Things to explore after moving to Saudi Arabia
Posted: Jun 25, 2019
There are too many misconceptions about Saudi Arabia and one of them is that it has nothing to offer. Until recently, people who traveled to Saudi Arabia went solely on business trips. Such short and superficial visits are not suitable for deeper exploration of any country. Finally, Saudi Arabia is cautiously opening to tourists and seems ready to share its blessings. Whether you're just visiting or wish to explore after moving to Saudi Arabia, there are things you should start with.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) in general
First of all, you need to get there and the easiest and most comfortable way is to fly in. From the experience of those who visited Saudi Arabia this year, its citizens are more welcoming than any foreigner would expect. Even though tourism in this kingdom needs some time to evolve, hospitality is but guaranteed. No matter how long you visit it, to fully enjoy your stay in Saudi Arabia you should be well prepared. As it is only decent when visiting, you should respect the host and adapt to their culture. Their simplistic way of life is reflected in rules you should be aware of in advance:
- Even though they don't need to cover their head, foreign women need to wear an abaya, a local dress covering the body.
- Drinking alcohol is prohibited, and punishable. Owning and (ab)using drugs even more so, and if you value your life, don't do it.
- You will not find pork in this country, either, but you shouldn't worry as there are delicious replacements.
- Public shows of affection are not allowed, and men and women are segregated in cafes and restaurants unless they sit in the family section. Slowly, the segregation rule is being abandoned, starting in big cities like Riyadh and Jeddah.
Things and places you should explore after moving to Saudi Arabia
There are many amazing things to do in KSA, and the variety is pretty much owed to its size. A country that big (9 times bigger than the UK, 3 times bigger than Texas) is bound to comprise many contrasts and is by no means dull. The most interesting parts of the kingdom are without doubt:
- Riyadh – The biggest city in Saudi Arabia and the capital
- Jeddah – The second biggest but the most progressive city in KSA
- Al-Ula – Madain Saleh or Hegra is an archeological site and Nabateans' second largest city (after Petra, Jordan)
If you plan to move to SA or if you decide to relocate locally in Saudi Arabia, you should already know that you will need to rely on local flights to conquer the huge distance between cities. Once you land, Uber or rent a car is your best option. For your reference, if you're planning an itinerary, distance from Riyadh to Jeddah is 954km, and from Jeddah to Al-Ula - 676km.
The best of Riyadh
Riyadh is more culturally and historically rich than other capitals in the Arab Peninsula. Many who decide to move to Saudi Arabia, relocate either to the capital or to the second largest city, Jeddah. Should you need professional help with your relocation check out fourwinds-ksa.com.
Masmak Fort. At the core of the Old City, Masmak fort is home to a museum exposing the history of Riyadh. Entrance to this big, mud-brick fort is free. Right across the fort, you will find Deera Square, notorious for public executions.
National Museum of Saudi Arabia. The National Museum of Riyadh is the most famous one and was established to be a cultural and civilization center. It also organizes various educational exhibitions of the antiquities of the Arabian Peninsula and its traditional heritage.
Sky bridge at Kingdom Center. Have a trip to the top of the famous "bottle opener" to enjoy a breathtaking view of Riyadh from the sky bridge. Kingdom Center also has a luxury shopping mall, an exclusive hotel and a restaurant offering a wonderful view and fine food.
Edge of the World. One of the best places to enjoy the sunset is this 300-meter rocky cliff above a massive dessert plain. Around 90 km from Riyadh, the valley shelters camel herds and Bedouin camps. To avoid getting stuck in the sand, rent a dune buggy.
Camel Trail. Camel trail is a zigzag path camel caravans used to climb up the hills on their way to Riyadh. This particular path is visible from a cliff which also offers a breathtaking view of the valley and rocky mountains.
Red sand dunes. At the distance of around 75 km from Riyadh, the red dunes owe their name to the beautiful sunset-colored sand. You don't need a buggy here; climb up the dune, enjoy the view and then slide (or tumble) down.
Things to do in Jeddah
Jeddah is a port city on the Red Sea and a modern commercial hub where you'll find the most liberal young hipsters in Saudi Arabia. The Corniche, a seafront promenade, line resort hotels, beaches, and outdoor sculptures. Moreover, Jeddah is a preferred living place for expats. If you wish to explore after moving to Saudi Arabia, you should start here.
Al Balad. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Al Balad composes of unique buildings with colorful windows and narrow streets. Between the renovated buildings are art galleries, historic mosques, cafes and restaurants most visitors are bound to enjoy.
The Red Sea. Should you wish to enjoy Jeddah's coastline and its great beaches, visit Silversands. There's no gender restriction on this beach and women can wear bikinis.
Al Wahba Crater. A volcanic crater about 250 kilometers away from Taif is a part of the Harrat Kishb basalt plateau with other, smaller cones. The crater is around 250 m deep and 2 km in diameter and the hike around the top takes approx. 3.5 hours.
Madinah Saleh or Hegra was an ancient city founded by local tribes 50 centuries ago. In the 2nd century BC the Nabateans, who also built Petra, made the city of Hegra. It is currently closed to visitors, as the locality had suffered from vandalism. Even though the entrance is restricted, you can get inside but only if you have a very strong connection.
The desert around Al-Ula. It is a replica of Wadi Rum, Jordan, but without assertive Bedouin merchants.
Al Deerah Heritage Village (Old Town). This is a 2,000-year-old ghost town. Walking the narrow alleys between mud-brick houses will take you back in time.
To learn more about KSA
Visit the blogs of people who have recently experienced or moved to Saudi Arabia. Not only they offer the most recent information, but they also provide it with sincerely and in detail. Also, don't hesitate to explore the rising number of reviews on Trip Advisor, too.
My name is Betty and I have been writing expert articles in relation to the moving industry for the last couple of years. Besides this specific area, I am also experienced in other spheres pertaining to the concept of relocation.