Updated in May 2016
Three buses a day leave Ruwi bus station, operated by Mwasalat, formerly known as Oman National Transport Company (ONTC) in Muscat, at 6am, 3pm and a new service at 11pm. Tickets can be bought at the station’s ticket window the day before, of just before boarding. The journey takes about 6 hours, so if you take the morning one you will get in Dubai just before lunch, and have plenty of time to sunbathe or go on a shopping spree! Another company, located literally left of the bus station also offers the same service, but the buses also leave at 6am and 3pm.
The seats are fairly comfortable, and unaccompanied ladies tend to travel at the front of the bus, whereas males sit wherever they please – not really a rule, but just local custom. The view of the coutryside is actually quite scenic, especially the further north in Oman you get. There is only one stop between both cities, in a small, recently opened commercial centre in Sohar. There are a number of fast food shops selling exactly the same, and a convenience store.
The next stop is on the Omani side of the border, where you will get your leaving stamp. The tills inside the building read “Arrival Visa”, but it’s there where you get your leaving stamp. On my first trip, the queues were very long, so I was sent outside, where there is a small window on the right-hand side of the building, right under the arched gate, with no queues, and that is where they will stamp your passport. That’s actually the till for those driving. You just arrive, show your passport, get your stamp, and off you go. Quick, easy, painless.
After another 15 minute drive through the rugged mountains, you will get to the Emirati border control. The immigration officers are very pleasant and efficient. For British passport holders the process will take no more than five minutes. However, since most of the bus passengers are workers from the Indian subcontinent, you may have to wait long until their papers are processed. There is a small duty free shop outside and public facilities at the rear of the building.
Keep your passport handy, though, because the Oman-UAE border at this point goes on zig-zag in the desert, but the road goes on a straight line. So you will enter Oman again, and a police officer will check all passports. And then you will re-enter UAE territory and have your passport checked once more.
The whole process, from the time you stop at the Omani passport control, until you enter the UAE for a second time, will take up to two hours.
From here, enjoy the view of tall sand dunes just a few metres from the road, and finally, after another half an hour, the view of Dubai and its skyscrapers in the in the distance, including the incredible Burj Khalifa.
The bus stops 5 minutes away from Deira City Centre metro station. The Dubai metro system has only two lines, but will take you nearly anywhere you want to put your head down.
BUS BETWEEN MUSCAT AND DUBAI: SUMMARY
BUS FROM MUSCAT TO DUBAI
Ticket Price: 5,50ORM
Departure Times: 6am, 3pm, 11pm
Journey Duration: 4 to 6 hours
Stops Before the UAE: One stop in Sohar
Dubai Metro Travelcard: 20AED
BUS FROM DUBAI TO MUSCAT
Ticket Price: 55AED
Departure Time: 7:30am, 3:30pm, 11pm
Journey Duration: 5 to 6 hours
Stops Before Muscat: One stop in Sohar
ONTC/Mwasalat Office: +971 425 25909
Taxi from Ruwi to Mutrah: 200 Baisas (0,45 euros) in shared taxi or 1 a 20MR in private taxi, depending on your negotiation/haggling skills.
– Swimming in Bimmah Sinkhole, Oman
– The Omani Grand Canyon & Jebel Shams
– How to Travel from Muscat to Dubai