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Marco Polo Journeys

Oman & the Emirates: The Sands of Time 2021


11 days from $9,995 per person

Limited to 18 guests

Celebrate the rich tapestry of history, culture and innovation that lies at the cornerstones of Oman and the United Arab Emirates, two nations boasting both ultra-modern metropolises and the timeless traditions that take you on a journey back in time.

A&K Advantages

  • Traverse the desert landscape on camel back to an overnight camp, where you relax with a refreshing cocktail and savor a private barbecue dinner accompanied by an oud (lute) player for 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, imposing 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
  • Get a bird’s-eye view of Dubai’s skyline from the observation deck of the world’s tallest skyscraper, Burj Khalifa, and roam through its medieval souks

Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1
Arrive Muscat, Oman
Day 2
Muscat | Fusion of Old & New
Day 3
Muscat | Historic Port City
Day 4
Wahiba Sands | Under the Desert Stars
Day 5
Jabal Al Akhdar | Endless Mountain Vistas
Day 6
Nizwa | Imposing Forts & Towering Peaks
Day 7
Abu Dhabi, UAE | Jabrin Castle
Day 8
Abu Dhabi | Modern Marvels
Day 9
Dubai | Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Day 10
Dubai | City in the Sky
Day 11
Depart Dubai
Day 1
Arrive Muscat, Oman

Arrive in Muscat, where you are met and transferred to your hotel. Standing majestically on a clifftop overlooking the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Oman, the resort’s Moorish and Omani architectural elements reflect the rich heritage of the Sultanate.

Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa
Day 2
Muscat | Fusion of Old & New

Begin your exploration of Muscat at the National Museum. Housed in the heart of Old Muscat, it features artifacts 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-honored tradition. After lunch, return to your hotel for an afternoon at leisure, followed by a welcome dinner.

Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3
Muscat | Historic Port City

Today, continue your exploration of Muscat in the historic port city’s Grand Mosque, a contemporary architectural marvel showcasing an enduring tradition of regional artistry and craftsmanship. Explore the basic tenets of Islam with a local expert in the mosque’s main prayer room, a vast space adorned with intricate chandeliers and handwoven carpets. Next, head to the local market with a chef who assists you in selecting ingredients for your interactive Chef ’s Table experience. Learn about Omani dishes and share your lunch with local students. After leisure time at your hotel, Ride Like a Local on a dhow (traditional fishing boat) cruise exploring the city’s port and coast beyond, taking in an iconic seascape traversed by sailors for centuries. Pause in a scenic cove for a photo opportunity set against a spectacular backdrop. Disembark and make your way to Muttrah Souk, a traditional Omani market filled with frankincense, silver handicrafts and gold jewelry.

Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 4
Wahiba Sands | Under the Desert Stars

Follow the coast to Sur, passing through the village of Quriyat and seeing Bimah Sinkhole. Continue to Wadi Tiwi, with its deep, narrow gorges carved from towering seaside cliffs. Stop at a dhow factory before proceeding to the undulating red and white dunes of Wahiba Sands, noting the pretty villages that cling to the slopes of the rugged mountainside en route. Upon reaching camp, set out to discover the boundless dunes by 4x4 vehicle, continuing into the desert sunset by camel back for a Scenic Sundowner. Tonight’s barbecue dinner, accompanied by a local oud (lute) player, is set beneath the desert stars.

Desert Nights Camp
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5
Jabal Al Akhdar | Endless Mountain Vistas

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 Jabal Al Akhdar (the Green Mountain), a scenic vista nestled within Oman’s spectacular Al Hajar Mountain Range. Perched some 6,600 feet above sea level, your vantage on a ridge of Jabal Al Akhdar affords commanding views of the rugged canyons below. Check in to your accommodations, a melding of traditional Omani construction techniques, local stones and contemporary architecture.

Alila Jabal Akhdar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6
Nizwa | Imposing Forts & Towering Peaks

Visit the 17th-century trading enclave of Nizwa, passing through the city’s arched gateway to explore its iconic fort, bustling souk, weekly livestock market, fascinating silversmith shops and deeply rooted Islamic traditions. After lunch, enjoy the option to continue to a nearby wadi for grand views of the canyon or return to your luxurious resort for an afternoon at leisure.

Alila Jabal Akhdar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7
Abu Dhabi, UAE | Jabrin Castle

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 accommodations on Saadiyat Island.

St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 8
Abu Dhabi | Modern Marvels

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. 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.

St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9
Dubai | Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

After breakfast, visit the magnificent 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 worshipers. Take in the majesty of this vast architectural marvel, gaining a deeper understanding of the mosque’s vital role in the local religious community. Next, drive to Dubai, taking in sights of this stunning city along the way. Pause to enjoy lunch and interact with an interesting local resident, providing you further insight into Emirati culture. Then, continue exploring Old Dubai, strolling the aromatic spice market and making your way to the modern Deira Gold Souk, a market specializing in some of the world’s purest gold. Check in to your hotel where the evening is at leisure.

Palace Downtown
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 10
Dubai | City in the Sky

Today, explore New Dubai and its iconic skyscrapers. Begin at Burj al Arab, a striking architectural marvel evoking the sail of a dhow. Next, visit the world’s tallest skyscraper, Burj Khalifa, an engineering masterwork measuring a staggering 2,716 feet high (2,722 feet if you count the antennae). Topping out in late 2008, this neofuturistic 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.

Palace Downtown
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 11
Depart Dubai

Transfer to the airport and board your homebound flight.

Meals: Breakfast


Prices are in USD, per person, based on double occupancy.

  • 2021
  • Mar 14 - Mar 24
    Available
    Price
    Single Supplement
    Internal air from
    Availability
    Price
    $9,995
    Single Supplement
    $3,995
    Internal air from
    $380
    Availability
    Available
    How many people are travelling in your group?
  • Nov 07 - Nov 17
    Available
    Price
    Single Supplement
    Internal air from
    Availability
    Price
    $9,995
    Single Supplement
    $3,995
    Internal air from
    $380
    Availability
    Available
    How many people are travelling in your group?
Journey Details

Internal Air: Economy class from $380
Muscat/Abu Dhabi

This journey contains some active elements.

Minimum age is 10 years.

First group event: welcome briefing at 8:30 a.m. on Day 2.

Last group event: farewell dinner at 7:30 p.m. on Day 10.

Departures are guaranteed to operate with a minimum of 2 guests.

Program Note: This journey entails widely varying temperatures; exposure to high altitudes; visiting sites with limited accessibility for those with mobility challenges; and active elements such as extended walks over sand and steep, uneven terrain.


Preparing for Your Journey

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Essential Information

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Passports & Visas

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CDC Information

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