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Dubai and Oman: Modern Riches, Ancient Treasures

Program Number: 19635RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/7/2013 - 2/21/2013; 1/8/2015 - 1/22/2015; 10/29/2015 - 11/12/2015; 11/26/2015 - 12/10/2015;
Duration: 14 nights
Location: Oman/United Arab Emirates
Price starting at: $4,950.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type:
Meals: 36; 13 Breakfasts, 12 Lunches, 11 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

The Arabian Peninsula is a place of contrasting experiences, from standing in awe of an ultramodern skyscraper or a 300-foot sand dune to sharing mint tea and dates in the shade of an oasis. Explore the United Arab Emirates and Oman, walking through fragrant spice markets, sailing aboard dhows, finding great natural beauty and learning about the history and complexities of this important region.




Highlights

• Venture into the Wahiba Sands region to visit a Bedouin village and spend the night at a desert camp.
• Board a traditional wooden dhow to sail into the fjords of Musandam
• Absorb the amazing architecture of Dubai including the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles a day; some uneven terrain and stairs without railings.




Date Specific Information

2-7-2013, 1-8-2015, 10-29-2015, 11-26-2015

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Muscat (Oman), 3 nights; coach to Ras Al Jinz, 1 night; coach to Nizwa, 2 nights; fly to Khasab, 2 nights; coach to Dubai (UAE), 4 nights; departure.



Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Muscat (Oman)
3 nights

Explore Muscat with a local expert and take a field trip to the Royal Opera House and the grand mosque, which can accommodate 20,000 worshippers. Visit Muttrah Souq, one of the most popular markets in the Middle East. Join an Omani professor in an informative lecture to learn about the history and culture of Oman.



Coach to Ras Al Jinz
1 night

At a dhow factory, learn how these traditional Omani boats are built by experienced craftsmen. Join experts from Ras Al Jinz Scientific Center to observe turtles nesting in the sand.



Coach to Desert camp
1 night
Coach to Nizwa
2 nights

Journey into the desert to Wadi Bani Khalid, considered one of the most beautiful wadi’s (valleys) in Oman. Along the way, pass through the Wahiba Sands — a land of colossal dunes — and learn about Bedouin life in the desert. In Nizwa, learn about village life amid Oman’s plantations and orchards, savor some traditional mint tea and dates, and even swim in one of the pure, natural pools.



Fly to Khasab
2 nights
Coach to Dubai (UAE)
4 nights

Board a traditional wooden dhow to sail into the fjords of Musandam. Contrast the old with the ultramodern in Dubai. With an international architect, learn about the amazing modern buildings, including the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest. Examine artifacts inside an 18th-century fort at the Dubai Museum. Journey to Abu Dhabi and its magnificent Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. At the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital meet the national bird and learn about the sport of falconry.




