Saudi Arabia, officially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is a country in Western Asia constituting the vast majority of the Arabian Peninsula.Saudi Arabia has long been closed off for most travelers. Restrictive visa policies meant only Muslims—or oil industry workers—could visit. Even then, they could only visit a few places in the country. But now the country has updated its travel policies allowing travel possible
The trading empire of the Nabataeans, who built it, was huge. Few may have heard of Mada’in Saleh, but this spice-route city, high in Saudi Arabia’s north-west, is no less dramatic. it met the same fate as the rest of the Nabataean empire. Like Petra, it was absorbed by the Romans in 106 AD and faded into history. its story didn’t end there. What survives is remarkably well preserved, largely made up of 131 rock-carved tombs covered in Aramaic script and scattered across the desert.Some sites, such as Qasr al-Farid, take your breath away. When into one giant, lone boulder, it remains unfinished, a snapshot of a civilisation stopped mid-sentence. Others are hidden down narrow gorges or still half-excavated, making you feel like you’ve just discovered a lost city.
Jeddah is caught between two worlds. It’s the historic ‘gate to Mecca’ for millions of pilgrims, yet it’s also a bustling commercial centre. That the two aren’t mutually exclusive makes it all the more fascinating. Old Jeddah is easy to find, and wandering the ancient streets of al-Balad sees you stroll beneath tall, Hijazi-style houses built from glistening coral stone. Here, hand-carved teak balconies jut from ice-white facades, some little-changed since the town was founded in the seventh century. Museums now fill out the oldest, but this area isn’t a relic; there’s life here, and Souk Al Alawi, the largest in the country, is a whirlwind of scent, sound and colour.
Jebel Fihrayn is known to most as ‘The Edge of the World’. Gazing out from atop this 300m-high, it’s easy to see rocky plains swamp the horizon. It’s one of the most dramatic views in the country. Below, the valley floor is in fact an old sea bed with coral fossils, having dried up 150 million years ago. Meanwhile, the escarpment itself unfurls 1,000km across the province and marks an ancient trade route, where caravans once trailed oils and spices in its shadow.
Up in the north, amid the bone-dry wadis and jebels outside the city of Ha’il, history is written across the rock - literally. Barren and parched, it might not look like it today, but this area was once home to a large lake and some of Arabia’s earliest inhabitants. Its legacy is a mass of petroglyphs detailing life here as far back as 10,000 years ago. The densest collection of drawings are found on the west side of Jubbah, a tiny oasis village 90km north of Ha’il. That said, several sites scatter the UNESCO-listed area.
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We took the one day tour, Mada'in Saleh which covered the Hegra world heritage site (including the Hejaz Railway station), Dadan, Elephant Rock (Jabal Alfil) and Jabal Hikmah. Booking was very easy with the help of our tour operator Fly bagna. Communication between Fly bagna our tour guide Sultan and our group was excellent on the run up to and during the trip. We were picked up exactly on time and returned very tired after a thoroughly enjoyable day.
Went with a friend and tour guide to Abha. It was a wonderful experience. Driver was waiting in front of the hotel and gave us complete information about this magical place.Arpit was our contact during the whole trip. Hopefully we will have time to repeat our visit in the summer.