Sultanate of Oman
October 27 to November 08, 2018
Set on the Arabian Peninsula, Oman is a blend of the new and the old as evidenced in its architecture, its attitudes and customs. It is a land of majestic forts, imposing castles, historical tombs and palace ruins. As you travel through the country you will see Omanis in colorful dress, rustic villages, stark majestic mountain ranges, a vast expanse of desert and serene sandy beaches. Shopping for native crafts in vibrant markets offers the perfect opportunity to interact with the locals. Oman is also steeped in myths and legends as it is believed to be the home of Sinbad the Sailor and the site of the ruins of the palace reputed to be that of the Queen of Sheba.
Your tour does not include
- Airfare from hometown & from other cities aside from NYC.
- Fuel surcharges, border departure taxes, airport taxes and security charges (approximately $480.00).
- Oman entry visa should be obtained online www.evisa.rop.gov.om / www.rop.gov.om
- Airport transfers if not arriving/departing on scheduled group flights.
- Dayrooms or extra hotel overnights if necessary.
- Any meals other than specified above.
- Trip surcharge to operate below required minimum participants.
- Expenses of a personal nature such as: Meals not included; beverages; telephone/internet service; camera fees; laundry bills, etc.
- Travel protection Insurance.
- Gratuities to your guide, drivers, porters, restaurant and hotel staff.
Your tour includes
- Round trip airfare NYC/Muscat.
- Airport/ hotel arrival and departure transfers.
- Five star and superior four-star accommodations or best available in smaller towns and one night comfortable camping.
- All meals as per itinerary.
- Travel by modern, air-conditioned motor coach and in 4WD vehicles with English-speaking driver.
- English speaking local guide cum driver will be provided for whole tour.
- Muscat/Salalah/Muscat economy class tickets fare.
- All activities described in the tour and entrance fees to all sites mentioned.
II Active – Some hikes, slightly more demanding walks at or to sites, few elevations, comfortable but busy schedule and some long rides.
**** Luxury: Regular style- usually large- hotels, typical western standard with ample venues, and full amenities. (4 or 5 stars)
Optional stop overs and extensions can be arranged for Qatar, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Kuwait.
View Tour Itinerary
Saturday, Oct 27
Depart the US
Depart the US to Oman arriving the next day.
Sunday, Oct 28
Arrive in Muscat
Arrive in Muscat, meet and transfer to Tulip Inn Hotel or similar for check in and overnight.
Monday, Oct 29
Depart for a half-day city tour of Muscat with a visit to the Grand Mosque, the most exquisite Mosque in Oman. The Mosque complex is constructed on a raised podium in keeping with the tradition of Omani mosques that were built elevated from street level. It consists of a main prayer hall, ladies prayer hall, covered passageways, a meeting hall, and a library. Drive towards Muttrah Souq, 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. After that, drive to Bait Al Zubair Museum which consists of a concise collection reflecting the splendid Omani Heritage. We drive to the magnificent Al Alam Palace, the official residence of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said the ruler of Oman, an architectural marvel for both its design and its location between the twin Portuguese forts Mirani and Jalali (A brief photograph stop from outside only). After Muscat city tour proceed to local restaurant for Lunch. After Lunch at leisure, return to your hotel for overnight. (B,L,D)
Tuesday, Oct 30
Breakfast at the hotel. Check out and proceed to Nizwa. The city of Nizwa is the regional centre of A'Dakhiliyah Governorate. It lies around 164 kilometres from the capital Muscat. Nizwa lies at the foot of Al Jabal Al Akhdar (Green Mountain) to the south, amongst the mountains that form its walls. This city has made a number of scholars and holy and free men claim Nizwa their hometown, giving it the name “the courtyard of Islam”. Nizwa city is famous for its history, culture, origins and heritage that abound in its customs, traditions, crafts, and the traditional industries and handicrafts our forefathers have known and excelled in as a means of