Accommodations
Muscat: A centrally located quality hotel. Ras Al Jinz: Quality hotel. Wahiba Sands: Luxury tent camp amid golden sand dunes. Nizwa: Quality hotel surrounded by spectacular mountains. Khasab: Four-star hotel with panoramic views of Musandam Shoreline. Dubai: Elegant hotel in Arabic theme.
Meals and Lodgings
   Arabian Courtyard
  Dubai, United Arab Emirates 4 nights
   Golden Tulip Khasab
  Khasab, Oman 2 nights
   Golden Tulip Nizwa
  Nizwa, Oman 3 nights
   Oryx Safari Camp
  Wahiba, Oman 1 night
   Sur Plaza Hotel
  Sur, Oman 1 night
   Park Inn Muscat
  Muscat, Oman 2 nights
 Arabian Courtyard
Type: Hotel
  Description: Ideal location in old Dubai opposite the Museum and a stone’s throw away from many historical, cultural and shopping attractions such as heritage village, historic bastakiya, Dubai creek & abra (water taxi), meena bazaar, textile market, electronics shopping, computer street and a whole lot more. With 173 elegantly furnished rooms in traditional Arabic theme including 23 elegantly furnished suites and 41 executive rooms, the hotel offers all the latest amenities for discerning travelers. A variety of dining and entertainment options as well as conference & banquet with the latest technology are on offer. Arabian Courtyard Hotel & Spa also offers a fully equipped health & recreation center as well as a Wellness Spa.
  Contact info: Al Fahidi Street
Dubai,  P.O.Box 46500 United Arab Emirates
phone: +971-4-3519111
web: www.arabiancourtyard.com/about.aspx
  Room amenities: 01 large or 02 single beds with wired and Wi-Fi internet access in rooms, tea/coffee maker, 2 mineral water bottles, work desk, voice mail, IDD telephones, multi channel TV, in-room safe, iron & board, mini bar, individual temperature control, electronic door locks & smoke detectors. These rooms are en-suite with shower & bathtub combination.
  Facility amenities: Business facilities at our hotel include a business center, conference & meeting rooms as well as secretarial services. Other facilities include Airport transfers, Currency exchange, Laundry / Valet services, Baby sitting, Catering services, Safety deposit boxes, Rent-a-Car assistance, Tour assistance, Valet parking, Beauty salon, Barber shop, Gift shop.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: TBA Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services at 1800-241-1404 for rates and availability.
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 Golden Tulip Khasab
Type: Hotel
  Description: Perched on a rock face, this 4 star resort offers the most panoramic views of the famed Musandam Shoreline. The 60 rooms resort is elegantly furnished with its very own private terrace or balcony offering breathtaking panoramic views on the Gulf of Oman.
  Contact info: P.O.Box 434, PC 811
Khasab,   Oman
phone: +968 267 30777
web: www.goldentulipkhasab.com/default.aspx?Language=EN
  Room amenities: Hairdryers, Iron & Board, High Speed Wifi Internet, Satellite TV channels, No Smoking Rooms/Facilities, Turndown Service, Safe deposit box, Coffee Maker in Room, Refreshment centre, Air Conditioned, International Direct Dial
  Facility amenities: Golden Tulip Resort Khasab is a great choice, where you can enjoy: - Sea view rooms - Dibba restaurant - Darts Bar - Cappuccino cafe - Swimming pool - Children pool - Children play area - Table tennis - Gym - Conference and meeting facilities - WiFi Internet
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Golden Tulip Nizwa
Type: Hotel
  Description: Only an hours drive from Muscat International Airport and a short distance from Nizwa city, the Golden Tulip Nizwa Hotel is surrounded by rugged Hajar Mountain ranges and is ideally located for adventure tours through Oman's exciting nature. The spectacular mountains and villages around the hotel give a true flavour of the country.amid this Arabian splendor stands Golden Tulip Nizwa Hotel, an Oasis of peace and tranquillity set against the magnificent Hajar Mountains. Just a short drive from Nizwa, the ancient capital, with its pottery town of Bahla, ancient houses of Birkat Al Mauz, facinating Jabrin and Nizwa forts, the picturesque mountain villages of Al Hamra and Misfah. It is also perfectly placed for adventure safaris deep into Oman's interior. At the end of all the hectic exploration you are welcomed into the warmth and care of Golden Tulip Nizwa Hotel, indulging you with traditional hospitality discreetly blended with the hotels modern facilities.
  Contact info: P.O. Box : 1000
P.C. 611
Nizwa,   Oman
phone: +968 2543 1616
web: www.goldentulipnizwa.com/default.aspx?Language=EN
  Room amenities: The Standard rooms feature: Individually controlled air-conditioning, LCD TV, International direct dialing facility, Mini bar, Laundry service Hair dryer and Satellite TV, Rooms with garden, mountain and pool view wake up call service, Tea/ coffee maker in the room, Wi fi internet access on request, All other modern amenities.
  Facility amenities: Golden Tulip Nizwa Hotel has 120 rooms and are well furnished and equipped in order to meet all needs, with individually controlled air conditioning, direct dialing facility, high speed wireless internet, hair dryer, mini bar, in-room tea/coffee maker and satellite television with more than 24 International channels. We have a business centre with secretarial service, internet café, 24 hour room service and 2 live entertainment bars. Other Food & Beverage outlets include the newly renovated Sports Bar.Golden Tulip Nizwa Hotel has an elegant restaurant serving authentic International cuisine. There is a lobby café serving round the clock, poolside café with bar-be-cue for special occasions. We also provide complimentary shuttle service to Nizwa downtown.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Oryx Safari Camp
Type: Tents
  Description: Oryx Camp is the only one of its kind at Wahiba Sands. Our guests will enjoy not only a spiritual, cultural-but luxury experience of staying in-style at the heart of Wahiba Sands. The setting among the Cineraria trees emphasizes the beauty of the virgin golden sand dunes surrounding the camp. In certain mornings you can even see how the fog disappears gradually as the sun rises.
  Contact info: P O Box 117
Bediyah, Ghabbi, NA  Oman
phone: +96892000592
  Smoking allowed: No

