Our sightseeing tour was provided by Orient tours. Our guide Abdul aziz met us at a prearranged hotel promptly at 8 a.m and we were pleasantly surprised to find we were the only people booked on the trip. Abdul immediately drove us to the Grand Mosque where he was able to give us a detailed tour despite his rather faltering english. The reason for the early start became obvious after taking two hours to see the mosque - as we left we were met by about 24 coachloads of tourists coming in the opposite direction to see the mosque. We avoided seeing the fish market and then went to look around the Souk. Abdul showed us what was good value and after a coffee and bite to eat we were then taken to Muscat museum at Bait al Zubair which gave us an insight into Omani culture and history, the story of the boat 'Jewel of Muscat' and a worthwhile picture exhibition by various local and international artists as part of the Festival. Abdul was courteous and very helpful and it was a pity that we had arranged transport from the hotel back to our daughter's house at 13:30 as he would have taken us to see the royal palaces and any other sight we requested, but we ran out of time and even local Muscat people seem to get lost in the bewildering street and district system. We would thoroughly recommend this tour- very good value for money but opt for an early start to avoid the heat of the day.
The tour was at a great pace and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Although I would have preferred the guide (Mr, Rashid) to give us more info on the sites we visited (Sultan Qaboos Mosque, Bait al Zubair, Al Alam Palace, Muttrah Souk, Fish Market, etc.). The tour is a good introduction to the City of Muscat.
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