Saudi Arabia & Qatarwith Oman & Dubai 17 day cruise/tour - January 31, 2025
Finally – Saudi Araba has opened to Tourism
Finally – Saudi Araba has opened to Tourism:
We have waited a long time for the opportunity to offer a tour of Saudi Arabia. Up until a few years ago Saudi Arabia was closed to everyone that was not a Muslim or a member of one of the Islam religions. Non-members of the religion could only get a visa to enter Saudi Arabia if they were on an approved business trip or were able to obtain special permission from the Saudi Government to enter. Then in September of 2019 Saudi Arabia opened to Tourism, then less than 6 months later they shut down again due to the spread of the COVID. Now that the COVID outbreak has subsided, Saudi Arabia has reopened to tourism again. They receintly made a huge major announcement: The Sacred City of Madinah has opened up to Tourism. Madinah has been cut off for centuries to anyone that was not of the Islam religion. This was a huge announcement. Earlier in 2020 before the outbreak of the COVID, Michael Wilcox and the owners of Fun For Less Tours, visited Saudi Arabia to explore and prepare for future tours. Madinah was still closed to non-Muslims during their visit. With the very recent opening of Madinah the owners are headed back to Saudi Arabia and Qatar in October of 2023 to visit Madinah, Jeddah and other places they missed in 2020. They are going specifically to prepare for this tour and future tours to Saudi Arabia. Madinah has always been high on Michael’s wish list and he can’t wait to go back. It is important to note that Saudi Arabia is rapidly changing into a wonderful tourist destination in such a short time. Just a few years ago, all women no matter their religion had to wear scarfs or completely cover their heads when out in public. Now you will feel comfortable just dressing modestly and with no head covering at all. With the exception of entering a mosque, women are no longer required to wear head coverings. Saudi Arabia has so much to offer in tourism.
Here is a partial list of what you will see and experience in Saudi Arabia:
- Madinah: The rare opportunity to visit the Sacred City of Madinah. Closed to non-Muslims for over 1,000 years.
- Al Ula area: has many unique rock formations and ruins that are very similar to Petra in Jordan. You will love this area and the unique luxury desert resort we stay in Jeddah on the Red Sea.
- High-Speed Train: We will travel between Madinah and Jeddah by high-speed train traveling at a speed reaching 200 miles an hour.
- Riyadh: The capital of Saudi Arabia.
Qatar is a must!
Qatar has likely not been on your bucket list, but it should be. There is no place that you can have more fun than at the Camel races in Qatar. After a fast pace tour of Muscat, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, the Ruins in Al Ula, Madinah, Jeddah and Riyadh – it is time to slow down and end with three nights in the Luxury and we do mean Luxury Marsa Malaz Kempinski, the Pearl of Doha. The Resort and Spa is located on its own private island. There will be time to enjoy some sight-seeing and camel racing – but most of all it is time to relax at a fantastic island resort with private beach and many wonderful swimming pools.
Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Muscat Oman
It doesn’t matter how many times you have traveled to Dubai, you always look forward to the next opportunity to return. While the main purpose of this tour is to tour Saudi Arabia and Qatar, you’re in the neighborhood and airfare is inexpensive, so why not stop off in the wonderful ancient city of Muscat, along with adding the stunning cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Here is a partial list of what you will experience in Dubai and Oman.
- 2 nights in Muscat 5-Star Beach Resort along with a full day of touring.
- 3 nights in a 5-star luxury in Dubai. Everything in this part of the world is the biggest and the best. While there, we will travel to the observation tower in the world’s tallest building, do a city tour, visit the Dubai Flower Garden with millions upon millions of flowers some of which covers a full 747 airplane. You will also visit one of the most impressive stunning palaces in the world in Abu Dhabi along with the most impressive Mosque in the world.
Our fantastic luxurious 5 star resorts have caused this tour to be a little more expensive, in the end they are worth every penny! For example our hotel in Al Ula when including taxes, breakfast and dinner is close to $800 per room per night.
2019, 2020, 2021 & 2022 Qatar Airlines was awarded the title of the #1 Airline in the world. For 2023, they fell all the way to #2 behind Singapore Airline. You can’t fly on a better airline anywhere in the world. We are planning on our group airfare flying on Qatar into Muscat and home from Riyadh. Here is the best part. They allow a stopover in Qatar on your way home. For those flying Qatar airlines, you will be able to stop over for the three nights before continuing back to the U.S. and home. If you choose to do your own airfare and not use Qatar Air, that is not a problem. We can explain how you can experience it all, including Qatar and still use your airline of choice.
