Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman & the UAE


Kuwait Towers & National Museum; Spectacular Hajjar Mountains, Oman; Oman's spectacular Mussandam Peninsula enclave; Historic 'Frankincense Trail'; Dubai's stunning modern skyline; Oman Desert Camp experience; Qatar's unique traditional culture


Dates & Prices

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Prices are in US Dollars (USD), before taxes (if applicable) - All pricing reflects per-person Land Only expenses, however, we can book flights from virtually every city. Please call us for an air quote.

Start DateEnd DatePriceMore Info
Mon 12 Oct 2015Sun 01 Nov 2015 $6580
Mon 25 Jan 2016Sun 14 Feb 2016 $6580
Mon 10 Oct 2016Sun 30 Oct 2016 $6580

Optional Single Supplement: $2036 (number of singles limited).
This tour may require a mandatory single supplement charge of $1018, if twin-sharing accommodation is unavailable.

Tour Overview

*** This tour will replace tour code GS5 from 2015 onward ***

This 21-day tour through the fascinating cultures and beautiful countryside of the Persian Gulf region begins in Kuwait City, which, after an extensive restoration and rebuilding effort, bears little resemblance to the war-devastated area left behind after the Iraqi invasion. We visit the famous landmarks, perhaps even take a high-speed elevator up the Kuwait Towers, and tour the remarkable museums, where we can appreciate ancient Islamic art, calligraphy, pottery, embroideries and jewellery. From here, we head to Bahrain & Qatar, where we saunter around the Old Souk (market), through the maze of alleyways and down to the nearby Dhow Harbour to see some of the Gulf's traditional and distinctive trading vessels. The UAE is next on our destination list and here we have the chance to check out Abu Dhabi's unique architecture, which is an intriguing interpretation of Islamic designs crafted in modern materials, as well as one of the most futuristic cities in the world, Dubai. From here, our journey takes us into the Omani enclave on the spectacular Musandam Peninsula. Our next stop is Oman proper; we travel through a multitude of landscapes: flat deserts with beautiful oases, dry, jagged mountains, plains dotted with hills and acacia trees and narrow river valleys. Along the way, we get a real feel for the area and its tribal past with visits to traditional towns, where we mingle with the friendly locals and learn about the fascinating lifestyles in this unique part of the world.

Regions visited: Middle East
Countries visited: Kuwait; Bahrain; Qatar; United Arab Emirates and Oman

Full Itinerary

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Day 1 Arrival in Kuwait
Today we arrive in Kuwait City.

The economic, cultural, and political capital of Kuwait, Kuwait City sits on the shores of the Persian Gulf, and is a mixture of exclusive Western-style hotels, designer shopping malls, traditional Islamic architecture, and street markets. Oil revenues have helped Kuwait City rebound from the Gulf War and the building boom shows no signs of slowing down.

Overnight in Kuwait City.

Meal plan: dinner

Day 2 Kuwait City: City Tour
Today we have a guided tour of Kuwait City.

We will begin with one of Kuwait's most famous landmarks, the Kuwait Towers. Though they are indefinitely closed for renovation, we will pause for photos of this iconic landmark on Kuwait's skyline.

We also visit the Tareq Rajab Museum, a private collection of the Rajab family. The museum deals with calligraphy, pottery, metalwork, glass, wood, ivory and jade carvings of the Islamic world. Early calligraphy is presented in a separate small room, showing pages from the Holy Qur'an, dating back to the first three centuries of the Islamic period. There are also displays of costumes, textiles, embroideries and jewelry of the Islamic world.

We also visit the Kuwait Maritime Museum with its excellent insight into the seafaring heritage of Kuwait. The museum's main purpose is to examine the relationship between the sea, Kuwait's inhabitants and how the two were dependant on each other. The museum project was intitiated and completed by the National Council for Culture, Arts, and Literature, Kuwait.

We will also have a chance to photograph and admire the very photogenic dhow harbour and fish market.

