Traverse the desert landscape on camel to an overnight camp, where you enjoy a magical evening of traditional Bedouin hospitality.
Speak with a local Omani scholar who discusses the Islamic faith, during a visit to the Grand Mosque in Muscat.
Marvel at the soaring walls of Nizwa Fort and Jabrin Castle – testaments to Oman’s enduring legacy of trade.
Visit the livestock market in Nizwa for authentic immersion in a cherished Bedouin tradition.
Gain insight into Emirati heritage at the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital and Museum, and experience the Louvre Abu Dhabi on a privately guided visit.
Gain a bird’s-eye view of Dubai’s skyline from the observation deck of the world’s tallest skyscraper, Burj Khalifa, and roam through the city’s medieval souks.
Arrive Muscat, Oman
Touch down in Muscat, Oman’s capital city, where an A&K representative will meet you and transfer you to your luxurious hotel. Standing majestically on a clifftop overlooking the Gulf of Oman’s turquoise waters, the resort’s Moorish and Omani architectural elements reflect the rich heritage of the Sultanate.
Begin your exploration of Muscat at the National Museum. Housed in the heart of Old Muscat, it features artefacts depicting Oman’s cultural and historical heritage. After a brief stop at the Al Alam Palace, continue your exploration of Muscat’s fascinating fusion of old and new at the Royal Opera House Muscat. Constructed by the same team responsible for the Grand Mosque, it embodies a similar synergy of contemporary construction and time-honoured tradition. After lunch, return to your hotel for an afternoon at leisure, followed by a welcome dinner.
Today, continue exploring Muscat, beginning in the Grand Mosque, a contemporary architectural marvel. Explore the basic tenets of Islam with a local expert in the main prayer room, a vast space adorned with chandeliers and hand-woven carpets. Next, head to the local market with a chef who assists you in selecting ingredients for your interactive chef ’s table experience. After lunch and leisure time, cruise like a local aboard a dhow (traditional fishing boat), then head to Muttrah Souk, a traditional market filled with frankincense, silver handicrafts and gold jewellery.
Follow the coast to Sur, passing through the village of Quriyat and seeing Bimah Sinkhole. Continue to Wadi Tiwi, with its deep, narrow gorges. Stop at a dhow factory, before proceeding to the undulating red and white dunes of Sharqiya Sands, noting the pretty mountainside villages en route. Upon reaching camp, set out to discover the boundless dunes by 4x4 vehicle, continuing into the desert sunset by camel for a scenic sundowner. Tonight’s barbecue dinner, accompanied by a local oud (lute) player, is set beneath the desert stars.
This morning, travel back in time at Birkat Al Mouz, a former settlement of clay ruins and cleverly irrigated date plantations. Continue on to explore the Jebel Akhdar (the Green Mountain), a scenic vista nestled within Oman’s spectacular Al-Hajar Mountain Range. Perched some 2,000 metres above sea level, your vantage point on a ridge of Jebel Akhdar affords you commanding views of the rugged canyons below. Check in to your accommodation, a melding of traditional Omani construction techniques, local stones and contemporary architecture.
Today, visit the city of Nizwa, Oman’s former capital and a trading enclave for more than a millennium. Pass through the city’s arched gateway to explore its iconic 17th-century fort, bustling souk, weekly livestock market, fascinating silversmith shops and deeply rooted Islamic traditions. After lunch, choose to continue to a nearby wadi (valley) for grand views of the canyon, or return to your luxurious resort for an afternoon at leisure.
Abu Dhabi, UAE
Continue exploring the Ad Dakhiliyah region with a visit to Jabrin Castle, the finest surviving example of Oman’s 17th-century fortresses. This former bastion of astrology, medicine and Islamic law showcases elegantly painted ceilings, intricate woodcarvings and other period details. After lunch, travel overland to Muscat and fly to Abu Dhabi, where you check in to your luxury accommodation on Saadiyat Island.
One of the wealthiest and most modern city-states in the world, Abu Dhabi is renowned for its lush greenery, planned development and beautiful Corniche promenade. Begin your exploration of the city at the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital and Museum, gaining insight into this fascinating bird of prey and its integral role in the Emirati’s heritage. This afternoon, visit the Louvre Abu Dhabi for a privately guided tour of this cultural beacon of the city.
After breakfast, visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, widely renowned as Abu Dhabi’s crowning jewel. The mosque accommodates the world’s largest Persian carpet, seven crystal chandeliers and some 41,000 worshippers. Next, drive to Dubai, taking in the sights of this stunning city along the way. Pause to enjoy lunch and gain further insight into Emirati culture from a local resident. Then, continue exploring Old Dubai, strolling the aromatic spice market and making your way to the modern Deira Gold Souk, a market specialising in some of the world’s purest gold. Check in to your hotel where the evening is at leisure.
Today, explore New Dubai and its iconic skyscrapers. Begin at Burj Al Arab, a striking architectural marvel evoking the sail of a dhow boat. Next, visit the world’s tallest skyscraper, Burj Khalifa, an engineering masterwork measuring a staggering 830 metres tall. Finished in 2009, this neo-futuristic wonder bested both the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower and Taipei 101 by considerable margins. Soaring over the cityscape, your vantage point affords breathtaking views. Return to your hotel for an afternoon at leisure. Later this evening, gather for a farewell dinner with your fellow guests.
After 10 nights admiring the ancient and modern wonders of Oman and the United Arab Emirates, it’s time to bid farewell. Transfer to the airport and board your departure flight from Dubai.
Oman & the Emirates: The Sands of Time Escorted Tour
- Group Size: Max 18
- Holiday Length: 10 nights
- Price Guide From £7,800pp
- Holiday Type: Escorted tour
- English-speaking Resident Tour Director® and local guides
- Hand-selected luxury accommodation
- Airport meet and greet with private transfers
- Travelling Bell Boy® luggage handling
- Breakfast in bed on selected days
- Full breakfast daily; selected lunches and dinners
- Traveller’s Valet® laundry service
- Internet access
- Entrance fees, taxes and all gratuities except Resident Tour Director
- 24/7 A&K on-call support
- Guaranteed departures with just two guests