On The Go Tours Jordan
Perfect holidays, the Jordanian way
From grand palaces to historic temples, hot desert plains to snowy mountain peaks, On The Go Tours has always brought travellers the finest sights and adventures the world has to offer.  This is perfection the Jordanian holiday way. Immerse yourself in a truly authentic local experience on a popular guided group tour, make a date with some of the world’s most colourful festivals, take an unforgettable family adventure, tailor-make that dream holiday or discover the pulse of the world’s most exciting cities on a wide range of day trips; it’s all up to you. [caption id="attachment_45003" align="alignnone" width="600"] The jebels and duens of Wadi Rum's desert landscape are magic at sunset[/caption] A magical evening of traditional music and dance, local cuisine and shisha accompanied by awe-inspiring incredible lansdscapes awaits under a blanket of stars at On The Go Tours’ desert camp at Wadi Rum. A vast, silent landscape of ancient riverbeds, pastel stretches of sandy desert and amazing rock formations known as jebels, the desertscape of Wadi Rum encompasses some of the most stunning scenery in all of Jordan, forged by millions of years of geological formation, erosion and evolution. Split by networks of canyons and ravines, spanned by naturally formed rock bridges and watered by hidden springs, the jebels (essentially mountains) offer awesome opportunities for scrambling, rock climbing and trekking. The Details Explore the vast landscape on a 4WD adventure, stopping at unusual rock formations, with a night spent under the stars in a perfectly located desert camp. [caption id="attachment_45004" align="alignnone" width="600"] The desert camp at Wadi Rum[/caption] You can choose to spend the night camping under the stars or bedding down in comfortable permanent tents with twin beds and linen provided, although you may want to bring your own sleeping bag liner. If visiting in winter (November to March) it can be very cold at night in the desert and you may wish to bring your own warm sleeping bag. There are environmentally friendly shared bathroom facilities with hot and cold running water, toilets and a shower. A communal tent, furnished with small tables and cushioned seating area, is the place to gather at night to enjoy a hearty Jordanian meal and some traditional Bedouin music.   For more information please contact On The Go Tours on 1300 855 684 or email aus-info@onthegotours.com
Everything you need to know about Oman
The Sultanate of Oman is a mesmerising concept. A country of ancient traditions and evocative beauty, where even the most cursory journey takes in the gamut of infinite deserts, dramatic coastline and fascinating mountain micro climates. Here, the reasons you should be more than curious about Oman. Where on Earth is it? On the Arabian Peninsula, bordered by United Arab Emirates (it’s around an hour’s flight time from Abu Dhabi or Dubai), with Saudi Arabia to the west and Yemen to the southern border. A bit of background In a region where the grand gesture rules, Oman is delightfully understated in its appeal. Its rich history dates back to ancient times, but it truly prospered as a trading post for frankincense, the aromatic resin used for incense and perfumes.   Oman’s storied seafaring roots (the Sinbad the Sailor legend apparently took root in the port city of Sohar, once the capital of the country) led to it becoming a major trade and commerce hub, eventually colonising Zanzibar in East Africa from where it exported pearls, ambergris, dates, copper and cloves to the rest of the world.   Over the years the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Portuguese and Ottomans have all sought to dominate Oman in order to make the most of its strategic position. [caption id="attachment_35800" align="alignnone" width="1500"] The evocative beauty of Oman’s desert landscape.[/caption] Why you need to know about it Oman is made up of historic, low-rise cities, beautiful stretches of desert, atmospheric seaports, pristine beaches and jutting dramatic mountain regions. Traversing the country from top to bottom, from the arid expanses of The Musandam (a mountainous peninsula on the Straits of Hormuz that is actually detached from the rest of the country, separated by the United Arab Emirates) in the north to the relaxed coastal city of Salalah, confirms its staggering diversity of landscape.   Another lure is the Omani people; with obvious pride in their collective history and culture, they are gracious and welcoming hosts. Oman is also an incredibly safe country to visit and travel within, having been listed as the 4th safest country in the world by the World Economic Forum. How to approach it Plan a journey that passes over the almost lunar landscape of the Al Hajar Mountains, weaving through the evocative Empty Quarter, and hugging rugged coastal cliffs that give way to golden-sand beaches.   