Bimeh Sinkhole- Oman , photo by Katerina Kerdi
Sultanate of Oman
The Sultanate of Oman has one of the oldest civilizations in the Arabian Peninsula, dating back thousands of years with notable periods of greatness in the ancient world and in medieval times.
Like other great civilizations, Oman faded from prominence - until the recent resurgence under the wise and able leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said. All along, the country was active in many ways and has an interesting history that is still relevant today and has left many tangible traces in prominent landmarks and a highly developed culture.
Day 1 | Muscat
Arrive at Muscat Airport. You will be met before immigration with a placard and escorted to the Prime Lounge where you enjoy Omani hospitality. Hot or cold refreshments are offered while the lounge executive completes the immigration formalities. You are then escorted to the baggage hall and assisted with their baggage and custom formalities.
Transfer from Muscat International Airport to hotel,
Afternoon Transfer to the Marina to embark on a relaxed dhow (fishermen’s boat) cruise. See Muscat coast through the eyes of ancient seafarers who plied this route for centuries. Have a brief stop at a natural cove. Photograph the spectacular Al Bustan Palace Hotel before we return back to the Marina for the transfer to the hotel. (Soft drinks, tea, coffee, and dates served on board)
Return to the hotel
Includes: Dinner, Mineral Water, Soft drinks
Hotel Check in time: 14:00 hours
Hotel Check out: 12:00 hours
Dinner and Overnight stay at hotel
Day 2 | Muscat
Muscat offers the visitor a unique opportunity to witness a modern commercial center existing in harmony with its traditional culture. Muscat with its natural harbor means “Anchorage” & lies in a natural volcanic bowl.
Pickup from the hotel and proceed to visit the Grand Mosque, the highlight of the Muscat city. Completed in 2001, Grand Mosque is a beautiful building which looks modern but shows that modern craftsmen have retained the skills necessary to create this wonderful traditional environment. The handmade carpets, the chandeliers, the ceiling of the great dome in the main prayer room are absolute 'must sees'. Kindly note- Ladies to be fully covered and to carry a headscarf and men should wear trousers. A short Lecture by a local Omani scholar on religion/Islam.
Visit Royal Opera House Muscat, a towering beacon shedding light on the various trends of the Renaissance march towards growth. We proceed to Bait Al Zubair Museum is a brief introduction that traces Oman’s history and development.
Drive along the waterfront Corniche visiting the bustling Muttrah Souq. We proceed for a photo stop to the magnificent Al Alam Palace, official palace of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos flanked by the 16th-century Portuguese forts Mirani & Jalali.
Lunch at Kargeen Restaurant.
Return the hotel.
Afternoon at Leisure
In the evening, we venture to the Bait Adam Museum for a private visit, followed by a traditional dinner with an Omani Family. We will explore the museum with the founder and curator of this unique collection of Omani artifacts and history. We’ll become better acquainted with Oman’s rich heritage by viewing this private collection of old maps, photographs, paintings, jewelry, and one of the best private collections of ancient coins in the Middle East
Dinner and Overnight stay at the hotel,
Day 3 | Muscat – Sur – Wahiba Sands
We drive past the fishing village of Quriyat. There is a good chance of spotting Flamingos and Eagles at an inland stream. We then proceed to the Bimah Sinkhole, a spectacular limestone crater with blue green water at the bottom.
The drive along the coast offers tantalizing glimpses of the sea. Our next stop is at the Bimah sinkhole, a limestone crater with blue green water at the bottom. Photo stop at Wadi Tiwi. Proceed to the pretty Wadi Shab. For those, It is possible to walk right up to the source of the Wadi through lush green plantations of lemon, banana, and dates. The fairly easy walk on a rocky path is dotted with pools and waterfalls. (Comfortable walking shoes are recommended.) However, walk is only recommended for fit travelers.
Post-tour we continue our drive to Wahiba via Sur.
The Wahiba Sands, a vast mass of undulating red and White Sea of sand and dunes rising up to 200 meters, which are, also host to a variety of flora and fauna. The ever-changing patterns of the dunes are a photographers’ delight.
Experience dune bashing a thrilling ride in the evening over the dunes. Enjoy Camel Ride during Sunset in the oasis. We’ll also visit a Bedouin camp and enjoy a cup of local Omani coffee.
Overnight stay at Desert Night Camp (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)
Day 4 | Wahiba Sands – Nizwa – Jebel Akhdar
Today pick up from the hotel and proceed to Jabel Akhdar.
We drive to Jabel Akhdar via Birkat Al Mouj. Located on the way to Jabel Akhdar this uninhibited, abandoned village is a good reminder of old days. Great for a photo-stop and to explore by walking this place is full of date and banana orchards, old brick houses. Visiting this place gives an idea of rural life.
