Upon arrival at Muscat International Airport, you will be met and escorted to a lounge to relax while our representative retrieves your luggage and handles the immigration procedure for you. Then you will be transferred to your hotel in Muscat for overnight.
Your first stop is the Royal Opera House, the leading arts and culture organization in Oman.
Continue to Al Alam Palace, where the sultan receives state guests. The palace is flanked by two 16th-century, Portugese fortresses, Al Jalali and Al Mirani.
Then visit Bait Al Zubair museum, which celebrates the culture and heritage of Oman with extensive permanent collections as well as special visiting exhibits.
Continue along the corniche to Muttrah Souk, the oldest and largest market in Oman. You will have time to explore the picturesque, narrow alleys, where the air is filled with the scent of frankincense and sandalwood. Shop for Omani souvenirs such as pottery, paintings, shisha pipes, framed khanjars, leatherwork and incense.
Visit the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. Built by the Sultan for the 25th anniversary of his accession, it is the 5th largest mosque in the world. The mosque is an architectural masterpiece and houses some outstanding works of art.
Continue to Nizwa, the former capital and religious center of Oman. If your stay falls on a Friday, the first highlight is the animal market. Then stroll through the vegetable, silver and general markets before entering the round tower fort, Oman’s most visited national monument.
Continue to Bait Al Safah, a renovated building run by women of the village, who demonstrate traditional practices such as milling, cooking and more.
Afterwards, visit the old village of Al Hamra, restored to show how Omanis lived in previous centuries. Lunch en route.
We’ll pass Bilad Sayt, a small mountain village, as we make a thrilling drive back to Muscat through the Wadi Bani Awf.
Enter the dune landscape of the Sharqiyah region and visit the old city of Ibra. On Wednesday mornings, the women’s souk is held here, the only market in Oman where merchants and clients are all women. Men are “banned” from the scene and meet at a nearby coffee shop to enjoy a chat.
Continue to Al Minzafah, one of the Sultan’s favorite villages, with good examples of the old architectural style. The houses are close to 300 years old and are said to be the oldest in the country.
(If your visit falls on a Thursday, visit the old village of Bidiya and town of Sinaw. The latter features a lively souq where Bedouin women in their traditional dress meet to socialize with each other and trade with women and men alike.)
In the Wahiba Desert, visit a Bedouin family, where you are invited for tea and dates and a camel ride.
Enjoy the drive through the changing shapes and colors of the dunes, from white in the morning to ocher, almost red in the afternoon. Lunch en route.
Finally, we will have some time in the evergreen Wadi Bani Khalid, where you may enjoy a swim or walk.
Then drive to the Muscat airport for your flight to Salalah. Upon arrival in Salalah, you will be met and transferred to your hotel for overnight.
Drive along a scenic road to Taqa. In former times, incense and horses were exported from its harbor, which was guarded by the Qasbar Fort at the top of the cliff. Visit the 19th-century Taqa castle.
Before proceeding to Sumhuram, we will stop on top of the hill for a stunning view over the village and the Indian Ocean.
On the cliff above Khor Rori, the Dhofar region's largest bay, see the ruins of the fortress and palace of Sumhuram, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and possibly the home of the Queen of Sheba. The Sumhuram port was an important center for the trade of frankincense, myrrh and slaves from the 1st to the 7th century. Lunch en route.
Just outside Mirbat, you can see Bin Ali’s tomb with its white double domes. The tomb is surrounded by a large, unusually shaped cemetery with engraved headstones.
Stop at the beautiful natural springs of Ayn Razat. Then drive into the Qara Mountains to see the tomb of the prophet Job, known locally as Nabi Ayoub.
Continue to the magnificent sandy beach of Mughsayl, surrounded by dramatic cliffs. Sea water shooting up through the famous blow holes here can reach a height of 30 meters.
Continue to Marnif Cave and the nearby lagoon, which is home to flamingos, pelicans and storks.
Follow one of the roads leading up the mountains to the Yemeni border and enjoy breathtaking views of the limestone, volcanic mountains and gnarled frankincense trees before returning to Salalah.
