How To Travel From Dubai To Muscat Via The Hatta Border By Bus

Dubai to Muscat bus - Muscat to Dubai bus

When we decided to visit Oman as the 3rd country of our Big Trip I looked into several ways of getting to Muscat, the capital of Oman. We could fly directly from Sri Lanka but tickets were quite expensive so we decided to fly to Dubai instead and take the bus to Muscat. The added bonus would be that we would get a free visa for Oman… Unfortunately the free visa didn’t happen, but more about that further on in this post.

So how to get from Dubai to Muscat via the Hatta border by bus?

Step 1: buy a bus ticket

First you have to buy a bus ticket from Mwasalat, Oman’s public transport company. We paid 55AED per person for a ticket. There are 3 buses a day in both directions:

• From Dubai the buses depart at 7.30am, 3.30pm and 11pm.
• From Muscat the buses depart at 6am, 3pm and 11pm.

In the map below you can find the location of the Mwasalat bus ticket sales office in Dubai and Muscat.

From the airport we took a bus to get to the Dubai Mwasalat bus ticket sale office and after looking (and asking) around we found the tiny office. It was closed when we arrived but opened at 10am.

We bought a ticket for the 3pm bus and spent the rest of the morning in Café Nero near the World Trade Center metro stop. It was very convenient that we could leave our big luggage at the bus ticket office during our short trip into downtown Dubai.

mwasalat Dubai - where to find the mwasalat bus ticket sale office in Dubai - Dubai to Oman bus

Step 2: board the bus 30 minutes before departure

You must be at the Mwasalat bus ticket office 30 minutes before departure. Put your big backpack in the luggage space of the bus and hop aboard. Someone from the bus company will come and check your ticket.

Now sit back and relax. Keep your fingers crossed for light traffic in Dubai, in our case it was very busy which added at least 1 hour to our travel time.

How To Travel From Dubai To Muscat Via The Hatta Border By Bus

Step 3: the Hatta border, U.A.E. side part 1

After 2 hours you should arrive at the Hatta border, but it took us a lot longer. At the U.A.E. border you have to get off the bus and pay 35AED exit fee per person. Get back on the bus and KEEP YOUR EXIT FEE RECEIPT!

Step 4: the Hatta border, U.A.E. side part 2

The bus will drive a little further and stop at U.A.E. customs. Get off the bus again, take your passport and exit fee receipt with you. Inside the building you must get your U.A.E. exit stamp after which you can hop back on the bus.

Step 5: the Hatta border, Oman side part 1

Again the bus will drive on a little before stopping at Oman customs. Well, actually the Oman luggage checkpoint. At this checkpoint you will have to take all your belonging off the bus and present them to an Omani police man (if you are male) or police woman (if you are female). They will ruffle through your luggage for a bit, but the real test is when all the luggage is lined up and a dog is led around the luggage to check for drugs.

Presuming this goes smoothly all luggage can be loaded back on the bus, only 1 more step before you are in Oman!

Step 6: the Hatta border, Oman side part 2

Now this is where it went wrong for us because of 2 reasons:

1. We crossed the border on Thursday evening, which is the start of the weekend in Muslim countries. In hindsight I knew this, but it hadn’t occurred to me the border would be extra busy on the evening before the weekend…

2. We were supposed to be given a free 3-week tourism because we had arrived from the U.A.E. via Dubai airport. On the Lonely Planet forum you can find more information about this common visa facility. However, the Oman customs officer refused to give us this visa because he said we didn’t have a U.A.E. sticker, only an entry stamp.

Visa requirements free tourist visa Oman via Dubai - bus from Dubai to Muscat

Entry stamp and sticker

bus Dubai Muscat - Dubai muscat bus - Dubai to Muscat by bus

Entry stamp but no sticker

This was true, we had only been given a sticker on our first visit to Dubai a month before. After arguing with the guy for 15 minutes he blankly refused and we had to pay 20 OR each for a 1 month visa.

