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Day 1: Arrive in Dubai
Upon arrival a transfer will be waiting for you at the airport. Day is free to rest or explore on your own. In the evening, meet your Tour Leader and fellow travellers for a welcome dinner and orientation.
Day 2: Dubai Sites
Today we set out on a full day city tour of this fascinating city. We begin in Dubai marina before heading towards Palm Jumeirah, the famous palm shaped man-made island. We drive around the Palm passing the Atlantis Palm Hotel, built around the myth of the lost continent of Atlantis. We then head to the Burj Al Arab hotel, the world's only seven star hotel, for a photo stop. Pass by Jumeirah Mosque, a spectacular example of modern Islamic architecture.
Day 3: Abu Dhabi Sites
Abu Dhabi is close enough to Dubai to make it a perfect day trip. In Abu Dhabil, the first destination is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, one of the largest and most impressive mosques in the world.
Day 4: Dubai, to Khasab, Fortress
Today we say goodbye to the extravagance of Dubai and UAE and head towards Khasab, Oman. After lunch in a local village, we head out on a city tour of Khasab. Built at the beginning of the 17th century by the Portuguese, Khasab's natural harbor was perfectly situated to provide shelter from tough seas. Unlike many forts built for defensive purposes, Khasab was designed as a supply point for dates and water for Portuguese ships sailing through the strait. We visit Khasab fort and museum and explore the area's unique history.
Day 5: Fjords of Musandam - Dhow Cruise
Today we enjoy a full day cruise through the "Fjords of Musandam" on board our traditional Omani Dhow, where you can sit comfortably on cushions and carpets while feasting your eyes on the striking scenery. A Dhow trip to the fjords offers an insight into its fantastic landscape. During the Dhow cruise you can cruise into the fjords of Musandam and discover different villages. The Dhow is anchored at the famous Telegraph Island as well as Seebi Island where you can swim and snorkel in the clear waters. There is also the possibility to see "humpback" dolphins along the way. Lunch, refreshments, snorkelling equipment and towels will be provided. We return to Khasab for dinner and overnight.
Day 6: Fly to Muscat, Muttrah Souq
Today we fly to Oman's capital city of Muscat. This afternoon we drive along the waterfront Corniche and visit the famous old Muttrah souq. The colorful souq will take you back in time, allowing you to browse, shop and practice your bartering skills.
Day 7: Muscat Sites
Today we explore Muscat. With it's natural harbor, Muscat means "Anchorage" and lies in a natural volcanic bowl. Our exploration of the city starts with the visit to the Grand Mosque. The third biggest mosque in the world covering 416,000 square meters, it is a very good example of modern Omani architecture. The Grand Mosque, until recently was home to the largest Persian carpet in the world.
Day 8: Wadi Bani Auf; Al Hamra and Honey
Today we leave Muscat behind and head towards the mountains of Oman. We cross Wadi Bani Auf; this 70km stretch of graded road is an adventurous switch back road, offering spectacular views of large canyons. We visit the charming mountain village of Bilad Sayt where we can take in the beauty of its landscape.
Day 9: Nizwa Cattle Market; Jebel Shams and Grand Canyon of Arabia
Our day starts with a visit to Nizwa's renowned cattle market. Taking place every Friday, this is where locals buy and trade the best livestock, from goats to cattle directly from the herders. It's a fascinating event to experience as you immerse yourself in the dealings and trading that takes place. From here, we take some time to explore the Nizwa Souq, one of the few souqs in Oman featuring exclusive traditional Omani goods, including pottery, intricately hand-carved "khanjars" and ornamental silver jewelry. We also explore the Round Tower Fort, built in the 17th century.
Day 10: Bahla Fort, Jabrin Castle, Jabel Akhdar
This morning we visit Bahla Fort and Jabrin Castle. The oasis of Bahla owes its prosperity to the Banu Nebhan tribe which dominated the area from the beginning of the 12th century to the end of the 15th century. The ruins of this immense fort with its walls and towers of unbaked bricks and stone foundations are remarkable examples of the power of this region and its importance in Omani history. We then visit Jabrin Castle, the finest of Oman's castles built in the 17th century. The castle became a primary influence in Omani learning and displays the highest achievement of Omani ceiling paintings and beautifully executed woodcarvings.
Day 11: Great Wahiba Sands & Bedouin Tents
After breakfast, we begin our journey into the desert. On the way we stop in the pretty village of Birkat Al Mauz for a short walk through its oasis of palm trees and date plantations.
