Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Visit the Souks of Oman

Looking to spend your well-earned dollar or rial? Head to your local souq in Oman! However, keep in mind each region or village offers its own unique specialties, working hours and even days of the week.

Here are the Top 5 Souqs to visit in Oman:

Mutrah Souk
Mutrah Souq:
Nothing beats visiting Muscat's ancient Old Port at sunset as the call to prayer melodically whispers into the purple night sky. Meander through its enticing souq with colourful displays of silk pashmina's, wooden carvings and hand-painted ceramics while floating tendrils of frankincense follow you through its labyrinth like alleyways. The souq is the nation's pride and joy being one of the oldest souqs whilst also being fairly easy going. No harassing vendors, aggressive merchants or begging children in sight unlike places like Istanbul, Marrakech and India.

Nizwa Souk Spice
Nizwa Souq:
A visit to the ancient capital of Oman means a visit to Nizwa's two main attractions: Nizwa Fort and Nizwa Souq. Bustling since the 17th century, the main drawcard is the Friday Cattle Market. Staged from 6am, witness all the locals converge to sell or buy a new prized cow, goat or camel. If needing a sugar kick be sure to pop into THE most popular and famous Halwa manufacturer Al-Saifi's store for a tasting session of Oman's prized sweet gelatinous treat.

Bahla Souq:
Bahla Souk Potter
Based in the centre of this home to alchemy and sorcery is Bahla Souq, where if you are lucky you can appreciate the modern form of magic that takes place daily- pottery. Many of the incense burners, pots and dishes you see around Oman originate from here. A small ceramic dish can set you back as little as 0.30cents.

Ibra Souq: 
Shopping in Oman is a task for the men, not women. Hence, that's what makes this souq especially interesting. Held every Wednesday in the town called Ibra is the Women's Market. Dedicated to women only, every week women head to this market to buy all they need.

Al Hafah Souq:
Frankincense at Salalah
Located in Salalah surrounded by coconut groves and banana plantations this souq has historic importance due its main source of goods: frankincense. Yes, this souq is the perfect places to buy the highest quality frankincense in all of Oman. One whiff of the Al Hojari fragrant curl and you will understand why this was once worth more than gold, making Oman one of the richest countries in the world.

A walk through a souq will take you not only on a shopping trip but a journey back in time and have you feeling like a desert princess in a tale of Arabia. Enjoy!

For more information on the Sultanate of Oman visit www.tourismoman.com.au

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