Group Size: Based on Minimum 2 passengers
The careful balance between past and present allows visitors to the country to witness a unique paradox: a rich history, heritage and culture perfectly preserved, together with the most modern convenient and luxurious facilities. In this country Ancient customs, historical architecture, traditional crafts and legendary Omani hospitality live side by side with 20th century amenities, luxury hotels and state of the art services.
Start off your Exotic Oman adventure in the bustling capital of Muscat, where the landscape, light and the tapestry of sights are sure to enchant you. Then your journey takes you to the spectacular Wahiba Sands - famous for its sand dunes, Nizwa - renowned for its majestic circular fort and souk, and Jebel Akhdar - the highest mountain in Oman. Your 8-day journey concludes back in Muscat.
Day 1 – Muscat
On arrival at Muscat Airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel in Muscat. This short drive to your hotel will provide you the first impressions of a clean and green capital. During the drive your driver/guide will enlighten you with some basic facts about Muscat and Oman in general. This afternoon is at leisure for you to explore this charming city on your own.
Grand Hyatt is among Muscat’s luxury resorts. Its convivial ambience and timeless beauty is obvious from the moment you enter the lobby. Introducing world class hospitality and Arabian architecture in the heart of the diplomatic district in Shatti Al Qurum.
Day 2 - Ras Al Jinz
Today you will embark on a long thrilling drive from Sur to Muscat. With stunning views of the waters of the Arabian Sea on one side and the rocky cliffs on the other, this is an exciting drive along the coast road, though the road has recently been made tarmc. Stop will be at Bimah Sinkhole, a spectacular limestone crater with blue green water at the bottom. Continue your drive and stop at the white sandy Fins beach for photos. Wadi Shaab is a wadi between cliffs and normally has water. Not far away is another picturesque wadi – Wadi Tiwi. A walk through the narrow roads leads you to lush plantations and pools with clear water. (BLD)
A few kilometres away are the ruins at of Qalhat, one of the oldest towns and seaports in Oman. However, only the remnants of the city walls remain here today. Visit ruins of the tomb of the holy lady, Bibi Miriam, which stands high up on the cliff top. Stop at the coastal town of Sur for a quick short visit. Sur has historical importance and dhows used to sail to India and other countries from Sur. Many of the rich people of Oman belong to Sur and you can see many big seaside mansions along the way. Driving on to Sur, we will visit the Dhow building yard (though in recent times, unfortunately, the amount of dhows built here is very few! We are therefore unable to guarantee ant activity during the visit).
Before continuing to Ras Al Had, you will also visit the village of Ayja, a small town on the other side of Sur, lulled by the sea and quite charming with quaint houses on both sides of narrow alleys, with goats and sheep’s wandering the narrow streets, this is really an interesting town for the visitors.
Ras Al Hadd is where the first sunrise in the whole of Arabian Peninsula is seen – the adjoining Ras Al Jinz houses one of the largest nesting areas for Green Turtles in the Indian Ocean. An exceptionally high amount of turtles nest here each year, with an average of 30,000 only nesting on the beaches of Ras Al Jinz. The turtle reserve opens at night (21h00) for the public to see the turtles nestling on the sands and depending in your luck, you will be able to see a few or more of these wonderful creatures.
You will stay at the Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve, located right on the beach!
Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve is truly a unique destination. Earlier established to help monitor the fascinating and amazing nesting processes of these aunts of the marine turtle world, it now hosts numerous visitors form different countries realising their wishes to witness a once in a lifetime experience. Total accommodation is 31 units including Carapace rooms and the luxury Eco-tents. Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve rates are all inclusive of buffet breakfast, turtle viewing (evening and dawn) entry to the Turtle Reserve Visitor Centre (Museum) and tax and service charge.