Overnight in Kuwait City.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 3 Kuwait City, Kuwait - Manama, Bahrain
Today we fly from Kuwait to Bahrain and transfer to our hotel.

Frequently called the Pearl of the Arabian Gulf, Bahrain is an archipelago of 33 low-lying islands located in the heart of the Gulf, and offering a blend of ancient and modern. This is a place where modern skyscrapers share the landscape with majestic mosques, embodiments of Islamic art, culture and architecture. Rich in history, Bahrain was once part of the ancient civilization of Dilmun and served as an important link in trade routes between Sumeria and the Indus Valley as long as 5,000 years ago.

Manama is Bahrain's modern capital, and is dominated by a Manhattan-style skyline. Today much land, including the diplomatic area, has been reclaimed from the sea.

Overnight in Bahrain.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 4 Bahrain: Area Tour
Today will be spent exploring this tiny island state. We begin with a visit to the Bahrain National Museum where we will trace the archaeological development of the region. Through sculpture and ceramics, reconstructed burial mounds, Arabic calligraphy and illuminated Korans, the different periods of Bahrain's history are presented.

We will also visit the Bahrain Fort. The first dwellings on the site are believed to have been constructed around 2800 BC, and have subsequently been overlaid by numerous fortified settlements. The last was built in the early 16th century to defend Portugal's recent acquisition of the islands; for this reason, it is also known locally as the Portuguese Fort.

We will also pay a visit to the Al Fatih Grand Mosque, Bahrain's largest mosque and a magnificent piece of architecture. On the Island of Muharraq we visit Shaikh Isa House, in the old town of Muharraq. This was once the home of the Amir's great-grandfather, Shaikh Isa Bin Ali Al Khalifa. It provides a fine example of local architecture, complete with wall carving and latticework, and representative of traditional 19th century life. The house is complete with a 'wind tower'; constructed 5-6m (16-20ft) above the house and open on all four sides. One of the early forms of air conditioning, this acts as a funnel, catching the breeze and drawing it down into the cavities below, as well as allowing the release of hot air like a chimney.

One of the most impressive examples of a 19th century homes is Beit Al Siyadi. Built by the pearl-merchant Ahmed Bin Qassem Siyadi, there are many fine features to look out for, including ornate ceilings, stained-glass windows, carved screens and a large safe set into the wall of a small, upper reception room.

No visit to Bahrain would be complete without a tour of the Old Souk, with its profusion of colours, sounds, and aromas. The souk lies in the centre of the old town, near the archway of Bab al-Bahrain and, although much of the surrounding area is modern, the street layout and division of occupations still follow traditional lines. All wares are sold, from cloth of different colours and textures to gold and jewely as well as the traditional array of spices and local produce.

Time permitting, in order to sample some of Bahrain's past, we will make a visit to the A'ali Burial Mounds.

Overnight in Bahrain.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 5 Bahrain - Doha, Qatar
In order to sample some of Bahrain's past, we will make a visit to the A'ali Burial Mounds. This is the site of what may be the largest prehistoric cemetery in the world, with approximately 170,000 burial mounds dating from between 3000 BC and AD 600.

We will also visit the pottery makers at A'ali village. This time-honored industry has been handed down from generation to generation. The clay used for pottery, which is the centre of the industry in Bahrain today, is made from a blend of two types of clay. These are combined to create the optimum blend for their products, which range from traditional bread ovens to water pipes, plant pots and moneyboxes. Kilns are frequently located inside the surrounding burial mounds, and the smoke given off can sometimes be seen from a distance as you approach the village.

We will also visit Jasra House, built by Sheik Hamad in 1907 and the birthplace of the present Amir in 1933. We will drive out along the Bahrain -- Saudi Causeway, the symbolic and actual link between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

This evening we fly to Qatar.