At almost any time of the year you can you also witness one of the annual harvests that take place, when roses, pomegranate and apricots fill the air of The Green Mountain (Al Jabal Al Akhdar) with fragrance and colour. [caption id="attachment_35802" align="alignnone" width="1500"] A village clings to the edge of a stunning mountain range, surrounded by verdant date palms.[/caption] What to do when you get there Boating Its maritime history and long stretches of coastline afford ample opportunity for taking to the water, on everything from kayaks to traditional dhow.  Some villages, like Kumzar in the far north, can only be reached by boat. Scuba diving The diving here is some of the best in the region, with ample sea life and diverse underwater terrain, from caves to coral reefs. Try sites in or near Muscat including Al Khayran, Al Fahil Island, Dimaniyat Islands, Al Makbara Bay, and Al Jissah Beach. April to July is optimum diving time, but conditions are usually good all year round. Ancient sites Such a patterned history means that Oman is littered with archaeological sites and ruins to explore; put the Bat Tombs in Bat, Al Khutum and Al Ayn in A'Dhahirah , Al Manzafah in Wilayt Ibra in A'Sharqiyah, the ancient port of Al Balid City in Dhofar, and the Hasat Bin Salt inscriptions that date back to the dawn of history in Wilayt Al Hamra on your list. Turtle watching Oman has five of the seven species of sea turtles in the world; each year thousands of turtles migrate from the Arabian Gulf, the Red Sea and Somalia and lay their eggs at beach throughout the country.
Sheikh Zayed Mosque
Your 48 hour guide to Abu Dhabi
This Emirate is often mistaken for a destination where weeks spent exploring will leave you feeling like you haven't scratched the surface.  We have created your 48 hour guide to Abu Dhabi which will ensure you leave experience enriched.
Louvre Museum, interior, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
8 things you absolutely can not miss in Abu Dhabi
You've booked your ticket, now what?  We'll show you 8 things you absolutely can not miss in Abu Dhabi!
oman travel middle east culture Muscat Al jabal al Akhdar
A cultural journey into the otherworldly mountains of Oman
The otherworldly beauty of the Sultanate of Oman is not just found in its spectacular mountain scenery, but also its time-honoured traditions and its gracious and welcoming people. The car swings around yet another hair-pin bend and the world drops away on one side revealing a deep chasm in the Earth’s surface. I am torn between squeezing my eyes shut to allay the squeamishness I am feeling about the perilous height, and pressing my nose up against the glass of the car door to get a better look. We have been climbing and switching back on ourselves and navigating whiplash-inducing hairpin bends for some time now, my knuckles turning whiter with each burst of the accelerator. Given our intended destination is some 2000 metres above sea level, it’s probably not surprising that the journey takes a while. I know it’s just my imagination (and the fact that I am constantly looking up so that I don’t have to see how far down it is), but I feel like I could actually touch the sky if I stretched enough. As the road levels out momentarily, I get ridiculously excited as a family of mountain goats – the mother purposefully leading the way trailed by her kids – trot along in search of something to graze on in the coarse, scrubby vegetation that fights to thrive in the rocky earth here. And then the world drops away again as we start to climb, inching ever closer to ‘heaven’. I am in Oman, a wide, diverse country of just 4.42 million inhabitants, located in the Arabian Peninsula, and bordered by Saudi Arabia, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates and a large swath of Arabian Sea coastline. While most people’s perception of the countries of the ‘Middle East’ (this term is not widely used here) has been shaped by the unrelenting bling of Dubai and a lifetime of news stories, Oman is not like most countries in this region. With a fascinating history influenced by its Bedouin traditions, seafaring and trade – the wildly exotic port of Zanzibar in East Africa was once controlled by Oman, as it shipped aromatic frankincense and exotic spices to the new world – this is a generously welcoming county whose proud people are humble and warm. Omanis also pride themselves on their tolerance, especially when it