• SULTANATE OF OMAN • UAE • QATAR • BAHRAIN • KUWAIT •
Here is the ultimate cultural odyssey of Arabia exploring some of the modern metropolises and lesser known regions of the Persian Gulf. This all-in-one exploratory at an unbeatable value for money offers you a unique opportunity to learn first-hand about the transformation of Arabia from a barren desert region to an oil-rich kingdom of the Sheikhs, Emirs and Sultans.
This is a small group tour run by a team of EET destination specialists in each of the five countries offering the visitor a fascinating glimpse of the traditional lifestyle of the Arabs and the man-made marvels of the contemporary Arabia. As we wander through emirate after emirate, from world renowned landmarks, oasis towns to mud-walled village dwellings, from traditional bazaars and exotic gardens to designer malls, museums filled with treasures of the ancient trading history and Bedouins of the past, we cover them all in this tour. What’s more, we even drive off road to wade through the rolling dunes of the Arabian sands and sample the life in the desert.
The highlights of this tour include UAE, a confederation of highly prosperous seven emirates on the Arabian Peninsula, Sultanate of Oman, a mystical land of contrasts, a mixture of the old and new and a fresh perspective of what was Arabia a few decades ago. Touring Kuwait was never an option for international travelers until recently and just over two decades after the end of the Gulf War, country now welcomes visitors. Our travels through the smaller Gulf States of Qatar and the island kingdom of Bahrain shows the discovery of oil have changed their traditional pearl fishing days towards modernization whilst keeping their cultural heritage and the Islamic influence intact.
◊ Muscat City Sightseeing
◊ Nizwa – Old capital of Oman
◊ Jabrin & Bahla Forts (UNESCO Heritage sites)
◊ Oasis town of Al Ain
◊ Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Mosque
◊ Dubai Palm Jumeirah
◊ Burj Khalifa & Burj Al Arab
◊ Historic Dubai city tour
◊ Desert Safari adventure
◊ Northern Emirates of Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah
◊ East coast of UAE
◊ Qatar Inland Sea adventure
◊ Doha old city & Islamic Museum
◊ Full day Bahrain sightseeing
◊ Classical tour of Kuwait
◊ Kuwait Black Gold adventure
Day 1: International flight arrival in Muscat (Sultanate of Oman)
A warm welcome upon arrival in Muscat’s Seeb International airport by your Omani hosts and transferred to your hotel. Welcome meeting by EET’s local representative and dinner at hotel. Overnight: Muscat (2 nights) (D)
Day 2: Muscat
Afternoon is at leisure. (B, D)
Day 3: Muscat – Nizwa “The Old Capital of Oman”
We spend the night at a smaller boutique hotel, Falaj Daris Hotel, Nizwa (B, D)
Day 4: Nizwa/ Al Ain / Abu Dhabi (UAE)
This morning we bid goodbye to Oman and travel overland to United Arab Emirates(UAE) via the oasis town of Al Ain. Lunch in Al Ain after crossing the Oman-UAE border.
Al Ain, once an important stop of the caravan trail of Arabia. Now a beautifully laid out city with parks and gardens, Al Ain is a town known for archaeological sites that date back some 5,000 years. We visit the majestic Al Jahili Fort and Al Ain Palace Museum which is an old fortress and a former ruler’s residence that now houses memorabilia of royal lifestyles and showcases everyday lives of the local people. Al Ain oasis still uses the age old irrigation system of falaj to nourish its date crops, and the lively camel market to provide further glimpses of its revered rituals.
We drive further west to Abu Dhabi, the capital overlooking the Arabian Gulf and richest of all seven emirates that make up the federation of UAE. We check in to our hotel for the night.
Spend the afternoon sightseeing in Abu Dhabi, and we head out for a visit of beautifully designed Sheikh Zayed Mosque, which is the third biggest mosque in the world. We later proceed around the Bateen area where the palaces of the ruling family are located driving past them we stop at the magnificent Emirates Palace Hotel and visit the Sadiyaat Exhibition. Next stop is a visit to the heritage village and have a photo stop of the breathtaking Abu Dhabi Corniche, also tagged as the “Manhattan of the Middle East”. We later drive to the cultural roundabout and visit the date market. Dinner and overnight at Rotana Khalidiya Palace hotel in Abu Dhabi. (B, L, D)
Day 5: Abu Dhabi / Dubai (UAE)
This morning, we depart Abu Dhabi and continue driving north to Dubai, the modern metropolis known the world over as the mecca of tourism, trading and finance in the Middle East. Dubai’s modern miracles have not ceased to amaze the world, and we will spend two full days exploring the highlights of this city taking in some of the new developments as well as taking a look at Dubai of the traditional Bedouin past. We check-in to our hotel for 2 nights.
