When you consider your next jaunt abroad, the nation of Saudi Arabia probably won’t be high on your list of must-see destinations. However, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is keen on projecting a more modern, forward thinking and tourist friendly image of his country to the rest of the world. While still ultra conservative, Saudi Arabia has become more open in recent years. Tourist visas have begun to be issued once again, and the country is so beautiful that you’d be mad not to consider visiting. Culturally, Saudi Arabia has many significant religious and historical sites just begging to be explored. However, the human rights record and its treatment of women still make this a nation of many flaws.
If you are keen to explore somewhere new, exciting and on the cusp of a tourist revolution, Saudi Arabia might be just what you’re looking for.
You’ll have seen the Jordan city of Petra in iconic movies like Indiana Jones, but you may not have heard of its relative, Madain Saleh. Located along the old spice trade route, this incredible desert city is a feast for the eyes. The geographical formations and man-made sculptures remain almost untouched. The city is beautifully preserved and well worth a few hours of your time. Untrodden by tourist feet, this city doesn’t have the tourist tat sellers of Petra and the ancient Pyramids of Giza. This is a beacon of how heritage sites should be kept. The tombs are almost magical and the desert landscape otherworldly. If you are a bit of a history buff, this Nabatean city takes some beating.
If you fancy heading to a more urban sprawl along the coast, Jeddah has a wonderful mix of metropolitan vibes alongside tradition. Down at the corniche, you can sip a non-alcoholic beverage while watching the sunset and the waves lap the shoreline. Jeddah is easy going and relatively calm compared to the bustling capital of Riyadh. The souk is large, sprawling and perfect if you fancy bartering for some bargains. The street food scents fill the air, you will end up buying your own weight in spices, and you will leave having immersed yourself in the culture of a new city. There are many Umrah packages on offer which enable Muslims from all over the world to complete a significant ritual and it is still awe-inspiring to see the pilgrims to Mecca pass through Jeddah before making their final journey to the Kaaba.
An excursion to Jubbah means you could find yourself marvelling at the most ancient of rock paintings. These Neolithic images are stunningly well preserved, crisp and easy to interpret. The Qatter cave is of particular note with a beautiful ancient hunting scene. Once you’ve finished looking at the rock paintings, you can head back into the city to enjoy some of the finest international cuisine in all of Saudi Arabia.
A country of contrasts, Saudi Arabia, is a must-see destination for those who like to stay ahead of the game and be one of the first tourists to hit a destination.
Lots of Love,