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sunset view of mosque and grounds

Overview

An awe-inspiring journey

The Arabian Peninsula has been steeped in mystique for centuries. Closed to Westerners for many years, the city-states of the United Arab Emirates, the Sultanate of Oman and the State of Qatar offer a striking mosaic of contrasts. Gleaming modern cities and ancient villages, windswept sand dunes and soaring mountains, all bordered by blue skies and shimmering waters, these off-the-beaten-path lands continue to tantalize adventurers.

Nowhere else do elegant veiled women in designer abayas and men in perfectly pressed dishdashas rub shoulders with camel herders, horse trainers and expats from around the globe. These exotic destinations that run the gamut from traditional livestock markets to futuristic skyscrapers await your discovery.

Dates

October 19–November 1, 2022

Duration

14 days

Price

From $10,695 per person

Trip size

34 participants

Minimum age

18 years

Faculty leader

A different kind of classroom

With renowned Stanford faculty and scholars leading the way, every Travel/Study trip is a one-of-a-kind educational experience.

Jim Sheehan

History

Jim Sheehan, '58, lectures on the relationship between ideas and social and economic conditions. On this trip he will focus on the strategically vital role of the Persian Gulf in U.S. security policy.

Itinerary

An exploration of life and culture in the Middle East

Learn about Islam’s rich traditions at Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding and at the I.M. Pei–designed Museum of Islamic Art in Doha. Visit stunning mosques in Abu Dhabi and Muscat, and the animal souk in Nizwa.

  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

    Upon arrival in Dubai, transfer to our hotel, centrally located along picturesque Dubai Creek in the lively neighborhood of Deira.

    Accommodations:

    Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek

    Included meal: Dinner
  • Dubai, UAE

    Board an abra (water taxi) and cross Dubai Creek to the Bastakiya area to visit the Al Farooq Mosque, where staff from the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding accompany us and offer an excellent introduction to Islam. Enjoy a private lunch on-site. This evening gather for a welcome reception at our hotel.

    Accommodations:

    Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Dubai / Abu Dhabi, UAE

    Travel to Abu Dhabi, the largest of the seven emirates and the country’s capital. At the opulent Emirates Palace hotel, view an exhibition depicting the plans for Saadiyat Island, the flagship project of the city, whose goal is to develop a cultural sanctuary off its coast. On Saadiyat explore the Louvre Abu Dhabi, which was created as a cultural partnership between France and the UAE. After lunch drop by the Qasr Al Watan Palace, a working palace and home to the UAE Federal Supreme Council and Cabinet. It opened to the public in 2019 and is one of the few accessible presidential palaces anywhere in the world. End the day at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center, UAE’s largest and most ornate place of worship.

    Accommodations:

    Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek

    Included meals: Breakfast and lunch
  • Dubai, UAE

    Begin the day with a VIP access ride to the top of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, at more than 160 stories high. From here head to the Mall of the Emirates. Spend the afternoon at leisure relishing lunch and independent adventures.

    Accommodations:

    Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek

    Included meal: Breakfast
  • Dubai / Sharjah / Al Ain, UAE

    Drive to the Emirate of Sharjah, once the preeminent pearl-trading city in the Gulf. Survey the residential area of the traders from those days, whose former homes have been converted into small museums, each depicting a particular aspect of Arab and Islamic heritage. A highlight of this morning is the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization, which includes 5,000 artifacts from almost all over the Islamic world. Continue to the oasis city of Al Ain and wander around the Hili Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Admire the remains of an advanced Bronze Age civilization, including a tomb that’s decorated with paintings depicting indigenous oryx and leopard, and at the small archaeological museum, inspect the distinct items that have been discovered here. Finish the day in Al Ain.

    Accommodations:

    Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet Al Ain

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Hatta, UAE / Sohar, Oman / Nakhal / Muscat

    This morning journey to Sohar, reputed to be the home of Sinbad the Sailor and described by 10th-century travel writer Ibn Hawqal as “the wealthiest town in Oman.” Although little remains of Sohar’s storied past, the great fort still looms large above the port city. Drive past volcanic hills to the village of Nakhal, where you can find many impressive fortresses. Arrive in Oman’s capital city, Muscat, this evening and transfer to our hotel.

