I Made The journey Overland from the United Arab Emirates To Oman And To Help You Too, Here’s My Guide On How To Travel From Dubai To Muscat By Bus.
Overland travel is a great way to see more of a country, and to travel from Dubai to Muscat by bus is a surprisingly easy and enormously cheap mode of transport between the United Arab Emirates and Oman!
Anyone one who has read this will blog will know that I am a big lover of slow, overland travel.
I enjoy taking in the scenery, I perversely enjoy the challenge of navigating around cities and bus stations to find the right transport and I love the continuous journey of travelling from one country to the next and crossing obscure land borders along the way.
So when I deiced to visit Oman, and found the cheapest flights were actually landing into the United Arab Emirates next door, I jumped at the chance to spend a few days in the UAE and to travel from Dubai to Muscat by bus!
How To Travel From Dubai To Muscat By Bus
This guide will explain in detail how to travel from Dubai to Muscat by bus, via the Hatta Border Crossing. This is the direction I took so Dubai to Muscat is prioritised, however the principal is the same in reverse if travelling from Muscat to Dubai by bus.
Quick Travel Facts
Average Journey Time: 6 hours one way
One Way Ticket Cost: 55 AED / 5 OMR (Plus 35 AED ‘Departure Tax’ When Exiting UAE)
Departure Times Dubai – Muscat: 7.30am, 3.30pm and 11pm
Departure Times Muscat – Dubai: 6am, 3pm and 11pm
Buying A Bus Ticket In Dubai
The main bus company running this route is the national bus company of Oman, Mwasalat, known until very recently as the Oman National Transport Company (ONTC). They have a website, but there is no option to buy tickets online. This has to be done on the ground. If you can, it is best to buy in advance of course although I turned up literally half an hour before the bus departed and it was fine.
Mwasalat have a ticket office near to the Deira Clock Tower, and the bus departs from around the corner- see the map below for details of this. The easiest, most cost effective way to get here is by using the efficient Dubai Metro. You will need a Metro Card, and these can be purchased and topped up at most stations. Everyone in Dubai speaks English, so you won’t have any trouble. Fares vary depending on distance. There’s a handy guide to the Metro System HERE.
The closest stop to the Mwasalat office is Deira City Centre, on the Red Line. From here it is a 15 minute walk.
In reality, I didn’t even step inside the office. The bus was waiting to go just around the corner- by a big sandy parking lot- and I was hailed over by the ticket man before I could even get to the office. I bought my ticket directly here instead. If buying in advance though, go to the office of course.
Location Of The Mwasalat Office In Dubai
The Cost Of A Ticket When Travelling From Dubai To Muscat By Bus
Dubai To Muscat One Way Adult: 55 AED
Dubai To Muscat Open Return Adult: 90 AED
There is the handy option to book an open return when you depart. This has to then be exchanged for your return journey, and is best done again in advance to ensure a seat.
Muscat To Dubai One Way Adult: 5 Omani Rial
### I couldn’t verify the exact cost of an open return the other way around- Muscat to Dubai- but it will be less than 10 Omani Rial of course ###
Travelling From Dubai To Muscat By Bus
The bus was excellent. The seats were spacious and reclined and I managed to secure a whole row to myself. The majority of travellers were itinerant workers from South Asia heading to Muscat for employment, I was the only backpacker taking the bus.
Overall journey time was 6 hours.
Departure was prompt- I took the early morning 7.30 am bus from Dubai to Muscat- and after driving out of the city, and through the desert and mountains we arrived at the Hatta Border Crossing into Oman around 2 hours later.
Crossing The Hatta Border From the United Arab Emirates To Oman
Many nationalities are allowed into the UAE visa free for a certain number of days. I’m a UK citizen for example and received a 30 day entry in the country. This is the same at land borders and airports. However, what I hadn’t realised, is that the UAE actually charges a ‘departure tax’- ordinarily if flying this is of course included in the price- at a land border however, it is not, and at Hatta when exiting the UAE we were all on the bus first directed to a payment office, before moving on with receipt in hand, to be stamped out of the country.
The cost of this ‘Departure Tax’ was 35 AED. Supposedly this could be claimed back if you returned to the UAE within a certain number of days, but how and where I could not tell you…
Be sure to carry some cash, lots of currencies were taken at the border but no cards as far as I could see.
After being stamped, it was back on the bus for the drive into Oman. The two border crossing are a good distance apart, and on the way over you’ll pass old watch towers and cross a dry wadi. The first stop on the Omani side- before immigration- is a customs and security check point.
In the scorching midday heat we all piled off the bus, grabbed our bags from the hold and one by one had them inspected- not too thoroughly- by the customs officials. The poor bus driver though had brought along a large parcel wrapped up in bubble wrap to hold all the goods he’d purchased in Dubai, and the official decided to slice it all open and with a big knife to see what was inside. The driver asked for some tape to hold it all together again after, but the official simply shrugged and walked away, leaving him to pick everything up from the sand.
The Omani immigration post was a larger affair than the UAE counterpart. There was a small supermarket, toilets and even a Pizza Hut Express. If you need snacks or water for the rest of the journey, stock up here.
Being British, I had to pay 20 Omani Rials for a 30 day visa. First I filled in the required form, then stood in line and awaited my turn. The process was simple enough, and many different currencies were taken here too. I ended up paying in AED. The process is similar for many nationalities, but check your own government websites to be sure.
This may soon change however, as recently it was announced that Oman is pursuing an e-Visa policy. So be sure to check carefully, as you may need to apply in advance in the future. You can find more information on the Royal Oman Police website HERE.
The Last Leg To Muscat
Once the whole bus was through- a process which took approximately an hour- we were on our way along to the coast, and down the highway to Muscat. The bus made one small stop in Sohar to pick up and drop off a few passengers before reaching the capital after a further 3 hours of travel, bringing the total journey time to approximately 6 hours.
Once in the city, the bus stopped at various points along the main road when people called out. By the time we reached our final destination, I was the last one left on board.
Here’s where the confusion began though. Most blogs I’d read online prior to the journey had made it clear that the bus terminated in Ruwi, at the bus station in downtown Muscat. This however appears to be no longer the case.
Mwasalat have opened a brand new terminal, with waiting room and ticket office at Al–Athaiba (sometimes written as Al-Azaibah). This is a recent change, but beware of it. All major inter city buses depart and arrive here now.
Location Of The Mwasalat Al-Athaiba Station In Muscat
The new bus station isn’t very obvious. It looks like a large sealed compound from the outside, although there are a few flags flying which sort of distinguish it from the surroundings. It’s near to the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque and just off the main highway, which is a bit of a distance from the main tourists hubs and the old city by Muttrah.
There’s very little public transport in the city, but you could flag down a cheap Baiza bus, a sort of minibus on the highway heading into the city, or a taxi would be a lot more efficient.
When I jumped off the bus, there were no taxis in sight anywhere, but the bus driver grabbed his friend who went around the corner and returned in a shiny new taxi to take me to my accommodation. Taxis aren’t cheap in Muscat, and I ended up paying 5 Omani Rials to get to Al Qurum, the same cost as the bus from Dubai…
You can find the Al Athaiba bus station at the location below:
And that’s it! That’s how to travel from Dubai to Muscat by bus! I want to keep this article as up to date as possible, so please, if you have had any recent experiences that differ from the above account let me know in the comments so we can help out as many travellers as possible!
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