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The Arabian Gulf..

Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates & Oman

February 20 to March 06, 2020

Best known for their wealth and abundance of oil, the Gulf States are also housing some remarkable museums that display magnificent ancient Islamic art, calligraphy, pottery, embroideries and jewelry. This unique tour will visit Bahrain, an archipelago located in the heart of the Gulf that boasts a unique blend of ancient and modern; a destination where glistening skyscrapers share the skyline with majestic, centuries-old mosques. You will also visit Qatar, where you saunter around the Old Souk (market), through the maze of alleyways and down to the nearby Dhow Harbor to see some of the Gulf's traditional and distinctive trading vessels and the world-class Islamic Arts Museum. In the UAE, you will marvel at Abu Dhabi's unique architecture, as well as being one of the most futuristic cities in the world. When in Dubai, an emirate that transformed itself in the last few decades from an obscure pearl-fishing village into one of the worlds’ most important trade hubs and a land of luxuries, you will also visit its Old town.

This trip can be combined with Saudi Arabia (February 08 to 22, 2020)

Tour cost per person based on double room occupancy:

4-5 people: $6,550.00 per person
6-7 people: $5,950.00 per person
8-12 people: $5,450.00 per person
Single Supplement: $995.00       

Escorted by Nancy Weber “STS Tour Manager”

Price based on a group size minimum of 4 and maximum of 12 participants

Your tour does not include

  • International airfare (varies by departure cities) & Bahrain/Doha/Kuwait/Abu Dhabi/Dubai/Muscat flights (Price approx. $550-$650.00 – subject to change).

  • All visas currently obtainable on arrival. UAE (free), Qatar (currently free), Bahrain ($15.00) and Kuwait {$45.00) - All subject to change.

  • Oman entry visa should be obtained online www.evisa.rop.gov.om / www.rop.gov.om

  • Dayroom or extra hotel nights necessitated by airline flight schedule changes.

  • Airport transfers if not arriving/departing on scheduled group flights.

  • Expenses of a personal nature such as: beverages with meals, telephone, camera fees, laundry, etc.

  • Travel Insurance.

Your tour includes

  • Arrival and departure transfer in private A/C car with meeting & transfers to/from all airports.

  • 14 nights in Superior (4*) accommodations in centrally-located hotels with breakfast.

  • Travel by modern, air-conditioned van or mini bus.

  • Meals as specified in the itinerary.

  • Entrance Fees to all visited sites and museums.

  • Tour Manager escort throughout the trip

  • Gratuities for the guides, drivers, porters and etc.

  • English Speaking local guides in each country for all your mentioned tours and visits.

  • All domestic flights within Oman economy class tickets.

  • All activities described in the tour.

Trip Grade:

II Active – Some hikes, slightly more demanding walks at or to sites, few elevations, comfortable but busy schedule and some long rides.

Lodging Level:

***Superior: Lodges and hotels with additional amenities, refined service and comfort level acceptable to western standards in smaller cities. (3 or 4 stars)

About your Tour Manager: Nancy Weber: Nancy loves travel, learning languages, people, and international films! Nancy worked in the chemical industry in the US and Canada, and she lived in Jordan and Iraq for eight years, working as a training consultant and as Iraq's Country Director for an NGO. She also lived and worked in Russia for four years as a business training consultant. Nancy speaks Arabic and few other languages. Moreover, she loves the Middle East and appreciates the people who live in that part of the world. Nancy has been leading few of our tours and she enjoys visiting off-the-beaten-track places the most, especially those countries that see very few tourists/travelers and remain behind the curtain for the western world. She is thrilled to lead our group to this beautiful part of the world and excited to introduce the fascinating culture, people and unmatched hospitality of the Arabian Gulf. She has been rated so highly by our travelers as a kind and efficient coordinator and does a superb job ensuring the smoothness of a program like this one that encompasses multiple countries and involves layers of logistics.


View Tour Itinerary

Thursday- Friday, Feb 20-21
USA – Manama (Bahrain)

Depart your home town, arriving Bahrain the next day, February 21. On arrival, you'll be met and transferred to the Mercury Grand Hotel in Manama for check-in. Note: Check in time at hotel is 2:00 pm.