 Sur Plaza Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Contact info: Address: P. O. Box: 908
Sur,  Postal Code: 411 Oman
phone: +96825543777
web: www.omanhotels.com/surplaza/index.php
  Room amenities: 92 comfortably furnished and spacious standard rooms and three suites provide guests with: King sized bed or twin beds; En suite bathroom with bath, shower and hot/cold water; Centralized air conditioning; Satellite TV (with a choice of over 20 channels); IDD telephone with voice mail ( At present voice mail facility is not available); In-room safe; Voltage of 220V – 240V and 110V for shavers only; High-speed Internet access points (Only in designated areas.Lobby, Restaurant); Well stocked mini bar; 24-hour room service; In-room amenities; Hair dryer; Iron and ironing board (on request); Cot (on request); Floor type - Carpet.
  Facility amenities: 2 elevators; Multilingual staff - English, Arabic, Tagalog (Philippines), Hindi and more; Laundry service; Business centre providing secretarial services and postal assistance; Concierge service; 24-hour room service; Internet access in the lobby area; A non-smoking floor; Foreign exchange; International credit cards accepted (Amex, MasterCard, Visa, Diners); Doctor on call; Ticket confirmation assistance; Car rental assistance / booking of excursions / airport transfers booking (upon request at prevailing rates); Drivers’ quarters (at a nominal rate); Prayer room; Recreational Facilities
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Park Inn Muscat
Type: Hotel
  Description: Among hotels in Oman, the Park Inn Muscat stands out with its ideal location near the airport, along with its superb amenities including rooftop pool and modern, classic design. Situated on the main highway linking Muscat International Airport to Ruwi, the city's central business district, Park Inn Muscat hotel guests enjoy easy access to the Al Ghubra beach, businesses and attractions. This comfortable and stylish Muscat hotel offers first-class amenities that include the exceptional rooftop swimming pool, business center, parking and 24-hour front desk assistance.
  Contact info: P.O Box 1635 PC 133
Sultan Qaboos Street Al Khuwair
Muscat,   Oman
phone: + 968 2450 7888
web: www.parkinn.com/
  Room amenities: Standing out among Oman hotels in Muscat, the Park Inn features 175 rooms, decorated in bright hues and equipped with modern, convenient amenities. Guests may choose from Standard rooms, Business Friendly rooms and One Bedroom suites. All of these Muscat rooms and suites offer first-class amenities including Free high-speed, wireless Internet access, coffee and tea making facilities, and in-room safe. Enjoy free access to Fitness Center facilities. Book one of these Oman hotel's guest rooms or suites and discover what sets the Park Inn apart from other Muscat accommodation.
  Facility amenities: This Muscat hotel is nearby the city centre and lies 15 kilometres from the Muscat International Airport. Guests enjoy easy access to Shatti Al Qurum, the main commercial and diplomatic quarter. 175 guest rooms, along with seven suites offer in-room safe, hair dryer and coffee and tea making facilities. Savour a variety of light meals and drinks at the all-day buffet restaurant. Visit RBG Muscat The Sama Terrazza bar serves a fine selection of international refreshments. High-speed, wireless Internet access available throughout the hotel. Relax at the rooftop swimming pool. Utilise the fully equipped fitness center. Shopping enthusiasts revel at retail outlets located within this Muscat hotel. Stay in touch with the hotel's business center. Five versatile meeting rooms are available.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: TBA Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services at 1800-241-1404 for rates and availability.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
In the evening of Day 2 of the program after the transfer from the airport to the hotel. You will be staying at Arabian Courtyard that night.
  End of Program:
After lunch on Day 15 of the program. You will be staying at Park Inn Muscat the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Dubai
  Transportation to site: Taxis are readily available just outside arrivals.Taxis are on the left when you come out of terminal 1. Metered cabs from Dubai Transport Corporation, recognised by their cream colour, are efficient and have well-trained drivers. Public transport: Terminals 1 and 3 are served by the Dubai Metro. There are also buses just steps from the baggage claim. Look for lines 401 and 402 (Dhs 3), which go to the Al Sabkha and Al Ghubaiba bus terminals respectively.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Muscat
  Transportation from site: Park Inn hotel is 15 kilometres from the Muscat International Airport. Shuttles and taxis are available to the airport.
Elevation Note: On day 10, the group will go to Jebel Al Akhdar, which is 2000 mts ( 6 561 feet) above sea level.

