What is a souk? It is a middle eastern market that is very much like our Indian bazaars, but one which is cleaner and more organized. If you are heading to Oman soon and love a good shopping experience, then you should make it a point to visit the lovely Mutrah (pronounced as Matrah) Souk in the old part of Muscat, Oman’s capital.
This air-conditioned ground level market located by the Corniche area and surrounded by many mosques and old buildings is full of vibrant colors and rich aroma. At every nook and turn, you will be offered to test the local perfumes. And above this, you will catch the smell of the burning frankincense wafting through the entire market.
Then, there is the dash of rich colors through lovely Kashmiri and Turkish carpets, bedazzling Mundoos’es (jewel boxes), the sparkle on the iconic Omani Khanjar, colorful local clothes and lots of Omani handicrafts and art crafts.
As you weave through the different lanes of the Mutrah souk, you will notice a very interesting and nice attribute of this market, which is non—persuasive shop keepers. Unlike other markets in this part of the world, the shop keepers give a lot of space to the shoppers and only start talking about their products when you ask them.
The Mutrah Souk is also the best area in Oman to pick up traditional tourist souvenirs like fridge magnets, postcards, Mundoos boxes, Perfumes, Dish Dasha, Khummah, Dates and much more. Do remember to bargain here as prices are typically quoted double if not more. A healthy bargain is appreciated by all shopkeepers.
The ideal half day in this part of town would be to have lunch and then spend shopping in the post afternoon session in the air-conditioned lanes of Mutrah Souk. And on sun down, grab yourself a nice glass of cold fruit juice and then head to the Corniche area for a walk by the sea with the evening breeze blowing in your hair.