Package Price Includes:
- 5-Star Luxury Hotels and Resorts.
- 2 Nights 5-Star Luxury Shangrila Beach Resort in Muscat, Oman.
- 3 Nights 5-Star Luxury Raffles Hotel in Dubai, United Emirates.
- 2 Nights 5-Star Luxury Shanden Resort in Al Ula, Saudi Arabia.
- 2 Nights 4-Star Deluxe Hotel Madinah, Saudi Arabia.
- 1 Night 4-Star Deluxe Hotel Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
- 2 Nights 4-Star Deluxe Hotel Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
- 3 Nights 5-Star Luxury Kempinski Beach Resort Doha, Qatar.
- Three internal flights.
- Muscat, Oman to Dubai, United Emirates.
- Dubai, Untied Emirtes to Madinah, Saudi Arabia.
- Jeddah to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
- High-speed train between Madinah to Jeddah.
- All tours, buses, guides, and entrance fees throughout.
- Fun For Less Tours educator: Dr. Michael Wilcox.
- Fun For Less Tours Staff throughout.
- A few of the major highlights: the observation level of the world’s tallest building, a ride on the world’s tallest Ferris Wheel, the stunning Miracle Garden with over 150 million flowers, the majestic Sheikh Zayed Mosque, the Presidential Palace, High-Speed Train, Madinah, the phenomenal ruins of Al Ula, the Camel Races in Qatar, a fantastic island beach resort in Qatar and so much more!
- All taxes and fees on airlines and hotels.
- Option to purchase Qatar Airlines with stop over in Doha, Qatar.
Package Price: $7,595*
*Per person cash discount price, based on double occupancy.
Does not include international airfare and tips.
does not include international airfare into Muscat and home from Riyadh. If you do not fly with the optional Qatar Air, you will have to purchase the flight Riydah to Doha.
Day by Day Itinerary: Always subject to change.
Day 1: January 31: Fly
Today we will fly from the U.S. to Muscat, Oman.
Day 2: February 1: MUSCAT
Arrive in Muscat today in the evening. Transfer to your 5-star Luxury Beach Resort Hotel.
Day 3: February 2: MUSCAT
We start our Oman cultural experience with a visit of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque – an architectural marvel housing the 2nd largest hand-woven carpet with the largest chandelier. It can house over 20,000 worshippers and is the landmark of the city. We tour this very interesting complex – a blend of modern Islamic architecture. (Mosque dress code – mandatory Ladies fully covered and to carry a head scarf and men fully covered – no shorts) Next stop visiting the Royal Opera House, a Premier venue for musical arts and culture. We will proceed to visit the National Museum from inside. Drive along the waterfront Corniche visiting the colorful Muttrah Souq & amp; Fish Market. We proceed for a photo stop to the magnificent Al Alam Palace, the official palace of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, flanked by the 16th-century Portuguese forts Mirani & amp; Jalali. Overnight at hotel.
Day 4: February 3: MUSCAT – DUBAI
Early morning transfer to Muscat International Airport and catch your flight to Dubai. On arrival in Dubai, we proceed for our city tour. Our first stop is the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa – you will have the opportunity to experience “At the Top” by riding the vertical ascent high-speed elevator, traveling at 10 meters per second all the way to the observation deck. As the doors open, floor-to-ceiling glass walls provide a breath-taking unobstructed 360-degree view of the city, desert and ocean. After visiting Burj Khalifa we will visit the Dubai Mall the world’s biggest mall. We continue our tour with visit to old Dubai. We will walk through the bustling alleys of these souks being amazed by mystical aromas of numerous spices and the breath-taking amount of dazzling jewelry varying from traditional to the latest designs at amazingly affordable prices displayed by almost 200 shops. Continue our tour through material market taking a closer look at the wind-towers on our way to Abras, local water taxis that will take us across the Creek to the area of spice and gold souks. After the tour we check in to our 5-Star Luxury Hotel.
Day 5: February 4: DUBAI – ABU DHABI – DUBAI
Today will be a highlight day. Two of the places we will visit today, the word stunning, is not a strong enough word to tell you how phenomenally beautiful you will find Grand Mosque and the Palace of the Nation. Today will be a full day excursion to Abu Dhabi. It is a drive of approximately 1.5 hours each way. Our first stop will be at the Grand Sheikh Zayed Mosque which has been named to honor the late president, His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. (Mosque dress code applies) – Next stop we will visit the extraordinary Qasr Al Watan or the Palace of the Nation! A striking segment of the capital city’s Presidential Palace complex, Qasr Al Watan is where the significant government buildings are located. Besides the meeting place of the country’s supreme constitutional authority, it also serves as avenue to host the global leaders during their UAE visit. As it’s now opened to the public, come trace the footprints of royals while gaining a better understanding of the Emirati culture, heritage and architectural opulence. Return back to Dubai and your luxurious 5 star hotel.