livelihood. In his famous book "Masterpiece Spectacles in Foreign Lands and the Wonders of Travel" Ibn Battuta describes his trip to Nizwa and what he saw there. He says: “Then we headed to Oman country and walked for six days in the desert. We reached the country of Oman on the seventh day. It is a fertile land with rivers, trees, orchards, palm plantations, and all kinds of fruit. We reached the city of Nizwa, considered to be the main city in this country. Here, people usually eat in the mosques, where each one brings whatever food he has to eat in the mosque courtyard. Everybody shares the food and these people are helpful and courageous.” First we will visit the Nizwa souk. This souq lies in the vicinity of the walls of the famous Nizwa Fort. Its building embraces both traditional and modern architectural lines. Through its many alleys and divisions, Nizwa Souq has remained for hundreds of years home to a number of local industries, such as daggers, copper, spinning, livestock sale, fish, vegetables and handicrafts. We will continue to Nizwa fort. This Fort with its enormous round tower built in the 17th century by Imam Sultan Bin Saif Al Ya’ aruba to defend the route to the interior. The fort dominates the entire area, with the town having grown around the edifice. Access to the top is only by means of a narrow twisting staircase barred by heavy wooden doors, studded with metal. From the top of the tower one can get a bird’s eye view of the Nizwa city. Overnight at Nizwa hotel. (B,L,D)
Wednesday, Oct 31
Nizwa to Wahiba Sands
If today falls on Friday, after an early breakfast depart to the Friday market, the weekly once cattle market. Every Friday, there is cattle market at the souq wherein cattle sellers auction their cattles to locals. They move with cattles in the souq and do the bidding for their cattles. This a old market for cattles and atmosphere is electrifying especially before Eid. We carry onto to Mudhaybi. Visit old village Munziff in Ibra and have local lunch. Then we leave for wahiba Sands, along narrow strip of high dunes and sketchy woodland 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. The Wahiba Sands is also home to the traditional Bedouins. We will visit one of the Bedouin houses. There are over 3000 Bedu of varying tribal origins who live here amongst the woodland on the fringes of the sands. Check in at Desert night Camp or similar and overnight. (B,L,D)
Thursday, Nov 01
Wahiba Sands-Wadi Bani khaid-Muscat
Breakfast at the desert camp . At round 0900hrs check out and proceed to visit Wadi Bani Khalid. You will drive through the tarmac road leading to wilayat Bani Khalid , then weaves up across the eastern AlHajar Mountains to Bida village deep in the mountains. There you can enjoy the spectacular views of the fertile valley with its spreading trees and abundant water that tumbles down as waterfalls in some areas to form natural pools of water .Here the gushing waters creates a loud rushing sound and collects in pools, only to dissipate and gather - once again – in small lakes which the villagers have used to fill three irrigation canals. You will have a lesiure time at the Wadi. Wadi Bani Khalid stands out like an oa sis in the desert with clear green natural spring water pools. You can walk inside the wadi as it is full of greenry. If you are interested, you can also have a small swim in natural oasis. We will proceed to Sur. This city is called the Dhow city of Oman, where you can see many Dhow building years, most fo them are closed now . We will visit One Dhow building yard subject to the permission. We continue drive to Wadi Tiwi. Walk inside this village, which has many farms mainly for banana and Pappaya. Your guide will explain the complete cultivation process. Continue your driving to Bima Sinkhhole. On arriving at Sink hole, a spectacular limestone crater with blue green water at the bottom and this stop will also be a rest stop. We will continue your drive to Muscat. Arrival and check in to Muscat hotel. (B,L)
Friday, Nov 02
Muscat - Musandam