Overnight in Doha, Qatar.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 6 Qatar: Area Tour
With it's significant oil and natural gas revenues, the independent state of Qatar has been ruled by the Al Thani family since the mid-1800s. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Qatari economy was crippled by a continuous siphoning off of petroleum revenues by the Amir, who had ruled the country since 1972. He was overthrown by his son, the current Amir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, in a bloodless coup in 1995. In 2001, Qatar resolved its longstanding border disputes with both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Today oil and natural gas revenues enable Qatar to have one of the highest per capita incomes in the world.

We have a panoramic city tour by bus. We will take a stroll along part of the sea-front Corniche where you will be struck by the expanding and rising urban skyline. This is a part of the city where dhows line the quay, and Palm Tree Island beckons from the centre of the bay. We visit the Doha Museum of Islamic Art -- a major highlight. This is an incredible building with a great collection and nice views of the rest of the city from the terrace/coffee shop.

Overnight in Doha.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 7 Doha, Qatar - Abu Dhabi, UAE
This morning we visit the the camel race track, a unique opportunity to observe this traditional sport and witness the local people in harmony with their surroundings. As technology catches up with the "Sport of Sheikhs," Qatar has begun using robot jockeys instead of human jockeys. Robots jockeys are designed with titanium to look like humans equipped with electronic whips and are controlled from the touch lines by an armchair jockey manning a joystick and computer screen!

We proceed to the wonderfully atmospheric Old Souk, the most traditional of souks; it first started as a weekend market for local Bedu, selling meat, wool, milk and other staples. Today, this maze of alleyways covers a large area with separate sections selling traditional clothing, hardware, perfumes, spices, incense, and dried fruit. In the Gold Souk one discovers a packed row of jewelery shops selling both locally crafted and imported gold jewelery.

Today's Doha sightseeing will also include the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club, where the rich emirs come from all over Middle East. We can walk around the stables, pet the horses, meet jockeys, see the horses training -- an interesting insight into how the rich spend their money.

Later today we fly to Abu Dhabi, largest of the Emirates and its ultra-modern capital on the Arabian Gulf.

Overnight in Abu Dhabi.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 8 Abu Dhabi: City Touring - Al-Ain
This morning we do some touring in and around Abu Dhabi. Although the city was founded in the late 18th century, the city exploded with oil wealth in the 1960s and the city was entirely rebuilt. There are almost no buildings in the city more than 30 years old. However, Abu Dhabi's citizens are very proud of their fabulously rich city with its broad avenues and futuristic buildings. The city's architecture is an intriguing interpretation of Islamic designs crafted in modern materials.

We will see the magnificent waterfront corniche and visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi's most iconic landmark, which features eighty-two white domes. Built between 1996 and 2007, it was designed to be an architectural wonder that incorporated both modern and classic Islamic artistic styles. Greek and Italian white marble covers the exterior, while Islamic calligraphy decorates the inside.

The oil industry has turned this piece of desert into one of the world's most technically advanced cities. Abu Dhabi is situated among a group of islands and we will take a cruise along the corniche to view the spectacular city skyline.

Later we continue to Al-Ain, the "Garden City." We cross the desert to this attractive and relaxed city, cradled by the jagged Hajar Mountains on the Omani border.

Overnight in Al-Ain.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 9 Al-Ain: City Tour - Dubai
Toay in Al-Ain, we discover its history and see its Bronze Age relics, picture-postcard Al Jahili Fort, former royal palace, two museums, and "falaj" irrigation channels. Cool your feet in the springs beneath Jebel Hafeet mountain and then finish with a visit to the traditional camel market.

Al-Ain is the birthplace of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the first president of the United Arab Emirates, and it has the country's highest number of Emirati nationals. Al-Ain has been inhabited for over 4,000 years, with archaeological sites showing human settlement at Al-Hili and Jabel ?afee?. These early cultures built "beehive" tombs for their dead and engaged in hunting and gathering in the area. The oasis provided water for early farms until the modern age. Today Al-Ain is a popular vacation destination, away from the humidty of the coast, and enjoyed by the Emirati and expatriates looking for a break from the hubub of Dubai.

