What to Expect
Moderately Active activity level
Each Vantage Adventure is designed to help you fully experience local culture and to get out and explore while keeping active. We find these are the two most fulfilling and rewarding ways to transform any trip into an adventure, and into the experience of a lifetime. To that end, we’ve rated each trip to indicate the level of physical activity and cultural immersion, with “1” being the lowest and “3” being the highest.
CULTURAL IMMERSION: The Emirates, Oman and Qatar boast outstanding accommodations, well-managed tourist facilities, and enviable high-tech infrastructure. Plus, we will be staying at 5-star hotels where you will enjoy world-class luxury and service, so you can expect very high standards of comfort for every step of your journey. However, in spite of the modern sophistication (and downright conspicuous consumption), these are still very conservative, religious societies whose cultural norms are different than ours, and they are ruled by absolute monarchies that strictly enforce the laws. Your Adventure Leader will advise you of the proper protocol wherever you go, but here are some things to consider in advance:
Modest dress is expected of all women and men, and even though you may see foreigners wearing shorts or revealing clothing (especially in the cities), local people may consider this disrespectful and will appreciate your discretion. Bare arms or shoulders are not advised in public places, and ladies should bring a head scarf to wear inside mosques. Long skirts, slacks, or capris that cover your knees are advised for women; men should avoid shorts or tank tops, too. Public displays of affection are frowned upon. Non-Muslims are not permitted to enter certain mosques, and there may be some sites that restrict access by gender.
Because these are Islamic nations, there are strong prohibitions against the use of alcohol. It is absolutely forbidden for locals, and only permitted for foreigners in certain locations. You can purchase alcoholic beverages at restaurants, bars, and nightclubs that are affiliated with international hotels, but not at most smaller local establishments. Bars may require you to show identification at the door, so keep your passport handy when frequenting them. Most of our included dinners will be at venues that do serve wine, beer, and spirits. As a visitor, you may not bring alcohol into the country (it will be confiscated at the airport). If you respect these social norms during your stay, you will be treated as an honored guest by people who are enormously generous, polite, and proud to share their heritage.
With your included overnight flight to Qatar, this is a 14-night land-based adventure with 3 nights at a hotel in Doha; 3 nights at a hotel in Muscat; 4 nights at hotel in Dubai; and 4 nights at a hotel in Abu Dhabi. There are two internal flights and one overland transfer from Dubai to Abu Dhabi of about 90 minutes. Our days are moderately active, balancing sightseeing with free time. There are two and a half days when no activities are scheduled, during which you may pursue your own interests, relax, or join optional tours.
ABOUT YOUR TRANSPORTATION:
You will fly into Doha, Qatar; then take two internal flights (from Doha to Muscat, Oman, and then from Muscat to Dubai) before flying back home from Abu Dhabi. There is one 90-minute overland transfer aboard a private motorcoach from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. Our daily sightseeing entails the use of our private, air-conditioned motorcoach as well as local boats and the Dubai public monorail.
This journey does not entail walking for great distances but you will be on your feet for an hour or two at a time. The terrain we cover is mostly flat; some ancient sites feature rocky or sandy paths and some stone stairs and small entryways. During our desert 4x4 adventure, we’ll ride all-terrain vehicles across the dunes, and the ride can be hilly or bumpy. You will have the chance to swim in the ocean and may also have the option of riding a camel or a bike. Please refer to Vantage's wheelchair- and handicapped-traveler policy as this journey does have some physical limitations.