Meet your transfer driver at the hotel lobby and transfer to Muscat airport to connect your onward flight to Khasab /Musandam. On arrival at Khasab airport meet by our representative and transfer proceed for city tour of Khasab. Visit this picturesque stronghold built in the 17th century by the Portuguese seeking dominion over the maritime trade in the Strait of Hormuz. The fort was erected to prevent attacks from the sea. Teak wood from India was used for its construction and the roof was fashioned from a mix of palm leaves and clay. Within its low, crenellated walls, the fort contains a large central tower which is thought to pre-date the fort itself. The structure you see today is the result of extensive restoration work carried out in the late 20th century. The fort’s location offers excellent views and photo opportunities. Stroll around the market for some time. Check in to the hotel. After noon , proceed for Jabel harim Tour. Board the 04WDs and leave for the Mountain safari to Jabal Harim. Driving is partially on winding Mountain roads. Guests on this tour will enjoy some of Oman’s stunning sceneries. During this tour you will see the terraced mountain villages, lush acacia forests and wadis. Return to the hotel, overnight at Atana Khasab. (B,L,D)
Saturday, Nov 03
Musandam- Full day Dhow cruise
Breakfast & boarad the coach , leave for dhow cruise on sharing basis. Board your traditional Omani dhow at the pier side, the cruise will take you toward Mussandam’s longest and spectacular Fjord, which is often referred as “Norway of the Arabia” calm, turquoise waters contrast with the creamy white limestone cliffs. Enjoy a lunch during the cruise. The dhow will anchor at the vicinity off Telegraph Island allowing you to take a swim or sit and relax. Tea, coffee and water will be provided on board. Return to the hotel and relax for rest of the day . over night at hotel Atana, Khasab (B,L,D)
Sunday, Nov 04
Breakfast at the hotel. Check out and proceed to Khasab airport to connect your onward flight to Muscat. On arrival at Muscat airport and comestic transit to Salalah. On Arrival at Salalah International airport, meet & transfer to Crowne Plaza Resort or similar for check in and overnight. (B)
Monday, Nov 05
Salalah City highlights
Leave the Hotel and proceed to visit “The Museum of the Frankincense Land”. Opened in July 2007 at Al Balid Archaeological Park, a UNESCO heritage site located in Salalah, the Frankincense Land Museum is the latest addition to Oman's heritage and cultural scene. (Opened Sun - Thu 9:00 – 21:00, Fri – Sat 15:00 – 21:00). 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 a fresh coconut water drink at fruit stalls (at own cost) lining the streets within the periphery of the old Salalah town (Haffah). Make a Photo stop at the impressive Sultan Qaboos Mosque. 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 souvenirs. The smell of frankincense fills the souk. Haffah souk is very attractive with its small shops lined up with straight piles of incense boxes, clay incense burners colorfully decorated with traditional patterns and bags of incense crystals. You will have an ample opportunity for shopping, before you return to the hotel. Have lunch at a local restaurant then return to your resort, rest of the day at leisure and overnight. (B,L)
Tuesday, Nov 06
The excursion begins 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. (Opened Sat - Thu 9:00 – 16:00, Fri – 08:00 – 11:00)Continue onto 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 with frankincense, believed to have been the hub & harbor for the shipping of Frankincense (UNESCO World Heritage site). A picturesque drive then leads you to ‘Mirbat’, the ancient capital of Dhofar and the beginning of the ‘Frankincense trail’. Stroll through the streets lined with old Omani houses & visit the ‘twin-domed Bin Ali’s Tomb’ as a photo stop …a classic example of medieval architecture. On our way back to the hotel, 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. Lunch at a local restaurant, return to your resort and rest of the day at leisure and overnight at the resort. (B,L)
Wednesday, Nov 07
Salalah to Muscat
Proceed to the Airport to catch your flight to Muscat. Upon arrival, meet by our representative and transfer to Tulip Inn Hotel or similar, rest of the day at leisure and overnight (B,L)
Thursday, Nov 08
Muscat to US
Breakfast at hotel then proceed to the Airport for your flight back home. (B)
We (STS) reserve the right to change hotels, restaurants or the order of activities if/as needed