We continue to Dubai.

Overnight in Dubai.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 10 Dubai: City Tour
Today we tour Dubai to observe the city's layout and modern architecture. During our time in the city we will marvel at some of the wonders of Dubai. Dubai is the synonym of business and luxury that became a paradise for travellers. Known as the city of superlatives, it has transformed its skyline with creative and inspired architecture. Home to some of the most amazing futuristic mega projects in the world, Dubai has the world's tallest building, the tallest hotel, the largest shopping mall, the iconic Palm and World Islands, and also features a ski resort in the middle of the desert.

The Emirates Towers are two of the most prestigious buildings on Dubai's skyline. The Burj Al Arab Hotel, built in the shape of a billowing Arabian dhow sail and dominating the Dubai coastline, is one of the world's most spectacular and incomparably luxurious hotels (entry to no-residents is not permitted, but we will view this building from the outside).

With its striking wave-like design, the adjactent five-star Jumeirah Beach Hotel is another of the architectural wonders that graces Dubai's skyline. Infinity Tower is the world's tallest high-rise building with a twist of 90°. The Princess Tower is recognized by the Guinness World Records as the world's tallest residential building since 2012. Towering over Dubai Marina skyline at 414 meters (1,355 ft.), the 101-storey skyscraper houses 763 luxury apartments, one of the most expensive properties in the city, We'll travel to the observation deck of the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, for stupendous views.

Although an ultra-modern city in many respects, much of Dubai's heritage has been retained. We will visit the Dubai Museum, housed in the restored Fort Fahidi. Inside this mud-walled fort dating back to the early 19th Century, the displays chronicle the long history of the Arabian Gulf.

From the museum we will explore the 'Creek' area and see the old houses in the Bastakia quarter. A visit to this district is a step back in time to the days before electricity and air-conditioning, where wind towers cooled traditional courtyard houses. Many of the old wind tower houses were built by the wealthy merchants of the past, and Old Dubai was famous for these towers lining the Creek on both sides.

We end our day with a journey across the Creek by water taxi, known as an "abra". The abra is a wonderful vantage point from which to see the modern and old buildings sitting along the Creekside. On the other side of the Creek we will set out on foot to navigate through the bustling alleys towards the spice and gold souks.

Overnight in Dubai.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch

Day 11 Dubai - Sharjah - Ras Al-Khaimah - Ajman, UAE - Khasab, Oman
From Dubai we travel north by road to the third largest of the emirates, Sharjah. Spread out along the Khalid Lagoon, Sharjah is an old trading centre with a laid-back feel. Here we will see the King Faisal Mosque, one of the largest places of worship in the UAE, capable of holding up to 3,000 people in prayer; and we will visit the Sharjah Archaeological Museum.

We also pass through Ajman, the UAE's smallest emirate, which boasts one of the most attractive waterfronts in the country with soft white sand and lofty date palms. Travelling north we enter into the emirate of Ras Al-Khaimah, the agricultural centre of the UAE, before crossing the border into Oman (have your passports handy!)

From here we travel via a panoramic coastal road overlooking the Gulf of Arabia and the Straits of Hormuz. Our destination is Khasab, local capital of the Governorate of Musandam, the "Norway of Arabia". The Musandam Peninsula is completely separated from the main body of Oman by a stretch of land belonging to the UAE. Musandam has developed distinct language dialects and cultural mores. A huge pale limestone massif with steep strata crossed cliffs descending into the sea, the peninsula has remained isolated from the rest of Arabia and is still very remote. The area is sparsely populated by the Shihuh tribe, who for centuries have been carving a precarious existence from the seas. Some villages can only be accessed by boat.

On arrival we have a city tour,* including the restored Portuguese Fort of Khasab, a museum where many Omani handicrafts items are displayed. We will also pass by the prehistoric rock carvings depicting camels, ships and warriors in the neighbouring village of Qadah.

