One must prepare oneself before shopping in Muscat. Money: check, credit cards: check, fearless self-confidence and a loud, assertive voice: check, a sense of adventure: check. Something that might surprise visitors from Europe or North America is the Middle Eastern custom of haggling. While not common anymore in the more modern shopping malls, it is a practice still very much alive in the marketplaces of Muscat. And when in Muscat…
Haggling can be intimidating for foreigners, and they may just opt to go to the more genteel malls. Don’t! You’re robbing yourself of an experience like no other, and you’re missing out on a wonderful way to see the city and its people interact. Plus, you could walk away with some very good deals! Many smaller shops, particularly those in markets like Mutrah Souk, do not list prices on their items. Instead, they are hoping that you will haggle, or negotiate a price. This begins by asking how much something is, to which the vendor will reply, “How much will you pay?” Your response should be to say, “Well, how much is it?” Sounds fun, no? But it is. It is a game, and though you may be unfamiliar with all the rules, the goal for both seller and buyer is to get the best deal. And more often than not, you can get a great buy. Even if you do not care so much about saving a few Rial Omani, haggle because it is considered courteous.
Besides the potential fun of haggling – or watching expert Muscat shoppers haggle – you can see some of the beautiful products made in Oman. Oman is known throughout the world for its beautiful silver crafts. You can find pieces that reflect not only great beauty, but also the heritage of Muscat. In Mutrah Souk, you can find khanjas, ceremonial daggers that were worn by Omani men, or stunning Bedouin silver jewelry.
When in Muscat, take your siesta. Really. The shops will wait. Most open at 9:00am and close again at 1:00 for the midday meal and break. They reopen at 4:00pm and remain open until about 9:00pm. The Sultan Center, a supermarket and department store, is open 24 hours a day. As an Islamic country, Oman businesses are closed on Thursday and Friday. Some may have Friday evening hours, but plan on doing something else on the Omani “weekend.” You will find that travel agents, doctors, dentists, airlines, and other similar businesses close on Thursday afternoon and remain closed all of Friday.
If you want beautiful, unique items to bring home to friends and family, visit the crafts shops at the Bait Muzna Gallery on Akl-Saidiya Street, and the Omani Heritage Gallery, on Way 2817, Shatti al-Qurm. Here you can find authentic Omani crafts at reasonable prices. The Omani government has been encouraging both residents and visitors to buy locally made products, and you will find a wonderful array of kelims, or wool carpets, wall hangings, baskets, and pottery made by Omani artisans. You could not find a more perfect gift to take home.
The bazaar-like shopping atmosphere of Old Muscat will reveal perfume, oriental crafts, beautiful handmade rugs, and distinctly Middle Eastern souvenirs with which to remember your visit to this incomparable city.
If you’re feeling a bit alien and want to buy something with a price tag, you can head to the City Center Mall. Complete with Starbucks and Chili’s, among other internationally known names, western shoppers can visit top stores with a more modern tone. The Bhaja Shopping Mall is another contemporary shopping center where visitors will find three floors of shops and food courts. There are also bowling lanes and movie theatres, as well as a pharmacy. You can use the wireless internet check your email or update your Facebook status to read, “I am shopping in one of the best cities on Earth.”
Oman does not have any provisions for refunding sales tax to foreign nationals who visit the country. Hotels and restaurants charge a 17 percent tax ( five percent municipality tax, four percent tourism tax, and eight percent service charge).
Hotels and restaurant charge a total of 17% tax rate (5% municipality tax, 4% tourism tax and 8% service charge).
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PO Box 1998,Postal Code 114,Muttrah,Sultanate of Oman
Recently refurbished, this superb hotel enjoys a lovely beachside location on the edge of the delightful city of Muscat. Although it is conveniently close to the financial and business district, the hotel is an oasis of charm with stunning views of Al Bustan Bay. French,...
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PO Box 398 Muscat 114 Sultanate of Oman
The InterContinental Muscat encapsulates perfectly all that is Oman with its seamless blend of Arabian hospitality and modern facilities. Situated in 35 acres of luscious palm gardens between the imposing Hajjar Mountains and the flawless pale sand of the Gulf coast,...
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Shatti Al Qurm PO Box 951 Postal Code 133 Muscat Sultanate of Oman
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P.O. BOX 1455,MUSCAT,112 OMAN
The Crowne Plaza Muscat Hotel is both a leisure tourist’s paradise and a premier Muscat hotel accommodation spot for business travellers. The Crowne Plaza Muscat Hotel’s unique location - on top of a cliff and overlooking stunning beaches – is unlike any other in...
Exhibition Street, PC111, Muscat
The Golden Tulip Seeb Muscat Oman is just 1.5 km. from the Seeb International Airport and adjacent to the Oman International Exhibition Centre. Ideally located for all interior tours.All residents have access to private beach facilities, which is just across the road,... more