Getting from Muscat to Salalah – Fastest, Cheapest & Most Scenic Routes!

Living in Muscat has its perks! The beautiful buildings, the upscale shopping malls, the historical forts, the intricately designed mosques – everything grand.

But, sometimes, an exotic escape awaits! How would you like to immerse yourself in lush green forests and waterfalls engulfed in mystical fog?

Where’s this place, you ask?

Not as far as you might think! Approximately 1000 km away from Muscat is Salalah, the third-largest city in Oman. Famous for being dry in the winters and tropical in the Khareef, this coastal desert city is famous for its diversified climate, elegant resorts, and lively events.

So, if you’re looking to travel from Muscat to Salalah, you’ll find all the relative information below!

a road with a camel walking down it text overlay muscat to salalah

Distance from Muscat to Salalah

The distance from Muscat to Salalah as the bird flies is 858 km, to be precise, and the road distance is 1017.7 km.

If you want to get there in the fastest possible way, taking a flight would be advisable. However, if you’re a fan of road trips, you can travel by bus or take your own ride.

In any case, let’s look at how much time and money it will take to travel from Muscat to Salalah using all available options.

Travelling to Salalah by Bus

The cheapest option to travel from Muscat to Salalah is by bus via the Mwasalat Bus Service.

The Intercity bus Route 100 leaves thrice a day from Azaiba Bus Station, also stopping at Muscat International Airport, and Burj Shawa Bus Station. The Muscat to Salalah departure times are currently at 7:00 am, 10:00 am, and 7:00 pm.

The Mwaslat bus fare from Muscat to Salalah is 8 OR one way, or 12.5 OR return (approx $21USD/$32USD)

After a 12-hour and 30-minute ride, the bus will drop you off at Salalah Bus Station, from where you can take a taxi or rental car to your destination in Salalah.

Muscat to Salalah Drive in Your Own Car

If you are on a long vacation and can spare one whole day travelling, take your own car from Muscat to Salalah.

The reason? It’s fun, scenic, and you can stop, eat, and rest on the way when you wish.

Now, two routes take you to Salalah. The first one goes through Nizwa via Route 17 and 32, and the second is a coastal route through Sur and Duqm via Route 31.

You can undertake this journey in a standard sedan vehicle; a 4×4 is not necessary unless you’re planning on making several diversions into the desert along the way. Large sections of the drive are dual carriageway and other than occasion road works for road widening, it’s a good-quality highway and well sign-posted throughout.

Route 1 Through Nizwa

If you take the first route, it will take 10 hours to reach Salalah as the distance approximates 1013 km. It is the quickest route, although slightly less scenic. You will still get to pass through the historic city of Nizwa en route.

Nizwa Fort
The more scenic sightseeing route will take you via historic Nizwa

There are few more sights on the way, including Al Sahwa Public Garden, Al Saf Saf Shopping Centre, the magnificent Izki Mountains, and the Sultan Qaboos Youth and Cultural Centre.

As for refreshments, you can stop over at the Wonder Bakery at Al Maha Gas Station, the Bellapais Restaurant, and the Rawabi Fayhaa Cafe.

There aren’t really any family-friendly overnight points to stop, so we’d recommend two drivers taking turns to get you through the journey in one go.

Route 2 Through Sur and Duqm

Going through route 2 will take almost 6 hours more than route 1 (without rest stops), as the distance is over 1400 kms long. The route will take you along the coastal highway and is significantly more scenic than the one through Nizwa!

Bimmah Sink Hole scenic stop in Oman

However, you can view many attractions on the way, like crossing the Tropic of Cancer, stop at Dagmar Beach or Hidden Beach, and unmissable Bimmah Sinkhole. Extend your journey a little further along the coast to catch Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve.

For freshening up, you can stop at the many restaurants and cafes along the way, like the coffee shop at Al Aktkiah Oman Oil Service and Al Faris Restaurant at Thumrayt Street.

If you’re hoping to break up the journey, stop at Duqm on the coast overnight before continuing inland to Haima. The second leg of the journey Duqm to Salalah is less scenic, allow about 6.5 hours.

Important Note! Once you get outside of Muscat and Nizwa, don’t expect all petrol stations to take credit card. It is wise to carry Omani Riyal with you for the smaller service stops.

And snacks! Lots and lots of health snacks if you can, unless you have a penchant for service station food.

Stops are regular enough but do keep an eye on your fuel levels at all times as it will take a couple of tanks at least to complete the Muscat to Salalah journey. Look out particularly in the stretch between Haima and Thumrait as fuel stops are less frequent.  

Flying to Salalah

If you’re in a time crunch and want to reach Salalah at the earliest, going by air would be the best option. It would, however, be a bit costlier than going by road.

10 flights to Salalah depart daily from the Muscat International Airport. Currently, only Oman Air and Salam Air service this route.

The ticket fare starts from $116 USD approximately and can increase according to the seat or other options like extra luggage, and of course, time of year. Flights during Khareef rise to around $180 USD per person.

On the plus side, you can reach Salalah International Airport in just 1 hour and 40 minutes!

Check current airfares and flight times Muscat to Salalah here.

Transportation in Salalah

Once you reach Salalah, you’ll require a car to move around the city. If you have your own car, there’s nothing better; however, if you come by air or bus, you will need a taxi or a rental car, as that’s the most common means of transportation.

Taxies in Salalah know they have a captive audience and are known for over charging foreign guest. Depending on how far your travelling, it seems the rate from the airport to major hotels can significantly fluctuate from 7 OR to 15 OR.

We’d recommend, is possible, to ask your hotel about arranging a car or guiding you on the correct fare as it seems taxies are still not metered.

If you would like to get a car for the whole day, you can get rental cars for as low as $16/day to $46/day, depending on the number of passengers and luggage. We would recommend this over hiring a txi to get out and see the best attractions in Salalah.

We would recommend using DiscoverCars to fid the best deals on local car hire.

Dubai to Salalah by Road

It is possible to get from Dubai to Salalah by road directly – if you are prepared for a 12 hour journey!

If you don’t have your own vehicle, a bus option is possible with Gulf Transport Company. Departing near their office in Deira daily, this route takes 16 hours.

Contact Gulf Transport direct to see if they are still running this route post-COVID +971-506-420-210

The alternative is to take the Dubai to Muscat public bus, then connect to the Muscat to Salalah service in Muscat.

We have not taken this package tour ourselves but you could try Beautiful Salalah if you’d like everything done for you.

Summing Up

Travelling from Muscat to Salalah can be quite an experience, given the amazing sights you can see on the way. However, keeping your budget, time, and convenience in consideration, we have put out all the available options for you.

Flights from Muscat to Salalah are quite frequent, as many as 10 times a day, and can get you there in just over 90 minutes, but it can come off as a bit expensive. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, you can always opt for a bus ride, but you won’t be able to stop along the way for sightseeing.

If you have the time and energy and want to have a memorable road trip from Muscat to Salalah, taking your own car is the best option. You will have to pay for the gas and snacks but a memorable experience awaits!

So, would you rather fly to Salalah, take a bus service, or drive in your own car? Let us know!

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Family Travel Middle East
Family Travel Middle East

The Family Travel in the Middle East team of travel writers are all parents based in the Middle East, sharing first hand experiences and reviews from across the region to help you plan your next family adventure.

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