We continue our drive to Jabel Akhdar. Jabal Akhdar, meaning “The Green Mountain” in Arabic, is part of the Al Hajar mountain range, one of Oman’s most spectacular regions. Perched here 2,000 meters above sea level, Alila Jabal Akhdar overlooks a dramatic gorge, surrounded by awe-inspiring views of the Al Hajar Mountains. This Oman resort is the perfect base for exploring the region’s magnificent landscape of rugged, untouched beauty while experiencing the height of sumptuous comfort.
Afternoon walking tour of Jebel Akhdar. Al Jebel Al Akhdar is famed for its fruit orchards typically laid out terrace style along the slopes of mountains, which are endowed with natural springs and aflaj. The villages of Saiq, Wadi Bani Habib (the village of the old houses) visit village roose & Al Ain dot the landscape. The villages overlook a spectacular landscape of dramatic peaks, gorges and wadis. The roses of Jabal Al Akhdar fill the air with fragrance when in full bloom (March / April). Rose water is distilled in the homes of the villagers. Meet with the farmer.
Return to the hotel.
Dinner and overnight stay at the Anantara Jebel Akhdar. (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)
Day 5 | Jebel Akhdar
Our day starts little early with a visit to Nizwa's renowned cattle market. Taking place every Friday, this is where locals buy and trade the best livestock, from goats to cattle directly from the herders. It's a fascinating thing to experience as you immerse yourself in the dealings and trading that takes place. From here, we take some time to explore the Nizwa souk, one of the few souks in Oman featuring exclusive traditional Omani goods, including pottery, intricately hand-carved "khanjars" and ornamental silver jewellery. We also explore the Round Tower Fort, built in the 17th century.
We proceed to visit Jabrin, the finest of Oman’s Castles built in the late 17th century, which became a seat of Omani learning. The Castle displays the highest achievement in Omani ceiling painting & beautifully executed woodcarvings. After taking a Photo stop at the Bahla Fort. Drive to Wadi Nakher. In the Jebel Akhdar range Jebel Shams is the highest peak, which offers a spectacular view. Lunch at local Omani house OR lunch in a traditional Omani style at one of Plam oasis in area
Note- Tour timings might need to adjust being Friday.
Post tour return to the Jabel Akhdar hotel.
Dinner and Overnight stay at Anantara Jebel Akhdar. (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)
Enjoy star gazing at the hotel after dinner.
Day 6 | Jebel Akhdar - Muscat – Salalah
Today after breakfast check-out from hotel and drive to Muscat. Drop off at Muscat Airport for your flight to Salalah.
Arrive at Salalah Airport and transfer to Al Baleed Salalah.
Check in at the Hotel.
Today we explore Salalah, the capital of the southernmost province of Dhofar. We begin with a visit to the ancient tomb of the "Prophet Job" situated in the scenic green mountains of the Salalah Plains. Returning to Salalah we visit the Grand Mosque, opened in 2011. We continue with a visit in the Al Balid Museum also known as the museum of Frankincense Land and a UNESCO heritage site. Lecture by archeologist at Al Balid.
Dinner and Overnight stay at Al Baleed Salalah by Anantara.
Day 7 | Salalah
we proceed to visit to the fishing village of Taqah, famous for the manufacture of dried sardines and its traditional Dhofari stone houses. We visit the old Taqah castle, the former official residence of the "Wali" governor of the region and obtain a glimpse into the rich history of the region. We continue to the ancient ruins of the once famous city of Sumharam (UNESCO World Heritage Site) where we enjoy a lecture by an archeologist on site. Sumharam was once the easternmost outpost of the Hadramawt Kingdom on the ancient incense route between the Mediterranean Sea, Persian Gulf and India. Sumharam was one of the major hubs, harbors and trading cities of frankincense.
Lecture by an Archeologists at Samharam.
We explore Mirbat, the ancient capital of Dhofar and where the frankincense trail began. In the 9th century it was the most important trading point for horses, slaves and frankincense. We explore the town taking notice of the unique architecture and old houses famous for its woodcarvings and visit one of Dhofar's best-known historic sites, Bin Ali's Tomb. The tomb of Mohamed Bin Ali who died in 1135 AD is a fine example of medieval architecture.
Enjoy a lunch at Marriott Resort
After lunch, return to Salalah.
Dinner and Overnight stay at Al Baleed Salalah by Anantara.
Day 8 | Salalah
Today morning, you will be picked from the hotel for your transfer to the Salalah International Airport where you can relax till your flight departure is announced.