This is a guest article contributed by Bella Robinson.
The strict rules that defined the Middle East a few years back are becoming lenient by the day, with the region trying to revamp its struggling tourism sector. This is the best time to visit Sudi Arabia, especially if you have always wanted to see the vast deserts and try Arabic cuisine. The kingdom that is known as Saudi Arabia now has a new Saudi Arabia eVisa that allows tourists from around 49 countries to tour the country. Previously, the Kingdom issued only visitor visas for religious pilgrimage and business visas. Take advantage of this and start planning your next adventure.
Here are 13 unforgettable experiences for your next trip to Saudi Arabia.
1. Try the Arabic Cuisine
This menu is largely made up of Indian, Middle East, and Mediterranean foods. It is a cocktail of good foods from all these regions. Some of the cuisines that will surely indulge your taste buds include Shawarma and Kabsa. The two are also very affordable.
2. Ride the Red Sand Dunes of Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is popular for its deserts. It is, therefore, a must that you surf the sands of the Saudi deserts. Khararah National Park is known for the best sand dunes, and it is only about an hour’s drive from Riyadh. Besides walking the miles of red sand that make this park, you will also have the chance to quad bike, fly kites, and sandboard with your family. The rock formations here are also a delight.
3. Trek to the Edge of the World
Jebel Fihrayn is a 300m-high escarpment that gives hikers the greatest view of Saudi’s rocky plains, coral fossils, and valleys that were left behind after a sea dried up millions of years ago. From the top, you get the feeling that you are on “the edge of the world ‘.
4. Visit Al Masmak Fort
If you are a lover of history, a day in the mud-brick Al Masmak Fort will be nothing but exciting and fulfilling. It is located in the outskirts of Riyadh, the city that was recaptured with the help of the fort in 1902. The fort is a museum, but it offers more than that: The architecture here will give you chills.
5. Go Shopping
Where else to shop for gold items than Saudi Arabia? The jewellery market in this country is unbelievably huge- and the products are in a standard of their own.
6. Saddle Up On A Camel Or Horse In Thumamah
Located a few miles north of Riyadh, Thumamah National Park is one of the best outdoor escapes in any city all over the world. There are farmers around the park who will gladly rent you their horses and other livestock at very affordable prices. Trekking around the pack on a horse- through the rolling dunes- will give you lots of satisfaction.
7. Visit the Oasis of Al-Ahsa
This oasis is filled with thousands of palms. With over 150 natural springs and being home to the Asfar Lake, this region is arguably Saudi’s wettest region. You will have a chance to trek Rub’ al Khali- the largest contiguous desert in the world.
8. Sky Bridge at Kingdom Center
This is your chance of seeing Riyadh from a bird-eye view. The bridge is located on the 99th floor of Riyadh’s 3rd tallest building- the Kingdom Tower. You will get a spectacular view of the city from up here any time of the day.
9. Dive Into the Red Sea
This is your chance to scuba dive and snorkel in the Red Sea. The sea is accessible from the cities of Al Lith, Jeddah, Jazan, and Al Taif.
10. Tour The City of Jeddah
Exploring the city of Jeddah is a delight on its own. Millions of pilgrims have been passing through here on their way to Mecca for many years. You will be fascinated by the bustling commercial activity in the city and the beauty of the tall, Hijazi-style buildings in the city’s ancient streets. Everything here is astonishing.
11. Take a Tour at Jeddah Historical and City
This chauffeured tour takes you to the history-filled city of Jeddah. You will see a cocktail of modern and the storied ancient attractions in a private vehicle. Some of the ancient places to visit when on this tour include Beit Nassif in the Old City, a city that was built in the 19th century.
You can also choose to walk or drive along the Jeddah Corniche as you listen to stories from the locals and immerse yourself in the deep culture of the seaside city and Saudi Arabia as a whole. This tour provides tourists with food and drinks, but you can always choose to try the local cuisine on your own.
12. Visit The Waters off Umluj
Umluj and Al Wajh are family-friendly towns particularly because they are among the few towns in the kingdom that have shallow turquoise water and coral reefs. The kids will enjoy riding boats around the pristine islands within the red sea. Snorkeling and diving are other exciting activities that your teenage kids will definitely enjoy. Visiting these towns during winter also allows you to spot dolphins. Be sure to immerse yourself into the hospitable culture of the local people and to enjoy their fresh fish and other Arabic cuisines.
13. Visit Medain Saleh and Al Masmak Fort Architectural Treasures
Every building, every ruin, and every wall in the ancient city of Madain Saleh is an architectural treasure. Everything is unique and extremely beautiful here. The city is also home to an ancient Ottoman railway whose fascinating history will blow your mind. Also, a ,must-visit treasure is the Al Masmak Fortt the heart of the city of Riyadh. Its name can be loosely translated to “Strong”, which explains how strong and legendary this fort is. In fact, locals believe that the fort will never fall and if it ever does, that will be the end of their kingdom.
In case you weren’t convinced to visit Saudi Arabia before, we hope that the 10 thrilling activities that we have listed here will change your mind. Whether you are a sightseer, an outdoor activities enthusiast, a history student, or a lover of modern and ancient architecture, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has got you covered.