TRAVEL SAFELY IN SAUDI ARABIA
Planning a trip to the Asian country? Here is how to travel safely and visit all the must-see locations across Saudi Arabia
Words: Emily Georgieva
Photography: Mohammed Hassan, Felipe Pires, Numan Shah, Bady Abbas, Haidan, J Ahmed Sait, Alswedi, Afdhallul Ziqri
25 November 2020
As Saudi Arabia started issuing travellers e-visas, Westerners started planning trips to and from Saudi Arabia. Known for being forbidden for the outside world for decades, nowadays the country is welcoming travellers and the charm of Saudi being a new land for exploring makes it an even more intriguing place to visit.
Famous as a religious hub, Saudi Arabia is a one-of-a-kind place. The complex geographical contrast makes the country vivid and diverse. From witnessing Bedouins riding camels in the deserts to getting lost in a sea of skyscrapers in the cities, every day in the Asian country will be different. Here is a list of some of the places that travellers can head to so they can make the most of their stay and explore the destination safely.
The capital city will probably be a natural start as most if the flights from Asia and Europe as well will land in Riyadh. The city can't be defined as a modern one, but it is extremely rich in culture, heritage and history. In fact, it is one of the most interesting capital cities in the Arab Peninsula. From the Masmak Fort and the National Museum in the Old City to the ruined cities in the outskirts.
The Skybridge tower
If you have enough time, explore the tower as it is one of the most iconic places in the country. It is best to visit at sunset when the soft shades of the setting sun colour the land on the horizon and make the place seem magical.
Red Sand Dunes
If you are visiting Saudi Arabia to admire the land and the beauty of nature make sure to pay a visit to the Red Sand Dunes. It is the ideal spot to take a peaceful moment and see the country in an authentic way.
The second largest and most progressive city on the territory of Saudi Arabia, Jeddah has something for everyone. Usually travellers make it a definite stop on their itinerary because there is so much you can learn about the Arab culture from the locals there. It was the way for Muslims who arrived by sea from Africa and were headed to Mecca in 7th century AD.
If you have done the obligatory hanging out in hipster café shops and trendy restaurants, it's time to head to Al Balad. The place has been recognised as a UNESCO world Heritage site.
The Red Sea
When you get tired of exploring the heritage sites, why don't you enjoy a day at the beach?! The coast along the Red Sea is the ideal place for it as the beach is mixed allowing men and women to enjoy sunbathing in their swimming suits.
The Floating Mosque
To learn more about the culture of Saudi Arabia, making a stop at the mosques is always a good idea. After prayer times the mosques tend to get busy. This one makes no exception so plan your visit with this in mind.
Another one for nature lovers - the mountain range in the region will have you in awe of the stunning landscape of the country. However, the view from the mountain tops is not the oy reason we recommend including this as a stop on your itinerary. You will likely see wild monkeys in their natural habitat.
Get a taste of Saudi Arabia by making a stop at the local markets. There is a possibility that you will stumble on one of those in the bigger cities so make the most of their traditional bargains of honey, spices, fruit and veg.
Rijal Almaa Heritage Village
The village is worth a visit. It has served as a trading spot for a very long time and over the years it has turned into an iconic destination that represents the beautiful old-fashioned charm of Almaa. It is off-the-beaten-track so expect less tourists and more influence from the locals.
Fayfa and Absiyah
The mountain villages are not too far off from Jizan (100 km) and they are a great starting point of getting to know the area better. The nearby villages have managed to preserve their traditions and ooze Arabic culture.
The desert near Al-Ula
Have you always dreamt of going to Wadi Rum? Don't worry, Saudi Arabia has a desert that is almost an exact reflection of it. The desert near Al-Ula is a must stop for those who want to explore the country to the fullest.
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