Day 3 - Wahiba Sands
After breakfast you will drive along the virgin and rugged shores of central Oman’s east coast offering unspoiled and breathtaking sceneries of Oman’s desert hinterland and pass fishing villages and areas ideal for bird-watching. Turning inland again you will see some of the less visited towns of Oman. Jalan Bani Bu Hassan and Jalan Bani Bu Ali; towns comprising a conglomeration of watch towers, old fortified houses, forts and crumbling old walls. (BLD)
In Jalan Bani Bu Hassan you can see (from outside only) the 200-hundred-year-old mosque with 52 domes. You can also see the ruins of a huge old fort belong to a powerful Omani tribal family. The door carvings are typical of that you find in most part of Arabia.
Before you continue towards Wahiba Sands, you will take the winding road up to the picturesque Wadi Bani Khalid. The Wadi has several beautiful mountain formations and landscapes. The walk to the pools of Wadi Bani Khalid is quite interesting, along the falaj (small irrigation canals) and past mango trees and other crops. Farmers in the area, despite the rough terrains, have managed to cultivate land at the foothills of the mountains by using the water streams to irrigate the crops. This is quite a refreshing visit; and you would be able enjoy a swim in the waters here.
Running south from the Eastern Hajjar Mountains to Arabian Sea, the Wahiba Sands, described a Sand sea, stretches almost 200 kms in length and about 100 kms in width. The dunes rise above 100-150 metres in different shades of colour and shifting sands, is the perfect place for both the romantic and the adventurous. A roller-coaster ride over the dunes would a thrilling fun especially for those who are first time visitors to the desert.
Be amazed at the spectacular sunset over the dunes! You will certainly enjoy the ambience at your desert camp and of course the dinner (generally BBQ).
The guests will enjoy not only a spiritual, cultural-but luxury experience of staying in-style at the heart of Wahiba Sands. The setting among the Cineraria trees emphasizes the beauty of the virgin golden sand dunes surrounding the camp. In certain mornings you can even see how the fog disappears gradually as the sun rises.
Day 4 - Jebel Akhdhar
Getting up early in the morning provides you a fantastic opportunity to explore the dunes by foot or to just watch the shifting colours of the dunes. You now say good bye to the desert and head towards Nizwa.
Nizwa is popular for the interesting cattle auction, which takes place on every Friday. Visit the Nizwa fort and the Nizwa souq. The 17th century round fort and the souq famous for intricate silver jewellery are the major attractions of Nizwa. Built on a solid base of rock, the huge tower was designed to withstand the vibrations of 24 cannons.
Continue driving towards Jebel Akhdhar and before you start your drive up the Hajar Mountains visit this pretty village of Birkat al Mauz, where you enjoy a walk through the lush green date plantations. You now take the stretch of winding road up to Jebel al Akhdar (2,000m), the green jewel of the Al Hajar mountain ranges.
Enjoy the cool climate up in the mountains and see Jebel al Akhdar which is famed for fruit orchards laid out in terraces along the mountain slopes and irrigated by falaj, traditional water systems. (BD)
Day 5 - Jebel Akhdhar
Explore the Jebel Akhdhar Mountains, its valleys and orchards on your own or simply enjoy the “cooler” weather here and the pool at the Hotel. Enjoy a stroll in the nearby village on your own. (BD)
A large variety of fruit including peaches, apricots, figs, grapes, apples plums and pears are grown here from July to September and almonds and walnuts are cultivated. Tiny villages, including picturesque Saiq, Al Ain, and abandoned Wadi Bani Habib, dot the landscape and overlook a spectacular vista of peaks, gorges and wadis. The roses of Jebel al Akhdar fill the air with fragrance from March to April, when they are in full bloom, and rose water is distilled in the homes of the villagers.
Day 6 – Muscat
After enjoying the cool climate of Jebel Akhdhar, it’s time now to descend the mountain.
Forts and castles are Oman’s most striking cultural landmarks and together with its towers and city walls, they 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 you could visit a few of them, which are more remarkable & striking in their architecture & style.
On your way to Jabreen, stop at the Bahla Fort, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fort and settlement, a mud-walled oasis in the Omani desert, owed its prosperity to the Banu Nebhan tribe (Nabahina), who dominated the central Omani region and made Bahla their capital from the 12th to the end of the 15th century. Bahla was the centre of Ibadism (a branch of Islam), on which the ancient Omani Imamates were based and whose influence can be traced across Arabia, Africa and beyond.
