2 days in Oman is a tad short. However, you can make the best out of it by exploring some of the must-sees in Muscat. Better yet, you will have time to venture outside the city and visit a few nature escapes that best define Oman!
As an enchanting country with lots of places to visit, you can imagine that not everything can be covered in Oman in 2 days. But fear not. I will list a detailed itinerary on how to spend your best 48 hours in Oman!
As the capital of Oman, Muscat is the perfect blend of urbanizing culture and deep-rooted traditions. I recommend you to use the first day in Oman to absorb the lively beats of Muscat. Spend some time at the stunning Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, unwind at the tranquil Mutrah Corniche, visit a couple of age-old forts, and definitely stop at the buzzing Mutrah Souq. On the second day, head towards the old town of Ibra and explore the wadis and mountains that many love Oman for.
If you are only staying for 2 days in Oman, I assume that you will be coming down from the UAE. The road between Dubai and Muscat is very easy to drive. However, if you are coming from the airport, you can pre-book a private transfer from the airport here.
Ideally, you will arrive the night before. Aim to start your first day at 9:30 am and your second day at 9:00 am.
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2 Days in Oman: Muscat
Muscat is the capital city of Oman and a perfect mix of tradition and urbanization. I recommend you to spend the first 24 hours in Muscat and soak up the unique rhythm of this city. Start your day at Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. Follow it with lunch and a walk by Mutrah Corniche. Here, you will visit one of the biggest ports in Oman and stop by a few age-old forts. In the evening, shop at Mutrah Souq and grab dinner near Qurum Beach.
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
The first stop in Muscat should be the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. This massive mosque took six years to complete and can accommodate up to 20,000 worshipers. It is simply one of the most spectacular structures I’ve visited in Oman.
The courtyard in the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is almost entirely made up of marble. I don’t know how many times the mosque gets cleaned, but it can probably out-shine Marie Kondo’s kitchen countertop.
The mosque also contains one of the largest single carpets in the world, only second to that of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in the UAE. Other than the sparkling chandeliers and vast layout of the prayer hall, you will surely enjoy the intricate design of the interiors.
After the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, head towards Mutrah, one of the largest seaports in Oman.
Mutrah is fondly referred to as the Old City and you will easily fall in love with the lazy beach-side strolls against rows of mountain ranges. It’s not the easiest to find parking here, though street parking is possible.
You will also find lots of restaurants on this side of the town. If you like seafood, Fish and Seafood Girlls Mutrah is a great place to dine in. Otherwise, Corniche Cafe is a cute hideout by the beach. Make sure to eat after 1 pm since most restaurants may be closed between 12 pm and 1 pm for afternoon prayers.
Following lunch, walk or drive along the Mutah Corniche towards the Al Alam Palace. This ceremonial palace is over 200 years old and has a very ‘playful’ design. I say playful because the vibrant colors are quite unlike any palace I’ve seen before. Grab a few photos here and head to the National Museum across the street.
The National Museum is a great institution that displays the cultural heritage of Oman. From human settlement in the peninsula approximately two million years ago to the present-day sociocultural underlying of the country, the National Museum will help you better understand this peaceful Arabian country.
Following the museum, head to Al Mirani, a fort with hundreds of years of history. From here, you can catch a glimpse of Al Jalali, Al Mirani’s twin fort that once served as a jail cell for members of the royal family. Although it became the country’s main prison in the 20th century, Al Jalali is now only open to visiting dignitaries. These two forts were immensely helpful in defending Muscat against attacks in the old days.
In the evening, visit the Muttrah Souq, one of the oldest souqs in Oman. Mutrah Souq is a great place to buy souvenirs and more. You can find spices, sweets, incense, shoes, clothes, and stacks of jewelry and scarves. Vendors will often ask you to come inside the shops but you can kindly decline the invite!
If you do stop to shop, make sure to bargain as the price will likely be very high at the beginning of the ‘negotiation’. In markets and bazaars, haggling is half the fun😊. I do recommend to compare prices at different shops and decide for yourself. And if you ‘walk away’ from a deal, you will likely get a better price! In general, you will be able to settle for an item at about 40-50% less of the initial cost.