Day 12: Desert Experience; Wani Bani Khalid; Turtle Watching
Today we experience the thrills of dune driving in the desert. We cross the desert to Quahed on the coast. After enjoying a picnic lunch by the beach, we make our way to Wadi Bani Khalid, a beautiful oasis in the middle of barren mountains, where we will have some time to relax.
Day 13: Sur, Dhow Building Yards; Wadi Tiwi
After breakfast we proceed to Sur. Our first stop is the bustling fish market to see the catch of the day. From here we visit the dhow building yards, where we get to see these wooden boats being built by hand. We continue on to Bilad Sur Castle, built over 200 years ago and also Sunysilah Castle built over 300 years ago. Our day ends in Wadi Tiwi, a spectacular deep and narrow gorge carved out of the mountains, running between towering cliffs right down to the sea. Its old traditional villages, surrounded by lush plantations of dates and bananas are a great example of how the network of "aflaj" irrigation systems still work to this day.
Day 14: Wadi Shab, Qalhat
We spend the day exploring Wadi Shab. Known as one of the most beautiful places in Oman, Wadi Shab is a spectacular range of narrow mountains with turquoise pools and waterfalls surrounded by sandstone walls lined with date plantations and banana palms. Our hike today is a mix of trekking and swimming in "wadi" pools. We enjoy a picnic lunch before heading to Bimah Sinkhole.
Day 15: Nakhal, House of Amouage, Muscat by Night
This morning we drive towards Nakhal. On the outskirts of Muscat, we visit the House of Amouage. Now in it's 28th year, the House of Amouage creates some of the most expensive perfumes in the world for both men and women. Here in the headquarters, the blending of some of the finest ingredients takes place, including frankincense and myrrh found only in Oman and Yemen, using rose from Taif in Saudi Arabia and Arabian amber.
Day 16: Fly to Salalah; Tomb of the Prophet Job, Mughsail & Frankincense
Today we fly to Salalah, the capital of the southernmost province of Dhofar. We begin with a visit to the ancient tomb of the Prophet Job, situated in the scenic green mountains of the Salalah Plains. We proceed to Mughsail where the white sand touches the deep blue of the ocean. At high tide, the waves burst through the natural perforations in the limestone rocks creating natural "blow holes" making it a spectacular site to see. We continue along the "hair-pin-bend" road towards the western border of Oman, with its breathtaking cliffs on either side to see the historical frankincense trees growing in their natural habitat, deep down in the valleys, dotting the dry and craggy countryside. We walk into the valleys to smell the "holy incense" once traded as a commodity more precious than gold. On our return journey, we make a stop at a bird sanctuary, where migratory birds (occasionally flamingos) are a common sight.
Day 17: Taqah Castle, Sumharam & Mirbat
Our day begins with a visit to the fishing village of Taqah, famous for the manufacture of dried sardines and it's traditional Dhofari stone houses. We visit the old Taqah Castle, the former official residence of the "Wali" governor of the region and obtain a glimpse into the rich history of the region. We continue to the ancient ruins of the once famous city of Sumharam (UNESCO World Heritage site). The city was the easternmost outpost of the Hadramawt Kingdom on the ancient incense route between the Mediterranean Sea, Persian Gulf and India. Sumharam was one of the major hubs, harbors and trading cities of frankincense.
Day 18: The Lost City of Ubar ; Empty Quarter Camping
We begin the day by exploring Salalah. known as the garden city of the south. We visit a garden farm with groves of coconuts, banana, papaya and vegetables. After enjoying a Salalah banana, we drive by the beautiful Shanfari Mosque with its exquisite artwork and stained glass windows and Al Husn Palace, the summer residence of his Majesty Sultan Qaboos. We stop at the Al Husn Souq where you'll have some free time to explore the frankincense crystals of Dhofar or just enjoy a walk along the waterfront Corniche.
Day 19: Return to Salalah
For those wishing to rise early, a sunrise walk is a great way to start the day. After breakfast we begin our return journey back to Salalah. After lunch we visit the Al Balid Museum also known as the museum of Frankincense Land and a UNESCO World Heritage site. We enjoy a lecture by an archeologist on site. Our evening ends with a farewell dinner in a local restaurant in Salalah.
Day 20: Depart Salalah
We say a fond farewell to Oman with a transfer to the airport for our departure flights.
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