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.
The first stop on your Muscat tour is the Royal Opera House, the leading arts and culture organization in Oman. Continue to visit 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 visit 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 and an architectural masterpiece housing some outstanding works of art. Continue for tour of 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. Visit Bait Al Safah, a renovated building run by women of the village, who demonstrate traditional practices such as milling and cooking. 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’ll 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 departure flight.