comes to religion. The majority of the population here practise a form of Islam known as Ibadi, which is characterised as being ultra-moderate and inclusive, open to differing views and opinions. According to our guide Kamil (the very competent driver behind the wheel of our mountain road odyssey), no one in Oman even thinks to ask about anyone else’s religion because it doesn’t matter; he explains that he only discovered his neighbour was Sunni after knowing him for years. Back on the road, our journey into the Al Hajar Mountains finally reaches its conclusion at Al Jabal Al Akhdar. Stepping out of the car, my heart skips a beat as I look out across an otherwordly landscape of jutting peaks bathed in clear-skied sunshine. My silent musings about ending up in heaven have come to fruition. With the scorching summer heat exquisitely tempered by the dizzying height and gentle breezes, I can see why these mountains are a favoured getaway of locals and expats come the summer months. Known as the Green Mountain, the vista stretching out from where we stand is dotted with low greenery. Each year the area provides a plentiful harvest of exotic produce: in March and April it is rose petals to produce the prized local rose water (one of my favourite local customs is that of having your hands sprinkled with rose water at the end of a meal); in May the apricot harvest begins followed throughout summer with peaches, figs, pears, almonds and apples; pomegranates, grapes, walnuts and olives follow during the autumn months. As we check in at the divine Alila Jabal Akhdar, we are greeted with plump dates and Omani coffee, another local custom I have quickly grown to love. The fort-like design allows the property to sit sympathetically in its surroundings and does nothing to obscure the view, or pierce the blissful silence that fills my ears. Within, the interior is understated and chic, decorated with local pottery and dominated on the inside by a huge open fire that is lit at night to warm the cool mountain air, and outside by a cliff-top pool that defines the word ‘infinity’.   What goes up... The next day Kamil ferries us back down the mountain (and past more mountain goats) as we strike out for Nizwa, an easily achievable day trip. Entering the town it is impossible not to be impressed by the hulking fort that dominates the low skyline. Built in the 17th century by Sultan Bin Saif Al Ya’Aruba, Nizwa Fort makes for an evocative exploration, as we climb narrow internal staircases and push past heavy wooden doors intricately decorated with metal studs. At the top of the fort, the still coolness of the interior gives way to a rush of desert heat, but the view out through the ramparts to the town below, with its flat-roofed dwellings and lush patches of date palms, is worth the discomfort. Back at ground level we head into the famed souq, and another welcome respite from the heat. The narrow lanes here are bordered by merchants selling spices, dried grains, woven mats, pottery and the silver that the market is famous for. I find a shop selling all manner of antiques and bric-a-brac, picking my way gingerly through a pile of old brass plates and candlesticks that have been warmed to scolding by the midday heat. Arriving back in Al Jabal Al Akhdar, we make our way to the grand Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar. Resplendent in the same gentle rosy orange of Nizwa Fort, the luxe property is spread across the Saiq Plateau, looking out to the same vista of mountains that I have been admiring for a few days now, but which still manages to amaze and mesmerise me anew every time I catch sight of it. The next morning I eat a breakfast of hummus and labneh while surveying the resort before heading out with one of its guides to walk to local villages nearby: Al Aqr, Al Ayn and Ash Shirayjah. Passing evocatively abandoned houses and tightrope walking along the ancient irrigation system or falaj, we are given a potted history of the area. We pass a few local children playing in shady narrow lanes, but apart from that the villages are quiet.   … must come down Making our way down the mountain (again) I actually savour the journey this time, knowing I will not be returning. Once back on flat ground we drive through a landscape of sand and rubble, before hitting the outskirts of Muscat. This was the starting off point of my visit to Oman a few days earlier. The capital of the country, the delightfully low-rise city has a wonderfully unaffected appeal about it; there are no skyscrapers or showy neon signs here, but that is not to say that the city doesn’t possess presence. Driving the wide roads, the skyline is dominated by any number of domes and minarets, vividly coloured with tiles of gold, blue and green, and giant portraits of Qaboos bin Said al Said, the much loved Sultan. The most imposing of all the mosques is the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. Completed in 2002, the complex is a beautiful vision in marble with the second largest hand-loomed carpet in the world in the main prayer hall. I visited the old town, where the pretty white-washed buildings with their ornate windows and heavy metal doors face out to sea. Here the higgledy-piggledy alleys of the Mutrah Souq sucked me in as I browsed shops groaning with vintage Bedouin silver pieces, including rings with stones the size of gobstoppers and intricately decorated khanjar, the traditional Omani ceremonial dagger. But, sadly, I am not stopping this time. I have journeyed to heaven and back in Oman and now it is time to head home and back down to earth.   Details: Oman Getting there: Etihad has daily flights to Abu Dhabi from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, with flights daily from Abu Dhabi to Muscat, Oman. Staying in Oman:  You are spoilt for choice in Oman when it comes to luxurious hotels with a real sense of place. - In Muscat: Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa sits on a sweeping beach on the shores of the Sea of Oman, nestled between jutting mountains that are shaded a rich pink at sunset. - In Al Jabal Al Akhdar: Perched high in the Al Hajar Mountains, the generous rooms at Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort look out to awe-inspiring views, and the luxe inclusions include an Anantara Spa and myriad dining options. - Alila Jabal Akhdar’s low-slung beauty and luxurious approach allow it to sit unobtrusively in the stunning surrounds of the Al Haj Mountains.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi
8 reasons to make Abu Dhabi your next stopover
Heading to Europe and want to stop halfway, rather than do the whole long-haul in a one-r? We think that’s a great idea – and here are eight irresistible reasons to make Abu Dhabi your next stop-over. If Abu Dhabi is on your travel bucket list but you don't have a lot of time up your sleeve, then a stop-over is the perfect option. Here is what you can squeeze into your time while you're there. 1. Have afternoon tea in the sky at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers With incredible 360-degree views over Abu Dhabi, afternoon tea at the Observation Deck in Jumeirah at Etihad Towers is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You can choose between their standard afternoon tea package for $96 or their bubbly afternoon tea for $135. Something this wonderful tends to get booked up fast so make sure you book ahead. [caption id="attachment_46722" align="alignnone" width="600"] Take in the views at Observation Deck in Jumeirah at Etihad Towers as you indulge in a delicious afternoon tea.[/caption] Located in Tower 2 on the 74th floor at Observation Deck and served from 2 pm to 6 pm daily.   Please Note: The entrance fee is AED 95. A credit voucher of AED 55 is attached to the entrance fee and can be redeemed on the day of your visit. 2. Speed down a waterslide at Yas Waterworld Feeling tired after that flight? Wake yourself up with a visit to Yas Waterworld, one of the most thrilling waterparks in the world. If you’re travelling with kids, it will keep them happy all day (and distract them – and you – from the jetlag). There is a free shuttle bus that runs from a number of key pick-up points throughout Dubai (50 minute drive) and Abu Dhabi (25 minute drive) to Yas Island.   Online prices start from $96 for a single ticket and $287.60 for a family of four. You can purchase tickets and find more information on shuttle bus times on the Yas Waterworld website.   Located on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi and open from 10 am to 7 pm daily. 3. Visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Visiting Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Grand mosque is a true cultural privilege. Resembling an Arabian Peninsula Taj Mahal, it took more than 100,000 tonnes of pure white marble to build, and has space for 40,000 worshippers. Free guided cultural tours are available to book through their website and run for 45 minutes. You are required to wear appropriate dress (examples of which can be found here) and note that food and drink - including water - is not allowed to be consumed inside the mosque. [caption id="attachment_46725" align="alignnone" width="600"] Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is 100,000 tonnes of magnificent pure white marble.