Shopping in Oman
Haggling is appropriate in the souqs and some real bargains can be had if you make the effort to befriend the traders and give them your repeated business.
Holiday makers will not want to miss a trip to the old souq in Muttrah. Bustling with traders and shoppers, the souq is a riot of colour, scents and voices. Still used by locals for their daily purchases, this is also the place for visitors to pick up souvenirs and unique gifts such as Omani silver jewellery, frankincense, a khanjar, perfume oils or the famous mosque alarm clocks.
Nearby is the fish souq and the fruit and vegetable souq; fascinating places to explore and select your dinner from the morning’s catch or the freshest produce from the overflowing shelves.
There are a multitude of shopping malls in Muscat, with many of the major brands represented. Sitting next to them are more local shops and businesses selling goods such as abayas or incense. The largest is City Centre in Seeb and there is a scaled down version of City Centre in Qurum. Sabco Centre, Capital Commercial Centre (CCC), Al Khamis Plaza and Al Araimi Complex are also situated in Qurum along with The Sultan Centre. Other individual shops such as The Omani Handicraft shop, a photography shop, fabric stores and a pet shop are also located here.
In Shatti Al Qurum you will find Jawaharat Al Shatti, Al Masa Mall and Bareeq Al Shatti Mall. In Al Khuwair there is Al Zakher Mall and in Madinat Qaboos you can find a number of upmarket specialist stores such as kitchenware, stationery and baby gifts.
Jewellery is a popular purchase in Oman, due to the low tax-free prices and can be bought in the gold souq at Muttrah as well as in the malls. Gold is sold per weight rather than by the intricacy of design.
And of course, there are little local shops in every area selling basic necessities and groceries such as milk, bread, toiletries and household items.
For items of hardware, pop down to Honda Road in Ruwi, where you will find a trail of dusty shops selling everything from nails, light bulbs and door handles to building materials and spare parts for your bike. If one shop does not sell what you are looking for, they will know of one who does!
Opening times are generally 10am to 8 or 9pm, with some shops closing between 1pm and 4pm. Supermarkets are open earlier and do not close in the middle of the day, likewise for shops located in shopping malls.