Begin with a city tour of Salalah, known as the “perfume capital of Arabia” and the largest city in the Dhofar region. Sultan Qaboos was born here in 1940 and we’ll pass his local palace during this morning’s touring.
Continue to the Al Baleed archaeological park, a UNESCO world heritage site. Al Baleed was an important trading port for frankincense and myrrh between the 7th and 14th centuries.
Pass the royal palace on the way to Haffa souk, where the fragrances of the orient come together. Visit the gold souk with a variety of gold and silver handicrafts. A visit to the food souk is interesting; the meat souk is more for the brave only. Lunch en route.
End the tour with a scenic drive through the garden-like fruit plantations. Stop at a fruit stall for a refreshing coconut milk or try the small sweet local bananas or papayas and guavas.
You will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Dubai. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel in Abu Dhabi for overnight.
Our first stop today is the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital for some insight into the tradition of falconry. Visit the examination room to observe falcons having routine procedures, like pedicures and feather repair. In the aviary, where the birds fly freely, you'll have a chance to interact with them.
Then head to Saadiyat Island and the new Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum. In 2007, France and Abu Dhabi came together to open the Louvre of Abu Dhabi to represent the dynamic nature of the contemporary Arab world. The museum is designed by the French architect Jean Nouvel, inspired by Abu Dhabi’s location between land and sea, as well as its traditional Arab architecture. Your ticket will allow you to visit the galleries, the exhibitions, the children museums and the public spaces under the dome.
After free time for lunch, enjoy the views from the observation floor of Etihad Towers, an architectural icon of Abu Dhabi.
Finally, visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, one of the largest and most beautiful mosques in the world and an architectural treasure of contemporary UAE society.
You will be transferred from your hotel in Abu Dhabi to the Qasr Al Sarab Resort.
The balance of the day is at your leisure.
Day at leisure.
You will be transferred from Qasr Al Sarab to Dubai for hotel check-in and overnight.
The afternoon is at your leisure.
Learn about Emirati culture with a traditional breakfast at Shiekh Mohamed Center for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU)*, a non-profit organization formed by Shiekh Mohamed Bin Rashid, housed in a typical wind-tower house in the heart of the old Bastakia area. An Emirati guide will accompany you for an open discussion about the local traditions and religion.
After breakfast, take a walking tour in Bastakia - visit the Dubai Museum in Al Fahidi Fort and then cross the creek by Abras (water Taxi ) to the spice souk. Continue walking to Al Ahmadiya School, established in 1912 as the first school in Dubai. Then stop at the gold souk, where you’ll have a chance to practice your bargaining skills.
Next, we’ll drive to the world’s tallest tower Burj Khalifah. Take the At The Top tour, a multi-media presentation on the history of Dubai as well as the story of this incredible building. Begin in the reception area and end on the observation deck on the 124th floor.
Continue to the world’s most prestigious hotel, Burj Al Arab, for a photo stop. Then drive on the beach road past Madinat Jumeirah Resort to Jumeirah Palm Island, the man-made island built in the shape of a palm tree and home to residential buildings, villas and luxury resorts.
Our last stop will be in downtown Dubai to see the world's largest musical fountain.
Drive to Al Ain, the Garden City of the UAE and one of its oldest settlements. A green city with an incredible number of public parks, it is also the birthplace of H.H. Shiekh Zayed, the former president of the UAE. Visit Sheikh Zayed Palace Museum, the residence of Sheikh Zayed and his family 1937-1966. Then visit Al Ain National Museum, which houses ancient artifacts discovered in and around the city, ancient Arabic manuscripts and royal treasures.
Stop at the traditional camel market, a great chance to have a close-up look at these “ships of the desert.”
The last stop on our tour today is the Hili Archaeological Garden, a combination public garden and excavation site of a Bronze Age settlement, with some discoveries over 4,000 years old.
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your departure flight.
*The Sheikh Mohamed Center for Cultual Understanding is closed on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. If your visit to Dubai falls on one of these days, a substitute visit will be arranged.
**The sites on this day are not open on Fridays.