What is it like getting the bus from Dubai to Muscat? Is it possible to get a bus from Dubai to Oman or vice versa? The answer is yes and here is the 100% honest guide of getting to Oman and back again by bus. So what it’s really like going to Oman by bus and how do you do it? Whether you’re wanting to visit Oman or need to do a visa run with a trip, your detailed guide below! *This article was updated in August 2018 to reflect visa changes.
If you’re looking purely for how to do a Dubai visa run, check out my Ultimate guide here! However if you want to actually make use of your Omani visa and traveling by bus, check out my guide below!
So there’s a mixture of private companies and also the Oman government runs buses between Dubai and Oman. I chose to use the Omani government service called Mwasalat since it’s the one I could find the most information about.
What times are the buses?
There are 3 buses a day. 7:30am, 3:30pm and 11pm. You are advised to get there half an hour before the bus departs. On the way back from Muscat it is almost same times, 6am, 3pm and 11pm. Once in Muscat you can either get off at Al Seeb by the airport or closer to the centre at the final stop, depending on where you’re staying.
If you’re one of those people who can sleep on a bus, I would recommend the 11pm bus from Dubai to Muscat since you’ll save money on a hotel. This will give you the whole day to explore the beauty of Muscat.
How much does it cost?
It is 55 AED one way or 90 AED return. This is by far biggest advantage of traveling by bus. It’s most definitely the cheapest way to go by bus from Dubai to Oman!
Do you need to buy a ticket in advance?
The answer is no, simply turn up. You can head to Al Rigga or Deira Centre metro and walk to the bus terminal. It’s about a 10/15 minute walk. Both journeys there were spare seats and I chose to pay 90 AED for the return ticket. You can use the return any time. So it’s really simple.
Where does the bus stop?
There are three main stops however it does seem to stop at quite a few others places in between. The three main stops on the bus from Dubai to Muscat are Sohar, Seeb and Muscat. Sohar bus station involves a short break.
As a quick guide. Sohar is a lovely seaside town that is perfect for relaxing plus is close to the border to Dubai. Seeb is just outside of Muscat with some popular places near by including trendy hangout “The Wave” and Muscat airport, it’s great for a less expensive hotel while still having access to Muscat. The final stop is close to central Muscat. However the key Muscat tourist sites are pretty spread out. Either way you will need a car to enjoy what Muscat has to offer.
What is the journey like by bus from Dubai to Muscat?
Long! The bus itself is relatively comfortable. On the way there, the bus air con was left on and got too cold during the night part of the journey. On the way back, the heating was turned on during the night portion and it was like being back in a Dubai summer. Despite taking my jacket off it was still sweltering! However the journey in the day was comfortable with the air conditioning on. It took 7 hours on the way there and 8 hours on the way back which caused myself to miss the last metro by 5 minutes. Not a great ending to a very long journey and meant I had to pay for an uber.
Leaving Dubai & entering Oman
You pay an exit fee of 35 AED no matter where you exit Dubai via a land crossing. You can pay by cash or card. A small fee is added for card. This involves queuing and then entering an office to pay any fines plus getting your passport stamped. You then come back out, get back onto the bus and drive to a point where they check your luggage.
Once this section is completed you board back onto the bus and drive to the Oman check point. This involves once again disembarking from the bus, going into the office and queueing to pay for your Oman tourist visa.
To gain the visa you simply present your passport, fill out a small form and pay. Card machines are available and I wasn’t charge a fee for using my card.
*Flying you do not pay an exit fee but you still pay your fee for the Omani visa when leaving the airport.
How much does the Oman tourist visa cost?
If you’re a UAE resident; it costs 5 OMR (50 AED). This is a month long visa. This is for most nationalities who are residents in a GCC country. (Check here).
If you are a UAE tourist; it costs 5 OMR (50 AED). This is a 10 day visa. Again check before you travel. This visa was removed and bought back again in January 2018. In 2017, you had to pay 20 OMR (200 AED) for a month long visa. *Updated August 2018
On a side note – If you decide to drive or a do a visa run through the Ras Al Khaimah border into the Oman peninsula, this is done in a single office for exiting the UAE. Also at the Ras Al Khaimah crossing you can walk between the two offices however with Hatta you will need to drive between the two and have your luggage checked which takes time. So actually driving to RAK although it adds approximately 30 to 40 minutes to your journey, it’s likely you’ll save this time not waiting at the border and having to drive between the two crossings. It also saves you the hassle of car insurance for Oman.
Do I advise to go by bus from Dubai to Muscat?
If you’re going to Sohar and plan to hire a car when you get there. This can be a great option. Or if your hotel is close to the route of the bus line then I would say yes. If you’re going to Muscat, I would advise to pay the extra and fly. The journey is roughly 5 hours by car but with all the stops and time it took, plus missing the last metro and having to get a taxi anyways. It actually took me 8 and a half hours to get home.
Any other tips?
If you do decide to go by bus from Dubai to Muscat, make sure to take a jacket, snacks and water for the journey! It will save you a lot of money. Time wise, it’s likely the journey will take you between 7 to 8 hours. Plus any additional journeys you need to make to home or a hotel either side. Oman is far less developed when it comes to public transport. If you’re able to, I’d advise to hire a car with Oman insurance instead. The bus is an affordable and convenient option. If you’re a family or there’s a group of you, it would most likely work out better to hire a car. As most of the amazing things to do in Oman will involve you needing to drive.