Oman - The Great Arabian Experience

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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, National Guide and fellow travellers for a welcome dinner and orientation. Overnight in Dubai.

 

Day 2: Dubai Sites

Today we set out on a city tour of this fascinating city. Our first stop is the striking sail-shaped Burj Al Arab hotel. Located on the sands of Jumeirah Beach, on an artificial island, this luxury hotel is the fourth tallest in the world, at 1,053 feet (321 meters). We continue with your guide along the shoreline to Jumeirah, one of Dubai's upmarket residential areas. See the winding lanes that lead to hidden courtyards and the mud-brick homes topped by traditional wind towers, designed to catch cooling offshore breezes.

Next, we visit Al Bastakiya’s old Al Fahidi Fort, home to the Dubai Museum and take in views of the cannons, turrets and fortified walls. We cross Dubai's central waterway, Dubai Creek, in a traditional water taxi called an 'abra', a 'must-do' activity in Dubai!

On the Deira side of Dubai Creek, soak up the colors and perfumes of the spice souk. Our last stop is Dubai’s legendary gold souk before we return to our hotel. Overnight in Dubai.

 

Day 3: Abu Dhabi Sites

Abu Dhabi is close enough to Dubai to make it a perfect day trip from Dubai. In Abu Dhabil, the first destination is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, one of the largest mosques in the world. We then continue to the Women’s Handicraft Centre. Admire the skill and dexterity of local ladies making traditional handicrafts. This center was established to provide training and job opportunities for women in the region, as well as preserve and protect the local heritage.
We continue our exploration of the city through the well laid out roads, surrounding lush greenery, beautiful parks, and rows and rows of trees until we reach Abu Dhabi's oldest building, Al Husn Palace built in the 18th century.

Enjoy a magnificent view of the city by driving along the beautiful Corniche and make a photo-stop at the Breakwater. We then visit the Heritage Village and journey to the past, to experience life before oil was discovered.

Before returning to Dubai/Sharjah, we tour the Dhow Yard where wooden ships are still being built using simple tools and techniques handed down through many generations, all without blue prints! We return to Dubai for overnight.

 

Day 4: Dubai, To Khasab, Fortress

Today we have a free morning in Dubai before departing for our drive to Khasab. After lunch, we visit the Fortress in Khasab. Dinner and overnight in Khasab.

 

Day 5: Fjords of Musandam - Dhow cruise

Today we can enjoy a full day Dhow cruise. 
Enjoy an unforgettable day cruising along 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 dolphins along the way. Lunch and refreshments will be served on board. Snorkeling equipments and towels are be provided. We return to Khasab for dinner and overnight.

 

Day 6: To Muscat by Speed Ferry, Mutrah Souk

Today we take a speed ferry that will take us to Oman's captial sity of Musca, arriving in the afternoon. in the evening, we visit the famous old Mutrah Souk (market) on the Corniche, a great place to browse, shop, enjoy the ambience and maybe even practice you bartering skills. Overnight in Muscat.

 

Day 7: Bandar Khayan Fjords by boat, Muscat Sites

Our exploration of the city starts with the visit to the Grand Mosque, The 3rd biggest mosque in the world and a very good example of modern Omani architecture. The Grand Mosque, until recently was home to the largest Persian carpet in the world. We continue our exploration with a boat excursion to Bandar Khayan Fjords before lunch.

After lunch, we explore the old section of town. Our first stop is at the Bait Zubair Museum to see its wonderful display of historic photos and traditional furniture. We then drive through the Cornice (the capital's main port area) stopping at the Jalani and Mirani Forts and The Al Alam Palace. Overnight in Muscat.

 

Day 8: To Sur via Wadi Shab and Qalhat

Today we travel to Sur by coastal route using 4-wheel drive vehicles. A very scenic  journey, the road is paved in portions  but also goes though Wadi Dayquat and across the jebel (range of hills). We visit the Quariyat Castle, the Bimmah Sinkhole and Fins Beach enroute to Sur. We stop in Wadi Shab, said to be one of the most beautiful places in Oman, with waterfalls and turquoise pools.

We enjoy a 1-2 hour hike in Wadi Shab before continuing to the Tomb of Bibi Miriam at Qalhat. Qalhat is one of Oman's most ancient sites, a settlement from the 2nd century AD. Overnight in Sur.