First of our theme excursions will be “Dubai – the New dawn” which takes in some of the city’s most famous buildings and fabled developments. The Burj Al Arab is one of the world’s most luxurious 7-star hotels, while the Palm Jumeirah is one of its most unique man-made islands. Close by, the Dubai Marina is a thriving community of residences, hotels, boutiques, and marinas. Dubai is home to stunning resorts, golf courses, signature villas and towering high rises. The Souk Al Bahar is themed as a traditional Arabian marketplace and houses a wide range of shopping and dining choices. Located in The Old Town, in the vicinity of the world’s highest building, this is an ideal location to see the iconic Burj Khalifa soar into the skies. (Visit the Observation gallery in the 124th floor – optional cost). Visit the Dubai Mall, one of the world’s largest shopping malls and witness an open air fountain show to end an absorbing day of touring. Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight - Novotel Mall of the Emirates. (B,D)
Day 6: Dubai (UAE)
Today, we take on a morning tour of Old Dubai. Strolling through Dubai’s old quarters is the best way to get acquainted with the city’s heritage. In the Shindagah district, the Sheikh Saeed House dates back to 1896. The former royal residence houses a rare collection of documents recording Dubai’s growth. Adjacent, The House of Camels and the Traditional House also pay homage to the city’s rich history.
In Bastakiya, the areas adjoining the Hindu temple and the textile market are marked by narrow winding streets, old wind tower houses, restored buildings, boutique hotels, and art galleries. Arabic coffee gahwah is served at a local house, for a taste of the famed Arabian hospitality. We cross the Dubai Creek by the traditional water taxi known as abra, the walk continues through the fragrant and aromatic alleys of the Spice Souk in Deira. Next door, Dubai’s famous Gold Souk flaunts dazzling displays, while the thriving activity of the fish market makes way for amazement and amusement. On your return to hotel, we do a photo stop at the Grand Jumeirah Mosque, an iconic landmark in Dubai for more than three decades.
We travel off-road this afternoon to the mysterious Dubai desert for a magical evening. Leaving behind the crowds and chaos of the city, our trained safari guides driving 4x4 vehicles lead the thrilling journey - over towering sand dunes, and through the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, deep into the heart of the desert. A falconry show not only showcases the majestic bird of prey, but also the beauty of the desert at dusk, making for multiple photo opportunities.
As the sun casts its glow over the soft sands, lanterns come to life in the distance, signaling a traditional welcome. Inside the camp, the many traditions of local hospitality revive memories of the Arabian Nights with Bedouin-style seating, aromatic water “Shisha” pipes, camel rides, sand art, traditional Arabic attire, and henna designers. To top the evening’s entertainment, belly dancing is accompanied by the haunting strains of classical Arabian music.
The feast under the stars includes a Middle Eastern BBQ repast of grilled meats, fresh salads, delectable sweets and soft beverages. Return to your hotel late evening. (B,D)
Day 7: Dubai / Sharjah / Ajman / Ras Al Khaimah (UAE)
We leave Dubai today to explore the northernmost emirates of UAE. Our first stop is in Sharjah, known as the Cultural and Art centre of the country. We visit the Islamic Museum and stop at Souq al Masqoof. We then make a short visit to the Bird & Animal Market, photo stop at the Pearl Monument, the King Faizal Mosque named after the King of Saudi Arabia and the Al Arsah Souq (Blue Souq or the central souq). A short drive from Sharjah is the Emirate of Ajman, the smallest of the seven emirates of UAE, where we will visit the Ajman Museum.
Driving further north, our overnight stop for the day is Ras Al Khaimah, meaning “Head of the Tent” or some believe because of it's the northern tip of the land jutting out to the sea. We check in to our Mediterranean style seaside hotel and spend a relaxing afternoon. Dinner and overnight at Cove Rotana Hotel Ras Al Khaimah. (B, D)
Day 8: Ras Al Khaimah / Fujeirah (UAE)
Today, we explore the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah before proceeding to Fujeirah on the East coast of UAE, overlooking the Arabian sea. Our tour of Ras Al Khaimah includes a visit to the well-preserved Ras Al Khaimah Museum, followed by a visit to the old city, the fish market, pearl museum and abandoned old village of Jazirat AL Hamrah.
