Shopping for Frankincense at “The Darkness” Mutrah Souq and Walking the Corniche, Muscat, Oman
The Middle East has many great trading markets or Souq’s to experience. It’s an entirely different way of shopping as many markets develop their own personalities reflective of the countries that they are situated in. They may be areas that are commercial and urban, or quieter and more laid back representing local communities. Our day out at the Darkness Souq in Oman, was a neat window into a time of years past.
This post is one chapter on our second Round the World trip via Japan, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Poland. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and through Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) loyalty programs. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
Read More from This Trip
- Trip Introduction: The Khors of Oman, Cherry Blossoms in Japan, & Pirogies in Poland. Round the World #2 via Star Alliance Business Class on ANA, Thai, Etihad, Turkish & Lufthansa.
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Vancouver Trans-border
- Air Canada Express: Vancouver – Seattle
- United Club Lounge Sea-Tac, Seattle, Washington, USA
- The Club at SEA Lounge, “S” Concourse, Sea-Tac, Seattle, Washington, USA
- ANA Staggered Business Class: Seattle – Tokyo Narita
- ANA Arrivals Lounge – Tokyo Narita
- The Westin Tokyo
- Meiji Jingu Shine & Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo, Japan
- The Imperial Palace and Akihabara, Tokyo, Japan
- Tsukiji Fish Market and Ginza Shopping, Tokyo, Japan
- Cherry Blossoms and a Night out in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
- ANA Lounge, Narita Terminal One, Tokyo, Japan
- Asiana Airlines Business Class, Tokyo Narita – Seoul Incheon
- Hyatt Regency Incheon
- Asiana Business Lounge, Terminal One Concourse, Seoul Incheon
- Thai Airways Business Class: Seoul Incheon – Bangkok Survharnabhumi
- Thai Airways Royal Orchid Spa, Bangkok Survharnabhumi
- Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounge, Bangkok Survharnabhumi
- Thai Airways Business Class: Bangkok Survharnabhumi – Dubai
- The Grosvenor House Apartments, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Afternoon Tea at the Burj Al Arab, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- At the Top, Visiting the Worlds’ Tallest Observation Deck, Burj Khalifa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Trading at Old Markets of Dubai, Deira, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Etihad Pearl Business Lounge, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
- Etihad Pearl Business, Abu Dhabi – Muscat
- Shangri-La Barr al Jissah Resort and Spa, Muscat, Oman
- Shopping at Mutrah Souq & The Corniche at Muscat, Oman
- Spotting Underwater Turtles in Bandar Jissah, Yiti, Oman
- Plaza Premium Lounge, Muscat, Oman
- Etihad Airways Pearl Business Class, Muscat – Abu Dhabi
- The Four Points by Sheraton, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Lufthansa Senator Lounge, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Dubai International Business Lounge, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Turkish Airlines Business Class, Dubai – Istanbul
- Turkish Airlines Business Lounge, Istanbul Atatürk Airport, Istanbul, Turkey
- Swiss Airlines Business Class, Istanbul – Zurich
- Swiss Airlines Senator Lounge “A”, Zurich, Switzerland
- Swiss Airlines Business Class, Zurich – Warsaw
- The Hotel Bristol, Warsaw, Poland
- Strolling Old Town Warsaw, Poland
- Visiting the Remains of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and Parks of Warsaw, Poland
- LOT Business Lounge, Warsaw, Poland
- Lufthansa Business Class, Warsaw – Munich
- Lufthansa Business Class, Munich – Vancouver
Activity: Shopping for Frankincense at “The Darkness” Mutrah Souq and Walking the Corniche at Muscat, Oman
This post is about our stay visit to the Darkness Muttrah Souq in Muscat, Oman. You’re invited to see these posts our experiences staying at the nearby Shangri-La Bandar Al Jissah Resort and Spa and Snorkelling with Turtles at Bandar Jissah near Yiti Beach, Oman.
The Shangri La Barr al Jissah Resort and Spa offered a complimentary shuttle to the Mutrah Souq near old Muscat. The timings were at 15:30 and 16:30 hours for 2 hour visit on a daily basis. The bad news is that the shuttle is actually a full size tour bus coach, making the experience less intimate. The good news is that the Shangri La is the only resort hotel in the area and that the coach was the only one at the souq. This meant for less people limited to those on our bus.
Our travels there took us along the coast towards the Corniche. Once we were dropped off, we were treated to pleasant views of the Corniche with an entirely local population. Today was the only cloudy and cooler day of our visit.
Walking The Corniche:
The Corniche in Muscat Oman was nicely maintained and provided a nice walk along the waterfront. There weren’t many out walking when we were visiting.
The Sultan’s boat happened to be moored in the harbour. The largest “yacht” that I have seen, I believe it had room for a helicopter on the back of the deck.
Visiting the Muttrah Souq Market:
Al Dhalam (Darkness in Arabic) Souq is the local name for the Muttrah Souq. The Muttrah Souq one of the oldest marketplaces in Oman dating back two hundred years. It is located adjacent to the harbor and Corniche of Muscat and has seen immense trade in the age of sail, being strategically located on the way to India and China. It was named after darkness because of the crowded stalls and lanes where the sunrays do not infiltrate during the day and the shoppers need lamps to know their destinations.
We wandered into the souq. Although there were the usual souvenir shops, there was were almost no tourists shopping in this area. The Mutrah Souq was unique because the ceilings at the intersections were inlaid with stained glass amid a wooden circular pattern.
The shopping was a very authentic shopping experience with hardly any tourists in the area. It was a pleasant experience walking around without being haggled and being subjected to the usual high pressure sales tactics.
Frankencise was on sale almost everywhere. Most shops were selling it by the large bagful. I picked up a small container a little larger than a spice jar as a souvenir for 1.25 OMR ($4 USD)
Local Life on the Streets of Oman:
In a sight of local life, outside the market, some locals were also selling dates and playing dominoes of all things.
My Thoughts on our Visit to Muscat, Oman:
Overall a nice authentic experience to be treated to a local market. Our visit had no crowds and we were left pretty much unbothered as we wandering through the Mutrah Souq, thanks in part to the wonderful hospitality of the Omani’s. Our time in Muscat was much more regional and authentic thanks to an absence of regular tourists.