Muscat

With exotic marble flooring, indoor palm trees, stained glass windows, Bedouin tents and a revolving Arab on horseback, the decor of this luxurious and quirky beachside Hyatt was the inspired by its owner, a Yemeni sheikh. It offers some quality Arabic and Italian dining, along with the elegant ambience of the John Barry bar.

The Chedi Muscat

The Chedi is the original luxury hotel in Muscat, and arguably still the best. A true icon of the city, it combines traditional Arabic design elements with Asian-inspired minimalism, so a stay here feels like a true escape from the city. It also boasts the longest (and one of the loveliest) swimming pools in the Middle East.

Crowne Plaza Muscat

With cliff top views over the Gulf of Oman, this 4-star resort is popular with holidaymakers intent on working on their tans – and no wonder, given the sparkling swimming pools, private beach and sun-soaked terraces. Its fitness centre has tennis and squash courts as well as a sauna and steam room.

Hotel InterContinental Muscat

Tastefully decorated and festooned with luxury extravagances like swimming pools, tennis courts, sauna and Jacuzzis, this 5-star beachside hotel offers the upmost luxury without breaking the bank. Just a short hop from the Grand Mosque, the InterContinental is set among a glorious garden of palm trees. It also has five excellent restaurants and numerous bars.