Shopping in MuscatEdit This
Most shops are open between ca. 9:00 a.m. and 13:00. They then reopen around 16:00 and close around 21:00, depending on what kind of shop it is and where it is. One supermarket/department store, The Sultan Center is open 24 hours a day. Most hold to those hours between Saturday and Thursday and are only open during the evenings on Fridays. Exceptions: Travel agents, airlines, doctors and dentists practices are all closed starting in the afternoon on Thursday and all day Friday.
Again, because Oman is an Islamic country, the regular business week runs between Saturday and Wednesday. Thursday and Friday are the weekend.
Bargaining vs. Fixed-Prices
Small shops in the suq (market) do not usually have fixed prices. Even in fairly posh looking shops you should ask for a "discount," or a "last price." Supermarkets and shops in large shopping centers generally operate on the basis of fixed prices.
Muttruh, Ruwi, and Seeb are the towns to go to for a real "Arab suq experience." Muttruh's is by far the best, situated as it is in a rabbit warren of streets just off the Corniche. Ruwi's suq is a bit more "modern" in that shops are generally separate and face the street. Seeb's are somewhat like Ruwi's, but they have a more local and intimate "feel" to them.
There are several more-or-less Western-style shopping centers. Although not as large as Dubai's, two, the Sultan Center and the Al-Zakher Center would fit in quite well in a suburban area of a smallish North American city such as Fresno, California, or Regina, Saskatchewan (Canada). The shopping centers in Qururm or Madinat Qaboos are built more along the lines of an American mall.
Things to Buy
The Omani government has been encouraging folk arts and crafts for the past several years in an attempt to make sure they don't die out. You will find interesting baskets, wool carpets ( kelims ) and wall hangings for sale as well as some very charming, but rather primitive, pottery. Most visitors buy at least a little frankincense and myrrh to take home as a very exotic gift.
Silver and Gold
Gold is a very, very good buy in the Gulf. Although it's a little more expensive in Oman than it is in the UAE or Bahrain, it is still quite reasonable compared with prices in the West or Japan. Items are sold by weight, and you pay the going London spot price plus about 10% extra on average. According to law, 18 karat gold is the lowest quality that may be sold; much of what you see is 21 or 22k, however.
Muscat City Centre
Muscat City Centre is the largest mall in Oman, it is located 5 Km's away from the Muscat International Airport, it has all kinds of shops from clothing shops (Zara, Gap, Forever21, Babyshop, and many others), computer shops (E-Max, Nokia, Samsung and a few others), bookshops (Borders, all though not as big as the one in Dubai, but quite enough), Furniture shops are also available. It also has a big food court with games for kids and older ones. In the food court you can find: KFC, McDonalds, Hardees, Subway and many many other more..
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