Seeb Souq

Market in Seeb

One place to get a feel for local Omani culture is on the main one-way road that runs in a circle through the heart of Seeb. Alongside banks and Indian-run 'cold stores', the road is flanked by the gold souq, with its windows of bangles and bridal chains, and by dishdasha (shirt-dress worn by men) tailors, kumar (cap) shops and abaya boutiques. A circuit only takes a few minutes by car but you could spend half a day exploring the souq on foot.

Between the main road and the sea, the old souq is housed in a purpose-built sandy-coloured complex of buildings near the main mosque and is a fun place to explore with camel ropes and walking sticks, piles of spices, fruits and vegetables. Thankfully the wet fish market has its own building further west along the corniche.

The road doubles back on itself just after shops selling Arabic-style sofas and sedans and Omani honey. On the return section of the loop are outlets selling Omani-style traditional ladies’ clothing with colourful anklets and embroidered smocking. Interspersed with the tailors are ‘wedding services’ shops selling strings of lights and outrageous bridal thrones.

Towards the end of the street, and completing the loop, there are many carpentry workshops selling mandoos (bridal chests). Usually black or terracotta-red and decorated with brass tacks, these make a fun souvenir. A small box costs OR10 or a large chest OR50 with many sizes in between.