Board your overnight flight to the United Arab Emirates. Upon arrival the next day in Dubai, you will be greeted by your Classic Escapes guide and driven to Abu Dhabi. The balance of your day is at leisure to relax and acclimate. The hotel is ideally located on exclusive Saadiyat Island. Overnight at the SOFITEL ABU DHABI CORNICHE.
Enjoy a morning at leisure to prepare yourself for your exploration of this exotic part of the world. An optional excursion is offered to visit the Falcon Hospital at additional cost. ($65.00 per person, currently and subject to change.)
This afternoon, enjoy a tour of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE and the largest Emirate. This island city that juts out into the Persian Gulf is the second largest by population in the UAE.
You will experience the grandeur of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the largest mosque in the UAE and the 8th largest in the world. This monumental building’s design and construction is a statement of unity between the diverse cultures of the Muslim world. Artisans and materials from around the globe were used to create this spectacular space, including the world’s largest carpet made in Iran and imported chandeliers from Germany.
Afterward, step into the past at the Heritage Village where a traditional Emirati town has been recreated. Here you can journey to the past and experience traditional life in Abu Dhabi before oil revenues altered the landscape, economically and socially. In addition to Bedouin tents, there are reconstructions of palm (‘Arish’) and other houses, old fishing villages and traditional Souqs.
An optional visit is offered to the Louvre Abu Dhabi at additional cost. ($27.00 per person, currently and subject to change.)
This evening, board a traditional double-decker dhow boat that takes you on a cruise around the city; enjoy breathtaking views, traditional Arabic music, and a lavish buffet dinner.
OPTIONAL EXCURSIONS OFFERED AT AN ADDITIONAL COST:
Morning: Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital ($65 per person):
If you wake up feeling refreshed, you may wish to take part in a special visit to the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital. Here, you will get a deep insight in the tradition of falconry with a display of special tools and equipment. The tour includes a display of the registration and the unique passports of the falcons, a visit to the examination room where you will see the precious falcons undergoing feather repair, or manicure and pedicure, you will experience a real-life work surrounded by a variety of different falcons. Afterwards, you will visit the large aviary where falcons are kept and fly free inside and then the highlight is the opportunity to take photos with the majestic falcons sitting on your arm in the beautiful hospital garden.
Afternoon: Visit to the Louvre Abu Dhabi ($27 per person):
This afternoon, visit the newly opened Louvre Abu Dhabi – the first museum of its kind in the Arab world: a universal museum that is a cultural beacon, bringing together different cultures to shine fresh light on the shared stories of humanity.
A floating dome of light and shade: Located on Saadiyat Island, Pritzker Prize winning French architect Jean Nouvel has designed a museum-city (Arab medina) under a vast silvery dome. Here you can walk through the promenades overlooking the sea beneath the museum’s 180-metre diameter dome, composed of almost 8,000 unique metal stars set in a complex geometric pattern. When sunlight filters through, it creates a moving ‘ray of light’ beneath the dome, conjuring images of the overlapping palm trees in the UAE’s oases.
Overnight at the SOFITEL ABU DHABI CORNICHE.
This morning, depart Abu Dhabi for Dubai. En route, stop to explore the garden city of Al Ain. One of the worlds’ oldest permanently inhabited settlements; this UNESCO World Heritage Site was once a vital green oasis on the caravan route. Your first stop is the Al Hili Archaeological Park. The park is a public garden and excavation site of a Bronze Age settlement, with discoveries dating back over 4,000 years!
Continue on to the central market where locals sell fruits, vegetables and other commodities before stopping for lunch at a local restaurant. Afterward, roam through the Al Ain National Museum, housing artifacts discovered around the city, ancient Arabic manuscripts and royal treasures.
Your final stop is the last remaining camel market in the United Arab Emirates, where camels are traded daily and it is possible to choose and buy one at a bargain (Classic Escapes cannot provide customs information regarding the transport of camels back to the United States).
Sit back and relax for the remainder of your drive to Dubai, where you will check into your hotel, the luxurious Hyatt Regency Creek Heights, and the balance of your day is at leisure. Overnight at the HYATT REGENCY CREEK HEIGHTS.
This morning, explore the sights, the sounds and the smells of Old Dubai. Your tour begins with drive through the city’s new Marina projects, Internet City, and Media City to give you a glimpse of the up and coming area surrounding the Dubai Marina. The world’s biggest waterfront development, there are over 200 new exciting leisure and entertainment projects which will shape the future of this modern, yet traditional city. Drive past the Jumeirah mosque, one of the largest and most beautiful mosques in Dubai.
Make your way to Al Fahidi Fort. The first tower fortification was built in 1787, making it the oldest standing construction in Dubai, which has served as a home for the Dubai Museum since 1971. Transfer to a water taxi in the Dubai Creek for stunning views of the city, where ultramodern skyscrapers and humble traditional homes spring from the shoreline. Visit the souk or the market or place where any kind of goods are brought or exchanged.
Early this afternoon, your immersion into the unique culture of Dubai continues with a visit to the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU). Here you will be treated to a traditional Emirati lunch which can include lamb, fish, and Gahuwa Arabia, lightly roasted Arabica coffee beans ground with saffron and cardamon.
The balance of your day is at leisure. Overnight at the HYATT REGENCY CREEK HEIGHTS.
Begin your day with a drive to the Palm Islands, three artificial islands, Palm Jumeirah, Deira Island and Palm Jebel Ali, on the Gulf Coast. Creation of the islands started in 2001 and still continues. The Palm Jumeirah is the only one completed and it takes the form of a palm tree, topped by a crescent.
Next, enjoy a visit to the iconic Burj Khalifa – the tallest building in the world. Here you will have the opportunity to participate in the “At the Top” experience on the 124th floor. Board the 65-meter-long elevator fora trip that transports you through time, from the earliest days of Dubai to the present. Pause briefly at a unique viewing point for your first close-up view of the soaring Burj Khalifa, seen through a skylight framing its awe-inspiring height. Begin your vertical ascent to the observation deck in a high-speed elevator, travelling at 10 meters per second. As the doors open, floor-to-ceiling glass walls provide a breathtaking unobstructed 360-degree view of the city, the desert and the ocean.
Overnight at the HYATT REGENCY CREEK HEIGHTS.
The morning is at leisure, so enjoy last minute souvenir shopping, tea drinking and sun bathing.
In the afternoon, climb into a rugged 4×4 vehicle to venture along the desert’s giant sand dunes, with your final destination being a traditional Bedouin camo. En route, pass camel camps before arriving at the camp in the desert, which is maintained in traditional Arabic style. Savor a wonderful BBQ dinner, be entranced with the lithe movements of a belly dancer and enjoy time at leisure. A henna artist will show you how, for special occasions, the people of this region have their feet and hands painted with delicate colors of henna. If you want, you may even become acquainted with the Bedouin way of transportation – riding a camel (watch out, they spit!).
Overnight at the HYATT REGENCY CREEK HEIGHTS.
Today you depart Dubai and arrive home, bringing with you all the special memories of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.