“What lies beyond Muscat International Airport?” Time and again residents of Muscat have pondered on this question. Whether it is about the cafes for coffee breaks, restaurants for lunches and dinners, or parks for evening walks; for those living in the heart of Muscat, the lifestyle and culture in Seeb and its neighbouring areas have remained obscure. Seeb has always been known for its serenity that surrounds its neighbourhood, but in the last few years it has also grown in popularity with the opening up of several malls, eateries, and shopping arcades, thus making it the hub of activities. From entertainment, fine dining, and high-end fashion stores to a vibrant nightlife culture, Seeb has some real hidden gems one could ever think of. People living in Seeb and its adjoining areas, who earlier had to drive all the way to Qurum and Al Khuwair for their weekend entertainment, now has everything within arm’s reach. While the Muscat City Centre continues to be the main attraction, there are several other specialty shops scattered around the neighbourhood of Seeb. Here’s a quick guide packed with all the necessary information on where to eat, what to do, where to shop, and what to explore in this beautiful coastal town of Oman.
Places to Eat
What I like to do most in Seeb is to eat as they have loads of places where you can grab a quick bite, offering you cafeteria style service, as well as restaurants with nice ambiance. You can find almost any cuisine here; Indian, Turkish, and Arabian, you just name it. They are affordable too. Here are some of my favourite eating places in Seeb.
Africa restaurant and coffee shop (Cuisine: Zanzibari, Omani)
This is an absolute gem of a place. Opened 17 years ago in Al Hail, nearby Almouj, it is a heaven for those who have a taste for Zanzibari delicacies. The decor is simple yet stylish, and the food is to die for. They serve cafeteria style, where there’s a counter with food ranging from stews and fragrant rices, to popular Zanzibari dishes and snacks, and they also have a dining area. If you’re a novice in Zanzibari cuisine, I truly recommend this place as it will give you an ultimate taste of what Omani-Zanzibari food taste like. Make sure to try their Kisamvu, a spinach-based dish made with coconut, or sometimes peanut butter; or Maharagi, a dish made with kidney beans, coconut, and cooked in a tomato sauce, and best eaten with chapati flatbread. There’s no doubt that coconut and palm oil lovers will have a feast-of-the-year at this place. The restaurant gets extremely packed during lunch hours and their prices are very reasonable. They also have a branch in Al Ghubra.
Al Hail North, Seeb
+968 9945 9012; +968 2454 4016
Opening Hours: 11am-11pm
German Doner Kebab (Cuisine: Turkish, German)
This comes second in my list of the best munching places in Seeb. I found this fast food restaurant at Muscat City Centre’s food court, and I’ve become a regular since then. German Doner Kebab is a fusion restaurant that offers the original form of Turkish shawarma, which is called doner kebab, a ground beef marinated, put on spike, roasted to perfection, and sliced to serve. It has a leaf-like form when sliced. Shawarma lovers will obviously dig this, so I suggest you put your Turkish shawarma on hold this weekend and head to this joint. They can serve you the meat in a sandwich, waffle-like bread, and a meaty box with fries and sauces. If you have decided to give it a try, take the Durum Doner with extra meat and have a meaty escapade.
Muscat City Centre, Al Mawaleh, Seeb
+968 2455 8799
Opening Hours: 10am-10pm
Other ‘Not to miss’ Places:
Italian Barista Cafe
Why: It’s a restaurant offering authentic Italian cuisine including pizzas, pastas, and shrimps, and their portions and prices are good. You can order a couple of sliders or a full burger for OMR2.500
Almouj Street, Al Mawaleh North, Seeb
+968 2418 8891
Why: It is one of the most talked about home-grown burger joints in town. It offers some of the largest burger pattice you’ll ever have and they’re juicy, too. Also, they have got cool, colourful drinks.
Al Khoudh, Seeb
+968 9460 0633
The Yas Avenue
Why: This place is quite interesting as it’s one big space, offering more than 150 dishes in a number of restaurants that serve a variety of international cuisines, including Western and Italian. They also have an ice-cream parlour and a juice place. It has affordable prices and vibrant, edgy ambiance.
