Muscat Suburb Profiles
Madinat As Sultan Qaboos (MSQ)
MSQ is one of the most prestigious and popular areas and would suit both single professionals and families moving to Muscat. There is a variety of accommodation, from chic apartments to spacious villas with gardens. With the beach less than a kilometre away and some of the best international schools in Oman on your doorstep, it is perfect for families.
Slightly further west of Muscat, close to both the beach and the international airport, Al Azaiba is another area that is increasingly popular with expats. The suburb boasts good sized villas and a well-respected international school and is close to some excellent malls and hotels.
With the beach, park and city centre in close proximity, Qurm offers short commuting distances, stunning views and plenty of green spaces. Whether it’s snorkelling and diving off Majan Beach or hiking through the National Park, the area is perfect for those who enjoy the great outdoors. The local international schools and nurseries are also particularly sought after.
Now a mini-city of its own, Al Ghubrah boasts a variety of amenities from large malls and supermarkets to landscaped parks and leisure facilities. It is also home to one of the most glamourous hotels in the country, The Chedi, perfect for a special meal or meeting for drinks.
Transport / Getting Around Muscat
The international airport is located close to the city and offers direct flights to Heathrow seven days a week. Most expats moving to Muscat chose to travel around by car and UK driving licence holders can convert to an Omani permit relatively easily. Muscat is easy to navigate by road, but, due the slightly higher rate of traffic incidents, extra vigilance and a good insurance policy are advisable. There is a small, safe network of public buses covering main urban and intercity routes. There are also plenty of taxis around Muscat, some ‘baisa’ taxis can pick up multiple passengers but there are also ‘engaged’ taxis which can be hired for private use. As there are no fixed fares, it is customary to negotiate and agree the price at the beginning of a journey and so it’s worth seeking local advice about fair pricing.
Leisure Activities and Things to Do in Muscat
Muscat is a beautiful city with a rich culture and spectacular architecture. The breath-taking Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is the spiritual heart of the city and boasts a stunningly ornate interior while the more recent, yet equally impressive Royal Opera House is Muscat’s artistic and cultural home. There are plenty of exciting shopping options, from the traditional and exotic Muttrah Souk to the luxurious Muscat Grand Mall. At weekends, the seaside suburb of Shatti al Qurum bursts to life with locals and expats enjoying the beach and waterfront restaurants and cafes. Further afield, you can take a ‘desert trek’ to the nearby Wahiba Sands by 4×4 or camel, some companies can even offer desert camping for those wanting the full wilderness experience.
Fun facts about Muscat
- Until 2013, Muscat’s weekend was Thursday and Friday, but this has recently changed to Friday and Saturday to keep more in line with its neighbours.
- Muscat is the capital of the oldest independent Arab state which has been ruled by the Al Said family since 1744.
- While cupcakes and pastries are becoming more commonplace, most of Muscat’s many cafes serve dates with their freshly brewed coffee (a drink which is also taken very seriously!)
- Muscat was initially established as a port town and came into prominence during the 17th Century as an important trading hub, exporting valuable commodities such as frankincense.