19635
Oman/United Arab Emirates
Dubai and Oman: Modern Riches, Ancient Treasures
Learn about traditional crafts, local cuisine, ancient architecture and sacred landmarks as you discover the exotic wonders of the Arabian Peninsula.
Rating (5)
Program No. 19635RJ
Length
15 days
Starts at
4,999
Flights start at
925
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15 days
14 nights
34 meals
13 B 10 L 11 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrival at Muscat International
Muscat
Park Inn by Radisson Muscat

Evening: Transfers from Muscat International Airport to the hotel.

DAY
3
Introduction to Oman Culture & History
Muscat
B,L,D
Park Inn by Radisson Muscat

Activity note: Women should bring a head scarf or shawl to cover the head and arms if a short sleeve shirt is worn. Shorts above the knee for men and women inside the mosque are prohibited. Bring your sunglasses and/or a hat as there will be a good amount of walking today. In addition, always keep a bottle of water with you to ensure hydration.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will gather in our private meeting room where the Group Leader will greet you with a warm welcome and introduce everyone. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Afterward, we will depart by coach to visit the Grand Mosque, the most exquisite mosque in Oman. The developed part of the site, including the fully consolidated areas and landscaping, covers 4,477 square feet. The Mosque complex (covering 430 square feet) 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 worshipers and consists of a main prayer hall, ladies prayer hall, covered passageways, a meeting hall, and a library which will eventually contain up to 20,000 books.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We will visit 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 jewelery and handicrafts in copper, camel bone, wood, leather, and hand-made Omani costumes. Afterward, we will return by coach to the hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Exploring Muscat
Muscat
B,L,D
Park Inn by Radisson Muscat

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will depart by coach to visit the Royal Opera House in Muscat to learn how classical music and the architecture of building has influenced the local culture. The organization serves as a laboratory for creativity as well as intellectual exchanges and its high-tech venue pays tribute to and presents diverse artistic and cultural expressions from the Sultanate, the region, and the world. The Opera House features world class and local performances throughout the year. Afterward, enjoy a guided visited of the Bait al Zubair Museum to experience the splendid Omani heritage. The collection at the museum includes traditional Omani jewelry, costumes, traditional weapons, and more. You will have time to explore the museum on your own before enjoying a panoramic tour of Muscat.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Enjoy a lecture providing an overview of Omani history with a focus on modern and contemporary history, politics, economy, and international relations. The lecture will also discuss a select topic from Oman's society and culture that are typically of interest to tourists and visitors such as architecture, cuisine, and ethnic make-up. Afterward, enjoy some free time.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Transfer to Ras Al Jinz
Ras Al Jinz
B,L,D
Ras al-Jinz Turtle Reserve

Activity note: Today's activities include coach travel as well as walking and standing at the Bimmah Sinkhole and the Ras al-Jinz Scientific Centre. Please wear comfy footwear!

Breakfast: At the hotel

Morning: We will check out of the hotel in Muscat and take a scenic drive to Sur. We will stop at Bimmah Sinkhole, a spectacular limestone crater with blue green water at the bottom. Located in the Hawiyat Najm Park, the sinkhole was created by a natural process of erosion. There is also the possibility to climb down the 100 steps to take a quick swim. Following the visit, we will continue on to Sur, historically known as a regional hub for building wooden ships. Upon arrival, enjoy a panoramic tour of the city.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We will visit the Dhow factory of Sur, where Omani traditional boats were built and traveled to China, India, Zanzibar, Iraq and many other countries. This will be a unique opportunity for you to witness the making of traditional Dhow by the experienced craftsman.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: We will assemble at the hotel lobby and depart to Ras al-Jinz Scientific Centre to watch turtles nestling on the sands.

DAY
6
Explore Wahiba Sands
Wahiba
B,L,D
Arabian Oryx Camp

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel

Morning: We will visit Wadi Bani Khalid, considered to be 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 will pass many pretty villages embedded in the mountains, where the road winds down to the wadi alongside a large, shallow pool fringed with vegetation and ends at a village. We will 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: En route to the camp

Afternoon: We will continue our journey to the camp with arrival in the late afternoon. Along the way, you will come face to face with the enormous desert. The Wahiba Sands is a long and 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 are feeling adventurous, drive over the dunes with our experienced drivers. After dune bashing, we will 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 3,000 Bedouins of varying tribal origins who live here amongst the woodland on the fringes of the sands.

