Ruwi, once the downtown hub of all activity just about two decades ago, continues to enjoy the status of a very busy locale in Muscat. But there are five things you simply cannot do in Ruwi. Let your mind run riot as we slowly unravel this mystery for you…
People from third world countries simply love Ruwi because of the small shops/restaurants, the crowds, the smells, and the surprises one can expect in any street or lane. On the other hand, those from the developed world seem to prefer hanging out or exploring the more affluent areas in the capital that have developed over the past decade or so.
Ruwi is land-locked – think about it, no section of Ruwi opens up to a beach or seafront which is a five minute drive away at the Muttrah corniche. For about a one kilometre radius all around the Ruwi bus-stand, one can see small dwellings, commercial buildings, mosques, as well as a few high-rises which once used to house the headquarters of some popular banks and financial institutions.
Now, let’s dive straight into what you’ve been waiting to learn – the five things you simply cannot do in Ruwi:
- Enjoy fine dining
Ruwi is dotted with numerous restaurants that serve multi cuisines, predominantly Asian. You can enjoy some of the best shawarmas in town at street corner coffee shops and cafes or sit down for dinner at restaurants that cater to people on all rungs of society – some of these located in esteemed hotels with really very good fare. However, if you are looking for fine dining opportunities or for entertaining guests and clients in style in an upmarket restaurant, you might want to drive out of Ruwi. But again, everything depends on what you are looking for – good food, good ambience, or both.
- Indulge in water sports
Since Ruwi is encircled with buildings all around with sections of the Hajar mountains peering at the locale, too, it is impossible to see the sea around – though this might have been possible 50 years ago. So, if you want to indulge in water sports, or go for a swim or splash in the sea, or enjoy angling or a fishing expedition, Ruwi is not your launch pad. However, you will be able to purchase the necessary gear – outfits, angling equipment, accessories for water sports, etc in Ruwi. The nearest spot to do this would be Shatti Qurm (a ten minute drive away) or Muttrah corniche (a five minute drive away).
- Shop for cars
You can aspire to buy anything in Ruwi from a safety pin to a piano, provided you hop into the right shop on the right street. Ruwi has also been blessed with the presence of 3-4 hypermarkets (KM Trading, Lulu, and recently Nesto) besides supermarkets like Karama Supermarket, Fathima Shopping, Spar, etc. which showcase a variety of goods. But, if you are seeking to check out or buy automobiles, Ruwi has no outlet. For this, you would have to drive five minutes away to Wattayah or Qurm wherein the car showrooms for most popular automobile brands as well a used cars exists. However, service centres and spare parts stores of some popular car brands are located in Ruwi, besides car repair workshops and garages.
- Drive at 100kmph
Ruwi has a network of internal streets and lanes wherein driving speed limits are rather low and restricted all day long due to heavy traffic, especially during peak hours. The serpentine Ruwi High Street calls for cautious driving at reasonable speeds as one can also expect pedestrians running across, especially at Hamriya. Also there are traffic intersections and signals within close range which also restricts speed limits. The main road at the Sheraton Oman junction has a traffic intersection which leads to road perpendicular to the hotel with three traffic lights installed within a stretch of 200m or so. All this makes driving at 100kmph totally impossible in Ruwi.
- Climb the rugged hills
All around Ruwi, one can see rugged hills enveloping residential and commercial areas, and if you are into adventure and trekking, you would be tempted to want to climb one of the hills for a better view of this thriving hub in Muscat. However, climbing the hills is totally banned for safety and security reasons, and visitors/tourists need to take note of this and not indulge into irresponsible behaviour.
However a short (around 3km), trail does exist for trekkers in Ruwi. The Ruwi Mountains trek begins at Hellat Al Sadd neighbourhood up the hills between Wattayah, Ruwi and Wadi Adai. The trek requires a bit of climbing but is an easy and short trek with a good view of Ruwi and the CBD (Central Business District) from top.