Sultanate of Oman
March 08 to 20, 2020
Oman is one of Arabia’s true gems - a land of rugged coastlines and vast deserts where tradition and progress go hand in hand. This wonderful adventure takes us from the heart of its picturesque capital, deep into mountains and deserts of the Bedu. We will take in the breathless landscapes of the Hajar Mountains, the shifting sands of Wahiba, and explore the old forts of Nizwa. It is a journey of incredible contrasts, following in the footsteps of the pioneering explorers of old and discovering some of the richest natural and cultural highlights that Arabia has to offer. Shopping for native crafts in vibrant markets provides 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 are reputed to be that of the Queen of Sheba.
Tour cost (land ONLY): $4,500.00 per person sharing in double occupancy
Single Supplement: $995.00
Led by local Omani guide
Price based on a group size minimum of 4 and maximum of 12 participants
Your tour does not include
Round trip airfare NYC/Muscat.
Oman entry visa can be obtained online
Airport transfers if not arriving/departing on trip dates/times.
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; phone calls, camera fees; laundry
Travel protection Insurance.
Gratuities to your guide, drivers, porters, restaurant and hotel staff.
Your tour includes
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 (3 persons per vehicle).
English speaking local guide/driver will be provided for whole tour.
All domestic flights within Oman 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)
View Tour Itinerary
Sunday, Mar 08
Depart the US
Depart the USA, arriving in Oman the next day.
Monday, Mar 09
Arrive in Muscat (Oman)
On arrival in Muscat, our staff will be at the airport ready to greet you and assist with the transfer to your pre-booked hotel for check-in. Overnight at the Radisson Blu Hotel or similar. Note: Check in time at hotel on March 09 is 3:00 pm.
Tuesday, Mar 10
Head out on a half-day city tour of Muscat beginning with a visit to the Grand Mosque, the most exquisite Mosque in Oman. This Mosque complex was constructed on a raised podium in keeping with the tradition of Omani mosques, which are built elevated from street level. Afterwards, drive to Muttrah Souk, one of the most popular souks in the Middle East. Take a walk through its labyrinthine alleyways, beckoning you with a myriad of merchandise - from imported fabrics to exotic Oriental spices, perfumes and richly handcrafted artifacts. Next, drive to Bait Al Zubair Museum, which consists of a concise collection of splendid Omani heritage. You'll then drive to the magnificent Al Alam Palace, the official residence of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, the ruler of Oman. This palace is 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 the Muscat city tour, proceed to a local restaurant for lunch, followed by some leisure time. Return to your hotel for the night. (B,L,D)
Wednesday, Mar 11
Muscat - Nizwa
After breakfast, check-out of the hotel and proceed to Nizwa, the regional center of the A'Dakhiliyah Governorate. Located about 164 kilometers from Muscat, Nizwa is one of the oldest cities in Oman. Due to its strategic location, it was an important meeting point and once the center for trade, religion, education, and arts. Nizwa is now a diverse destination known for its historical sites and markets. Your tour of Nizwa begins with a visit to the Nizwa Souk, which lies in the vicinity of the famous Nizwa Fort. Through its network of alleyways and divisions, you'll find an array of products at the Nizwa Souk, one of the most important in the country. This souk has remained home to a number of local industries such as copperware, spinning, livestock sales, fish, vegetables, jewelry, spices, and handicrafts for hundreds of years. The Khanjar (curved dagger) is recognized for its distinctive style and patterns and the Khanjar makers here are masters of their craft. Next, head on over to the Nizwa Fort, built in the 17th century by Imam Sultan Bin Saif Al Ya' aruba to defend the city. The fort dominates the entire area while the town was built up around it. From the top of the fort's tower one can get a bird’s eye view of Nizwa city. Overnight at the Nizwa hotel or similar. (B,L,D)
Thursday, Mar 12
Nizwa - Wahiba Sands
The day begins with a stop at Mudhaybi, the site of an ancient civilization that dates back to 2500-2000 BC. Continue on to Munziff in Ibra Village, one of the oldest cities in Oman, for a traditional lunch. This village was once the center for trade, religion, education, and art and is home to the Al Harthy, Al Maskary, and Al Riyami tribes. After lunch, depart for Wahiba Sands, along a narrow strip of high dunes, through sketchy woodland, and along the unspoiled coastline of eastern Oman. To the north of Wahiba Sands are the most incredible sand dunes, some reaching a colossal 300 feet high and separated by enormous depressions. Wahiba Sands is also home to local Bedouins and you will have the opportunity visit a Bedouin house. There are over 3000 Bedu of varying tribal origins who live here amid the woodland and the fringes of the sands. Check-in at the Desert Night Camp or similar for your overnight. (B,L,D)
Friday, Mar 13
Wahiba Sands - Wadi Bani Khalid – Sur -Muscat
After breakfast, check-out of the desert camp around 9:00 am and proceed to Wadi Bani Khalid. You will drive along the tarmac road, weaving across the eastern Al Hajar Mountains to Bida Village deep in the mountains. From here, there are spectacular views of the fertile valley with its extended trees and abundance of water that tumbles down like a waterfall. Enjoy some leisure time at Wadi Bani Khalid, which stands out like an oasis in the desert, with clear green natural spring water pools and abundance of greenery. Enjoy a walk through the wadi and admire its natural surroundings. If you like, take a short dip in the natural oasis. From here, proceed to Sur, the capital city of the Ash Sharqiyah region and once an important center for trade with East Africa and India. At Sur, you'll see the lighthouse and the old merchant houses to admire the details of the intricately carved wooden doors. Also stop at the Dhow Yard (granting permission) to see the dhows, trading vessels primarily used to transport heavy items. Continue the drive to Wadi Tiwi where you'll take a walk through an old traditional village full of lush banana and papaya plantations as your guide explains the complete cultivation process. On the drive to Muscat, stop to see the Bima Sinkhhole, a spectacular limestone crater with blue green water at the bottom. On arrival in Muscat, check-in to the Atana Khasab Hotel or similar for the night. (B,L,D)