Al Khoudh, Seeb (at Al Maha Petrol Pump)
+968 2200 9278; +968 9497 9495
Al Hilal Al Turkey
Why: This Turkish restaurant is one of the best in town, it’s the Old Turkish of Seeb in popularity, offering shawarma sandwiches, mixed grills, pies, and kebabs. If you want to taste true Turkish doner kebab shawarma, then this is the place. It has the best beef shawarma you’ll ever have in town, literally. It’s made of ground beef, and it’s juicy, moist, and full of meaty flavours. Super inexpensive.
Al Khoudh Al Tijariyah Street, Al Khoud, Seeb
+968 9268 6557
Grand Fish Market
Why: This is dedicated to seafood lovers. The restaurant is a one-stop-shop for everything seafood, from shrimps, to lobsters, and everything in between. The prices are relatively affordable, and I would recommend you try the lobster; good portion, succulent taste.
Al Mawaleh, Seeb (Nearby Muscat City Centre)
+968 9519 9995
Al Maida Al Arabia
Why: Because it’s Yemeni. Yemenis are known for their fragrant Mandi rice, which is served with your choice of protein, and the best restaurant happens to be in Al Mawaleh. The best way to enjoy Mandi is to go with friends, where they’ll welcome you in a traditional seating area and serve you one massive plate full of Yemeni goodness. You wouldn’t want to miss the beef mandi, it’s everything.
Al Mawaleh, Seeb (opposite Sultan Centre)
+968 2454 2453
Almouj Golf Academy Restaurant and The Walk
Why: Sometimes you’d feel like treating yourself with a brunch at a classy area, or an afternoon tea amid green spaces. Almouj Golf has its own restaurant that serves fantastic brunch, and for those fancying a city-inspired dinner, they can hit the road to The Walk at Almouj, where they have Shakespeare & Co, Nando’s, B+F Roadside Diner, More Cafe, and Shang Thai among others.
Places to Shop
Shopping in Seeb is just as fancy as Qurum, but it also has traditional markets, boutiques, and small specialty shops. Let’s explore some of the popular shopping destinations beyond the airport.
Seeb souq is one of the most celebrated shopping destinations in Muscat. The souq is located at the edge of Muscat capital, nearby the beach, where you can find a variety of little shops selling clothes, perfumes, and shoes among other things. It has a famous traditional souq that’s similar to a farmer’s market, where you’ll find fresh produce, all kinds of spices, and of course fish and edible sea creatures. Inside the sprawling souq, you’ll realise that it’s divided into two parts, one offering perfume brands such as Ajmal and Rasasi, banks, tailors, and fashion boutiques, and the other side is kept for more heavy duty items, such as wooden crafts and a few garages.
Opening Hours: Most shops open at 10am to 10pm, traditional souq is best visited at 9am.
Golden Dragon Mart and China Mall
These two malls are not in Seeb, but they are right outside the city, situated on the highway of Barka. They both have a variety of items imported from China, from tiles and marbles, to curtains and sheets, to garments and accessories. If you plan to visit these malls, you better be on the move since morning, and then start with China Mall, which is closer to Muscat. Then you can go ahead and take a turn back to Golden Dragon.
Golden Dragon +968 2688 3849; China Mall +968 9158 9288
Opening Hours: 10am to 10pm
Other ‘not to miss’ places:
Why: It has countless shops and boutiques selling women dresses, gowns, and a variety of accessories and shoes. Prices vary, but I’m sure you’ll find something interesting.
Seeb Souq, Seeb
+968 9821 7204
Opening Hours: 8:30am–1:30pm, 4:30pm–10:30pm
Muscat City Centre and Markaz Al Bahja
Why: These two are quite obvious, as they were the only major shopping malls in Muscat before Muscat Grand Mall opened in Bousher. Both have international brands and department stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues such as cinemas, bowling centres, and kids’ zones.
