Saudi Arabia is a unique, interesting destination, that is often overlooked. Today we share the best things to do in Saudi Arabia, so you don’t miss a thing.
Know Before You Go
Saudi Arabia recently opened to tourism. And is there anything more appealing than fresh, unexplored landmarks?
However, being a conservative state, there are rules you must abide by to have an enjoyable stay in the country. Alcohol is banned, women should dress modestly, and women may need male companionship at specific locations.
Regardless, the beauty of the coral reefs, desert rocks, cliffs, and historic sites is more than enough to entice you to take a trip to the Middle East.
The high-speed Mecca to Medina train is also available to convey you to some of these sites whilst providing a picturesque view of the country. Here are a few places you should check out.
Best places to visit in Saudi Arabia
The Edge of The World (Jebel Fihrayn)
Visit the abruptness of the cliffs, and the sheer height from the ground, and enjoy the incredible view from the Edge of the World out. At The Edge of the World, the vastness and lack of visual interruption from the desert as it meets the horizon accentuates the captivating sight these cliffs ideally provide.
This earned it its popular nickname “The Edge of The World”, as it is known as Jebel Fihrayn by the locals. The dramatic, clear-cut but layered 1,000-foot rise from an ancient ocean bed is a geological wonder that points to the tectonic movement of the Arabian plate that resulted from the spread of the Red Sea.
The cliffs are located northwest of the capital of the country, Riyadh. There are hiking trails available if you would like to hike. However, the rugged terrain, sharp rocks, and steep climbs should be minded with appropriate footwear and careful driving in an SUV, as the case may be. And make sure to be on the lookout for the fossils, dried river beds, and some occasional camels!
The Red Sea
A mini Maldives experience awaits you at the Red Sea. Pristine islands, coral reefs, turquoise water, and the occasional sighing of dolphins in winter — these are some of what you should expect at the Red Sea. The waters are safe, so you could go with the one that suits you. Do not forget your snorkeling and scuba-diving gear, as there is beauty for you to feast your eyes on underwater; this is one of the unique things to do in Saudi Arabia.
There are underwater landmarks, part of which are the uncharted Galawa reefs at Abu Galawa, a large shipwreck of the Ann Ann wedged between two reefs, and the wreck of Staphonos, called the Cable Wreck. The wrecks are now in sync with nature, and you can see guitarfish, blue-spotted stingrays, and may encounter tiger or hammerhead sharks there. The Red Sea offers a lot of outdoor activities.
In addition to diving, you could go kitesurfing on the beaches, windsurfing, camping at the seaside after you get permission, or go on a boat cruise to the middle of the sea. However, for ladies, it is advised that you pack modest swimwear as the authorities are still firm with dressing codes.
Another one of the unique things to do in Saudi Arabia is visit Eve’s Tomb. Eve is believed to be the first woman on earth and, invariably, the grandmother of humanity. Her tomb is considered to be the one located in the small neighborhood of Ammariya in the center of Jeddah. These beliefs are quite firm as the city of Jeddah was named after her (Jeddah means “grandmother” in Arabic).
At a length of roughly 130 meters, a three-meter breadth, and a depth of six meters, the inferred height of Eve has raised some questions about the veracity of the tomb being Eve’s. Although the grave dates back centuries, no concrete evidence has been garnered to affirm the claim of it being Eve’s.
The tomb was partly destroyed by Prince Faisal in 1928 and finally sealed shut with concrete in 1975 to prevent idolatry activities, such as praying at tombs, that are against Islamic teachings and traditions. Regardless, this archaeological site draws numerous visitors but is only accessible by Muslims. Yes, there are guards at the entrance that do the checking.
The Dunes of Qasim
Visiting Arabia is not complete without an unfailingly wholesome experience at the dunes. All in all, you definitely should not miss out on dune bashing. This will be most enjoyable in the winter. After going on your thrilling sand ride, you can further enjoy the dunes by going camel riding.
Camp in the desert at night to enjoy the fresh breeze under the bathing glow of the winter starlight. You can also build a campfire and treat yourself to local delicacies and drinks. When you wake up, premium Arabic coffee is there for you to savor. You could spend the next day sandboarding or touring one of the desert oases.
Mada’in Salih (Al-Hijr)
Cocooned between cliffs and mountains, Mada’in Salih is a ruin in Al-Ula within the Medina Province of Hejaz, Saudi Arabia. This archaeological site, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (the first in the country), is also known as Al-Hijr —which translates to “The Rocky Place”— to Muslims.
At this site, artifacts and remains of antiquity from the Nabatean Kingdom are well preserved. Over a hundred beautifully-decorated, intricately-detailed tombs and more than a thousand more graves dot the landscape. Mount Athleb, around the ruins, shows evidence of rock writings and cave art reflective of early civilization and settlement in the area. This area is believed to have been lived in by one of the prophets in Islam, Salih, and his people, backed by evidence from the Holy Qur’an.
Are your bags packed already? These spots and many more are waiting. Plenty more surprises are in store for tourists, and this country is an unforgettable holiday destination.