We then drive to East Coast via the desert plains and the Hajjar mountain range. The journey also marks amazing contrasts with sandy desert scenes morphing into mountain topography. The oasis of Dhaid, the fishing village of Dibba, and the sleepy town of Masafi – with its craft, pottery and carpet markets – are charming breaks in this drive set among endless vistas of canyons, dry river beds or wadis, and ancient camel tracks. The Bidiyah Mosque is both the smallest and the oldest in the country, and has special historic importance. Along the coastline, the green town of Khor Fakkan leads to the Fujairah Museum and an ancient village abandoned by mountain dwellers. The Bithnah Oasis provides spectacular views of a 16th century fortress guarding an old mountain pass. Dinnerand overnight at Rotana Hotel in the coastal town of Al Aqqa, Fujeirah. (B, D)
Day 9: Fujeirah/Dubai (By road) - Dubai/Doha (Qatar) by Air
This morning we bid farewell to UAE and drive to Dubai airport for a short flight to Doha, the capital of the State of Qatar. We are welcomed by our Qatari hosts and transferred to our hotel. 2 nights.
Qatar was a relatively unknown country until recently. Records indicate that the Qatar Peninsula was inhabited during the Stone Age; however there is little evidence of habitation between the most ancient times and now. Oil was struck in 1939 and the country has one of the largest natural gas fields in the world. The afternoon tour begins with a drive along the beautiful Doha Corniche and visit the old Dhow Harbor. Pass by the Camel and sheep market. The next stop is at the Gold Souq for some beautiful jewels in silver and gold hand-crafted by skilled artisans.
Drive past the Asian Games stadium and Aspire and Villagio with its huge shopping complex and restaurants. The last stop will be at the traditional Old Souq. Walk around the souq with its quaint architecture; see the Arabian Falcon, spice market, fabric and perfume stores, art galleries, and traditional handicraft shops. A good place for souvenirs hunting and shopping for traditional gifts!! Many ethnic restaurants and Shisha-Café’s offering the popular Hubbly Bubbly and ethnic cuisine line the cobblestone streets. Dinner and overnight at your hotel.
Overnight: Mercure Grand Hotel, Doha or similar(B, D)
Day 10 : Doha (Qatar)
Our Qatari desert guides with 4-wheel drive jeeps will pick you up and head towards the South of Qatar for a full desert adventure. Go Dune bashing in some of the world’s highest sand dunes of the Qatar desert. You will then arrive at the beautiful Desert campsite facing the Inland sea and crystal clear sandy beach, unique to Qatar. Enjoy a swim in the inland sea. Relax and sunbathe, play volleyball, go sand-boarding on the dunes or just lie on the beach and enjoy the tranquility of the desert, sea and the beach. A professional chef will prepare a BBQ lunch (soft drinks & water included). Relax in the Bedouin style tents, carpeted with traditional seating. Showers and bathrooms are also available at the camp. Afternoon back your hotel. Dinner and overnight at hotel. (B, L, D)
Day 11: Doha / Bahrain – By Air
We take a short flight to our next destination Bahrain, the tiny island emirate off the coast of Arabian Gulf, neighboring the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the south and Iran to the north.
We are met on arrival by our Bahraini guides and transferred to our hotel.
Since the dawn of history, Bahrain was known as the Pearl of the Gulf as it has been a strategic trading post of the great trade routes linking the Indus Valley and Mesopotamia. It exudes old-world charm, courtesy and dignity as befits a nation whose history goes back more than 4000 years. Bahrain was the first place in the Arabian Gulf where oil was discovered in 1925 and it continues to enjoy oil wealth to this day. The rest of the day is free to explore on your own. Overnight: Novotel Al Dana Resort, Bahrain (2 nights) (B, D)
Day 12: Bahrain
Today we undertake an interesting tour of this tiny island visiting to some of the highlights unique to Bahrain.
Our first stop of the day is Sheikh Isa Bin Ali house, considered to be the “Father of the Nation” and ruler of Bahrain for 63 years from 1869 until 1932. The 26-room fortress, built in 1800 provides a glimpse of the 19th century life in Arabia, complete with architecture and wall carvings belonging to that era.
