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Shopping in Oman
 
 
 

General

Oman’s cultural heritage can be found in the traditional wares and souvenir items visitors can take home with them after their visit. One of the most prominent items is the traditional silver-sheathed dagger called the khanjar, a veritable Omani national symbol as it appears on the national flag. It is a legacy of Oman’s tribal heritage. There are many types of khanjar all varying in design and quality. If you really want to purchase a good one, you need to be ready to spend at least $1,800.

Those on a much lower shopping budget can purchase Omani silver, something the country is also famous for. Apart from silver jewellery, the more traditional silver items which can be bought in the country’s many markets or souks are silver rosewater holders, Nizwa boxes, and message holders.

Oman has some of the liveliest, most authentic and colourful souks in the region. Distinguished old men in their dishdashas sit behind the counters in small shops, while bejewelled women in their abayas haggle with authority. Modern shopping centres, replete with global brands and ample parking, are pivotal social settings. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights are the busiest shopping times and it can get a little too crowded, even for the serious shopper. During Ramadan, some shops are open until midnight, supermarkets are packed to the brim with unbelievable amounts of food, and the queues are long, especially in the evenings. Many shops have sales during the annual Muscat Festival in January and in the months around the two Eid holidays and there are invariably numerous promotions and raffle prizes up for grabs.

Muscat

Muscat is the shopping capital of Oman and offers a cosmopolitan range of shops and goods. From expensive boutiques to handicraft stalls and everything in between, shoppers are never far away from finding what they want. The fact that goods are tax-free means that items like carpets, textiles and gold are often cheaper than they are in other countries, while many imported goods fetch prices similar to what they do elsewhere. The key to shopping like a pro in Muscat is to bargain where possible or to wait for the sales when prices can be cut up by up to 70%.

One of more popular souks in Muscat is Muttrah Souk. While fairly small, the market can still be a dizzying experience with all its criss-crossing lanes and alleys. Silver and gold items as well as the aromatic resin frankincense and a whole lot of spices can be bought here.

Located near the turn off between Sultan Qaboos Street and Qurum Heights Road, the Sabco Centre is actually a collection of about half a dozen medium sized shopping centres which is very popular with locals. The actual Sabco Centre has a small souk-like collection of shops that contains many of the handicrafts that are available in the Mutrah Souk. Opposite the Sabco Centre is the Omani Craftsman's House that only sells guaranteed Made in Oman crafts at fixed prices.

Other Places

Nizwa is another Omani city with a great souk. The market comes alive in the mornings, selling all sorts of products. Here, visitors can buy everything from meat, vegetables, fruits, spices, to handicrafts, gold and silverware. The place is especially bustling every Thursday and Friday morning as the goat market takes place during these days. As with all souk shopping in the Arab world, bargaining and haggling are practised, providing for a great cultural experience altogether.

Frankincense is a popular purchase in the Dhofar region as the region has historically been a centre for production of this item. Myrrh can also be purchased quite cheaply in Oman.

 

 
 

 



 


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