I later sent an email to the Dubai immigration office and they stated that the sticker we had been given on our first visit was valid for 90 days and therefore we should have been given a 3 week tourist visa for free. Ah well, this was about the only thing that didn’t go smoothly during our time in Oman.

Hatta Oman border - Dubai to Oman bus

Anyway, after buying our visa and getting our stamps we got back on the bus which continued to Sohar and finally to Ruwi bus station in Muscat. From Ruwi bus station we walked to our hotel in Mutrah. You can read more about our accommodation in Oman in this post.

I heard the bus journey from Dubai to Muscat usually takes around 6 hours, but it took us 9 hours because of the traffic jam in Dubai and the long waiting time at the Hatta border.

Nevertheless, the bus is a pretty comfortable, easy and cheap way to travel from Dubai to Muscat. If you want know why you should visit Oman, be sure to check out my road trip itinerary. Read more about our Oman travel budget in this post.

Everything you need to know about traveling from Dubai to Muscat via the Hatta border by bus. How to buy a ticket & what to expect at the U.A.E./Oman border Everything you need to know about traveling from Dubai to Muscat via the Hatta border by bus. How to buy a ticket & what to expect at the U.A.E./Oman border

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9 Comments

  1. My family and I (Indian citizens) are planning on traveling from Muscat to Dubai by bus via the Hatta border. A travel agent said he can arrange for our UAE visas and email the visa to us.

    Is an electronic copy of the visa enough or do we need to have the original hard copy for the UAE visa? Or does the hard copy need to be deposited at the Hatta border?

    • Hi Lisa, so great you are planning to visit Oman! About your question, I am sorry but I really don’t know… We traveled the border in the opposite direction and didn’t have to apply for a visa beforehand because we got an on-arrival-visa at the Hatta border. It’s always better to be safe than sorry so I would bring a hard copy just to be sure. Good luck on the border crossing and enjoy your trip!

    • Hi Lisa, How was your travel from Muscat to Dubai by road with visit visa? My wife’s relations are planning a similar trip, so would like to know whether the visit visas at both country enough or is there any additional documentation required?
      Thank you for your update

  2. Great article. We are traveling there in 2 weeks and planning on visiting Muscat as well. Question: If we arrive at 3am and want to take the 7:30am bus but the sales office opens at 10am, are we SOL?

    • Hi William,

      Thank you for reading my post, I’m happy to hear you like it:-). About your question, if I were you I would be at the bus/ticket office an 30-60 minutes before the departure of the bus. If you are lucky somebody will be able to sell you a ticket. If you are indeed out of luck that leaves you with a morning to explore Dubai… Since I haven’t experienced this particular scenario I’m afraid I can’t give you a conclusive answer. Have a great trip!

      Lotte

  3. Thanks for awesome article!
    I just want to know that: by road travel via bus is allowed to Indians/Non UAE Residents? Because I heard that road travel to Oman is only allowed to UAE residents.

    Sagar

    • Hello Sagar,

      You are most welcome:-). I don’t know the exact rules for Indian travelers, I myself am not from the U.A.E. but from the Netherlands. There is a special agreement between UAE, Oman and several countries in Western Europe which enabled me to get a visa at the border. But I would check online at the official Oman visa website: http://www.rop.gov.om/english/index.html. Enjoy your trip!

      Lotte

  4. How did you find the quality of bus and seats? Does the bus have a section reserved for families? Does the bus also have a toilet built inside (I heard from someone that it does)? And the last question – what is the stopover time at Sohar?

    • Hi Niraj,

      1. I found the quality of the bus and seats perfectly fine. It’s not very luxurious but the seats are comfortable and recline so you can sleep a little.
      2. In our bus there wasn’t a section reserved for families.
      3. There was also no toilet on board.
      4. Because we were delayed at the border for a long time, the stop at Sohar was very brief. Just a couple of minutes for people to get off and on the bus.

      Hope this helps!
      Lotte

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