* We may accomplish this sightseeing tomorrow if time contraints dictate.

Overnight in Khasab.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 12 Musandam Peninsula: Dhow Cruise
Mountains dominate the Musandam landscape as they rise straight from the sea creating a fjord-like coastline (hence the Norway comparison) that is unique in the region. This coastal zone, along with many offshore islands and inlets, abound with wildlife, including seabirds, dolphins, and whales.

After boarding our traditional Omani dhow pier side, the cruise will take you toward Musandam's longest and most spectacular fjord, which is often referred to as 'Norway of the Arabia'; calm, turquoise waters contrast with the creamy white limestone cliffs. Along the way we will pass small fishing villages and perhaps even encounter dolphins. The dhow will anchor in the vicinity off Telegraph Island, allowing you to take a swim (bring your suit!) or just sit back and enjoy soft drinks, tea or coffee while admiring breathtaking views of mountains rising in the distance to over 2,000 feet. Our cruise continues with lunch provided on board. After the tour leisurely cruise back to Khasab.

Overnight in Khasab.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 13 Khasab, Oman: Mountain Safari - Muscat, Oman
We have an early start today, departing by by a 4-wheel drive vehicle (closed and air-conditioned). Driving is partially on winding mountain roads; we will be able to enjoy some of Oman's most stunning sceneries. We board our 4-wheel drive vehicle and get ready for an exciting and breathtaking trip to Jebel Harim (translated as the Mountain of Women). With a height of 6,260 feet it is the highest peak on the Musandam Peninsula. During your journey to Jebel Harim, you will be able to enjoy incredible vistas, including terraced mountain villages, lush Acacia forests and wadis (dry river beds). Following a drive of a little over an hour, a stop will be made at a Bedouin village located at an elevation of 3,000 feet. The village of Sayah, surrounded by palm groves, is one of the most picturesque villages on the Musandam Peninsula. After a stop for photographs and to enjoy this idyllic setting, continue with your drive to Jebel Harim. There will be time to admire the grand panorama from the mountain's summit. The return drive takes us past Khawr Najid, a stunning sea viewpoint overlooking the Indian Ocean. We stop at Al Khalidya Nature Park before concluding our adventure back at Khasab.

We then travel to Muscat via fast ferry (journey time approximately 2 hours). Our approach to Muscat from the sea affords a spectacular view of the city.

Oman only has a population of 3 million living in a country of over 300,000 sq km (117,000 sq miles). Most of the people live in or around Muscat, the capital. The cultivation in the Batinah, and hence the villages, is concentrated in a narrow strip along the coast where about half of the cultivated land in all of Oman is located. The palm groves are densely green sheltering limes, bananas, pomegranates, figs, papaya, mangoes, guavas and vegetables. Fishing is also very important in this area.

Muscat is not actually one town, but rather three separate towns, plus several associated towns all separated by geographical features of the mountainous, indented coast. Time permitting, we may accomplish some of our Muscat sightseeing upon arrival.

Overnight in Muscat.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 14 Muscat: Area Tour
Oman's position on the Arabian Sea/Indian Ocean, and its isolation from the rest of Arabia have given the country a much more outward orientation. Trade from Oman to India and Africa has been conducted for thousands of years. During the age of the European empires in India and Africa, Oman developed strong ties to Britain. Sharing the mountainous south coast of the Arabian Peninsula with Yemen, Oman shares many features with its western neighbour, including aspects of their dress and architecture. In ancient times this area was where highly prized Frankincense was grown and exported.

Today our sightseeing includes the Sultan Qaboos Great Mosque. Next is the Baranda Museum, a new facility with interesting displays about the history of Muscat and Oman. After a lunch break we'll visit the Old Palace Area (from the outside), the Bayt al-Zubair Museum, a wonderful museum occupying a traditional house with displays of weaponry, jewelry, costumes, household items and old photos.

