21 Best Places to Shop in Oman

Al Hosni Omani Sweets

Fodor's choice
Tucked away in a suburb, this shop is the best place in Muscat to buy beautiful boxes, tagines, crystal dishes, and carved wooden bowls for the Omani halwa. The shop makes 10 different types of halwa—a mixture of sugar, ghee, and cornstarch—with flavors ranging from rose to saffron, but the true star is delicious, walnut-studded "special halwa." You can also get fantastic, tahini-based Turkish-style halwa, date cookies, and chocolate-covered halwa. The presentation of the confections, in gorgeously painted gift boxes and embellished briefcases, make them the best possible gift to bring to local hosts or to bring back home.

Bidiyah Bedouin Market

Fodor's choice
On the outskirts of Bidiyah—in the desert just after the paved road ends—Bedouin women sit in a large tent each day making handwoven baskets, cushions, and key chains made with their traditional textiles. They will invite you to sit with them and enjoy a cup of light, cardamom-infused Omani kahwa (coffee) and dates before you peruse their offerings. These inexpensive wares represent an ancient desert tradition of handicraft and are their main source of income. The offerings make great souvenirs and gifts.

Gold Souq

Mutrah Fodor's choice
This shimmering corridor of the ancient Mutrah souq offers shop after shop of fabulous gold jewelry, each piece a different, unique design. However, everything is sold by weight, not by style, so when local women bring in their jewelry to trade for new items, shopkeepers are happy to give full market value for the weight of whatever they bring. In the evenings you will find groups of Omani women and couples perusing the selections. The rings are a particularly good value as they are light weight and feature intricate designs. There is a lone silver shop in the sparkling stretch that offers the same traditional designs in the more traditional, but currently less popular, silver for a fraction of the price. Though the price of gold is fixed and regulated, the shopkeepers will often offer a slight discount, rounding down your price, especially if you buy more than one item.

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Ibra Ladies Souq

Fodor's choice
Every Wednesday from 8 to noon, the typically quiet desert town of Ibra is overrun with vendors and shoppers from all around Sharqiyah for the massive ladies' market, a display of the best perfumes, silks and other textiles, makeup, and jewelry in the region. Though traditionally access was restricted exclusively to women, this policy has eased over the years so the odd brave or curious man can be seen walking through the crowded byways through the hoards of women immersed in the heat of barter and negotiation. The energy of the market is exhilarating, and the women are extremely friendly with foreign visitors and quick to try to explain their handicrafts and products. Other customers will jump in to help translate. It is the most lively market in Oman, and well worth a visit if you can plan to be in the area on a Wednesday morning on your way to or from Bidiyah, which is about 30 minutes to the south.

Mutrah Souq

Mutrah Fodor's choice

The main corridor of the Mutrah Souq is filled with hawkers selling inexpensive pashmina scarves, frankincense, incense burners, "I Love Oman" T-shirts, antique khanjars (daggers), and coffeepots. If you enter from the Corniche side and take your first right up a narrow walkway, you will find a fantastic perfume shop on the left-hand side of the row, where the expert owner will patiently pull bottles for you to smell until you find the perfect scent. Behind the souq, you will find women from the Dhofar province in the south selling homemade bakhoor incense and top-quality frankincense for rock-bottom prices. The best time to go is in the evenings, after Maghrib prayers, when the lanes are full of local Omani shoppers. The souk is typically open Saturday through Thursday mornings (9–1) and every late afternoon and evening (4–9 or 10).

Al Bahri Rd., Muscat, Masqat, 113, Oman
shopping Details
Rate Includes: Closed Fri. morning

Seeb Central Market

Fodor's choice
Grittier than the historic old Mutrah Souq, this is where local Omani residents from the surrounding suburbs come to shop for spices, fresh vegetables, meat and fish, clothing, and furniture. Thus, it's a wonderful place to get a taste of the local culture. All manner of dried spices are available along with good dried dates and date syrup. If you have room in your luggage, you can take home a jar of oily shuwa spices, the signature marinade for their pit-roasted celebration dish. There is a nice Omani halwa shop behind the souq, where you can sample the popular dessert, and just in front, there are grillers serving skewers of spicy squid, beef, and lamb called mishkak. The beautiful beachfront location makes it a great place to wander before taking a stroll along the water. In the early mornings you can visit and see the shopkeepers setting up and playfully heckling each other, but the evenings are the best time to people-watch, as this is when most locals come to do their daily shopping.

Al Husn Souq

Enjoy a good bargaining session at the older of Salalah's traditional markets while picking up some treasures to carry home. You'll find stalls selling tribal rugs, frankincense and holders, exotic spices, antiques, khanjars (daggers), dallah (traditional coffeepots), and silver and gold ware. The souq is busiest and best for a visit late at night; during the day it is relatively quiet and lacks the atmosphere of the evening, but you’ll have greater success bargaining at this time. Tucked away in a corner is the gold souq. If you have the time, goldsmiths will make jewelry to order, and if the order is a simple piece, you might be able to pick it up the same day. Gold Salalah beads are very popular and make attractive accessories.

Asmaa Collectionz

Shatti Qurm

Local designer Asma Masoud al Kharusi sells intricately designed incense burners, lacquered jewelry boxes, silver napkin rings, and pewter watches at her shop in the Royal Opera House's shopping area.