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: International Flight from the US to the UAE
(Thursday, February 7)
   
 Evening: International flight to Dubai

Day 2: Arrival at Dubai International Airport and transfers to the hotel
(Friday, February 8)

Note: Please check the Airport Transfers section for the exact transfer times.



   
 Evening: Transfers from Dubai International Airport to the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Arabian Courtyard

Day 3: Explore the old city of Dubai
(Saturday, February 9)

Note: Please bring a head scarf or shawl to cover your head and arms if you wear a short sleeve shirt for ladies. Shorts above the knee for men and women inside the mosque are not permitted. Bring your sunglasses and/or a hat as there will be a good amount of walking today. Always keep a bottle of water with you.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: After a morning orientation, enjoy a walk through Bastakiya neighborhood and a visit to the Bastakiya Mosque and Textile Souq. Afterwards, board an abra boat and journey across Dubai Creek to Deira to explore the Gold Souk and Spice Souk. Later return to Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding for a cultural discovery Q&A session. You will be treated to Arabic tea, coffee and dates.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Visit Dubai Museum, which is the main museum in Dubai. It was built in 1787 and it is the oldest existing building in Dubai. The museum was opened by the ruler of Dubai in 1971, with the aim of presenting the traditional way of life in the Emirate of Dubai. It includes local antiquities as well as artefacts from African and Asian countries that traded with Dubai. It also includes several dioramas showing life in the emirate before the advent of oil in addition to artefacts from recent discoveries as old as 3000 B.C.
 Dinner: Onboard the dhow
 Evening: Ride the traditional Dhow (boat) along the Dubai Creek in moonlight. It offers an intriguingly different view of the beautiful city-Dubai and its splendid modern and old architecture. Along the ride you will see Dubai Creek Golf Club, Yacht Club & the spectacular Chamber of Commerce, parks, the famous modern skyscrapers of the city as well as Sheikh Saeed's birth place of Heritage village. This is the best way to see Dubai at night.
   
Accommodations: Arabian Courtyard
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Discover the modern Dubai
(Sunday, February 10)

Note: Carry some cash with you today because lunch is on your own. Always keep your valuables, including your passport in the safe in your room. Keep a copy of your passport with you at all times. Burj Khalifa is often crowded, and there is a good indoor walk to get to the elevator that takes you to the 124 floor. There are some stairs but they have railings for support.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: With your local expert, explore some of the most amazing modern architectural landmarks of Dubai. You will have time at the end of the tour to expore on your own.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own at a restaurant of your choice.
 Afternoon: Visit Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. It is named after UAE President Khalifa Bin Zayed and it broke many world records. This tower has the highest outdoor observation deck in the world. The group will have a chance to enjoy a unique view of Dubai from this deck (124th floor). In the evening, watch the awesome Dubai fountains. This is a record-setting choreographed fountain system set on the 30-acre manmade Burj Khalifa Lake at the centre of the Downtown Dubai. Illuminated by 6,600 lights and 25 colored projectors, it is 902 ft long and shoots water 490 ft into the air (equivalent to a 50-story building), accompanied by a range of classical to contemporary Arabic and world music.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant
   
Accommodations: Arabian Courtyard
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: Visit Abu Dhabi
(Monday, February 11)

Note: All visits are by bus with minimal walking. All sites are on the ground floor and easily accessible for people with limited mobility. The drive to Abu Dhabi is about 2 hours without traffic.



   
 Breakfast: At the hotel
 Morning: Learn about the UAE national bird; the falcon through a field trip to the worldwide-known Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital which opened its doors in 2007 to visitors to experience the fascinating world of falcons and falconry. This is a once in a lifetime experience that you will never forget. It will give you a deep insight into the world of the majestic bird, the history of falconry as well as the life of falcons in modern times.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: This afternoon you will have a guided visit to the capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi. Later on enjoy guided exploration of the magnificent Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi will give you a different perspective about the culture and architecture of the UAE. This mosque is the largest in the country. The mosque's design and construction unites the world, using artisans and materials from over 12 countries. The 60,570 sq ft carpet in the main prayer hall is considered to be the world's largest carpet. The Mosque is large enough to accommodate over 40,000 worshippers.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant
   