Later we visit the Sidab Women's Sewing Group (SWSG), a non-profit community organization inspired and run by local women. The group helps women from a fishing village develop sewing skills so that they can create handicrafts which earn them an income.

Overnight in Muscat.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 15 Muscat - Qariyat - Sur
Today we depart Muscat by road to the Bimmah Sinkhole, a giant depression where sea water has merged with fresh. Two flights of steps take you down to a dazzling pool of blue and green water. After a lunch break at the sinkhole, we continue past Wadi Shab and Wadi Tiwi. This is a region where we can savour the atmosphere of traditional Oman, as it was before the days of oil. Towns here prospered centuries ago on the trade with Africa and Zanzibar coming through the Omani port of Sur. Fine houses and forts were built and many of them still stand today, set back from the road behind the modern buildings. Most of the desert area of Oman is a flat gravel plain but the Wahiba has huge ridges of orange sand dunes separated by valleys. The few Bedouin who still live here breed fine camels.

Oman is not principally a land of sand deserts but rather a dramatic area of dry, jagged mountains with narrow river valleys (wadis) between. The evidence of Oman's tribal past is everywhere, with ruined forts commanding every important vantage point. Much of Oman remains hidden in remote valleys and there is a feeling of self-imposed isolation here at the tip of the Arabian Peninsula.

Overnight in Sur.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 16 Sur - Wahiba Desert Camp
Sur's historical importance is based on the building of dhows, the wooden sailing vessels used to sail to India and other countries from Sur. We may visit the dhow building yard if there is any activity to observe (in recent times, the number of dhows being built here is unfortunately very few). Sur was an important port in ancient times, but really came into its own when Oman started to trade extensively with East Africa. Merchants here made fortunes from the trade in slaves and cloves, and used the profits to build elaborate houses. We will learn of Sur's history and its role in shipbuilding. We will go for a short boat ride around the harbour, having a look at the boat builders' town of Aijah from the sea.

Later we transfer to 4x4 vehicles for our foray into the Omani desert for a desert camp experience. Our camp is located within the breathtaking golden sands of the Oman desert, called the Wahiba Sands. Gas is used for the cooking and refrigeration; paraffin lamps and candles provide light. The camp is therefore a very peaceful place to relax and to experience authentic desert nights.

Our accommodation is in the form of well-equipped huts (called Barasti) with comfortable beds (mattress, blankets, pillows and fresh sheets), and private bath facilities. Our huts are basic but cozy, and a wonderfully atmospheric way to enjoy the desert way of life and to learn about the local culture in a warm and friendly environment. Activities include sunset admiring, musical entertainment, and stargazing.

Overnight at Wahiba Desert Camp.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 17 Wahiba - Ibra - Jabreen Castle - Nizwa
We recommend an early wake-up in order to observe the rising sun over the dunes. After breakfast we depart our camp and head toward Nizwa.

En route we stop at Ibra where, every Wednesday they hold a unique Women's Market for Beouines from surrounding Shanrqiya Sands. This is a fairly recent innovation, opened only in 1990. This is the only souq in Oman which lends itself totally to the needs of women. A dusty square, normally filled with camels, goats turns into a bustling area where brisk business is done by women clad in exotic traditional costumes. There is a community atmosphere in the air where the women chat, work, and sell while their children amuse themselves with the wares (please ask for permission before taking photographs!)

We continue toward Nizwa, the main town of the interior province. En route we experience the inland side of the great mountainous backbone of Oman, where sands lap at the thresholds of farmlands, and a string of border towns marks the zone of transition between nomadic and settled peoples. In the oasis villages of Oman, desert and village economies have mingled for ages to their mutual benefit. Living within and along the sands are approximately 3,000 pastoralist Bedouins belonging to different tribes, who are primarily herders of goats and camels.

