We leave the Hotel at 8:30 / 16:00 hrs. & proceed to visit “The Museum of the Frankincense Land”. Opened in July 2007 at Al Balid Archaeological Park, a UNESCO heritage site located in Salalah, the Frankincense Land Museum is the latest addition to Oman's heritage and cultural scene. (Opened Sat - Wed 8:00 – 14:00 & 16:00 – 20:00, Thu – Fri 16:00 – 20:00) It houses two main halls, namely the History Hall, depicting the geography, history of the ancient Frankincense trail and the historical background of the Sultanate through a number of archaeological findings, and The Marine Hall, featuring displays about the development of Oman's rich marine history. A complete history of the Maritime trade & ship building industry of Oman could be experienced here, with meticulously carved replicas of the ancient boats & ships of the Omani Maritime trade.
Drive through lush green plantations of vegetables & fruits. Make a stop for a fresh drink of coconut water (at own cost) at a fruit stall lining the streets within the periphery of the old Salalah town (Haffah). Make a Photo stop at the impressive Sultan Qaboos Mosque.
View the Official Palace of His Majesty the Sultan (Al Husn Palace) & stroll through the old Haffah souk, famous for the sale of high quality Frankincense & numerous other Dhofari traditional souvenirs. The smell of frankincense fills the souk. Haffah souk is very attractive with its small shops lined up with straight piles of incense boxes, clay incense burners colorfully decorated with traditional patterns and bags of incense crystals. This gives us an ample opportunity for shopping, before we return to the hotel.
The excursion begins with a visit to the old fishing village of 'Taqah', famous for the manufacture of 'Dried Sardines' & its traditional & old 'Dhofari Houses'. Visit the century’s old 'Taqah Castle', the former official residence of the 'Wali' (Governor) to the region & take a glimpse into the rich history of the region.
Continue onto the ancient ruins of the once famous city of Sumharam (Khor Rohri). The city was the eastern most outpost of the Hadramawt Kingdom on the ancient incense route between the Mediterranean Sea, Persian Gulf and India. Khor Rori was an important port on the coast of Dhofar, and one of the major trading cities with frankincense, believed to have been the hub & harbour for the shipping of Frankincense (UNESCO World Heritage site).
A picturesque drive then leads you to 'Mirbat', the ancient capital of Dhofar and the beginning of the ‘Frankincense trail’. Stroll through the streets lined with old Omani mud houses & visit the 'twin-domed Bin Ali’s Tomb’ as a photo stop …a classic example of medieval architecture. On our way back to the hotel, explore the natural spring of 'Ayn Razat', beautifully laid out amidst the tranquil lush mountains & nourished every day of the year by natural underground spring water. Return to the hotel by late noon.
We start our half day exploration of Dhofar by driving towards the 'Qara' mountains. On a road steadily winding up a steep incline, herds of Camels & Cattle are a common sight which gives a scenic view of a traditional Dhofari rural beauty. Visit the ancient tomb of 'Prophet Job' situated in the scenic green mountains of the Salalah Plains. Experience the legendary story of Prophet Job and his devoutness. Proceed to the beach of Mughsail where the white sand touches the deep blue of the ocean & at high tide, where waves burst through the natural titanic 'Blow Holes', at the far end of the 'Rocky beach' with a cave-like entrance.
We thereafter continue along the 'Hair-pin-bend' road towards Western Border of Oman, with its breathtaking cliffs on either side, to see the historical 'Frankincense trees' growing in their natural habitat, deep down in the valleys, dotting the dry & craggy countryside. We take a short walk into the valleys to smell the 'Holy Incense' amidst the scenic view of the region. On our return journey we make a photo stop at the lagoon at Mughsail where migratory birds – occasionally flamingos – are a common sight. Return to the hotel.
Once you are in Dhofar, it is an absolute must, that you visit Ar Rub Al Khali (The Empty Quarter), Dhofars most remarkable and popular site with its unspoilt and magical sand dunes.
We leave the Hotel at 07:30 hrs by 4x4 vehicle and drive towards the 'Qara' mountain range with its spectacular view of the Salalah plains dotted with thick shrub & woodland. After having a small break in Thumrait town, which was famous as a Bedouin settlement, we proceed west on graded road crossing the huge gravel desert of ' Al Nejd'.
After a 175 Km journey from Salalah city we reach our first attraction in the desert, arriving at the 'Lost City of Ubar' (UNESCO World heritage site). This legendary ancient kingdom, known as Ubar, was said to have existed in one of the most inhospitable places on earth - a vast and forbidding Rub Al Khali desert, appropriately known as the Empty Quarter. According to myth, the desert swallowed up Ubar. Quite literally, it sank without trace -becoming the fabled "Atlantis of the Sands." This once buried city, which was spotted by satellite, gives you a glimpse of the value of work carried out by a team of explorers in 1992, led by Sir Ranulph Fiennes.
After walking around the site we proceed to the Empty Quarter to experience the “biggest sand desert in the World” by rambling on fascinating sand dunes. A breathtaking overview of the vast desert awaits you on the top of the dunes. We settle down for a typical Arabian lunch/picnic lunch in the desert thereafter.
On our return to Salalah we drive into Wadi 'Dawka' (UNESCO World heritage site) known as the 'Frankincense Wadi’, which is also well-known as the biggest collection of the naturally grown Frankincense trees in the region. Experience the Frankincense and its use in the past as well as in the modern World. Return to Salalah by sunset.