Accommodations: Arabian Courtyard
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Discover UAE coastal cities of Sharjah & Ras Al Khaimah on the way to Oman
(Tuesday, February 12)

Note: All visits are by bus. Today you are crossing the international border to Oman. Make sure to keep your passport in your purse or hand bag that you keep with you onboard the bus NOT in your suitcase. Have 25 USD cash on you for the visa fee. Use all your UAE currency before you cross the border because it is not accepted in Oman. The drive from Dubai to Sharjah is about 30 minutes, and from Sharjah to Ras Al Khaima about 1h30 minutes. From Ras Al Khaima to Khasab ( Oman) is about 1h 30 minutes.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Sharjah is considered the centre of Islamic civilization in the UAE. You will explore the one-of-a-kind Islamic civilization museum in Sharjah. The museum opened in 2008, and it covers Islamic culture, with more than 5,000 artefacts from many Muslim countries. Displayed objects include calligraphy, carvings, ceramics, coins, glass, manuscripts, metalwork, and scientific instruments. Afterwards, explore Souq al-Arsah in Sharjah, the oldest souq (market) in the country. Later, stop at the traditional coffeehouse for a mint tea and a plate of dates.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant
 Afternoon: Explore the Pearl Museum of Ras A1 Khaimah. There are many ancient myths about the precious pearl, but two local legends say she has two mothers. You will discover the centuries-old the history of the pearl and its implications for the United Arab Emirates. The pearling industry collapsed in the Gulf in the early 1930s with the Japanese invention of cultured pearls. Natural pearls occur in oysters without human intervention. Cultured pearls are created when the tissue of a donor oyster and a bead are artificially inserted into the shell. This practice rendered the dangerous occupation of pearl diving obsolete. You will be told all the myths about the pearl industry in UAE. Cross the Omani border on the way to Khassab where you will spend the night. You will have some time to relax before dinner.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel
   
Accommodations: Golden Tulip Khasab
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Ride the Omani Dhow and sail through the spectacular fjords of Musandam
(Wednesday, February 13)

Note: Most visits are by bus with some walking. Make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Morning transfer the group to Khasab harbour and board the traditional Omani dhow and start cruising into the spectacular fjords of Musandam, passing small fishing villages, famous telegraphic island. There is the possibility of swimming and snorkeling in clear waters if you are interested. It is also possible to see Humpback dolphins. This type of dolphins is listed by the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) as endangered.
 Lunch: Lunch on board Dhow
 Afternoon: Depart for city exploration of Khasab, the capital city of Musandam with a field trip to the Khasab Fort, the neighbouring village Qadah and the pre-historic cave paintings in Wadi Tawi.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel
   
Accommodations: Golden Tulip Khasab
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Fly to Muscat and attend an expert-led lecture about Oman
(Thursday, February 14)

Note: The flight from Khasab to Muscat is about 1 hour.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: After breakfast check out from the hotel and transfer to Khasab Airport to board your flight to Muscat.
 Lunch: Light lunch during flight
 Afternoon: This afternoon you will attend an expert-led lecture by a local expert about the culture and history of Oman. This is an opportunity for you to ask questions and share your thoughts about your findings and explorations. After the lecture, take the rest of the afternoon to relax and reflect on your learning.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel
   
Accommodations: Golden Tulip Nizwa
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Visit the goat market and a traditional Omani village
(Friday, February 15)

