Oman Cultural Tour

Starting in the busy town of Muscat, heading through the desert and driving along the coastal road to the north, this is a spectacular tour of the stunning country of Oman. You will stay in many luxury resorts including The Chedi Muscat and experience the unforgettable sights of the Wahiba Sands.

Try one of our optional excursions and head to the south of Oman to the area around Salalah. Rich in history, be sure to visit the ruined city of Ubar, discovered by satellite not so long ago.

Day 1: Arrival in Muscat and Evening City Tour

Arrival in Muscat and you will be transferred your hotel, The Chedi Muscat (Usual Check In time 1400hrs).

In the afternoon, enjoy a city tour of Muscat wandering around Muttrah, a delightful quarter of Muscat, complete with a traditional souk with narrow alleys and the aromas of incene. Head to the old town of Muscat that houses the Palace of Sultan Qaboos and the Portuguese fortresses of Jalali and Mirani.

Visit the Bait Al Zubhair museum, which houses a fine collection of Omani artefacts. Welcome dinner at Kargeen Caffe.

Stay: The Chedi Muscat

Day 2: Nizwa, Bahla and Jabrin Castle

Drive to Nizwa with a spectacular drive through the Hajar Mountains via the oases of Fanja and Birkat Al Mauz. Visit the Nizwa souk, famous for its Bedouin silver jewellery. lso see the impressive 17th century fort.

Stop in Bahla to view the UNESCO listed Fort before reaching Jabrin with its fine castle.

Stay: Sahab Hotel

Day 3: Excursion to Jebel Shams

Boarding comfortable 4WD vehicles and taking a picnic lunch with you, head north through the mountains under the craggy peaks of the Jebel Akhdar to the village of Misfah set into the mountainside where houses cling to the rocky escarpment.

Our journey ends at Jebel Shams (Mountain of the Sun) at 3,000 m, the country’s highest peak, with astonishing views down Oman’s very own ‘Grand Canyon’.

Return to Niwza for the night.

Stay: Sahab Hotel

Day 4: Wadi Bani Khalid and Wahiba Sands 

This morning we continue in our 4WD’s via Sinaw, a market town with a thriving souq and camel market and the village of Mudairib to see its traditional watchtowers. Continue to the beautiful green oasis of Wadi Bani Khalid, and have a picnic lunch around its clear green natural spring water pools.

From here, drive into a vast sea of sand covering about 15,000 square kilometres, the Wahiba Sands. These great dunes rise to 100 metres in height with a red base and a honey coloured top creating an alluring landscape of changing contours and colours. Enjoy an exhilarating drive across these vast dunes before arriving at your night stop, a Bedouin encampment, where you’ll spend an unforgettable night under the stars enjoying traditional Arabic and Omani cuisine and hospitality in comfortable surroundings.

Spend the night at Desert Nights Campa spacious and stylish ‘glamping’ experience with air conditioned, canvas walled suites.

Stay: Desert Nights Camp

Day 5: Old Town of Sur

Continue through the desert this morning, heading north. In spite of its barren feel the sands contain a phenomenal amount of life. As well as the Bedouin, they are home to wolf, fox, wild cats and white-tailed mongooses.

Some 115 species of birds have been recorded here and its one of the few refuges for the elusive Arabian and Sand Gazelles. From the Wahiba, we enter Sur, a picturesque fishing town famous for its traditional Dhow boat building.

Dinner at your hotel, the Sur Plaza.

Stay: The Sur Plaza

Day 6: Coastal Way to Muscat

Leaving Sur behind, drive north in our 4WD vehicles following the coastal road north to Muscat.

Stop at Wadi Shaab, a beautiful oasis of freshwater pools. After an option to walk in the Wadi, we continue to Finns, a picturesque fishing village with beautiful white sand beach and providing the perfect picnic stop with a chance for a swim.

After visiting Bammah Sinkhole you will arrive to Muscat in the late afternoon.

Dinner at the hotel, the Chedi Muscat.

Stay: The Chedi Muscat

Day 7: Excursion to Batinah

Start the day with a visit to the Sultan Qaboos mosque, a splendour of Islamic architecture. Then enjoy a day excursion outside the capital stopping at Barka to visit a fish market and the Palace of the Imams, continuing through the Batinah Plains, the main agricultural area of Oman. We stop at Nakhl oasis to visit its impressive fort and at the natural warm springs of Thowarah.

A farewell dinner at Mumtaz Mahal restaurant. Overnight at the Chedi Muscat.

Stay: The Chedi Muscat

Day 8: Departure

Transfer to Muscat Airport for your flight back home.

