Oman Road Trip | Travel Photography by Sebastian Motsch (2015)

Oman | Muscat, Mutrah and Qurum Beach

Oman FlagOn our first day in the Sultanate of Oman, we had a look at some of the various sights in and around Muscat. Driving from our Hotel in Al Wadi Al Kabir to the old part of the city via Sidab Street yielded some stunning views of the rough mountains and the glistening sea.

Leaving our car in one of the free parking areas, we walked towards the palace of Sultan Quaboos bin Said al Said – on polished stone sidewalks, mind you. They create nice reflections, but must be a nightmare when wet. In a country with an average of 100 mm of rain per year… who cares about slippery conditions? Dust is a concern, however, and therefore the sidewalks are kept clean all the time.

The Al Alam Palace gate is a piece of art in itself and bears the Sultans shield. The palace is colorful and it really shows that the architect has Indian roots. Both of us being gear heads, we immediately thought the inspiration must have come from engine valves. Al Alam Palace is not open for visitors, but a small part of the beautiful garden is accessible to the public. When we heard sirens around the corner, we figured an important person must have arrived. We didn’t see the person, though, but observed, that the whole fleet of the Sultan is painted with an exclusive hue of blue and the vehicles have special number plates with three numbers. The old Fort is not open for visitors as well, but makes for a stunning background.

We also visited the Omani French Museum in the 170 year-old French House, which hosts an exhibition about the friendship between Oman and France. Leaving the old part of Muscat through the Muscat Gate, we headed onto the Corniche to have a look at Mutrah.

The Corniche is named after the original coastal road in Southern France. There are other similarities apart from the name, such as the mountains in the immediate background. The most prominent feature of Mutrah is the oversized frankincense bowl, sitting on top of a hill overlooking the Corniche (and looking like a UFO). Driving along the harbor, we spotted the Sultans yacht basking gloriously in the early afternoon sunshine and being nicely accentuated by a classic Dhow.

Mutrah is famous for it’s old Souk. We failed miserably, though, because we got there early afternoon, when every shop was closed and we didn’t want to stay around until the re-opening later that day. Instead, we walked through the old part of town, where the people actually live and hardly any tourists venture. Respecting the privacy of the inhabitants, we didn’t take any pictures.

Satisfied with the touristy part of the day we headed to Qurum Beach, also known as the diplomatic quarter. This is the part of Muscat where most of the embassies are located and where many expatriates live. This area is also home to a couple of upscale hotels.

Upon seeing the palm trees and setting foot on the beach, it really felt like the (well earned) holidays we’ve been looking forward to for so long. After the work of the day is done, many people go to the beach to enjoy the mild afternoon sun. Swimming, leisurely strolling along the beach, jogging or setting up a couple of goals for a soccer match are popular activities. With a sky being lit up in fantastic colors, we enjoyed a tasty dinner and called it a day afterwards. We had to get up early the next day…