The Sultanate of Oman is located on the southeast part of the Arabian Peninsula. As affluent as many of its neighbors due to oil, Oman is more intent on focusing on its heritage, so the glitzy buildings seen is some of its neighbors are absent, and instead the Omani culture and nature are the highlights of your visit. The country is sparking and modern, so it's quite apparent that oil wealth is put to good use. On this journey we begin and end in the capital of Muscat, an attractive sea side city with beautiful old and new buildings, all constructed in traditional Omani style. Explore markets, museums, iconic buildings and vistas of the ocean. And sample some of the tasty Omani cuisine. Then we journey into the mountains to visit ancient villages and forts, see Jebel Shams, considered to be the 'Grand Canyon of Arabia' and explore villages, meet locals. The mountain villages are famed for cultivation of pink roses, used for scents and rose water.
DAY 1: WEDNESDAY, Oct. 25
Arrival in Muscat
After arrival and getting settled in hotel we set off to explore Muscat, capital and biggest city of Oman. There are several impressive new buildings to see; Great Mosque, the Muscat Royal Opera House (first opera house on the Arabian peninsula), the gardens of Al Alam Palace, Bait Al Zubair Museum, showcasing history and culture of Oman. We'll see the fish and vegetable market in Muttrah, and then the beautifully decorated Muttrah Souk, full of Omani goods, (perfumes, textiles, carpets, clothes, jewelry, spices and more). The souk is a feast for all of your senses and a good place to shop for many items found only in Oman. Overnight at Royal Tulip Hotel.
DAY 2: THURSDAY, Oct. 26
Journey into the mountain villages of Oman
Today we leave the coastal city of Muscat to drive 3 hours into the mountains on Oman's excellent roads. We have to walk 30 minutes through a canyon to reach Bilad Syat, a small village but considered one of the most beautiful villages in the country, both the walk and the village are stunning and extremely photogenic. The village is the epitome of tranquility with its friendly inhabitants and terraced gardens, we'll sample the local cardamon spiced coffee in a friends house before departing via a different route in order to enjoy more of the splendor of the area. We then drive to Sharaf Al Alamain, the highest elevation of the road to enjoy some spectacular views looking down into the canyon of Wadi Bani Awf. Overnight at Al Misfah Hospitality Inn.
DAY 3: FRIDAY, Oct. 27
Nizwa and nearby canyons
Today we are in the area of Jebel Shams, often referred to as the Grand Canyon of Arabia, and there are a multitude of peaks, wadis (canyons) villages, waterfalls and rivers, and cultivated plantations to see. Al Hamra is a 400 year old village in the mountains of Oman, very atmospheric, traditional and friendly. As we stroll through the town our guide will introduce us to his friends, making house visits as we observe some of the centuries old traditions. Another short drive brings us to the seemingly abandoned village of Misfat Al Abreyeen. Here the ancient mud homes are largely empty, but the functioning irrigation terraces and the lush cultivated fields tell a different story. Lush plantations of tropical fruit overlook another one of Oman's impressive canyons, yet another photo opportunity awaits the visitor. We will see much of Jebel Shams that we can access via road and then some walking, as we explore this fascinating and historic part of Oman. Overnight at Nizwa Heritage Inn.
DAY 4: SATURDAY, Oct. 28
Today we explore the city of Nizwa. Once the capital of Oman, Nizwa is home to sights we visit today; mosques, a beautiful ancient fort, one of the most interesting and authentic souks (markets) in the country. Date palm farming is the occupation of many and the area is surrounded by date palm oasis. We will have plenty of opportunity to sample and purchase these much sought after dates. Today is a combination of nature and culture, as we move from town to countryside and into more small villages, before returning to Nizwa at the end of the day. Overnight at Nizwa Heritage Inn.
DAY 5: SUNDAY, Oct. 29
Return to Muscat
Today we drive back to Muscat, stopping en route to visit the 350 year old Jabreen Castle. Regarded as one of the jewels of Omani architecture, the renovated structure was a center for learning in its prime and has many beautiful and whimsical embellishments. Overnight at Royal Tulip Hotel.
DAY 6: MONDAY, Oct. 30
Transfer to airport today for onward flight. For those remaining in Oman, we can arrange excursions for your coming days.
PRICES & REGISTRATION INFORMATION
(Inclusive of food, accommodations, ground transportation, entrance fees, services of licensed Omani guide and driver, services of USA based trip leader.)
$2100. (Based on double occupancy)
$2500. (Based on single occupancy)
NOTE: International airfare, Omani visa, airport transfers, gratuities, beverages, laundry, souvenirs, items of a personal nature and travel insurance are NOT included.
Muscat, Oman is well served by flights to other Gulf countries, Europe and Asia. There is an early morning flight from Abu Dhabi which is the ideal flight for those who are adding Oman extension to Socotra journey.