Note: Wear comfortable walking shoes. If you use a cane or walking stick you will need it today. There is a good amount of walking on uneven terrains with some hills.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel
 Morning: This morning you will first explore Nizwa Souq ( traditional weekly market). The paved area in front of the souq is a bustle with people and activity. Enjoy the open-air goat market under the palm trees with farmers selling and buying goats and sheep. New Nizwa souq complex has been sensitively designed using Omani fort architecture and elegant Islamic arches. The air-conditioned halls of this souq are full of fresh fruit and vegetables, herbs and spices, huge stacks of dates and freshly caught fish. This is still the best place to see traditional Omani Artefacts and jewlery, especially silver “Khanjars” (hand-carved Omani daggers) and Bedouin jewellery, where silver is still sold by weight. After the Souq, you will go on a guided field trip to the 17th century round tower fort nearby, which is Oman’s most impressive tower. Built on a solid base of rock, the huge tower was designed to withstand the vibrations of 24 cannons. From the top, a superb panoramic view gives visitors a bird’s eye view all around Nizwa and the surrounding plains – a sure delight for all avid photographers. From here you will go to Wadi Ghul, the land of the traditional weavers of Oman and Wadi Nakher which is considered to be Oman’s deepest canyon. We continue from here to discover traditional Omani villages with stone houses. The villages are surounded by date, lemon and banana groves.
 Lunch: Enjoy a picnic lunch with the group.
 Afternoon: After lunch you will depart for Al Hamra village date plantations. Walk through the narrow streets where little has changed over the last hundred years. Visit Bait Al Safah Museum. Bait Al Safa opens with folklore and traditional Omani dances followed by an exhibition of Omani traditional handicrafts reflecting the cultural variation of the Sultanate through out its rich history. Discover the ancient Omani daily life including Qahwa (coffee) making, the making of Omani traditional bread, percolating of rose water, grain grinding, extraction of Alshoa medical, making of perfumes and frankincense, hand tailoring the making of Omani Kumma (Man head cover), palm lives industries, the making of hand-made fans, butter extraction and the making of dates and lemon drinks. Expereince Al Barazah, a name that refers to the Omani gathering where people sit to exchange views and news. Al Barazah sitting is conducted in a traditional environment where Arabian coffee (Qahwa), Omani Halwa (sweets) , Omani bread , dates Malook and other Omani traditional dishes are served and frankincense is released.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel
   
Accommodations: Golden Tulip Nizwa
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Walk through date plantations and traditional villages
(Saturday, February 16)

Note: Wear comfortable walking shoes. If you use a cane or walking stick you will need it today. There is a good amount of walking on uneven terrains with some hills.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: This morning we explore a traditional Omani village. Enjoy a walk through the lush green date plantations. From here proceed to Wadi Al Madeen through a winding road, which will take you to Jebel Al Akhdar, the green jewel of the Al Hajjar mountain ranges and a unique spot in the Arabian Peninsula. Enjoy the cool climate up in the mountains. Al Jebel Al Akhdar is famed for its fruit orchards typically laid out terrace style along the slopes of mountains, which are endowed with natural springs. Explore local villages and lifestyles.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant
 Afternoon: After lunch, proceed on to the Jabreen castle (45 km from Nizwa), the finest of Oman’s castles built during the late 17th century, which became a seat for Omani education and learning. The castle displays beautiful ceiling paintings and intricate wood carvings. On the way to Nizwa stop in Bahla and Tanuf.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel
   
Accommodations: Golden Tulip Nizwa
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Navigate through the captivating Wahiba Dunes and explore the beauty of the desert
(Sunday, February 17)

Note: There is a good amount of driving today as you cross Wahiba dunes towards Oryx Camp where you will spend the night.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Check out from the hotel and depart to Wahiba Sands via Sinaw & Al Mudaybi where you will see old mud houses (some still occupied) with a deserted souq in the centre. Continue to Sinaw, passing numerous small enclosures made of palm fronds that nowadays house goats and sheep. Behind the wall is the Sinaw souq. Later you will arrive at Sharqiya Sands Resort.
 Lunch: Buffet lunch will be served.
 Afternoon: You continue from here and you come face to face with the enormous desert. The Wahiba Sand is a long, narrow strip of high dunes and stretched woodland about 110 miles from north to south and about 50 miles from east to west along the unspoiled coastline of eastern Oman. In the north of Wahiba Sands are the most incredible sand dunes, some reaching a colossal 300 feet high and separated by enormous depressions. These beautiful dunes stretch as far as the eye can see, and it is a spectacular sight especially in the evening and the morning. If you have a sense of adventure, drive over the dunes to experience the roller coaster like feeling with our experienced drivers. After dune bashing visit a Bedouin house in this wilderness. The Wahiba Sands is also home to the Bedouins who are used to this harsh climate. There are over 3000 Bedouins of varying tribal origins who live here amongst the woodland on the fringes of the sands. After visiting a Bedouin house we check in at Oryx camp.
 Dinner: Dinner at the camp.
   