Saturday, Feb 22

Your city tour begins with a visit to the Old Palace and the Guest Palace located in the Gudaibiya area of Manama. From here, proceed to the island of Muharraq where you'll visit Shaikh Isa House, a fine example of a 19th-century Arabian residence. Close by is the 15th century Arad Fort, built in typical period style and occupied by the Portuguese for 100 years. Next, you'll have the opportunity to savor the finest Arabic sweets and pastries at a typical Arabic confectionery. After lunch, visit the Bahrain Fort ruins, built by the Portuguese in the 16th century and its museum. Before returning to your hotel, visit the House of Qur'an where you will see rare and precious collections of ancient Quranic manuscripts as well as Islamic works of art. Overnight at the Mercury Grand Hotel. (B,L,D)

Sunday, Feb 23

Your day begins with a visit to the Al Fateh Grand Mosque, a magnificent piece of architecture. Next, visit Saar where a 3900 BC town is being excavated and then pass by Al Jasra House, birthplace of the Amir. You'll stop at the Al Jasra Handicraft Centre where you'll meet locals displaying their crafts. As you make your way back to the hotel, pass by the site of 5,000-year-old burial mounds. (B,L,D)

Monday, Feb 24
Manama –Doha (Qatar)

In the morning, you will be picked up from the hotel and transferred to the airport for your flight to Doha, via Kuwait. On arrival, you'll be met and transferred to the Souq Waqif Hotel where you have the rest of the day free at your leisure. Overnight at the Souq Waqif Boutique Hotel or similar. (B)

Tuesday, Feb 25

Today's full day tour begins with a visit to Katara Cultural Village, an excellent place to experience Qatar's true heritage - from the enormous Greco-Roman amphitheater to its maze of cobble-stone alleyways occupied by young artists practicing their art. Next, visit the Equestrian Club to see some of the most beautiful pure-bred Arabic horses in the world, then head over to the shopping mall for a short-guided tour followed by some free time to do some exploring and shopping on your own. After lunch, visit the Museum of Islamic Art, one of the Gulf region's newest and most fabulous museums. Continue on with a tour around Souq Waqif - the most traditional of souks that began as a weekend market for local Bedouins selling meat, wool, milk and other staples. Today, this maze of alleyways covers a large area with separate sections selling traditional clothing, perfumes, spices, incense and dried fruit. Also visit the intriguing falcon shop. Return to the Souq Waqif Boutique Hotel for your overnight. (B,L,D)

Wednesday, Feb 26

After breakfast, head out to the well-preserved Al Zubarah Archeological site, a walled coastal town that flourished as a pearl-fishing and trading center in the late 18th century. Also visit Al-Shahaniya, a camel-racing track and the Sheikh Faisal Museum, a private museum built to preserve and promote Qatar's cultural history. There are over 15,000 artifacts on display including Islamic art, vehicles, coins, and Qatari artifacts. The tour ends with a stop at the 19th century Barzan Towers, thought to have served as a lookout to protect local water sources. Overnight again in Doha. (B,L,D)

Thursday, Feb 27
Doha - Kuwait City (Kuwait)

Transfer to the airport for your flight to Kuwait where you have lunch at Kuwaiti Cuisine Restaurant (Beit Dickson) before heading out on a city tour. First, visit the Bait Al-Othman Historic Museum, dedicated to the history and culture of Kuwait - from the pre-oil era to the present time. Next, pass by the National Assembly (Parliament House), Seif Palace (Amir’s Office), and stop at the Grand Mosque for a photograph. Continue along Banking Street to the traditional Souq of Kuwait. At around 200 years old, this souk is one of the oldest in Kuwait and was once the center of trade prior to the discovery of oil. Goods sold here include Persian silk carpets, Arabic antiques, perfumes, fruits, meats, jewelry, and traditional clothing. From here, head down to the Dhow Harbor and Fish Market - an excellent place to take photos. Afterwards, drive back to the Kuwait Towers and ascend almost 400 feet to the viewing sphere for a picturesque view of the city and coastline. Overnight at the Le Royal Hotel. (B,L,D)

Friday, Feb 28
Kuwait – Abu Dhabi (UAE)

In the morning, transfer to the airport for a flight to Abu Dhabi. On arrival, meet your local guide and immediately head out on a tour of the city beginning with a visit to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the largest mosque in the country. Next, stop to take a photo of the Emirates Palace, an infamous landmark of Abu Dhabi, the spectacular Etihad Towers, and the Corniche, a five mile stretch of road that runs along the coast. You'll then visit the 18th century Qasr Al Hosn Fort (White Fort), the oldest stone structure in Abu Dhabi, followed by the dates market to learn about the variety of dates grown across the Middle East. Your tour ends with a visit to the Louvre Museum, the largest art museum in the Arabian Peninsula displaying artwork from around the world. Overnight at the One to One Hotel. (B,L,D)

