Updated in December 2013
Whilst planning my first trip to Oman, I decided to fly back to London from Dubai, so I could spend a few days in this modern Babylon, and discover it for myself. Planning the trip between both countries, however, proved to be quite a challenge, due to the lack of information. Flying was out of question, due to the short distance. So here I share some information, which has now been updated, as I’ve just travelled the same way between the two citites. I hope will be useful to those planning the same journey between these neighouring, yet such different places.
Three buses a day leave Ruwi bus station, operated by Oman National Transport (ONT) 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 at 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 in the distance.
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 Ticket Price: 5.50OMR one way (£9, 15USD, €11), 9OMR return (£15, 24USD, €18)
Bus Departure Times: 6am, 3pm and 11pm
Journey Time: 5 to 6 hours
Number of Stops before UAE: 1 in Sohar
Dubai Metro Travelcard: 14AED (£2.40, 3.80USD, €2.90)
Bus Ticket Price: 55AED one way (£9.50, 15USD, €11.80)
Bus Departure Times: 7am, 3pm and 11pm
Journey Time: 5 to 6 hours
Number of Stops in Oman: 1 in Sohar
ONT Dubai Office: +9714 2525909
Taxi from Ruwi to Mutrah: 200 Baisas (shared taxi) or 1-2 OMR (private, make sure you negotiate!)
- Taking a Dip in Bimah Sinkhole, Oman
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