Forts and castles are Oman's most striking cultural landmarks and have historically been used as defensive bastions or look-out points. It is estimated that there are over 500 forts, castles and towers in Oman. Today we will visit a few of them that are particularly remarkable in their architecture and style. Included is a stop at Bahla Fort, a UN World Heritage Site.

We continue our drive to Jabreen Castle, built as a defensive stronghold. Jabreen is perhaps the finest of Omani castles, with dungeons, passages, rooms and ceilings decorated with fine carvings and paintings. This castle is distinguished by the inscriptions and frescoes that adorn its rooms; its ceilings are decorated with paintings and Islamic-era style inscriptions, and its doors are beautifully carved. We also explore the village of Misfat Al Abriyeen where we can see its fascinating history, agriculture and falaj watering system.

Overnight in Nizwa.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 18 Nizwa: Jebel Shams Mountains
The Jebel Shams, translated lIterally to "Sun Mountain" is the highest peak in Oman, often called the "Grand Canyons of Oman." We spend another day with our 4x4 vehicles, travelling up the Western Hajjar Mountains, where we can explore the old village of Al Hamra located at the foot of the hills. In this area we can enjoy the date plantations, ruined houses and the scenery. We also stop at Wadi Ghul and discover small villages hidden in the mountain ranges as we climb up the steep and winding road.

We enjoy a wlak to an abandoned village on Jabal Shams Plateau, an exciting route along steep canyon walls. This ancient donkey path follows the west flank of Wadi an Nakhar and leads to the abandoned village of As Sab. Our stroll provides spectacular views into Wadi an Nakhar and down to Al Hamra.

We return to Nizwa for our overnight stay.

Overnight in Nizwa.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 19 Nizwa Cattle Market - Bilad Sait - Muscat - Salalah
Friday is the most interesting day to be near Nizwa, as we have to opportunity to experience its weekly cattle market!! We experience the hustle and bustle of this traditional market where people from many villages bring their livestock.

We then continue by 4X4 through breathtaking mountains scenery; terraced farming and beautiful mountain villages line our route, as well as great views especially of Bilad Sait Village. It is in these mountain areas where Omani honey is produced. Beekeeping has been practiced here since ancient times. The specialist bee keepers of northern Oman have developed great skill in obtaining honey and propogating bee colonies in a sustainable manner. Our guide will take us to one of the bee keepers to observe this traditional practice.

Up on reaching the main road, we continue to Muscat along the fertile Batinah coast with its beautiful beaches, forts, fishing villages and places famous for camel racing and bull fighting. This evening we connect with our flight from Muscat to Salalah, the second largest town in Oman. Salalah is isolated far in the south east of the country, close to the Yemeni border. The setting here is magnificent, as Salalah faces the Arabian Sea/Indian Ocean, backed by hills.

Overnight in Salalah.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 20 Salalah Area
This morning, before heading along the coast and into the mountains in our four-wheel drives, we tour Salalah including the museum and the archaeological site of Al-Balid. In pre-Christian times this tiny area was one of the three centres of production for one of the ancient world's most highly prized and expensive commodities, Frankincense. This was the main area in which the Frankincense tree grew. Demand for this rare product was enormous in the Mediterranean region as it was burnt in huge quantities during religious rites in temples throughout the Roman world (Frankincense is a gum dried from the sap of a special tree that only grows in this area). We visit the site of Sumhuram, the port at the beginning of the Incense Route.

We also visit Job's Tomb, situated on an isolated hilltop overlooking Salalah -- a must-see for the beautiful drive and for the excellent view over the Salalah plain. We finish at the traditional boatbuilding village of Taqua, the "Queen of Sheba's Palace." You'll have a chance to shop for Frankincense at the market in Salalah.

Overnight in Salalah.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 21 Salalah - Muscat - Depart
Today we fly back to Muscat and connect with our flights homeward (departure usually after midnight, just into tomorrow).



Meal plan: breakfast

Tour Map

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.

Hotel List

The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.