Optional Excursion: Salalah (approx 4.5 hours)

An ideal introduction to Salalah and the surrounding Dhofar region; this tour offers an array of images and experiences. Your excursion begins with a visit to the Frankincense Souk, where you can buy perfumes, curios and souvenirs. Drive to the ancient ruins of the Palace of the legendary Queen of Sheba (Khor Rouri), believed to have been the hub and harbour for the shipping of frankincense for export to the rest of the Arabian Peninsula.

You will visit the Taqah Castle, nestled in the heart of a coastal Dhofari town famed for its pottery, silverwork and other artisan industries. It should come as no surprise that Taqah Castle has an artistry of its own and the castle’s numerous shuttered windows are particularly distinctive with latticed wooden screens and keyhole-shaped arches. Round off your tour with a visit of Ain Razat Springs, a natural underground spring amidst the tranquil lush mountains.

Optional Excursion: East and West Salalah (approx. 7 hours)

This full-day tour features a visit to the archaeological excavation & blow holes. If you are lucky you will be able to witness the sprays of water gushing out of these natural holes in the rock face, sometimes reaching heights of over 15 metres. In ancient times Dhofar was renowned as an important centre of the frankincense trade. In fact, legend has it that the frankincense-bearing king who went to adore the newborn Jesus travelled from Dhofar. Nowadays, however, frankincense is little used and there are only a few places in the world (Yemen and Oman) where the trees can still be found.

Your first stop will be frankincense souk where you will enjoy some free time for shopping before continuing to the fishing village of Taqah, the third largest “town” in Dhofar. Its inhabitants were traditionally farmers and fishermen and today Taqah is famous for its sardines.

You will then proceed to Khor Rori creek, allegedly the site of the ruined city of Sumhuram, the capital of ancient Arabia’s exotic frankincense trade. Excavations at the site have produced evidence of an ancient city with trade links by sea to Far Eastern destinations and even distant Greece. It is also supposed to be the site of the palace of the legendary Queen of Sheba, which is now in ruins and undergoing restoration.

On your way back you will stop at the archaeological site of Al-Balid that displays exhibits illustrating the region’s archaeology, history and heritage and at Mughsail beach, nearly two miles of unspoilt white sandy beaches, with high cliffs.

Optional Excursion: The Lost City of Ubar (approx. 9 hours)

This 4 wheel drive jeep adventure starts as you drive towards the Qara mountain range. Enjoy spectacular views of the Salalah plains dotted with thick shrub and woodland, and stop for photos in Frankincense Valley.

Known as the ‘empty quarter’, Rub-Al Khali – the largest sand desert in the world, is perfect for an exciting drive in the sand dunes. The lost city of Ubar, buried for centuries under undulating waves of sand, was spotted by satellite. In 1982 a team of archaeologists led by Sir Ranulph Fiennes unearthed the ruins of the fabled city chronicled in classical works as the ‘Atlantis of the Sands’. A series of exciting archaeological excavations brought to life interesting artefacts, some of which are displayed in the site’s small museum. A simple but tasty picnic lunch taken at a campsite near Ubar and close-up look at the camel – the ‘Rolls Royce’ of the desert complete the tour.


Duration Description Overnight
Day 1: Arrival in Muscat and Evening City Tour The Chedi Muscat
Day 2: Nizwa, Bahla and Jabrin Castle Sahab Hotel
Day 3: Excursion to Jebel Shams Sahab Hotel
Day 4: Wadi Bani Khalid and Wahiba Sands  Desert Nights Camp
Day 5: Old Town of Sur The Sur Plaza
Day 6: Coastal Way to Muscat The Chedi Muscat
Day 7: Excursion to Batinah The Chedi Muscat
Day 8: Departure
Optional Excursion: Salalah (approx 4.5 hours)
Optional Excursion: East and West Salalah (approx. 7 hours)
Optional Excursion: The Lost City of Ubar (approx. 9 hours)



  • Accommodation with daily breakfast
  • Private transfers – one 4WD vehicle with English speaking chauffeur guide
  • Turtle permit
  • Entrance fees
  • Taxes
  • 24 hour emergency contact

Not Included

  • Flights
  • Visa
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Travel insurance (please note that travel insurance is mandatory for all Lightfoot Travel holidays)


Muscat Nizwa Jebel Shams Sur

Price available upon request

Notes on our prices

  • This price guide provides you with a broad indication of how much to budget for your holiday.
  • Prices are generally based on two people travelling together (unless stated otherwise) on a shared room basis.
  • Prices can fluctuate depending on season, standard of accommodation, excursions selected (private versus shared) etc.
  • This basic structure works very nicely, but don’t forget that Lightfoot Travel can provide a range of experiences and we tailor-make each itinerary based on your travel requirements. Get in touch to start planning your perfect trip with your own travel consultant