This excellent hop-on, hop-off ten-stop city sightseeing tour thoughtfully mapped by Big Bus is the perfect introduction to Muscat. One experiences the best views of the city's distinctive landmarks along with a quick education of its fascinating history, cultural traditions, various monuments and places of interest, in a wonderfully scripted commentary rendered in a soulful voice, that one can listen on the complimentary headphones that one picks up immediately on entering the bus.
Besides English, there is a choice of five other languages that include Arabic, French, German, Italian and Spanish in which one can imbibe that information. Other than the headphones this double-decker air-conditioned tour also provides complimentary bottled water and maps to its honored guests. For the serious photographer the open upper half-deck wherefrom one can click pictures without an intervening glass, is indeed a high-perched boon to survey the beautiful brown mountainous landscape from.
This ten stop tour is actually a two hour non-stop ride from start to finish. The "Mutrah Souq" main entrance area is the start point, the second stop is at the "Churches & Temples" stop near Bait Al Falaj famous for two Christian churches of Protestant and Catholic faiths respectively, besides a popular Hindu Krishna temple that is very regularly thronged by a devoted multitude of Indians professing the faith. The third stop is at the Costa Coffee at Shati Al Qurum close to the Royal Opera House at the stop called "Hay As Saruj" from here the bus proceeds over a bridge through a green patch of mangroves to "Shatti" outside Japengo Restaurant near the landmark Crowne Plaza Hotel along the promenade overlooking the Al Qurum Beach. The next stop is called "Al Qurum National Park" which is a very popular amusement area for the locals, from here the bus takes a long drive to a clock tower in the bustling sixth stop called "Central Business District" located in Ruwi. "Parliament" or Majlis Oman located in the exclusive neighborhood that also boasts of the renowned Ritz Carlton Al Bustan Palace Hotel, is the seventh stop, followed by the popular view point called "Marina Views" at the Bandar Al Rowdah which has a scenic marina housing hundreds of privately owned yachts around a Capital Area Yacht Club. A very popular and much photographed imperial complex, which is under a watchful round-the-clock surveillance of a 17th century Fort atop an adjoining vantage point, houses mosques, museums, the royal courts and Sultan's Palace nestled alongside a concealed harbour called "Al Alam Palace" is the penultimate stop of this tour. The tenth and final stop is located at one end of an impressive Kalbu Corniche called "Al Bahri Road" which affords scenic views of Mutrah extending up to Old Muscat along with the Dolphin Fountain and the prominent Riyam Monument that stands out on the Mutrah skyline as the famous white "Frankincense Burner" tower that is located atop a hill in Al Riyam Park.
The Big Bus Tours operate every single day of the year. The first bus leaves Mutrah Souq at 0900h and the last bus leaves there at 1700h. These buses are available at 30 minutes interval at every stop thereafter, for all the patrons who have opted to hop off for a detailed survey of a particular stop. The last bus returns to the last stop at 1845h. These wheel-chair accessible buses are also available at discounted rates for private hires and corporate charters. Rides for the children below five years of age are free and for those between 5 and 15 years have to pay only half of the adult fare. One has multiple options for purchasing a Red Route Ticket that is valid for 24 or 48 hours, these include cash purchase on bus, in hotels counters or designated sales desks or online credit card purchases from www.bigbustours.com. The current charges are $63/$26/$151 for Adult/Child/Family for a 24 hour validity ticket and $68/$34/$170 for a 48 hour validity ticket. It is advisable to opt for the family ticket for 48 hours to have a leisurely excursion of the city. It is also recommended to purchase tickets online as the online offers are 10 to 15 % lower than the standard prices.
Our experience of the Muscat city tour definitely conformed to the famous BigBusTours.com tagline of "Great Cities. Great Stories" like we happily discovered in those unique stories of this fascinating and enchanting Sultanate, from the wonderful commentary on our tour.
The Big Bus City Sightseeing Tour is a must-do, for anyone who wants a quick exploratory introduction to the captivating city of Muscat.
No Address Available