Public Transport in Oman

I always prefer public transport whenever possible. Oman is the first country I visited, where I would highly recommend renting a car, if you are able to drive. The prices for this are quire reasonable and the fuel is cheap. If you plan to go to mountaineous areas near Nizwa (Jebel Shams, Jebel Akhdar, Wakan village, etc), you would definitely need a 4×4 and to be a confident driver. If you do try to go any of these without a 4×4, you will only not be allowed to Jebel Akhdar.

Public transport is not well-developed, although you will be able to get to some places with it.

Intercity Transportation

Buses among major cities exist although they aren’t frequent. Mwasalat is the only company operating buses among cities. We were unable to buy their tickets online – from what I heard this is not possible with a non-Omani SIM card, although you may be luckier. Buying tickets is possible at the bus stations, as well as on the bus itself, if you board at a spot with no bus station. You will need to have your passport with you for this.

Getting from Muscat to Dubai and back: There are 3 buses a day. #201 leaves Azaiba bus station in Muscat and Anu Heil and Al Rashidiah bus stations in Dubai.

Getting from Muscat to Nizwa and back: There are two buses a day – #53 and #54. Buses leave Muscat’s Azaiba station and travel via Muscat airport. In Nizwa – Nizwa souq 3 stop is closest to the fort. However, when travelling back to Muscat, I suggest to go to the Firq station, as you will have more information, whether the bus is delayed. When we travelled, the bus from Muscat was delayed by over half an hour, while from Nizwa by over an hour.

Getting from Muscat to Sur and back: There are two busses a day -#36 and #55. The buses leave Muscat’s Azaiba station, however each of them takes different route. #36 leaving in the afternoon travels via Ruwi bus station and travels near the coast, while #55 leaving Muscat in the morning goes with longer dessert road. In Sur buses leave the Sur station. There were no delays with these buses when we took them.

Getting from Muscat to Salalah: There are two buses a day – #100. This takes about 13 hours and would be crazy tiring. Same would be to drive there. Therefore, I highly recommend to fly instead. Omanair has flights and it takes about an hour.

Shared Taxis

There are a few shared taxi stations in big cities. Muscat to Sur shared taxi station is around the Wadi Adai roundabout, while those heading to Nizwa can be found around Burj Al Sahwa roundabout. If the bus schedule is inconvenient for you or you miss it, you can take these shared taxis, as another relatively cheap option. It is not the fastest option though by far, as you will have to wait for other people for the shared taxi to leave.

In Nizwa the shared taxi station is near Bank Dhafar, from where you can go to Al Hamra, Bahla fort or Birkat al Mouz. The entire taxi price is fixed at 4 rials from what we understood, if you wait for other people, it would end up being 1 rial per person for either of those destinations. However, while we were there, we saw no one using these shared taxis, so we had to pay for the car. To go from Nizwa to Muscat, the shared taxi station is near Firq bus station.

Buses in Muscat

As a tourist in Muscat you will only need a couple of bus routes:

A1 bus – runs from the airport to Ruwi station via Sultan Qaboos highway. It costs 500 baisa. If you are staying at a hotel in Al Khuwair or Al Gubra, this could be quite convenient for you.

#4 – runs from Ruwi bus station to Mutrah.

These were the only routes we used, although there are a few more. City buses are new and well organized, although they are freezing inside. We always carried jackets to wear on the buses and inside the shopping malls.

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