We drive along the 25 km long King Fahad Bahrain-Saudi Causeway, a remarkable feat of engineering opened in 1986. We then visit a camel farm housing more than 400 camels to get up close and learn about these domesticated animals. We also visit Al Fateh Grand Mosque, Bahrain National Museum and Al Jasra handicraft centre. After lunch at a local restaurant, we continue to explore Bahrain and visit the ancient burial mounds(ancient cemetery), dating back to Dilmun civilization of the 3rd millennium BC. Next stop is the very first oil well of the country, more than 70 years old. Many visitors are surprised that Bahrain was pumping oil long before Saudi Arabia began its search for black gold! Known as the Oil Well Number 1, now a tourist site, produced 9600 barrels of crude oil in its heydays. Lastly we stop at the Bahrain Fort, a 16th century fortress built by the Portuguese with lots of hidden history of the famed Dilmun civilization. Back at your hotel for dinner and overnight (B, L, D)
Day 13: Bahrain/Kuwait – By Air
Our next destination is Kuwait and we take another short flight from Bahrain. We are met on arrival by our Kuwaiti friends and transferred to our hotel. The rest of the day is free to explore the city on your own.
Walking through Kuwait city is like walking through centuries, from mud-walled houses to the gravity defying skyscrapers, from the traditional to the ultra-modern.
Kuwait is a country that changed the face of the Middle East to what it is today. Kuwait is an archetypical oil-rich state that founded only 300 years ago by the Al Sabah dynasty, whose descendants still rule the country. Kuwait means ‘small fortress’ and this small settlement grew quickly; Ottomans and Persians influenced its history for nearly 200 years before it formally became a British Protectorate at the end of 19th century. The first oil wells were found in 1936. The 50’s and 60’s were the magical era of the oil boom. Dinner and Overnight: Kuwait Hilton or Crowne Plaza Hotel or similar (2 nights) (B, D)
Day 14: Kuwait
Our morning tour is a classical sightseeing tour of Kuwait. We start the tour by visiting the Bait Al Watani Memorial National Museum, the most reminiscent house in Kuwait City depicting the Gulf War era Kuwait. Your personal guide at the museum begins by reeling off names of former sheikhs; the earliest ones have plaques, the later ones paintings. Then follows a section devoted to the discovery of oil and the early days of Kuwait’s prosperity.
22 years ago, Iraq invaded Kuwait claiming it as part of the old Ottoman province of Basra and thus became Iraqi property. Walking through to the front yard; visitors see a model of a house torpedoed during the war. The name Saddam is painted on the weapon. Flags surround the monument; flags of the nations that helped Kuwait in its hour of need. The rest of the museum is about the Gulf War and its consequences, as told through Kuwaiti eyes.
We pass by the Jahra Gate, one of the gates of the Old Kuwait City walls. Moving along, we head to one of the Largest Wooden Dhow Boat in the World known as the Al Hashemi II and then visit their Marine Museum that exhibits 12 large models of Arabic Dhows locally made for pearl diving and fishing in the olden days. We then pass-by the Pyramid Mosque and drive along the Arabian Gulf Street and have a photo-stop at the Kuwait Towers.
We continue to explore Kuwait in the afternoon and undertake a guided tour titled Black Gold adventure, to see Kuwait Oil Display Museum, which teaches us the history of the oil-era in Kuwait and the destruction that took place during the Invasion of Iraq in 1990. On our way back to the hotel, visit a 19th century Bedouin town of Fahaheel and its old Souk.
Final farewell dinner and overnight in Kuwait. (B, D)
Day 15: Depart Kuwait
After witnessing the lifestyles of the rich desert people of these magical Arab sheikdoms, we bid farewell as we take our international departure flight home from Kuwait Airport. (B)
TOUR PRICE - On Request. Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
◊ Economy class regional air travel from Dubai - Doha- Bahrain - Kuwait
◊ 14 nights 4-5 star accommodation
◊ 14 Breakfasts; 3 lunches and 14 Dinners
◊ Luxury transportation by AC sedan cars, coaches and 4 x 4 jeeps on desert safaris
◊ Licensed local tour guides throughout the tour
◊ All admission tickets to tourist attractions and museums.
◊ Handling all documentation and procurement of all tourist visas for five countries (Fees are extra)
◊ Local taxes, government fees, road tolls, border fees and service charges at hotels
Not Included: International flights to Muscat and from Kuwait to home; Visa fees; Travel/medical insurance; Some lunches; Beverages during meals, tips for guides/staff; personal expenses, telephone, laundry etc
Looking for a private or customized tour?
EET’s Middle East specialists can book this tour on a private basis for individual travelers or tailor-make an itinerary to any Arabian Gulf destination to suit your time, budget and interests. Contact us to customize a tour today.