Saturday, Mar 14
Muscat - Musandam
Meet your driver at the hotel lobby and transfer to the Muscat airport for the flight to Khasab, a port city on Oman’s Musandam Peninsula. On arrival at the Khasab airport, you'll be met by our representative and immediately taken on a city tour of Khasab including the Khasab Fort, a picturesque stronghold built in the 17th century by the Portuguese seeking dominion over the maritime trade in the Strait of Hormuz and to prevent attacks from the sea. The structure you see today is the result of extensive restoration work carried out in the late 20th century. Stroll around the town before checking in to the hotel. This afternoon, jump aboard your 4WD and head to Jabel Harim (Mountain of Women). The mountain takes its name from the time when local women would retreat to the caves here to avoid being kidnapped by pirates or rival tribes while their husbands were away on fishing or trading expeditions. During your mountain safari, you'll enjoy spectacular panoramic views from the road and see terraced mountain villages, lush acacia forests, and wadis. Many of the rocks on the mountain contain well-preserved fossils of sea creatures such as mollusks, fish, clams, and trilobites. There is also an excellent collection of petroglyphs carved into the borders including human stick-figures, animal figures, and one even thought to be a m an on an elephant. Return to the Atana Khasab or similar for your overnight. (B,L,D)
Sunday, Mar 15
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the pier where you'll board a traditional Omani dhow (shared) and cruise towards Mussandam’s longest and spectacular Fjord, which is often referred as “Norway of the Arabia.” Enjoy a traditional lunch while cruising, then anchor at the vicinity off Telegraph Island where you can enjoy a swim or just sit back and relax or, for the more adventurous, climb up the stairs to visit the crumbling ruins of the repeater station and operator's quarters (depending on the tide). Tea, coffee and water will also be provided on board. Return to the hotel where you have the rest of the day free to relax. Overnight at hotel Atana, Khasab or similar. (B,L,D)
Monday, Mar 16
In the morning, check-out from the hotel and transfer to the Khasab airport for the flight to Salalah connecting in Muscat. On Arrival at the Salalah International Airport, you'll be met and assisted with the transfer to the Crowne Plaza Resort or similar for check-in and overnight. (B)
Tuesday, Mar 17
Salalah City highlights
Salalah, the capital and largest city of the southern Omani Governorate of Dhofar, is also the birthplace of the current sultan, Qaboos bin Said. Your city tour of Salalah begins with a visit to the “Museum of the Frankincense Land”, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that opened in July 2007 at Al Balid Archaeological Park. This museum is the latest addition to Oman's heritage and cultural scene. A complete history of the Maritime trade and ship building industry of Oman can be experienced here and even include meticulously carved replicas of the ancient boats and ships that date back to the Omani Maritime trade. Next, drive through lush green fruit and vegetable plantations and make a brief stop to sample a fresh coconut water drink at one of the fruit stalls (pay on own) that line the streets within the periphery of the old Salalah town (Haffah). Also stop for a photo opportunity at the impressive Sultan Qaboos Mosque, the largest mosque in Salalah and view the Official Palace of His Majesty the Sultan (Al Husn Palace). Take a stroll through the old Haffah Souk, famous for the sale of high quality Frankincense and numerous other traditional Dhofari souvenirs. This attractive souk is full of 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 ample opportunity for shopping before lunch at a local restaurant then return to your resort where you'll have the rest of the day at your leisure. Overnight at the Crowne Plaza Resort or similar (B,L,D)
Wednesday, Mar 18
Today's excursion begins with a visit to the old fishing village of Taqah, famous for the manufacturing of dried sardines and old "Dhofari Houses". Here you'll visit the 19th century Taqah Castle, the former official residence of the ‘Wali’ (Governor) of the region and obtain a glimpse into the rich history of the region. Continue onto the ancient ruins of the once famous city of Sumharam (Khor Rohri). This UNESCO World Heritage Site was the easternmost outpost of the Hadramawt Kingdom on the ancient incense route between the Mediterranean Sea, Persian Gulf and India. A picturesque drive then leads you to Mirbat, the ancient capital of Dhofar and the beginning of the "Frankincense Trail". Take a stroll through the streets lined with old Omani houses and stop to take a photo of the twin-domed Bin Ali’s Tomb - a classic example of medieval architecture. On the way back to the hotel, explore the natural spring of Ayn Razat, beautifully laid out amidst the tranquil lush mountains and nourished every day of the year by a natural underground spring water. Lunch will be at a local restaurant before returning to the Crowne Plaza Resort or similar. You'll have the rest of the day at your leisure or for further exploring the city. (B,L,D)
Thursday, Mar 19
Salalah to Muscat
In the morning, transfer to the airport in time to catch your flight to Muscat. Upon arrival, you'll be met by our representative and transferred to the Tulip Inn Hotel or similar where you'll have the rest of the day at your leisure. (B,D)
Friday, Mar 20
Muscat to US
After breakfast at hotel, transfer to the airport for your onward flight back home. (B)
We (STS) reserve the right to change hotels, restaurants or the order of activities if/as needed