Always wanted to be one of the first and few people to try something new? Up for adventures of all kinds? Then Saudi Arabia is just the holiday for you. The kingdom has recently opened up its borders for international tourists and suddenly we have a whole new country just waiting to be discovered. And if you thought Saudi was all deserts and cities, you couldnï¿½t be further from the truth.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN SAUDI
One of the most special parts of the Arabian Peninsula ï¿½ and specifically Saudi ï¿½ is its desert since Saudi Arabia is home to the largest sand desert on earth. Desert adventures are the perfect starting place to discover Saudiï¿½s culture, customs and nomadic way of life. The desert in Saudi offers you everything from adrenaline-packed excursions like dune bashing and sandboarding to more serene history-inspired activities such as camel riding and Arabian camping, which sets it apart from any other desert experience.
Hiking enthusiasts are most intrigued and delighted with Saudiï¿½s diverse topography as it allows them to explore Edge of the World, Al Ahsa Oasis, and Jabal Abyad. With breath- taking lookout points atop cliffs and an oasis in the desert, Arabia offers plenty of adventures for its travellers to embark upon on foot and enjoy their expedition.
The Red Sea borders Saudi Arabia from the west and the Arabian Gulf borders it from the east, which provides a perfect opportunity for the visitors to explore the territory through various adventurous activities in/on the water. You can go scuba diving in the Red Sea, visit a desert lake, or can explore it on boats and cruises.
Culture and Heritage
Saudi culture is equally rich and diverse. Youï¿½ll find many mosques and traditional markets where you can experience a rhythm of life that has changed only a little over the centuries. There is also a multi-cultural variety of foods, lifestyles, and customs. Other centres of attraction include urban districts and entertainment centres such as Share Al Hob market, Souq Al Qaisariya where people meet to shop, dine or just spend time with friends.
Saudi is a perfect amalgamation of history and modernity that are inextricably linked and endlessly beguiling. Be it traditional dances, handicrafts, gleaming skyscrapers, or thriving cities, youï¿½ll find it all here.
The past comes to life in the land of Arabia ï¿½ the labyrinthine streets of ancient cities, intricate rock carvings of early civilizations, ancient ruins, and rock-carven tombs of Nabatean Hegra. One can enter the doorway into Saudiï¿½s rich and fascinating history by walking the narrow winding streets of Al-Turaif, surrounded by beautiful Najd architecture.
PLACES TO ADD TO YOUR ITINERARY
Riyadh, a modern metropolis, has highway hives of activity amongst urban high-rises. This city has a centuries-old history that can still be found within its atmospheric souqs, compelling museums, and ancient architecture.
Donï¿½t miss the Saudi National Museum documenting the great history of Arabia over the millennia with over 3700 antiquities on show, Souq AL Zal where you can buy gold coins, quirky handicrafts, traditional Saudi items etc during the Haraj auction on Friday evenings, and Najd Village where you can enjoy delicious cuisines.
Jeddah has an unofficial motto: Jeddah ghair, or ï¿½Jeddahï¿½s differentï¿½. This city has been most open to outside influences be it traders, international artists, or Makkah-bound pilgrims. Currently, it is Saudiï¿½s buzzing cosmopolitan hub and home to gleaming hotels and big-ticket events like the Red Sea International Film Festival.
Must visit the Al Balad where you can explore spice-scented souqs and glowing traditional bakeries, Jeddah Corniche where swimming bay adventures and iconic sculptures by the likes of Henry Moore and Joan Miro await you, and Tayebat City with a rich history of 2500 years of fishing tribes, early Arabian trade, and later pilgrims.
ALUla is positioned in the northwest of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and has a wonderful heritage. Itï¿½s rich in both human heritage and natural beauty and acts as a home for a wide range of flora, fauna, and a living museum of human societies spanning thousands of years.
Save your dates for Nabataean Oasis telling the history of the ancient Oasis of Hegra, AlUla Old Town where you can understand the continuity and evolution of ALUIa historic routes, and AlUlaï¿½s Historical Sites: Hegra, Dadan, Jabal Ikmah to explore hundreds of years of Arabian history.
Umluj is often referred to as ï¿½Maldives of Saudi Arabiaï¿½. It is a small coastal town that boasts beautiful views and delicious seafood which makes it a perfect choice for honeymooners. Itï¿½s home to a number of diverse shores and contains the most pristine, dream-like beaches in the entire Peninsula. Here, you can try island-hopping around Umluj, swim at Umlujï¿½s beaches, and can watch the rare birds of Saudi Arabia.
This historical area has many attractions around the harbour that come alive at night. You can join locals eating Red Sea-caught fish while overlooking the water or discover the nearby glowing lanes of the night market: Souq Al Lail. You can visit Radwa Mount, the home of T.E. Lawrence, or explore Red Sea Diving and Waterfront Activities while in Yanbu.