Dinner: At the camp.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Transfer to Nizwa
Nizwa
B,L,D
Golden Tulip Nizwa

Activity note: Today's activities include travel by 4x4 vehicle and by coach.

Breakfast: At the camp.

Morning: We will check out of the camp and transfer by 4x4 vehicles to Nizwa. On the way to Nizwa, you will come face to face with the enormous desert. We will stop in Sinaw, passing numerous small enclosures on the way made of palm fronds that nowadays house goats and sheep. Behind the wall is the Sinaw Souq where you will find local jewelry, food, artifacts, and bedouin makeup for sale.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Hear the story of the high peaks of Jabal Akhdhar in the Western Hajjar Mountains of Northern Oman which were once at the bottom of a huge tropical sea. These rocks are limestones, rich in calcium carbonate, formed during the Permian and Triassic periods between 290 and 240 million years ago. Over time, billions of dead creatures, from tiny microscopic plankton to larger shells and corals, fell to the sea floor and were gradually buried and became fossils. This fine-grained limestone can be up to 9,842 feet thick. About 90 million years ago, it was pushed up 8,202 feet above sea level, where masses of fossils can now be clearly seen. We will arrive in Nizwa in the late afternoon and check in at the hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Explore Nizwa
Nizwa
B,L,D
Golden Tulip Nizwa

Activity note: Today's activities include walking and standing in Nizwa as well as at the Al Hamra plantations and sitting during Al Barazah.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Enjoy a panormic tour of Nizwa and a guided field trip to the 17th century round tower fort near Nizwa, 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, visitors will enjoy a superb bird’s eye view of Nizwa and the surrounding plains – a sure delight for all avid photographers. Afterward, we will visit Jabreen Castle, one of the most beautiful castles in Oman. It is different from other Omani forts due to it not being built during war time in addition to it not being a fortification that was expanded by different Imams overs centuries. It is essentially a palace constructed in times of peace by a ruler who was passionate about science and art, which consequently made it the most beautiful historic castle found in Oman. Later on, enjoy a panoramic tour of Bahla, a beautiful town, famous for its ancient fort and pottery.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We will depart for Al Hamra date plantations. Walk through the narrow streets where little has changed over the last hundred years. 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. Experience 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. A host will describe the way of living while you enjoy coffee and the traditional dishes.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure

DAY
9
Flight to Khasab
Khasab
B,D
Hotel Atana Khasab

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will check out of the hotel and transfer by coach to Muscat Airport to board the flight to Khasab.

Lunch: On your own at the airport.

Afternoon: Upon arrival in Khasab, check in at the hotel and enjoy some leisure time to enjoy the hotel facilities.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Explore Khasab
Khasab
B,L,D
Hotel Atana Khasab

Activity note: Today's activities include travel by coach, walking and standing at the Khasab Castle and at Qadah, and travel on the dhow.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will depart by coach for a city exploration of Khasab, the capital city of Musandam. The field trip will include a visit to the Khasab Castle and the neighbouring village Qadah. The Khasab Castle was originally built by the Portuguese in the seventeeth century and certain parts of the old castle can be seen through the circular tower located in the center of the castle. The present castle built by the Omanis has fourth strongholds which we will see during our visit. At the village of Qadah, we will view the petroglyphs, which are prehistoric rock carvings depicting camels, ships, and warriors. Afterward, we will transfer to Khasab harbour to board the traditional Omani dhow and start cruising into the spectacular fjords of Musandam, passing small fishing villages, and the famous telegraphic island.

Lunch: Onboard the Dhow.