Continue your drive to the Jabreen castle. Built as a defensive stronghold, the Jabreen is perhaps the finest of Omani castles. The castle has dungeons, passages, rooms and ceilings decorated with fine carvings & paintings.
This castle is distinguished by the inscriptions and frescoes that adorn its rooms. The castle’s ceilings are decorated with paintings and Islamic-era style inscriptions, and its doors are beautifully carved. All these architectural details make Jabreen Castle an authentic expression of Omani craftsmanship.
The Jebel Shams, translated lterally to “Sun Mountan” is the highest peak in Oman. Today you will explore the heights of Hajjar Mountains. You will visit the village of Al Hamra where 400 years old mud houses are still standing and occupied and the mountain village of Misfah with stone dwellings.
Start driving up the Western Hajjar Mountains rising over 2,000 metres, which can be seen from far away as you approach them. You will stop at the terrace farming village of Wadi Ghul.
Continue to Jebel Shams (mountain of the Sun), the tallest peak in Oman at a height of) 3,010 metres offering spectacular views of the surroundings.Jebel shams is home to weaver of heavy woolen rugs in distinctive black, red and brown geometric designs. You will discover small villages hidden in the mountain ranges as you climb up the steep and winding road.
Jebel shams is home to weaver of heavy woolen rugs in distinctive black, red and brown geometric designs.You will discover small villages hidden in the mountain ranges as you climb down the steep and winding road.
Return to Muscat.
Standing majestically on a cliff top overlooking the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Oman, Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa presents a new model for luxury hospitality in Muscat.
As you arrive at the palatial Al Husn, which means “castle” in Arabic, traditionally dressed doormen stand within the heavy carved wooden doors to offer a royal welcome befitting a real Arabian palace. Within seconds, the journey from home to the hotel becomes a distant memory as you embrace the atmosphere drenched in tranquility – your stay at Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa has only just begun.
Day 7 – Muscat
Today you will explore Muscat, the clean capital city. A unique blend of the ancient & the modern, Muscat is a beautiful clean city, which lies in the middle of a maze of brown pleated mountains, lulled by the Arabian Sea. The city has undergone dramatic development in the past two to three decades, however it has never lost its pride in its heritage & culture.
You will start your tour with a visit to the Grand Mosque, which is an architectural marvel and is perhaps the new landmark of the city.
The Grand Mosque is open Sat to Thu 0800-1100 hrs only.
Ladies visiting the Grand Mosque are required to cover their head with scarf and do not wear shorts, beachwear or sleeveless outfits as they are to be fully covered i.e. hands till wrist and legs till feet.
Men visiting the Grand Mosque should wear long trousers.
You can continue your drive through the ministries area where you can see a number of modern buildings with touches of Islamic architecture.
You will then visit the Royal Opera House which is the leading arts and culture organization in the Sultanate of Oman. The vision of the Opera House is to serve as a centre of excellence in global cultural engagement. The “Opera Galleria”, Royal Opera House Muscat’s new flagship shopping destination, is host to wonderful shops, international brands, and an array of international cafés and dining options. It boasts 50 shops offering a wide range and carefully balanced mix of art outlets, gems, fashion and perfumes.
You will drive to the old Muscat, the most charming part of the city. You would enter the enchanting Muttrah souq with its narrow covered alleys where the exotic smells of mounds of spices, coffees, ancient remedies and enticing perfumes fill the air.
Next visit Bait Al Zubair or National Museum. With the variety of exhibits, modern display methods and information provided, the museum serves as a real window on Oman’s rich heritage and culture.
A photo stop at the magnificent Al Aalam Palace (the official residence of Sultan Qaboos) flanked by the twin Portuguese forts of Mirani & Jalali. Return to your hotel and the remainder of the afternoon is at leisure.
Day 8 - End of Exotic Oman Classic
Today you will be transferred to Muscat Airport for your onward flight. (B)
Dates and Pricing
Prices shown are per person based on twin share. Seasonal supplements and minimum night requirement may apply. Solo traveller and extra night prices available on request. Luggage restrictions may apply. International flights not included.