Bahla Souq

About 30 minutes from Nizwa, Bahla is famous for its pottery and its silversmiths. You can find great deals at the small shops in the souq. The friendly potters are happy to demonstrate their craft, as they work clay into coil and throw pots. You can also watch silversmiths crafting intricate pieces of jewelry and cutlery as they have been for decades. All prices are very negotiable, so be sure to bargain.
Rte. 21, Ad Dakhiliyah, Oman
shopping Details
Rate Includes: Closed noon–4

Global Market

Despite the name, this is a variety store filled with distinctly local home goods, from the large, floral-painted serving trays that are ubiquitous throughout the country to giant teapots and coffee urns to row upon rows of sandals. It is a fun place to pick up inexpensive souvenirs that are authentically Omani, or to simply wander the aisles and people-watch.
Rte. 23, Ash Sharqiyah South, Oman

Haffa Souk

The largest and oldest souk in Salalah is also the most chaotic, but you'll have lots of fun exploring the hundreds of stalls. There's an eclectic range of colorful kaftans and knitted caps, jewelry, perfume, rugs, ceramics, wooden handicrafts, and frankincense.

Awquad Bayt Marhun, Salalah, Zufar, Oman
shopping Details
Rate Includes: Closed Fri. morning

Jawahir Oman Jewellers


Come here for top-quality, handmade coral necklaces, spiked bangles, shahid rings, and floral pendants of Omani design.

Lulu Hypermarket Al Khuwair

Al Khuwair
The aisles of this massive supermarket and home goods store are a great place to find unique, local gifts to bring home like za'atar tea bags; sachets of wild thyme popular in the sweet tea drink called karak; boxes of sweet Omani dates; modern insulated dhallah coffee urns; and even oud-scented soaps. It is interesting to observe the local shoppers, who include large Indian families, local Omani women, and a western expat here and there. It's an experience in itself just to shop here.

Muscat Grand Mall

This popular mall is a great place to people-watch and find local boutiques mixed in with the international chains. Shop for abayas, scarves, and bakhoor incense along with MAC cosmetics and Aldo's accessories. On hot days, the air-conditioned expanses make for a good place to stretch your legs, too.

Mutrah Tailor Souk

Upon entering the Mutrah Souq from the Corniche side, take the first right up a narrow alleyway, walking past the glitter of the Gold Souq, and you will find yourself in the heart of the old garment district. Tailors here have long served the local need for custom garments, and as tastes have become more international, they have adapted. Most tailors are able to stitch modern maxi dresses and the highly embellished Omani wedding garments alike. If you will be in Oman for a week or more, you might like to have a custom piece of your own made here at one of the well-loved, long-standing shops that include Ruwainah Trading, Royal Pearl Trading, and Mahallate Abdul Ghafoor. If nothing else, the dazzling outfits on display make for amazing window shopping.
Al Bahri Rd., Muscat, Masqat, Oman
shopping Details
Rate Includes: Closed Fri.

New Souq

At this market, right behind the Haffa House Hotel, you can shop for traditional embroidered caps, dates, frankincense, perfumes, clay burners, raffia mats, and other typical Omani souvenirs.

Nizwa Souq

The renovated Nizwa souq looks almost new, despite being one of the most ancient marketplaces in Oman. Here, along with typical souvenirs, you can find some distinctive local specialties, which include bottles of smoked rose water made in the nearby Jabal Akhdar Mountains, khanjar daggers, dates, and silver jewelry (for which the area is famous). Be sure to ask if the jewelry is a local design, as there are many imported pieces from India in the mix. Also, be sure to negotiate to get the best price.

Omani Heritage Gallery

Shatti Qurm

This fabulous nonprofit gallery is dedicated to promoting regional handicrafts of an exceptional quality. Here you'll find everything artisan-made, from handbags, wallets, leathergoods, and baskets, to pottery, indigo-dyed clothing, silver jewelry, rugs, and frankincense incense and burners.

Jawharat Al Shatti Shopping Centre, Muscat, Masqat, Oman
shopping Details
Rate Includes: Closed Thurs. and Fri. mornings

Opera Galleria

This exclusive shopping mall is built directly next to the stunning Royal Opera House. The shops inside are uniformly expensive, but they do offer the highest-quality local treats, from delicious chocolate-covered Omani dates at Tamrah, to exquisite perfumes at Al Husn, to silver and gold incense burners, khanjars, and other hand-crafted traditional items at The Omani Artisan House.

Ruwi Street

This street is home to scores of shops selling saris, textiles, electronic goods of all types, and gold. Omani gold jewelry is typical of that found across the Arabian peninsula and in India and Pakistan, with elaborate designs that appear heavy, but the pieces are cleverly crafted so they are hollow inside.

Sur Gift Markets

This three-story shop is the Omani equivalent of a dollar store, with everything from small fenjan coffee cup sets to makeup and accessories to small and inexpensive souvenirs priced at 300 baisas to a few rials. Searching through the hodgepodge of items for a few inexpensive gems to take home is a fun way to spend an hour, and it is an ideal place to get inexpensive toys or beach gear that you can leave behind.
Rte. 23, Ash Sharqiyah South, Oman