The Maritime Trade Route: Oman to the Far East

Historical sources show that over a thousand years ago, sailors travelled the seas between Oman and China.

By the middle of the 9th century there was an established trade route between Muscat and trading ports in the Far East.

Independent first-hand sources give a reasonably clear picture of this route. Vessels would set off from Muscat, Sohar, Qalhaat or Sur in Oman, crossing the Sea of Oman and the Arabian Sea, to reach India.

From India, passage would be made to modern-day Sri Lanka and then across the Bay of Bengal to the Strait of Malacca. Merchant ships would then sail between the Malay Peninsula and the island of Sumatra before heading north towards Vietnam or trading in Singapore.

Arab merchants would either seek supplies in Singapore or trade goods there. Those who sought contact with mainland China, however, continued through the South China Sea, before sailing towards Canton, stopping only at the Paracel Islands for food and water.