Saudi Arabia Journals

The Arabian Desert

A September 1991 trip to Saudi Arabia by titaniumcop

Coastal City Photo, Saudi Arabia, Middle East More Photos
Quote: Today's Saudi Arabia has held on to its mystique by being incredibly difficult to visit, there's no such thing as a tourist visa in this country. But if you can find someone to sponsor you, it's worth coming here for the desert and mountain scenery, and some of the Middle East's best archaeological sites. And, of course, there's the fascinating spectacle of a society juggling deeply conservative religious beliefs and oilboom modernity.

The Arabian Desert

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Overview

Cultural Crafts Photo, Saudi Arabia, Middle East
Quote:
Desert drives, or 'wadi bashing', are popular throughout the country and it's usually fairly easy to find someone in the local expat community who can give you advice on where to go for a desert picnic.Quick Tips: The best time to visit is between November and February when the climate is mild. The Asir mountains are at their best a bit earlier and a bit later than the rest of the country - during winter they are often locked in do to fog.Best Way To Get Around: Saudi Arabia has the only stretch of railway track in the entire Arabian peninsula - one line from Riyadh to Dammam, via Hofuf and Abqaiq. Trains run three times a day. If you plan to drive, a western driving license is accep...Read More
Hotel Photo, Saudi Arabia, Middle East
Quote:
It's a very nice hotel it has a outdoor pool, jacuzzi, sauna, steambath, fitness center which you can go jogging in and a golf course close by. If you get hungry they have 2 Restaurants to choose from, The Sands Restaurant Which stays open all the time. and The Al Hambra Restaurant which just serves lunch and dinner. This was a really good hotel to stay at right by the airport. Just make sure your not eating any camel burgers. :)

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 18, 2000

National Museum

Attraction

Quote:
The new national museum in Riyadh is open and well worth a visit. Make sure you check the time though before you go. The museum's telephone numbers are: 403-9961, 403-0683 ext 23 or 402-9500 ext 1082. Our friends who went last week said that they were allowed to stay inside the museum during prayer times. For those who need landmarks to locate the museum, it is just a little west and north of the water tower. It's pretty cool to see.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 18, 2000

Shada Palace

Story/Tip

Quote:
The Shada Palace is one of the main attractions. Although it was turned into a museum in 1987. They restored the rooms and exhibits. It looks very beautiful and it's full of regional handicrafts and household goods. Most visitors to Saudi Arabia come solely to visit Mecca, just inland from Jeddah. Mecca is the Islam's holiest city, and all devouted to Muslims. They say that wherever they live in the world, They are supposed to make the pilgrimage (or hajj) here once in their life. Amazing! This is where Mohammed was born in the 6th century AD, where he began preaching and where he returned for his final pilgrimage. Mecca and the holy sites in its immediate vicinity are off limits to non-Muslims thou...Read More

Info about Saudi

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Story/Tip

King Fahad Photo, Saudi Arabia, Middle East
Quote:
When visiting Saudi Arabia you absolutely must go shopping in the old suqs. Then visit the Nabataean ruins at Madain Salih between Medina and Tabuk. The Nabataens were the same people that built Petra in southern Jordan. When King Fahad returned to Riyadh for the first time in November 1982 after having ascended the throne the previous summer, Riyadh went all-out with lights to welcome him. It was a one-off event. The king was distressed and said that such `excesses` should never be repeated. It was a glorious spectacle while it lasted! I miss the cheap prices in the men`s shops.

Things to do and not to do

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Story/Tip

Cars Photo, Saudi Arabia, Middle East
Quote:
You have to be careful at all times that you don`t tread on a sensitive cultural toe. Women should NEVER go out without a headcovering -- and they should wear an abaya as well. This is mandatory in Riyadh; the coastal towns are more liberal. Do NOT wear crosses, do not talk about religion, do not criticize Islam. Don`t even THINK about wearing shorts in public unless you`re at the beach. And if you drive, make sure you keep one eye on the mirror at all times. The driving is horrific because it`s the only time a Saudi can feel he`s free. If you find yourself driving in Saudi, watch out! Drivers make turns in any direction from any lane with few signals. There is no apparent lane discipline, traffic li...Read More