The finest Frankincense in all of Arabia, rubbly piles of amber stacked in cellophane against the walls

Muscat’s souk exists in a half-light, cobble stone alleyways leading off the old town corniche, illuminated by narrow beams of sun. Here in the shadows, Frankincense dominates the senses: white whorls of incense smoke, rise towards the beamed ceiling, wreathing you in musky fragrance.

Choose your moment to visit, on busy days, when the cruise ships disgorge a glut of tourists to choke the corridors there’s a proper buzz of trade. Kaftans and scarfs flutter in doorways, painted trinkets dangle in windows, stalls are stacked with souvenirs, now’s the time to haggle for brass padlocks shaped like lions’ heads, antique compasses, silk scarves, cardamom chewing gum and my favourite find, Persian eyeliner and of course the finest Frankincense in all of Arabia, rubbly piles of gleaming amber stacked in cellophane against the walls. Yet, if you’ve been to the great souks of Marrakech or Istanbul you’ll quickly realise it’s more about the experience than what you can buy. There’s an even split between tourist tat and local mundanities, small electronics made exotic to westerners by the flowing Arabic script. My advice is leave your rials in your pocket and fill your Insta feed instead.

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