 

Day 9: Bilad Sur Castle, Dhow yards, Turtle watching

This morning we see the sights of Sur. We stop at the Bilad Sur Castle, built over 200  years ago and Sunysilah Castle which is 300  years old. We then visit the Dhow Yards and if there is any construction going on we will spend some time seeing these wooden boats being built by hand. Next, we proceed to Ras al-Hadd for dinner.  This evening, we visit Ras Al-Jinz, the  easternmost point in Oman and the natural  nesting beach for endangered Green Back turtles. Oman is a vital area for Green Turtles in the Indian Ocean and the Green Back Turtle is heavily protected by the government of the country. In fact, over 275 of the Sultanate's beaches double-up as nesting grounds for five of the seven recognized species of sea turtles, the most common being the Green Back Turtle. After dark, we are led to the beach by a warden to (hopefully) see the females return to their beach to lay eggs. (Please note that the main nesting season is Jun-Aug, at other times of the year, there may not be turtles every night).

We return to our accommodation around 11:00pm. Overnight in traditional beach  huts, with palm leaves for the walls and grass huts for the roof, shared bathrooms, located on a beautiful blue lagoon.

 

Day 10: Oasis, Great Wahiba Sands & Bedouin Tents

After breakfast we drive to Wadi Bani Khalid, a beautiful oasis in the middle of barren mountains. (Wadi means a valley or ravine that is dry except in the rainy season). We have time to visit some of the villages located in the area before proceeding to the Great Wahiba Sands. The Great Wahiba Sands are longitudinal sand dunes that run south from the Eastern Hajars to the Arabian Sea. The  dunes are 100-150 metres high in stunning shades of orange to amber.

The area is also home to the Bedouins and their many camels, with camps along the  tracks and trails. We overnight in a camp in traditional Bedouin tents, with shared, open-air washroom facilities.

 

Day 11: Desert experience, Camel Safari, Bedouin Village

Today we venture into the desert wilderness. We visit a Bedouin house,  before driving across the dunes to the beach to enjoy our picnic lunch. This afternoon, we return to the camp to experience a short camel safari (optional but included in price).

Tonight, we have a traditional Arabic meal. The camp has no electricity at night, which cuts down on light pollution, giving  us the opportunity to experience the  spectacular desert night skies. Overnight at the camp in traditional Bedouin tents, with shared, open-air washroom facilities.

 

Day 12: Camel Farm, Ibra, Jabal Akhdar

For those that wish to rise early, a sunrise walk in the dunes is a wonderful way to start the day. We then begin traveling towards Jabal Akhdar. Enroute, we stop in the town  of Ibra and walk through the old section of town. We continue to Al Mudaibi to visit a camel farm. Traveling to Samail, we pass through a lush oasis to the Samail Gap. We arrive at Jabal Akhdar for dinner and overnight.

 

Day 13: Hike to Wadi Habib

Jebel Akhdar translates to "Green Mountains" and is one of the most scenic areas in Oman. This morning we hike (2-3  hours) to Wadi Habib and we see the lovely terraced plantations, old mud homes, fruit plantations and rose gardens, rose water production is a cottage industry in this area.  After a picnic lunch, we return to our hotel  where the remainder of the day is free for  you to explore on your own. Overnight at Jabal Akhdar.

 

Day 14: Nizwa Fort, Souk, Bahla, Jarbin Castle

This morning we drive to Nizwa, located in a palm tree oasis, high in the mountains. We take a walking tour of the town and visit Nizwa Fort, built in the 17th century and climb the tower to enjoy the spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. We also visit the town's souk (market) where you can look for the silver khanjars - a curved  Omani dagger that is an important symbol of manhood and wealth.

This afternoon, we visit Bahla Village, once known as a mystical village and known for  black magic and "jins" (evil spirits). Today  Bahla is famous for its pottery. We see a  pottery making demonstration and then visit  Jabrin Castle, one of the best preserved castles in Oman. We overnight in a nice Resort on a hill, overlooking the city of Barka.

 

Day 15: Wadi Ghul - the Grand Canyon of Arabia

Today is an exciting day of natural beauty and Omani traditions and customs. Our first stop this morning is at the abandomed village of Wadi Ghul, in the Jebel Shams. Jebel Shams means "Mountain of  the Sun" and is the highest peak in Oman.  Right beside the mountain is Wadi Ghul,  the Omanis call it the "Grand Canyon of Arabia". We hike from the village to Wadi Nakhr (3 hours), an old, remote villags. The main industry in Wadi Nakhr is carpet weaving and we hope to see a demonstration while we are there. We continue on to Al Hamra, one of the oldest villages in the country and after lunch,  we learn about ancient Omani daily life including Qahwa (coffee) making, the making of Omani bread, percolating of rose water, grain grinding, extraction of Alshoa medicine, the making of perfumes and frankincense and hand tailoring of the Omani Kumma (male head cover).