If you are staying near Qurum Beach, make sure to head towards the Crowne Plaza Muscat for a drink or bite on its balcony. It has a beautiful view of the beach with live music in the background.
Or, Bait Al Luban is a great seafood restaurant in Muttrah that you should capitalize on!
Day 2 in Oman: Ibra, Wadis, and More
If you have only two days in Oman, I’d advise keeping the second day for exploring Oman’s gorgeous nature. We will head to Ibra, the old town, bypass plenty of lush date plantations, swim in a few wadis, and cruise along the coastline.
Get a good night’s rest because it will be a long day!
Muscat-Old Town Ibra (1.5hrs)
Ibra is one of the oldest towns in Oman. If you enjoy exploring old castles, mosques, and souqs, Ibra will be a great destination. However, if you prefer spending more time swimming in sinkholes and wadis, I suggest that you skip Ibra and head straight to Wadi Shab!
Once upon a time, Ibra was the main trading center at the entrance of the Sharqiyah Sands. The town dates back to before Prophet Muhammed’s calling and holds some incredible cultural artifacts. An hour and half away from Muscat, Ibra can be accessed by car or an Oman National Tourist Corporation (ONTC) bus.
There are two points of interest in Ibra. The first being the Al Mansfah Village, which has properties that used to be owned by rich merchants during the 19th century. The second is the Wednesday Women’s Market, which is a bazaar ran entirely by local women.
Ibra-Wadi Shab (2.11 hrs)
After Ibra (or directly from Muscat), drive east towards Wadi Shab. Wadi Shab is one of the most popular destinations for tourists and locals alike. Hike along the wadi to get to the jewel of Wadi Shab. Beware, the rocks before the cave can be quite slippery, so remember to bring proper shoes that you don’t mind getting wet.
The most difficult to access, but memorable spot in Wadi Shab is the waterfall at the end of the hike. Although you’ve only 2 days in Oman, this will definitely give you a taste of what this country is about!
To get there, you must swim across two small pools of water and through a bigger cave! It does require some good swimming skills or at least, a viable life-jacket.
Remember to bring a waterproof camera!
Wadi Shab-Bimmah Sinkhole (7 mins)
After you dry up, head towards the Hawiyat Najm Park for a second round of swimming in the Bimmah Sink Hole. Of course, you can opt to wander around the park and enjoy the sinkhole from afar (as I chose to do).
Head back to Muscat via Wadi Mayh. The drive through Wadi Mayh gives a snapshot of the Omani way of life in the wadis. This route passes traditional houses and lush date plantations, which is in stark contrast for the more urbanized Muscat.
Where to Stay in Muscat
For a short duration of two days in Oman, I recommend staying near places you will visit. A night or two around Qurum Beach or in Mutrah will be best, as these two areas are absolutely gorgeous.
For Qurum, the Crowne Plaza Muscat is a great choice, as its balcony bar overlooks the beach and has a stunning view of the sunset. Otherwise, a stay in Mutrah, which is a traditional neighborhood in Muscat, is just as lovely. The Muscat Hills Resort is a wonderful option that overlooks the Gulf of Oman. For something more budget-friendly, the Mutrah Hotel is fantastic!
If you are arriving in Oman the morning of your trip and is rushed for time, feel free to leave your luggage in the trunk of your car as Oman is quite safe and incidents of car theft are nearly non-existent. Of course, it’s always better to drop your luggage off at the front desk of your chosen hotel.
All in all, two days in Oman will only give you a glimpse of what this country is all about. However, you will get a feel for the peaceful vibe and experience more than a few breathtaking sights. Not sure whether Oman is for you? Here are 10 reasons why you will fall in love with this country!
Below are a few extra resources that can help make your Muscat trip smoother:
Find affordable flights on Kiwi, a booking site that mixes and matches flights from different airlines to find the best/most economic route (Kiwi offers a money-back guarantee if you miss a connection).
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