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

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 travel from Dubai to Muscat by road. The added bonus would be that this way we qualified for a free visa for Oman… Unfortunately the free visa didn’t happen, but more about that further on in this post.



Booking.com

How to travel from Dubai to Muscat by bus via the Hatta border?

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:

• The Mwasalat bus from Dubai to Muscat departs at 7.30am, 3.30pm and 11pm.
• The Mwasalat bus from Muscat to Dubai departs at 6am, 3pm and 11pm.

On the Mwasalat website you can find the locations and opening hours of their offices.

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 give your luggage a superficial check, 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.

Booking.com

I heard the bus 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.

Update april 2018: many thanks to reader Liyana for providing updated information about the border crossing between Dubai and Oman:

Liyana wrote:
On the bus, I was surprised to note there were working USB charging spots in the back of each chair, which was helpful. The bus was super nice, though cold with the air conditioning!

Although there are no bathrooms on the bus, there were bathrooms at each border crossing, and at one of the stops before departing Dubai. For the return, at one of the stops in Oman, the driver would allow a bathroom break if requested.

As for the sticker originally needed versus simply the airport entry stamp into Dubai – now the sticker isn’t needed- the stamp will suffice! There is an online e-visa application for Oman, as of March 2018, but not needed if you flew into Dubai airport.

The last stop in Oman is now in Al Athaiba, not Ruwi- a taxi from there to Muscat costs around 5-6 rial (I asked someone inside the station, who helpfully directed me to a taxi). The trip took about 7h to Muscat, and 8h back to Dubai.

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 borderEverything 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

31 Comments

  1. April 17, 2017 / 12:46 pm

    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?

    • Lotte
      Author
      April 17, 2017 / 2:10 pm

      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!

    • chandra
      September 28, 2017 / 12:50 pm

      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. William
    September 16, 2017 / 9:04 am

    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?

    • Lotte
      Author
      September 17, 2017 / 5:38 pm

      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. Sagar
    September 21, 2017 / 7:45 pm

    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

    • Lotte
      Author
      September 21, 2017 / 11:13 pm

      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. Niraj
    September 30, 2017 / 2:12 pm

    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?

    • Lotte
      Author
      September 30, 2017 / 8:22 pm

      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

  5. Mir
    October 21, 2017 / 11:57 pm

    Thank you Lotte for such detailed information about your travels. It helps a lot, keep writing please. Thanks, Mir (from Sweden)

    • Lotte
      Author
      October 22, 2017 / 6:32 am

      Very welcome Mir! Have a nice trip:-)

  6. Abhi
    November 15, 2017 / 9:39 am

    HI Lotte,
    I am planning to travel in nov last .Can we book bus ticket in advance ?

    • Lotte
      Author
      November 16, 2017 / 1:28 am

      Hi Abhi,

      I don’t think you can book online but you can call the Dubai office (see more info on this website: http://mwasalat.om/en-us/Services/Intercity) for ticketing.

      Have a safe journey!
      Lotte

  7. Jerlene
    November 23, 2017 / 8:04 am

    Hi Lotte,
    Is it safe to travel alone for a single women to Dubai and Muscat as I am planning to travel in Jan.

    • Lotte
      Author
      November 23, 2017 / 11:57 am

      Hi Jerlene,

      Thanks for reading. Though I traveled with my husband I came across many solo female travelers in Dubai and Muscat. As long as you dress appropriately there shouldn’t be any problems. In fact, Oman was recently named the 4th safest country in the world!

      Enjoy your trip:-)
      Lotte

  8. Rajesh
    November 30, 2017 / 10:09 am

    hai
    I am an Indian reached in dubai with a visit visa to see my younger daughter. My elder daughter in Muscat arranged me a visit visa to Oman. can i travel to muscat through road ( hattah Boarder

    • Lotte
      Author
      December 1, 2017 / 10:39 am

      Dear Rajesh,

      Thank you for reading my post. I believe the Hatta border can only be used by U.A.E. residents or people with a passports from Europe, the U.S.A. or Australia. You can find more information on this page: http://www.visaprocess.ae/details.php?page=oman-visa-from-uae-border. I hold a Dutch passport and was therefore allowed entry. I’m sorry I can’t be of more help!

      Lotte

  9. Janis
    January 24, 2018 / 2:07 pm

    Thanks Lotte for this great article with such detailed information about your bus trip from Dubai to Muscat. I would love to do this…excited 

    • Lotte
      Author
      January 24, 2018 / 4:06 pm

      Very welcome Janis! I hope you get to take this trip, Oman is such a beautiful country and Dubai is fun for a couple of days.