Saturday, Feb 29
Abu Dhabi – Al Ain- Dubai

After breakfast, drive to Al Ain - the "Garden City" of the UAE and one of the oldest settlements. This green city oases features tree-line avenues and contains an incredible number of public parks. Here you'll visit the Al Ain Museum, which houses artifacts from ancient times that have been discovered in and around the city as well as ancient Arabic manuscripts and royal treasures. Next, stop at the traditional camel market for an up-close look at these “ships of desert”. Before driving to Dubai, explore Hili Gardens, the excavation site of a tomb that dates back to 3000 B.C. as well as other archaeological discoveries. In Dubai, check-in at the Zabeel House al Seef by Jumeirah Hotel. (B,L,D)

Sunday, Mar 01

You'll have the morning free at your leisure to either explore the famous malls or the old souks for shopping. After lunch, you'll explore the "City of Gold", stopping first to take a photo of the city's famous landmark - Burj Al Arab Hotel (Jumeirah Beach side) and the magnificent Jumeirah Mosque. Afterwards, proceed to the oldest part of the city, Bastakia, where old wind-towered houses of wealthy merchants can still be seen. Nearby is the 18th century Dubai Museum, housed in the Al Fahidi Fort, the oldest existing structure in Dubai. Continue your way through the cloth markets to the Abras - local water taxis that will take you across the Creek to the spice and gold souks. Walk through the bustling alleys of these souks and allow the mystical aromas of numerous spices to tantalize your senses while the breath-taking amount of brilliant gold will dazzle your eyes. The jewelry on sale varies from the traditional to the latest designs at amazingly affordable prices. Another outstanding experience is a visit to the world’s tallest structure - Burj Khalifah. No building in modern history has aroused so much curiosity and intrigue as the Burj Khalifa has. As you make the journey to the "At the Top" observation deck, enjoy a multi-media presentation of the exotic history of Dubai and Burj Khalifa. From the observation deck, you'll have a spectacular view of Dubai. When you return to the ground level, stop to take a photo of Dubai Fountain, the largest choreographed fountain system in the world. Afterward, proceed to Dubai Creek for a lovely Dhow Cruise Dinner and the chance to see the modern skyline of Dubai from the Creek. Return to your hotel in Dubai for you overnight. (B,L,D)

Monday, Mar 02
Dubai- Muscat (Oman)

This morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to Muscat where you will be met and transferred to the Al Falaj Hotel for check-in. Following lunch, drive to the Bait Al Zubair Museum, which consists of a collection of splendid Omani Heritage including ancient weapons and household tools. Continue on to the magnificent Al Alam Palace, the official residence of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, the ruler of Oman, and an architectural marvel. Spend time exploring the Muttrah Souq, 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. Overnight in Muscat. (B,L,D)

Tuesday, Mar 03
Muscat – Nizwa

Start the day with a visit to the Grand Mosque, the most exquisite one in Oman. Afterwards proceed to Nizwa, the regional center of the A'Dakhiliya Governate and 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. Visit the Nizwa Souq, 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 Souq, one of the most important in the country. This souk has remained home to a number of local industries such as copperware, fish, vegetables, jewelry, spices, and handicrafts for hundreds of years. The Nizwa Fort was built in the 17th century by Imam Sultan Bin Saif Al Ya' aruba to defend the city. From the top of the fort's tower one can get a bird’s eye view of Nizwa city. Overnight at the Golden Tulip Hotel. (B,L,D)

Wednesday, Mar 04
Nizwa – Wahiba Sand

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. Check-in at the Desert Night Camp for your overnight. (B,L,D)

Thursday, Mar 05
Wahiba Sand – Wadi Bani Khaled – Sur – Muscat

Around 9:00 am, check-out of the desert camp and proceed to Wadi Bani Khalid, 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 Sinkhole, a spectacular limestone crater with blue green water at the bottom. On arrival in Muscat, check-in to the Al Falaj Hotel or similar for the night. (B,L,D)

Friday, Mar 06
Muscat - 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