Muscat City Centre, Al Mawaleh, Seeb
+968 2455 8799
Markaz Al Bahja, Al Mawaleh, Seeb
+ 968 2454 0200
Opening Hours: 10am-10pm ( for both)
Souq Bin Rashid
Why: This is a newly opened shopping block. It hosts mostly local brands and boutiques selling fashionable items, makeup, and offer cool facilities such photography and professional florist services.
Al Mabela South, Seeb
Opening Hours: 9am-1pm, 4pm-10pm
Al Rawda Boulevard
Why: This is a new addition in Mawaleh. It’s a beautifully designed boulevard, which has a number of shops and boutiques that are quite interesting. There’s Zeitoun Restaurant and Cake Gallery among others. And, Muscat Gymnastics kids gym, Le Petit Paris Cafe and Bakery, and Holiday Inn Al Seeb Hotel are within a walking distance.
Al Mawaleh South, Seeb
Places to Visit
Seeb and its neighbouring areas have lots on offer for those who love to explore new places and visit historic landmarks. The city has something for everyone, those who like to drive off-roads or the ones who want to enjoy family lunch at a garden.
Sultan Taimur bin Faisal Mosque
The mosque is a new addition from His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said to his list of royal mosques. It’s majestic in size, and fascinating in architecture. It was inspired by the 16th century design with domes decorated with floral and Islamic art. The grand mosque is open for everyone, including non-muslims who’d like to get a glimpse inside this beauteous structured place of worship. The visit is free of charge.
Al Mabela North, Seeb
Visiting Hours: 8am to 11am, Saturday to Thursday
This park is located in Barka, about 30 kilometres from Muscat International Airport, and it was opened to herald the 15th National Day celebrations in 1985. The park has beautiful Japanese garden, designated areas for popular recreational activities such as tennis and volleyball, and a children’s park.
Visiting Hours: 4pm–11pm; Weekends: 4pm – 12 midnight
Al Sahwa Park
This park is situated at the centre of Seeb, just after the airport, and it one of the most popular ones locals enjoy picnicking in. The garden has massive spaces covered in greenery, with areas for recreational fun and family gatherings. It is also a hotspot for jogging enthusiasts, as it has a nice pathway. Inside the park you’ll find family rest areas, six Islamic gardens of geometric shapes, a mosque and coffee shops.
Al Mawaleh, Seeb
Visiting Hours: 6pm – 12 midnight; Weekends: 9am –12 midnight
Other ‘Not to miss’ Places:
Amouage Perfumery Factory
Why: Get inside the factory that makes one of the most expensive perfumes in the world, and trust me, their perfumes may be expensive, but they are worth every penny. My personal favourites are Jubilation, for the masculine leather scent, and Lyric for its sensual rose.
Al Mawaleh, Seeb
+968 2453 4800
An Naman Zoo
Why: Do you know that there’s a zoo 30 kilometres away from the airport? They have got some beautiful birds and a variety of animals, too. A great place to take your children on a weekend.
+968 9932 2334
Visiting Hours: 9am–9pm
Bait Nua’man (Bait Na’aman)
Why: This vintage castle was built ages ago by Imam Bil Arab bin Sultan and his brother. It was made for the purpose of being a meeting place for armies and travellers. It was restored in 1992 for tourists to explore its beauty, inside and out.
Visiting Hours: Saturday to Wednesday: 9am - 1.30pm
Things to Do (Day)
Seeb is known to be relatively calmer with lesser entertainment options. So what do people do at leisure and during weekends? You would be surprised to know that while there are plenty of recreational activities here, there are some great places to explore too.
Wadi Al Khoudh
This gem of a place is usually overlooked by many locals and unexplored by most tourists. Wadi Al Khoudh is a beautiful wadi situated in the land of Old Al Khoudh (now known as Al Khoudh Village), and it has clear water pools, green outcrops with fascinating rock formations encircling on it. This place is quite ideal for a picnic, as it is quiet and open, and what I discovered on my journey there, is the old residential area of Al Khoudh. It’s another ancient-looking world you shouldn’t miss. It will give you an idea of how old houses used to look like. It’s best accessible through expressway, coming from Qurum, you need to take the Al Khoudh Village exit.