    Accommodations:

    Grand Hyatt Muscat

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Muscat, Oman

    For centuries, Oman dominated the maritime trade in the Indian Ocean and ruled an empire that extended from India to Zanzibar. Observe how Muscat has retained much of its traditional architecture and beauty while it makes great strides toward modernization. Explore the Mutrah Harbor and the newly opened National Museum before attending a briefing at the U.S. Embassy. Return to our hotel this afternoon after stopping at the Royal Opera House Muscat, which was designed by the same architects behind the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque.

    Accommodations:

    Grand Hyatt Muscat

    Included meals: Breakfast and lunch
  • Muscat, Oman

    Begin the day at the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, whose main prayer hall features a Persian carpet covering 4,343 square meters and an eight-ton central chandelier made of Swarovski crystals and more than 1,000 lights. At the Omani Heritage Gallery meet with Sheikha Al Habsi, who has been involved in a project to revive traditional Omani crafts. Dinner this evening is at leisure.

    Accommodations:

    Grand Hyatt Muscat

    Included meals: Breakfast and lunch
  • Muscat / Nizwa, Oman

    Depart Muscat en route to the 17th-century Jabrin Fort. Originally built as a palace, the structure was later fortified but still retains royal embellishments including beautiful hand-painted ceilings. Walk through the narrow streets of the mud-brick village of Al Hamra, whose well-preserved, Yemeni-style houses are some of the oldest in Oman. Visit Bait Al Safah, a small museum located in a traditional home that provides insight into what life in the village was once like. Travel to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Bahla. Recently restored and opened to visitors, the ruins of the immense fort are a remarkable testament to the prosperity of the area from the 12th to 15th centuries. Check in to our hotel in the oasis town of Nizwa, once the medieval capital of Oman.

    Accommodations:

    Golden Tulip Nizwa

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Nizwa, Oman

    Today experience Nizwa’s weekly cattle and goat market, where buyers sit in a circle as sellers, young and old, parade around, steering or carrying their offerings. Wander among men wearing the traditional dishdasha (robe) and kumma (embroidered cap) or mussar (turban) and Bedouin women in leather masks with henna-decorated hands bidding on livestock or simply gossiping and watching the proceedings. Stroll through the souk (market) and around Nizwa Fort, which served as a combination palace, seat of government and prison for 300 years. Rove through Al Hoota Cave, full of stalactites and stalagmites and home to a fragile underground ecosystem that includes fascinating blind, transparent fish dwelling in a subterranean lake.

    Accommodations:

    Golden Tulip Nizwa

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Muscat, Oman / Doha, Qatar

    Return to Muscat early this morning in time to catch our flight to Qatar. Ruled by the Al Thani family since the mid-19th century, Qatar is one of the smallest—and richest—countries in the world. Upon arrival in the capital city of Doha, drive to Education City, a 2,965 acre campus comprising branches of several prominent U.S. universities that enroll several thousand students from Qatar and other Gulf countries. Enjoy lunch there before heading to the Qatar National Library and ending the day at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art.

    Accommodations:

    JW Marriott Marquis City Center Doha

    Included meals: Breakfast and lunch
  • Doha, Qatar

    Marvel at the impressive I.M. Pei–designed Museum of Islamic Art, considered one of the world’s greatest collections of Islamic art, textiles and rugs. After lunch drive to the Aspire Zone, a unique sport, sports medicine, research and education destination for the international sports industry. Finish the day at the Pearl-Qatar, one of the largest real estate developments in the Middle East. It is an impressive island off the coast of Doha’s plush West Bay District. This evening explore the Souk Waqif before dining there.

    Accommodations:

    JW Marriott Marquis City Center Doha

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Doha, Qatar

    Attend a briefing at the U.S. Embassy followed by a trip to the National Museum of Qatar. This museum opened in March 2019 and is a stunning new architectural highlight along Doha’s waterfront.

    Accommodations:

    JW Marriott Marquis City Center Doha

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Doha, Qatar / Home

    Transfer independently to the airport for flights home.

    Included meal: Breakfast

Trip details

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village of buildings carved out of hillside

Pricing

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The price of your trip covers a comprehensive educational program in addition to meals, accommodations, tours and excursions. Continue reading for a full list of what’s included.

nighttime view of the museum islamic art

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