Araby's Most Fabulous Destination

When British explorer Wilfred Thesiger traveled through Oman in the 1950s, he did it the hard way: an arduous crossing by camel of the sand-dune seas of the Empty Quarter, the Arabian peninsula's desolate interior. Parched, starved, waylaid by tribesmen and imprisoned by local sheiks, he barely survived. Fortunately, today's traveler needn't be as tough or determined as Thesiger; regular flights now make the hop over the Empty Quarter.

On a Thursday morning, the plane from the United Arab Emirates' capital, Abu Dhabi, to Oman's, Muscat, looks like an exodus. Arabs and expats flee the monotony of their...

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