Accommodations: Oryx Safari Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Enjoy the drive and landscapes along Wadi Bani Khalid and Eastern Hajar Mountains
(Monday, February 18)

Note: Wear comfortable walking shoes. If you use a cane or walking stick you will need it today. There is some walking on uneven terrains with some hills.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Check out from the Camp and depart to Wadi Bani Khalid. This is considered one of the most beautiful wadi’s (valley) in Oman. The drive to Wadi Bani Khalid is through the Eastern Hajar Mountains, which offers a panoramic view of the landscape below. We pass many pretty villages embedded in the mountains. Here the road winds down to the wadi along side a large, shallow pool fringed with vegetation and ends at a village. Continue on a short trek to the deep blue pools of the wadi. If you wish you can swim in these pure natural pools.
 Lunch: Picnic lunch.
 Afternoon: After this exciting exploration of Wadi Bani Khalid, proceed to Sur. Arrive Sur and check in at Sur Plaza hotel. Relax at the hotel before dinner.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel
 Evening: After dinner assemble at the hotel lobby and depart to Ras Al Jinz Scientific Centre to watch Turtles nestling on the sands.
   
Accommodations: Sur Plaza Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Visit a traditional Dhow factory and Sur market
(Tuesday, February 19)
   
 Breakfast: Brekfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Check out from the hotel and depart to Muscat. You will first visit Sur Town. Sur is one of the most famous cities in the Gulf of Oman in building wooden ships. Many Dhows ( Omani traditional boats) were built in this city and went to China, India, Zanzibar, Iraq and many countries. This will be a unique opportunity for you to witness the making of traditional Dhow by the experienced craftsman.
 Lunch: Picnic lunch will be served on the way to Muscat.
 Afternoon: After Dhow factory, discover Sur Market and then Sinseela Fort. On the way to Muscat we stop by the ruins of Bibi Mariam’s Tomb which can be seen at the village of Qalhat. We will stop at Fins beach and then Bimah Sinkhole, a spectacular lime stone crater with blue green water at the bottom. From here go to Quriyat, which occupies a narrow strip of coastline along the Arabian Gulf. Its name comes from qariyat meaning 'village.' The first settlers arrived in Quriyat before the emergence of Islam in Oman. Many of its inhabitants retain traditional customs, and pursue ancient crafts such as blacksmithing, saddle work, boat building, camel rearing and repairing firearms. It is well known for its stocks of kingfish and tuna. A large number of its inhabitants still earn their livelihood from fishing. There are three strongholds in the area: Quriyat Fort built around 200 years ago; Al Sahel fort on the coast; and Dagh Fort built during the Portuguese occupation.
 Dinner: Dinner at leisure
   
Accommodations: Park Inn Muscat
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 14: Enjoy a visit to the grand moque and Bait Al Zubair Museum
(Wednesday, February 20)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: They are hard working women in the guise of housewives, mothers and daughters from the quaint fishing village of Sidab.They have learned the craft of sewing and the art of photography. They have shared their love for intricate henna applications and Omani home cooking. They have mastered the nuances of small business and have moved on to start their own enterprises. They have been recognized and honored by corporate management, community leaders and heads of state.The Ladies of Sidab was founded in 2004 by Badriya Al Siyabi, a native of Sidab and Sue Ross from Australia as the Sidab Women's Sewing Group. The organization provides small business training and networking opportunities for village women who otherwise would not have an outlet for their various talents and skills. The Ladies of Sidab have dedicated almost a decade to women's education and empowerment by providing training and development programs in English, IT, communication and interpersonal skills, customer service, marketing and handicrafts for more than 30 members. The leading women of the Ladies of Sidab quickly recognized the humble but positive impact women had on their local economy especially by having their products featured at the British Museum and at several prestigious hotels and resorts in Oman.This has led to the establishment of a similar incubator project in the nearby village of Haramel.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant
 Afternoon: Then continue in a journey that will give you an insight into Muscat’s charming culture and family life. The people of Oman are surprisingly cosmopolitan: a mixture of Arab clans swept together by the cross currents of migration, ancient and modern, and spiced with descendants of quite different people from across the seas. Today, they are all Omanis, and very hospitable and friendly towards visitors. Join us on a wonderful journey to meet the “locals” of Muscat. In the late afternoon, you will be welcomed by an Omani family to their home.. As it is in the local tradition, men will be hosted in the Majlis by the father of the house. Here you will get to know more about the family, Omani traditions and other anecdotes about the local community. The ladies will be welcomed by the mother of the house and guided to the kitchen, where they will learn hands-on about the traditional Omani culinary delights, enjoy a cooking lesson, as well as have a wonderful chat about the family and the communities, culture and traditions. The evening will be completed by the unique opportunity of sharing a traditional meal and wonderful conversations with your new friends.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at the hotel
   