There’s nothing that get your adrenaline rushing and pumping like a paintball battle. Paintball Oman is the only centre in Muscat offering a fun-filled shooting session in a 5,000sqm grass-covered area, where both kids and adults can enjoy a friendly battle of colours. The recreational game is all team work, which requires great strategic skills. Some enthusiasts battle it out in a serious competition, and others go just to have a good time with friends. Either way, it’s going to be an experience to remember. The same place offers a more lenient version of the game, known as Lasertag, where two teams battle one another with laser guns. This is a fantastic weekend activity. Go in a group of ten. Game equipment will be provided.
Al Hail South, Seeb
+968 9850 0777; +968 2454 4007
Things you shouldn't miss:
Al Nahda Resort & Spa
Why: Sometimes a little bit of pampering is needed. So heading over to Barka for some me-time is definitely atop the list of things to do during the day. You can have a fabulous staycation at the resort, where you can swim and enjoy their spa facility that has an extensive list of treatments.
+968 2688 3710; +968 9458 2970
Seeb Coastal Road
Why: It has a long, stretched corniche that starts in Al Hail North, right after Almouj, and goes through the Seeb Souq, all the way to the edge of Seeb town, where the recently revamped Seeb Corniche lies. It’s a great place to chill with friends and family.
Sawadi and Daymaniyat Islands
Why: Sawadi used to be the most talked about beach nearby Muscat, and till this day it hasn’t lost its charms. The area is a best spot for shell collecting, and it’s super close to a number of mini islands. Also, you can do snorkelling and diving, or take a boat to Al Daymaniyat islands.
Why: Almouj has one of the most well-structured marinas the country. Besides, it’s adjacent to The Walk, where you can enjoy a bite after you finish exploring the coast of Muscat in your yacht with Oman Sail’s Charter day trips.
Charter at Oman Sail, Almouj Marina,
Al Hail North, +968 2418 1400
Why: For some afternoon golf sessions. The golf course is beautifully laid out, and has a restaurant to munch in after golfing.
18th November Street, Muscat
+968 2200 5990, almoujgolf.com
Why: Who doesn’t like camels? The Oman Camel Racing Federation hosts numerous events in Barka involving camels, from races, to performances, to beauty pageants. You can check their schedule from their office in Azaiba, online or through their Facebook page.
Azaiba, Muscat (Office), +968 2449 0494
Why: It’s intense, bloodless, and fun for the family. The bullfighting is a traditional Omani game that’s been around for ages, and it’s performed every other Friday in various locations around the Sultanate. You can catch a fight at Barka’s bullring.
Oman Automobile Association
Why: It’s the only authentic place where car enthusiasts and racers meet and have a good time. The area has karting zone, rally venue, and drifting arena among other things, and soon to add a shooting range activity.
Airport Heights, Seeb,
+968 2451 0239
Things to Do (Night)
Nightlife scene in this part of Oman is somewhat non-existent, with only few places to have a good time. Residents of Seeb have their own way of enjoying the evenings.
Campfire in Al Khoudh
Why: The street is quite long, with empty lands on each side, making it a perfect spot for a campfire. Many locals bring out their cool boxes full of sodas, a bucket load of mishkak and ribs, and a teapot for a hot after feasting treat.
Al Khoudh Street, Seeb (Same street that leads to SQU)
On The Rocks
Why: This place is full of youthful, vibrant energy and loud music, and it attracts a diverse crowd. With international DJs spinning their records, and a menu of interesting bubbly sips, On The Rocks is definitely a hot night spot. It’s located adjacent to Golden Tulip Seeb Hotel.
Golden Tulip Seeb Hotel, Muscat
+968 9798 3333