  10. Samina
    January 28, 2018 / 2:34 am

    Amazing and super informative article!!! I’m in Dubai for 2 weeks and thought I go and check out Muscat how many days would you suggest is sufficenf? Thank you!! X

    • Lotte
      Author
      January 28, 2018 / 3:31 pm

      Hi Samina,

      Thank you:-) I would suggest 2/3 days in Muscat, the city is quite spread out so it will take some time to see the different areas of interest. It would also depend on what time you would arrive and depart, if you take the morning bus from Dubai 2 nights may be sufficient. However, if you take the afternoon bus you may need 3 nights because you’ll arrive late in the evening (in Muscat). Hope this helps, enjoy your trip!

      Lotte

  11. Maureen
    March 13, 2018 / 2:10 pm

    Hello,

    Did you have to pay the exit fee of 35AED in cash or with your debit card/credit card?

    • Lotte
      Author
      March 13, 2018 / 9:18 pm

      Hi Maureen, we paid the fee in cash. I’m not sure if it’s possible to pay with card. Good luck! Lotte

  12. jivan
    March 26, 2018 / 9:17 pm

    Hello, I’m from Nepal but I’m currently working in Dubai and in my upcoming annual leave I want to travel to Oman with my girlfriend. But here in Dubai a girl and a boy cannot stay at hotels or live together if they don’t have legal married certificate or documents something like that. My question is, is it possible for me to travel in Oman with my girlfriend or will there be any restrictions?

    • Lotte
      Author
      March 28, 2018 / 10:20 pm

      Hi Jivan, thank you for reading my blog. While my husband and I are married we have never been ask (in either Dubai or Oman) for legal proof. We have not had any questions about our relationship or problems staying at hotels together. I wouldn’t worry about it! Enjoy your trip:-)

      Lotte

  13. Tanay
    April 1, 2018 / 10:35 pm

    Hey, I’m an Indian resident and I am travelling with my family from Dubai to Muscat. Currently I’m on a tourist visa in Dubai and plan to go Oman via bus route. I already hold an Oman visa (Family visa). Is there anything else I need to take care of?

    • Lotte
      Author
      April 2, 2018 / 10:52 am

      Hi Tanay,

      Thank you for reading my blog. It sounds like you are good to go, if you have an Oman visa for your entire family the border shouldn’t be a problem. But I recommend checking the Oman Royal Police website: http://www.rop.gov.om/english/index.html. There you can find more information about the types of visa. Have a great trip!

      Lotte

  14. Stephen A
    April 5, 2018 / 6:38 am

    Hi Lotte-
    Thanks for posting useful info!
    How about your luggage under the bus.. Was there a baggage limit and could you purchase excess if needed?
    Was the luggage compartment opened at any point along the way- besides the Oman border?
    No other stops so nobody could mistakenly take a wrong bag by accident?
    I will be heading the opposite direction with 2 x 32 kg suitcases and 2 carry ons.
    Im wondering how difficult will be to make the trip.
    Thanks!
    Stephen

    • Lotte
      Author
      April 7, 2018 / 8:16 am

      Hi Stephen,

      Thanks for reading the post. I’m not sure if there is a luggage limit, my husband and I both had a big backpack and a day-pack which wasn’t a problem. I think it depends on how busy the bus is. If it’s very busy you may have to pay extra but if you avoid the weekend I reckon you’ll be fine.

      The luggage compartment is opened at the border and at Sohar when people are getting of the bus. You can always go out and check if your suitcases aren’t accidentally mistaken for someone elses. I hope this helps, have a nice trip!

      Lotte

  15. Liyana
    April 17, 2018 / 11:18 am

    Hi!

    I just did this border crossing and read this post prior to making the trip. I wanted to add some updates after making the trip last week.

    On the bus, I was surprised to note there were working USB charging spots in the back of each chair, which was helpful. The bus was super nice though cold with the air conditioning! 😉

    Although no bathrooms on the bus, there were bathrooms at each border crossing, and at one of the stops before departing Dubai, and then for the return, at one of the stops in Oman, the driver would allow a bathroom break if requested.

    As for the sticker originally needed versus simply the airport entry stamp into Dubai – now the sticker isn’t needed- the stamp will suffice! There is an online e-visa application for Oman, now, as of March 2018- but not needed if you flew into Dubai airport.

    The last stop in Oman is now in Al Athaiba, not Ruwi- a taxi from there to Muscat costs around 5-6 rial (I asked someone inside the station, who helpfully directed me to a taxi). The trip took about 7h to Muscat, and 8h back to Dubai.

    Thanks for all of your helpful tips, Lotte- glad to have read them before making the trip- and it was well worth it.

    • Lotte
      Author
      April 25, 2018 / 4:08 pm

      Dear Liyana,

      Thanks a ton for your feedback! I have incorporated this in the post as this will be very helpful for people making the trip in the future. Thank you so much, I really appreciate it:-)

      Lotte

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