This afternoon, we stop at the Al Hoota caves, the second largest natural caves in the world before driving back to our Resort.

 

Day 16: Wadi Bani Awf, Mountain crossing

Today we will cross the Jebel Shams Mountain range to the north side into the flatlands of the batinah region. From the Mountain Plateau, we take a breathe-taking adventurous switchback road, offering spectacular view into large canyons, into the Wadi Bani Awf. In the Wadi, we will stop for a picnic break before continuing to Muscat. Overnight in Muscat.

 

Day 17: Fly to Salalah - Souks, Sites & Frankincense

We fly to Salalah, the capital of the southernmost province of Dhofar. We start exploration at the “The Museum of the Frankincense Land”, in Balid Archaeological Park, a UNESCO heritage site. The Frankincense Land Museum is the latest addition to Oman’s heritage and cultural scene. It houses two main halls, namely the History Hall, depicting the geography, history of the ancient Frankincense trail and the historical background of the Sultanate through a number of archaeological findings and the Marine Hall, featuring displays about the development of Oman’s rich marine history. A complete history of the Maritime trade & ship building industry of Oman could be experienced here, with meticulously carved replicas of the ancient boats & ships of the Omani Maritime trade.
Drive through lush green plantations of vegetables & fruits. Make a brief stop to taste fresh coconut water drink at fruit stalls lining the streets within the periphery of old Salalah town (Haffah). We stop at the impressive Sultan Qaboos Mosque and view the Official Palace of His Majesty the Sultan (Al Husn Palace) & stroll through the old Haffah souk, famous for the sale of high quality Frankincense & numerous other Dhofari traditional jewellery and souvenirs. The smell of frankincense fills the souk. Haffah souk is very attractive with its small shops lined with straight piles of incense boxes, clay incense burners colorfully decorated with traditional patterns and bags of incense crystals. Overnight in Salalah.

 

Day 18: Salalah - Taqah Castle, Ancient cities, Tomb of the Prophet Job

Our excursion begins in the morning with a visit to the old fishing village of 'Taqah', famous for the manufacture of 'Dried Sardines' & its traditional & old 'Dhofari Houses'. Visit the century old 'Taqah Castle', the former official residence of the 'Wali' (Governor) of the region & obtain a glimpse into the rich history of the region.

Continue to the ancient ruins of the once famous city of Sumharam (Khor Rohri). The city was the easternmost outpost of the Hadramawt Kingdom on the ancient incense route between the Mediterranean Sea, Persian Gulf and India. Khor Rori was an important port on the coast of Dhofar and one of the major trading cities of frankincense, believed to have been the hub & harbour for the shipping of Frankincense (UNESCO World Heritage site).

We take a picturesque drive to 'Mirbat', the ancient capital of Dhofar and the beginning of the ‘Frankincense trail’. Stroll through the streets lined with old Omani mud houses & visit the 'twin-domed Bin Ali’s Tomb, a classic example of medieval architecture.

On our way back to western Salalah, explore the natural spring of 'Ayn Razat', beautifully laid out amidst the tranquil lush mountains & nourished every day of the year by natural underground spring water.

Next, we proceed to 'Qara' mountains to explore the western part of Salalah. On a road steadily winding up a steep incline, herds of Camels & Cattle are a common sight, enjoy scenic views of a traditional Dhofari rural landscape. We also visit the ancient tomb of the 'Prophet Job' situated in the scenic green mountains of the Salalah Plains. Experience and learn about the legendary story of the Prophet Job and his devoutness.

We proceed to the beach of Mughsail where the white sand touches the deep blue of the ocean. At high tide, the waves burst through the natural titanic 'Blow Holes', at the far end of the 'Rocky beach' with a cave-like entrance.
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 & craggy countryside.

We take a short walk into the valleys to smell the 'Holy Incense' amidst the scenic view of the region. On our return journey, we make a stop at the lagoon at Mughsail where migratory birds (occasionally flamingos) are a common sight. Overnight in Salalah.

 

Day 19: Fly to Muscat

We fly back to the capital city of Muscat. We have a free afternoon before we meet for our farewell dinner. Overnight in Muscat.

 

Day 20: Depart Muscat

We say a fond farewell to Oman with a transfer to the airport for our departure flights.

 
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