Swiss-Belhotel Plaza

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Kuwait
Country: Kuwait

Swiss-Belhotel Plaza Kuwait is prominently situated in Kuwait's city center, connected to a shopping mall with over 200 retail outlets
... various restaurants. Rooms: air conditioning, direct dial telephone, TV, ADSL internet access, personal safety deposit box,
coffee and tea making facilities.

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Delmon International Hotel

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Manama
Country: Bahrain

Built with the concept of offering luxury and space, the Delmon Hotel continues to be Bahrain's premier 4 star hotel.
... superbly appointed Rooms and suites; each equipped with all modern conveniences.

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Mercure Doha

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Doha
Country: Qatar

On the Persian Gulf and in the heart of the city, the hotel is located near the traditional Arab souk
... the National Museum. Mercure Grand Hotel Doha offers 175 air-conditioned guestrooms located on 12 floors, all of which modern decor and open onto balconies. Amenities include cable television, complimentary wireless Internet access, tea and coffee-making facilities, direct-dial phones and minibars.

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Al Jawhara Gardens

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Dubai
Country: United Arab Emirates

Over 100 tastefully decorated rooms and suites, complimented by the warm hospitality that is unique to The Emirates. The hotel's
... facilities are first-rate, including an outdoor swimming pool, spa, sauna, steam-room, and fitness center. Rooms feture: air conditioning, hair dryer, in room safe, television, bathtub, shower, mini bar.

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Golden Tulip Khasab Hotel

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Khasab
Country: Oman

Located in one of the most spectacular natures in the Middle East and the world, Khasab, Sultanate of Oman, the
... Tulip Khasab Hotel and Resort offers 60 beautifully decorated guest rooms and suites, all benefiting from sea and mountain views. It is the ideal hotel for relaxation far away from the city, conferences and also for those who practice diving. The hotel offers a scuba diving centre, to let you discover the wonders of the Norway of Arabia sea.
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Al Falaj Hotel

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Muscat
Country: Oman

Al Falaj Hotel has 143 spacious rooms including well-designed suites all equipped with a range of amenities including individually controlled
... international direct-dial telephones with voicemail, Hi-Speed Internet access points, television with satellite transmission, minibar and 24-hour room service.

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Golden Tulip Hotel

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Nizwa
Country: Oman

Amid this Arabian splendour stands Nizwa Hotel, an Oasis of peace and tranquility set against the magnificent Hajar mountains Just
... short drive from Nizwa, the ancient capital, with its majestic fort and bustling souk, the hotel is within easy distance of other tourist attractions.

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Trip Information

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►


Breakfast and dinner daily. All transport, accommodation, sightseeing and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. Gratuities for drivers, restaurant staff, porters, local guides. Airport transfers for land & air customers and for early arriving / late departing land & air customers who book their extra hotel nights through us.


Tour Leader gratuities, lunches, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), international (if applicable) and domestic air taxes, and any excursions referenced as 'optional'. Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Optional trip cancellation insurance. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on shopping, not included meals, visas, and locally-paid departure taxes.

Seasonality and Weather

This tour is offered in winter and late fall when temperatures are the most pleasant. Jan / Feb is green season in some locations, while fall brings the harvest of dates, melons, grapes, and many other local crops. At the times we run this tour, we can avoid the extreme heat and sandstorm summer season, though we will encounter warm conditions in same locations.

Transport and Travel Conditions

Ground transport provided by private air-conditioned motor coach, 12-36 seats depending on ultimate group size. The tour is not strenuous though it is busy; you must be steady on your feet and be able to endure some heat and long travel days. We have numerous walking tours and visit several sites that are LARGE with steps and uneven surfaces. You must be independent with your own luggage at airports.


Hotels used on tour are well-located, air-conditioned, 3-4-star properties with en suite bath / toilet. Single rooms are limited and possibly smaller than twins. Porters are generally available (see 'Inclusions').

Staff and Support

Tour Leader throughout, local drivers, local guides at various locations.

Group Size

10-21 plus Tour Leader