Day 6: February 5: DUBAI
Today our first stop will be at the world`s largest man-made island, which has captured the worlds imagination with its magnificent scale and ingenuity, called The Palm Jumeirah. A brief photo stop at THE POINTE to view the luxurious Atlantis, The Palm Hotel, which offers a magnificent, oceanic tribute to a mythological age. A vast waterscape, Atlantis, The Palm is a place of sunken aquatic chambers, submerged ruins, and exhilarating water rides. Next stop to visit the most beautiful garden in the world- the Dubai Miracle Garden. The largest natural flower garden in the world deserves your visit, especially when it boasts of over 45 million flowers. Later in the afternoon, we will go for a safari in the desert with dinner. The trip provides you with an opportunity to discover the golden sand dunes of Arabia in 4-wheel drive vehicle. Experience a wonderful ride through the sand dunes. Stop on the highest sand dune to view the beautiful sunset and to take some breathtaking photographs. The adventure then continues with a drive to an exquisite Bedouin Campsite, right in the heart of the desert, where henna design, local dresses, soft drinks, water, tea or coffee are available for your enjoyment. Enjoy an entertainment show and a delicious BBQ dinner at the camp. Return to your 5-Star Luxury Hotel.
Day 7: February 6: DUBAI – MADINAH
Midmorning, transfer to Dubai International Airport to catch your flight to Madinah (Saudi Arabia). Arrive Madinah and drive for approximately 3.5 hours to Al Ula, a place of extraordinary human and natural heritage. Al Ula is a living museum of preserved tombs, sandstone outcrops, historic dwellings and monuments, both natural and human-made, that hold 200,000 years of largely unexplored human history. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has long been a crossroads of ancient civilizations. Upon arrival in Al Ula, check into the Shaden Resort.
Day 8: February 7: AL ULA
Today, we are starting with the most popular historical site in Saudi Arabia; Madain Saleh is the most iconic historical site of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its one of the Saudi Arabia tours that is a must do, it is the first to be listed as a UNESCO Word Heritage. We will take a break at the old town and visit Maraya. Maraya is a stunning piece of art set in the desert canyon of Ashar Valley. Designed to blend into the surrounding landscape, it rises from the sand like a mirage. After we finish our tour we will take you to the Elephant Rock, also known as Jabal AlFil, one of Al Ula’s many geological marvels. Unlike the ornate, hand-carved facades of nearby Hegra’s Nabataean tombs, the trunk & body of this monolithic red sandstone beast were hewn by natural forces — millions of years of wind and water erosion. The beauty of the unrefined structure is enhanced by its surroundings of a fine-sand sea studded with rocky outcrops, many of which are equally impressive in size and have interesting shapes and figures. The area has very nice atmosphere with a cafe and restaurant, the seating area are built underground and filled with magical lights that its just wonderful to witness the sunset. We return to the hotel.
Day 9: February 8: ALULA – MADINAH
After a leisurely morning, where you will have some free time to hike around your resort, we will take the 3.5 hour drive back to Madinah. Upon arrival you will check into your 4-Star Deluxe hotel in Madinah.
Day 10: February 9: MADINAH
One of the highlights today will be Michael Wilcox’s discussion on the life of Muhammad. After, we will proceed to Visit the Prophet Muhammad Mosque from the outside with Guide. Next, we will go to Qiba Street which connect two Mosques, the Holy Mosque and Qiba Mosque which both have significant importance in Islamic history. The first was the house that prophet Mohammed lived and eventually it’s his grave. The second was the first Mosque ever built. You will have a general overview how the city was built and shaped throughout the 1400 years. Nearby there is a nice pedestrian street for walking and shopping that you will have some free time to enjoy. We will finish touring Madinah before returning to your hotel. Tomorrow we take the Highspeed Train to Jeddah. With limited luggage space we will be collecting all the big bags this evening. We will have the large bags delivered to your Jeddah hotel by separate baggage van or bus.
Day 11: February 10: MADINAH – JEDDAH BY TRAIN
Today, you will transfer to Madinah train station to catch the bullet train for Jeddah. The train reaches speeds of 200 miles an hour. Upon arrival in Jeddah, check in at the hotel and then proceed for your city tour. We will start cruising around the Jeddah Corniche, also known as the Jeddah Waterfront, a 20-mile coastal resort area located along the Red Sea. The corniche features a coastal road, recreation areas, pavilions and large-scale civic sculptures. Thereafter we will stop to visit Al Balad (Jeddah Historical City ) After the tour we return to hotel.