Accommodations: Park Inn Muscat
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Enjoy a guided exploration of Muscat, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and take the afternoon off to relax before departure.
(Thursday, February 21)
   
 Breakfast: At the hotel
 Morning: Assemble at hotel lobby and depart for an exploartion of Muscat. Muscat offers a unique opportunity to witness a modern commercial centre existing in harmony with its traditional culture. We will start our excursion with Grand Mosque the most exquisite Mosque in Oman. The developed part of the site, including the fully consolidated areas and landscaping, covers 416,000 square metres. The Mosque complex (covering 40,000 square metres) is constructed on a raised podium in keeping with the tradition of Omani mosques that were built elevated from street level. It can accommodate up to 20,000 worshippers and consists of a main prayer hall, ladies prayer hall, covered passageways, a meeting hall, and library which will eventually contain up to 20,000 books. After Grand Mosque drive to Bait Al Zubair Museum to experience the splendid Omani Heritage. The collection at the museum includes traditional Omani weapons jewellery, costumes, traditional weapons...etc. After the museum, explore Al Alam Palace, the official residence of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said the ruler of Oman. The palace is an architectural marvel for both its design and its location between the twin Portuguese forts Mirani and Jalali. We depart to Muttrah Souq (traditional market)- one of the most popular souqs in the Middle East. Take a walk in its labyrinthine alleyways beckoning with a myriad of merchandise, from imported fabrics to exotic Oriental spices, perfumes and richly handcrafted artifacts. Here, scents of exotic Arabian perfumes and spices float through the air. Other shops specialize in famous Omani khanjars (daggers), antiques, traditional silver jeweler and handicrafts in copper, camel bone, wood, leather and hand-made Omani costumes
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant
 Afternoon: The program officially ends after lunch. You will have a free afternoon to relax, pack and reflect on your adventures before your international flight that evening.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


A History of the Arab Peoples


Author: Albert Hourani


Description: Called a landmark, masterpiece and essential to understanding the Middle East, Hourani's acclaimed chronicle of the political, spiritual, religious and cultural traditions of the Arab peoples is brought up to date with an afterword by noted Islamic scholar Malise Ruthven.



A Peace to End All Peace


Author: David Fromkin


Description: Indispensable to understanding current tensions, alliances and the colonial legacy of the region, Fromkin's vivid tale of the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the making of the modern Middle East is out in a 20th anniversary edition.



Arabian Sands


Author: Wilfred Thesiger


Description: The last of the great British traveler-explorers, Thesiger (1910-2003) journeyed among the nomadic camel-breeding peoples of Southern Arabia in the late 1940s, falling in love with the desert and ways of life of the Bedouin. This eloquent book is his tribute to them.



Behind the Veil in Arabia, Women in Oman


Author: Unni Wikan


Description: An insightful and remarkable look at the role of women in Oman based on Wikan's fieldwork as well as her personal experiences and impressions of the place.



Dubai, UAE, Qatar & Bahrain Dubai and United Arab Emirates Map


Author: World Mapping Project


Description: A double-sided map of these Arabian Gulf countries at a detailed scale of 1:470,000.



Islam, A Short History


Author: Karen Armstrong


Description: Armstrong brings authority and experience to this vivid, clear-headed survey of the history and impact of Islam from the birth of Muhammad to present-day challenges. The best short introduction to the subject.



Lonely Planet Dubai


Author: Terry Carter, Lara Dunston


Description: A practical guide to Dubai featuring maps and detailed information on excursions, accommodations and sightseeing. With a few color photographs and excellent travel information.



Nine Parts of Desire, The Hidden World of Islamic Women


Author: Geraldine Brooks


Description: A highly readable overview of the role of women in Islamic society, drawn from the author's many interviews with women throughout the Arab World.



Oman, United Arab Emirates Map


Author: Gizi Map


Description: Oman and the UAE at a scale of 1:1,250,000.



The Road to Ubar, Finding the Atlantis of the Sands


Author: Nicholas Clapp


Description: A fascinating day-by-day account of Clapp's search in the 1980s for the ruins of Ubar, an ancient Arabian trading center on the frankincense route in Oman's Empty Quarter.





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