[/caption] Address: Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed St, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.   The mosque is open to visitors from 9 am to 10 pm daily, except on Fridays when it closes to visitors for Friday prayers and reopens at 4:30 pm. 4. Sand-ski in the desert The spectacular desert around Abu Dhabi is a must when you are visiting this part of the world. Sure, you can do a camel ride if that’s your bag, but why not take things to the extreme and hop on a board instead? With Nuzhath Ideas and Abu Dhabi Desert Safari you can do just that – guides will take you out to the dunes and teach you all the tricks. Just make sure you wear sunscreen – it gets hot out there. [caption id="attachment_46728" align="alignnone" width="600"] Ski the sand dunes in Abu Dhabi.[/caption] For more information or to book the safari, available to book through their website 5. Play a round of golf at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club Maybe you’re after something altogether more chill after that long flight? Look no further than Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, where you play the classic Scottish sport right by the sea, with the breeze on your back. It was the first golf course on the Gulf and was designed by famed South African golfer Gary Player – so it’s pretty much golf heaven. [caption id="attachment_46729" align="alignnone" width="600"] Tee up a game of golf Saadiyat Beach Golf Club.[/caption] Located on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. Prices start from around $125 to $400 for 4 people and 18 holes depending on your arrival time. Book your tee time online in advance available to book through their website 6. Visit the Louvre Abu Dhabi Opened on 11 November 2017 and designed by architect Jean Nouvel, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, costing $650 million to build, needs to be on your list of places to see. Some of the world’s finest works are housed here from the likes of Da Vinci and Van Gogh, all housed under an incredible dome comprised of thousand of stars layered on top of each other to let sunlight filter through to the galleries below.   Address: Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates   The Lourve is closed on Mondays and open 10 am to 8 pm Saturday to Wednesday (excluding Mondays), and 10 am to 10 pm Thursdays and Fridays. Admission fee of $24.15 for adults, $12.10 for concession and free for children under 13 years. 7. Ride the Formula Rossa at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi Ever wanted to feel what it’s like riding a Formula One car? At Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, you don’t have to imagine, because its Formula Rossa ride has been made to match the speeds set on the track – 240 kilometres an hour in 4.9 seconds, to be exact. Designed so you feel like you’re in a Ferrari F1 car too, you will take to the skies feeling legendary – and get back to earth feeling even better. [caption id="attachment_46726" align="alignnone" width="600"] Get the adrenaline pumping at Ferrari World.[/caption] Online prices start from $114 for a general admission. You can purchase tickets and find more information on the free shuttle bus service on the Ferrari World Abu Dhabi website.   Located on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, open every day from 11 am to 8 pm. 8. Stay the night at Yas Hotel A hotel is a hotel is a hotel, right? Wrong. Designed by Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture, the Yas Hotel is built over the F1 Yas Marina Circuit, and looks like something from outer space, it’s that futuristic. Without a doubt – a night here is set to be one of the most luxurious, most fabulous nights of your life. [caption id="attachment_37038" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Stay a night in an icon at the Yas Hotel.[/caption]   Located on Yas Island, you'll be in prime position to access Yas Waterworld and Ferrari World. Prices start from around $210 per night.   Want to spend longer in Abu Dhabi? Visit our Abu Dhabi guide for more travel tips and inspiration.
Exhibition Louvre Abu Dhabi
A beginner’s guide to the Louvre, Abu Dhabi
With the recent opening of the new Louvre Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates capital has taken the first bold step on a cultural journey that will see it become an art hot spot to rival the likes of New York and Paris, writes Leigh-Ann Pow.
luxury first class etihad
The Residence by Etihad – ‘like your own private jet’
Etihad’s has taken in-flight luxury to a new level with The Residence, where travelling on a commercial plane is like having your own private jet, writes Leigh-Ann Pow.

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