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Muscat using the HoHo bus - 1 April 2014

Muscat using the HoHo bus - 1 April 2014

Postby Wansbrough » 24 Mar 2015 22:11

Another port review I thought that had been done which I hadn't. :oops:

One way to do, then a better way to do and now a cheap way to do! ;)

One of the great things about cruising is that you can choose to do whatever you like when you visit each port. If you feel energetic you can go off and explore on foot or perhaps you can go and hire a private tour. You could even take a ships tour if that is your preference. :D

When we visited Muscat in 2014 it was extremely hot and walking about was the last thing we wanted to do so we elected to take the HoHo bus for a circuit.

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The top deck although open did have some shade but the seats were in big demand.

The temperature was given as 31 degrees as we were leaving the ship at 9:25am so we knew we were in for a hot one.
We used a company called Big Bus Muscat. Tickets were advertised at 20 Omani Rials per person for a 24 hour ticket and a full circuit took 2 hours with 10 stops at various locations around the city. However if you purchased your ticket via Costa for €38 it meant we could catch it directly outside the ship without getting the shuttle into Mutrah. For the sake of ease that is what we did and in the end pleased because it also meant we could get back to the ship quicker and into the pool to cool off as it did get very hot. Along the way we listened to a commentary of what the local landmarks were.

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As we left the ship we were given an Oman Tourist Entry Permit which we had to hand in on our return.


We didn't get off as the bus at any of the stops as the circuit fulfilled our requirements, this was to have a tour around the city and the HoHo bus pretty much ticked all our boxes. It was a pleasant couple of hours sat up top because the breeze provided when the bus was on the move was very welcome. I did take quite a few photos, most of which I have forgotten what they are of. If we ever go back we will probably do more exploring but for now this satisfied us.

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Any way, to spare myself waffling on about nothing here are my photos.






And as Tom has already said....
tomvet wrote:The sailaway from Muscat was stunning!

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Re: Muscat using the HoHo bus - 1 April 2014

Postby tomvet » 24 Mar 2015 23:28

As you know we did the private tour well more accurately private transport version of things for a few reasons (1) comfort; (2) safety of travelling with kids, the company provided car seats; (3) we are not huge fans of the HOHOs; (4) I thought at €40pp the HOHO to be expensive for what it was; (5) Its schedule would not allow us to do an inside and outside visit of both the Mosque and the Opera House. It ran just every 2 hours and we did not want to spend 2 hours at each of the Opera House, Mosque and Old Muscat / Al Alam Palace. That said for a quick 2 hour circuit it is ideal!

I had forgotten about the Tourist card and fair play to Costa for organising a ship's visa and not charging for it. RCI when they completed this route charged USD13 per person which was a grab! The funny thing was that we relinquished the card on embarkation and were never issued one to 're-enter' Oman in Khasab the next day although our passports are stamped for both entrances.

As regards getting the bus ship side - did you have to dismount it at the terminal building all over 30 yards from the ship, head through the terminal and remount at the other side of the building. We had to with the regular shuttles which was a pain with the buggy as they were not wheel accessible!
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Muscat using the HoHo bus - 1 April 2014

Postby tobysgranny » 25 Mar 2015 00:06

I expect we will follow W's advice and take the HoHo in Muscat as I don't think we will be off the ship in time for a tour of the Opera House, but you never know.

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Re: Muscat using the HoHo bus - 1 April 2014

Postby Wansbrough » 25 Mar 2015 11:12

tomvet wrote:I had forgotten about the Tourist card and fair play to Costa for organising a ship's visa and not charging for it. RCI when they completed this route charged USD13 per person which was a grab! The funny thing was that we relinquished the card on embarkation and were never issued one to 're-enter' Oman in Khasab the next day although our passports are stamped for both entrances.

We did Khasab before Muscat and were only issued a card at the later. Maybe it has something to do with Khasab being an enclave?

tomvet wrote:As regards getting the bus ship side - did you have to dismount it at the terminal building all over 30 yards from the ship, head through the terminal and remount at the other side of the building. We had to with the regular shuttles which was a pain with the buggy as they were not wheel accessible!

No, the HoHo bus just drove straight through on both journeys. :D
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Re: Muscat using the HoHo bus - 1 April 2014

Postby Wansbrough » 25 Mar 2015 11:24

tomvet wrote: It ran just every 2 hours and we did not want to spend 2 hours at each of the Opera House, Mosque and Old Muscat / Al Alam Palace. That said for a quick 2 hour circuit it is ideal!

I thought the buses ran every 30 minutes? :?

When we went there was a separate shuttle which took you to the mosque from Shati Al Qurum which meant you had to get off and then on another bus to get you there. Too much hassle for us and it was hot too. 8-)
Just be aware Joan if you want to see inside the mosque then it would be advisable to book a tour or get a taxi as you will not be able to see the inside after I think 11:00am which why a lot of the private tours go there first.
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Muscat using the HoHo bus - 1 April 2014

Postby tobysgranny » 25 Mar 2015 12:49

Thanks W.

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Re: Muscat using the HoHo bus - 1 April 2014

Postby tomvet » 26 Mar 2015 00:21

Wansbrough wrote:I thought the buses ran every 30 minutes? :?


:oops: :oops: you are right! Where did I get 2 hours from? :?

When we went there was a separate shuttle which took you to the mosque from Shati Al Qurum which meant you had to get off and then on another bus to get you there. Too much hassle for us and it was hot too. 8-)


Yes! THis was another reason we did not do it as all the chopping and changing and the time of the first bus at 0900 would not get us to the Opera House and Mosque in time to see both.

Just be aware Joan if you want to see inside the mosque then it would be advisable to book a tour or get a taxi as you will not be able to see the inside after I think 11:00am which why a lot of the private tours go there first.


Yes SQM is shut to non-Muslims at 11 and the Opera House at 1030 so it is a bit of a rush to get both in, however both are well worth a look!
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