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Come to the future! You’ll find it if you take advantage of this extra time in Dubai, whose innovations and luxuries must be experienced to be believed. This three-day extension includes spectacular deluxe accommodations, plus sightseeing at famous attractions such as Dubai's Old Town; the Dubai Museum; and the eye-popping Gold & Spice Souk. Also included is an unforgettable 4x4 excursion into the billowing desert surrounding the city.
Plus, having extra time here leaves you free to investigate Dubai wonders that must be seen to be believed. Futuristic buildings whose avant-garde designs defy gravity. Opulent malls whose diversions make them more like theme parks. A hotel lobby whose man-made rainforest simulates rain, without getting you wet. Traffic-directing robocops and hoverboard-riding waiters. It’s only in Dubai, and awaiting your discovery on this convenient and affordable extension.
Free time in Dubai, Desert 4x4 Adventure
After breakfast you are free to explore the city as you wish. Perhaps you’ll ogle the shark tank at the Dubai Mall, let your eyes be fooled at the Museum of Illusions, or see the fantastical floral displays at the Dubai Miracle Garden.
Unforgettable Moment: This afternoon you’ll head out to the Al Maha Conservation Reserve for an unforgettable 4x4 Desert Adventure. On board an all-terrain safari vehicle, you’ll ride into the undulating dunes, perhaps spotting Arabian oryx and gazelle, and watching as the shifting light casts shadows and colors across the sands. As dusk approaches, you’ll toast the occasion with a sundowner, then adjourn to a desert camp.
Cultural Discovery: Later, experience your own Arabian Nights-style fantasy in a billowing tent where you will enjoy a typical Emirati barbecue dinner, and be entertained by musicians, belly dancers, and a desert sky full of twinkling stars.
Dubai Cultural Tour
This morning you’ll get a feel for Dubai’s roots as you explore some of its historic icons. You’ll pause for photos at the magnificent, modern Jumeirah Mosque; make a visit to the Dubai Museum, housed in the 18th-century Al Fahidi Fort; and visit the Old Town with its gypsum and coral houses and the wealthy mercantile Bastakia neighborhood. On Dubai Creek you’ll take a traditional abra water taxi to the Gold Souk, where you won’t believe your eyes; and the Spice Souk, where you wont believe your nose! The rest of the afternoon is yours to enjoy.
For dinner on your own tonight, try heading to the Souq al Bahr. With some 19 different eateries, it’s the ideal place for dinner on your own.
After an included breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport for your return flight home.
The Taj Mahal is perhaps the world’s most stunning symbol of eternal love — and most definitely on every serious traveler’s “must-see” list. This is your opportunity to experience it not just once, but twice on an unforgettable journey that also features some of the most iconic sights of Agra and Delhi. First you will see the Taj in the early morning light, then also visit at dusk as the setting sun bathes the marble domes and minarets with a rosy glow. To come all this way to India and not take this opportunity would be almost unthinkable!
Fly to Delhi, India
Today you’ll fly overnight from the U.S. to Delhi, India.
If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, upon arrival at the airport a Vantage representative will meet you and assist in your transfer to your centrally located hotel. Settle in and take the rest of the evening to relax.
See the best of Old Delhi
Delhi is a city with two distinct profiles — Old Delhi and New Delhi — and during your stay you will enjoy two guided sightseeing tours that reveal them both. Today, after breakfast and a morning briefing, you’ll set out on a panoramic tour highlighting the epic attractions of Old Delhi, a city whose history dates back to the 6th-century BC.
Unforgettable Moment: Your sightseeing features Raj Ghat, the memorial to peaceful crusader Mahatma Gandhi; and the huge Jama Masjid mosque, which was built between 1644–1656 by Shah Jahan (who also built the Taj Mahal). Its massive courtyard can hold 25,000 worshippers. Your tour also showcases the Red Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Mughal masterpiece that was built in 1639. It is still the site where the Prime Minister hoists the flag every August 15, marking India’s Independence Day. Lunch will be at a local restaurant.
Cultural Discovery: Hop aboard a rickshaw for a lively ride among the colorful wares, fragrant spice-lined lanes, and narrow alleys of Chandni Chowk, the city’s oldest and busiest market. After your tour, you’ll return to the hotel and get better acquainted with your travel mates over dinner at your hotel.
Discover New Delhi
Today you’ll see Rashtrapati Bhavan, the 340-room Presidential Residence that is set among 320 acres of offices, stables, parks, and the Mughal Gardens. It lies along a main ceremonial avenue called the Rajpath, whose axis is straddled by the India Gate, Delhi’s answer to Paris’ Arc de Triomphe. After lunch at a local restaurant, you’ll also peek into the emporium of Dawn Cottage Industries, where Indian artisans demonstrate their skills and sell handmade jewelry, carpets, clothing and more.
Unforgettable Moment: In the afternoon you’ll behold the grand spire called Qutub Minar, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rising nearly 240 feet in the air, it is the world’s tallest, free-standing brick minaret and its complex includes a striking mosque and other monuments.
The balance of the day is at leisure and you are free to enjoy dinner on your own.
The Mughal marvel of Agra
This morning you’ll depart Delhi and travel to Agra. Though it is most famous for the Taj Mahal, the city also boasts several other Mughal-era wonders. Settle in to your 5-star hotel, enjoy lunch on your own, and then join us on an afternoon excursion.
Unforgettable Moment: This afternoon you’ll head out to explore palatial Agra Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is more of a walled city than a fortress. Its vast walls embody the power and wealth of the Mughal leaders who built it. Walk through courtyard after courtyard, past red sandstone ramparts, and through elaborate gates inlaid with marble. Here is where you can also get your first view of the Taj Mahal, in the distance across the Yamuna River. It is said that Shah Jahan, who built the Taj for his wife, gazed at his masterpiece from here when he was imprisoned at Agra Fort by his own son.
The balance of the day is free until tonight’s dinner in your opulent hotel.
Behold the Taj Mahal
This morning, you’ll visit India’s most iconic landmark and another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the magnificent Taj Mahal. It was built by Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in childbirth. Upon the Shah’s death in 1666, he joined his beloved inside the tomb. Get the all-time classic shot as you step inside the grounds, and photograph the Taj reflected in the long Lotus Pond, in all its symmetrical glory. You’ll have time to walk around the site, taking in all the details. The interior has elaborate decoration but the actual tombs of Mumtaz and the Shah are rather plain, according to Muslim tradition.
After time to take it all in, you’ll transfer to a local restaurant for lunch, then have time to relax before your next adventure:
Unforgettable Moment: Your second Taj experience commences with a visit to Itmad-ud-daulah (sometimes called the Baby Taj). It was the first monument in Mughal India to be constructed of pure marble rather than sandstone, and to feature the pietra dura inlay later used on the Taj walls. At sunset, you’ll move on to Mehtab Bagh (Moonlight Garden), on the flood plains across the Yamuna River from the Taj. Once surrounded by sandstone-clad walls, crisscrossed by white stone walkways, and planted with fruit trees and narcissus, the bagh was nearly ruined by floods and neglect, but is today being restored, including replantings that match the original Mughal horticulture. Some of these plants produce bright flowers that shine in the moonlight. In these splendid surroundings, you can feast your eyes on the golden hues washing the Taj across the river, and then watch as one by one, the stars come out to illuminate the white pearlescence of this modern World Wonder.
Transfer to Delhi, then fly to Mumbai
After breakfast you’ll bid farewell to Agra, transfer back to the airport in Delhi, and fly to Mumbai where you will commence your base tour.