Afternoon: Enjoy some free time. There is the possibility of swimming and snorkeling in the clear waters if you are interested. It is also possible to see Humpback dolphins. This type of dolphin is listed by the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) as endangered. We will return to the hotel by coach in the early evening.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Transfer to UAE, Discover Cities of Sharjah & Ras Al Khaimah
Dubai
B,L,D
Arabian Courtyard

Activity note: Today's activities include travel by coach to all visits, walking and standing in the museums, and crossing the international border to the UAE. Please ensure that your passport is kept in your purse or hand bag that you will bring with you onboard the bus and NOT in your suitcase. The drive from Khasab to Ras al Khaimah is about one hour and 30 minutes. The drive from Ras al Khaimah to Sharjah is about one hour and 30 minutes. The drive from Sharjah to Dubai is about 30 minutes.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Enjoy a guided visit to the National Museum of Ras al-Khaimah with some time to explore on your own. It is located behind the Police Headquarters in a fort that was the residence of the ruling family until the early 1960s. The National Museum houses a collection of archeological and ethnological artifacts. The Qawasim room on the first floor contains documents, manuscripts, and treaties between the rulers of Ras al Khaimah and the world, as well as some traditional weapons belonging to the ruling family.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We will transfer by coach to Sharjah, considered to be the center of Islamic civilization in the UAE. You will explore the one-of-a-kind Islamic civilization museum in Sharjah with your guide with some time to discover on your own. The museum opened in 2008 and covers Islamic culture, with more than 5,000 artifacts 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.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
Exploring Modern Dubai
Dubai
B,D
Arabian Courtyard

Activity note: Today's activities include travel by coach and monorail, as well as walking around free form pools to reach the fountains. Please ensure that you keep your valuables, including your passport in the safe located in your room. Keep a copy of your passport with you at all times. Burj Khalifa is often crowded and requires walking a couple hundred yards to reach the elevator that takes you to the 124th floor.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: With an international architect, explore some of the most amazing modern architectural landmarks of Dubai. At the end of the tour, the coach will bring you back to the hotel. Later on, we will take the coach to the monorail to visit the Palm Islands, which are two man-made islands. Enjoy the spectacular view from the monorail while the architect explains the architecture.

Lunch: On your own to explore local cuisine.

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

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
13
Visit Abu Dhabi
Dubai
B,L,D
Arabian Courtyard

Activity note: Today's activities include visits by coach 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 two hours without traffic. Please note that in the mosque, women must wear headscarves and shorts and t-shirts are prohibited for both men and women.

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: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Enjoy a guided exploration of the magnificent Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi and gain a different perspective of the culture and architecture of the UAE. This mosque is the largest in the country and its design and construction unites the world, using artisans and materials from over 12 countries. The 60,570 square feet 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. Afterward, we will have a guided visit by coach of the capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi as well as Saadiyat Island. Enjoy the picturesque architecture.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
14
Introduction to UAE Culture and History & Explore Old Dubai
Dubai
B,L
Arabian Courtyard

Activity note: Please note that women must bring a head scarf or shawl to cover the head and arms if a short sleeve shirt is worn. Shorts above the knee for men and women inside the mosque are not permitted. Please wear comfy shoes and bring your sunglasses and/or a hat as there will be approximately two miles of walking. In addition, always keep a bottle of water with you to ensure hydration.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will begin with a walk through the Al Fahidi Historic district. Afterward, we will head to Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) to have a cultural discovery and Q&A session on the UAE culture, Islam, and Dubai traditions. Dubai has a number of souqs scattered all over the city. Dubai souqs are bright, colorful, noisy, and fascinating like any other market place. Dubai's Gold Souq is where narrow streets are lined with shop windows glinting with ornaments. The Dubai spice souq is located just next to the gold souq. The colorful array of spices and their heady aroma is tantalizing.

Lunch: At the SMCCU.

Afternoon: Enjoy a guided visit of the Dubai Museum with some time to explore on your own. The museum was built in 1787 and 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 artifacts 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. Afterwards, return to the hotel on foot and take some time to pack and rest before your departure.

Dinner: On your own to explore local cuisine.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
15
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Transfer to the airport and departures early morning

Breakfast: Breakfast on flight.

Morning: Transfer to the Dubai airport very early in the morning for your flight back home. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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