Day 12: February 11: JEDDAH – RIYADH BY FLIGHT
This morning, you will transfer to Jeddah airport to catch your flight to Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. On arrival in Riyadh, you will transfer to the hotel to check-in. Later in the afternoon, we proceed to the Diriyah site. The district of Diriyah, the birthplace of the first Saudi state, a historical crossroads of pilgrims and traders and home to one of the kingdom’s most ambitious heritage developments. The historical district of Turaif in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known for its well-preserved adobe structures that showcase the Najdi architectural style. It was the first capital of the Saudi dynasty and holds great cultural and historical importance in the country’s history. Visitors can explore the traditional mud-brick buildings and historical mosques and learn about the rich history of the region. Overnight in Riyadh.
Day 13: February 12: RIYADH – CITY TOUR
Today we depart for our city tour of Riyadh. The first visit is the National Museum you will be discovering Saudi Arabia’s rich past is an amazing journey. Another way to have an insight of Saudi Arabia’s rich History is to visit the King Abdulaziz Historical Center in Riyadh where artifacts from all periods are exhibited and with explanations about their historical significance. After our historical brief we continue to visit Al Masmak Fortress ,surrounded by sand, this squat fortification was built around 1865 and is like a scene out of the movies: a big fortress representing an empire. It was the site of a daring 1902 raid by Ibn Saud, during which a spear was hurled at the main entrance door with such force that the head is still lodged in the doorway. In the same area, within walking distance we will find ourselves in Souq Al-Zal which is one of the oldest traditional markets. They sell traditional dresses, antiques, Oud Arabic perfume and jewelry. Overnight in Riyadh.
Day 14: February 13: RIYADH – DOHA, QATAR BY FLIGHT
This morning, you will transfer to Riyadh International Airport to catch our flight to Doha. On arrival in Doha, we will proceed for city tour of Doha. We visit the Museum of Islamic art. The Museum of Islamic Art in Doha is an interesting and significant cultural institution. This museum showcases a remarkable collection of Islamic art and artifacts, spanning over 1,400 years of history. It provides a unique opportunity for visitors to delve into the rich and diverse artistic traditions of the Islamic world. Next stop will be at Katara Cultural Village. It is located on the eastern coast between West Bay and the Pearl. It opened in October 2010 during the Doha Tribeca Film Festival, an event that it has hosted ever since. Later this afternoon we will check into our 5-Star Luxury Beach Resort. (For those flying Qatar airlines, you will be able to stop over for the three nights before continuing back to the U.S. and home. If you choose to do your own airfare and not use Qatar Airlines, that is not a problem. We can explain how you can experience it all, including Qatar and still use your airline of choice. THIS FLIGHT IS NOT INCLUDED ON THE TOUR. IT IS INCLUDED WITH THE INTERNATIONAL AIRFARE.)
Day 15: February 14: DOHA BEACH RESORT
Today is a much-deserved break for touring. The whole day is a free day to relax at your luxurious beach resort.
Day 16: February 15: DOHA
Our first stop will be at a Camel race track. Camel racing, traditionally known as the sport of the sheiks continues even today in the small hamlet of Al Shahaniya, where Qatar’s popular camel racetrack is situated. Visitors are charmed with an exceptional prospect to view the fiercely competitive and one of the most expensive sporting events in Qatar. Al-Shahaniya racing track, an hour’s drive into the gleaming desert north of downtown Doha, holds domestic and international tournaments on Fridays from November to February. Professional Camel racing started in Qatar in 1972, it is their traditional sport and the camel race track is a must-see for those who visit Doha. Next, we will visit Sheikh Faisal Museum. Located outside the city in a traditional style fort at Al Samriya Farm, the Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum houses the Sheikh’s personal collection, with a body of works including Islamic art, Qatari heritage, vehicles, handmade carpets, and coins & currency from over four continents. These diverse and eclectic objects tell the story of the museum’s founder, Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim, as well as of humanity in general. The tour will end at Souq Waqif, a market selling traditional garments, spices, handicrafts and souvenirs for over 100 years. It was renovated in 2006 to conserve its traditional architectural style. Return to the hotel. Rest of the day to relax. Overnight in Doha.
Day 17: February 16: DOHA – USA
Transfer to the airport to catch your flight back to the U.S. and home.