Saudi Arabia, officially known as Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is located on the western part of Asia. It is the 5th largest country in Asia and is 2nd largest Arabian country.
Language spoken: Arabic, EnglishCities covered: Al-Qunfudhah, Jeddah, Yanbu, Al-Umluj, Tabuk, Al-Ula
This road trip was from the south to north of Saudi Arabia.
My family and I started on our longest road trip in Saudi Arabia to date on the first of January, 2021 at around 5am. We traveled from Jizan to Tabuk (1,678 km). We stopped at various different destinations.
First, we went from Jizan to Jeddah, which is approximately 713 km. In between, we took short break at Al-Qunfudhah.
When we reached Al-Qunfudhah, it was clear my sister and I had been sleeping the whole while. Yup, the whole while.
Although Al-Qunfudhah is a big city, we went to a small beach and park.
After eating lunch, we played for what seemed like an hour in the playground.
Oh, no, not 3 and a half hours more!
We left Al-Qunfudhah around 1.00 pm and reached Jeddah late in the evening and I slept like a log.
We stayed at Platinum Suites, a 3-star hotel. It has 10 floors and one room costs SR.350, which comes with a breakfast buffet.
We ate our dinner at “The Village,” an Indian restaurant which serves mouthwatering traditional Indian cuisine.
After our meal, we went back to our hotel and watched the movie Avengers: Infinity War.
The next morning, we got up early, went for brunch at “Chennai Darbar,” a south Indian restaurant, and started for Yanbu.
Yanbu, here I come!
While traveling to Yanbu we saw some mesmerizing views.
After a 3-hour ride, we reached our hotel in Yanbu, “IBIS.” Ibis is a 3-star hotel and has small rooms that are well maintained as well as hygienic. One room at "IBIS" costs around SR. 355. This price is without breakfast buffet, if one needs breakfast then they need to pay extra. This hotel is fun for children, with a swimming pool and a Cafeteria where you can eat muffins, ice-cream, cakes and more!
After resting an hour, we went to Yanbu lake park. This park is full of man-made lakes with lots of fishes, and if you’re lucky you’ll see some birds in the park too!
It was so picturesque!
We played at the beach till our hearts were contented and finally went to have dinner at "Aryaas," a south Indian restaurant full of delicacies from all over India. Mmmmmm...
The following morning, our next destination was Al-Umluj, also known as “Maldives of Saudi Arabia”. It is indeed a hidden paradise. It was a 2-hour ride from Yanbu, and when we reached it all paid off.
Al-Umluj’s coast was surrounded by boats and if you buy a ticket they take you for a boat ride. We appreciated every site of this place, as it was a well maintained picturesque beach. Our boat driver was polite, friendly, and on top of that, he could speak English. He even allowed me to drive the boat for awhile--it was remarkable!
In the middle of the sea, there is a small island full of birds. Our group stayed here for half an hour. The water here was crystal clear, with white sand at the bottom.
Our boat left this island and our driver took us to the most remarkable place, where we saw dolphins playing in water. Oh, what a sight!!!
The sea is all different colours--it depends on the depth of the water. Another amazing part of this ride was taking a dive in the middle of the Red Sea, where the water was shallow. Also, there were corals of all different hues and islands full of greenery. Every spot in this place is magnificent!
After such an amazing experience, we came back to Yanbu and had an amazing pizza party! The pizza tasted scrumptious!!
The next day we headed to Tabuk, the north-western province of Saudi Arabia. My ears got blocked on the way there, so remember to chew gum while traveling!
It took us almost 7 hours (644km) to reach Tabuk. Let me advise you here to have a heavy breakfast in the early morning (6am); and to buy packed food items from the closest grocery store (we had breakfast at Aryaas).
We searched a few hours for a hotel and finally settled in "Grand Millennium," a 5-star hotel. Although it was expensive, the rooms were as big as an apartment. And guess what? The spa was for free! (only if you stay in a room) The package was awesome!!
The following morning, we went to Astra Farms. This farm grows various types of plants and shows that plants (flower and fruits) can grow anywhere, even in deserts.
Since its establishment in 1979, Astra Farms has been the Kingdom’s leader in the production of fruits and flowers. Their way to grow plants is unique, easy and environmentally friendly. A must visit spot for plant lovers, but be sure to book it beforehand!!
This Castle also beautifully preserves the utensils and essentials of the ancient travelers.
We had our lunch at “Curry Palace” (a great place for Indian food) and left for our hotel. After resting, my sister and I got a tour of the hotel’s architectural significance.
Here comes the fun. Later that evening we kids enjoyed a swim, in the swimming pool. It was fully temperature controlled. We played in there for 2 hours; while our parents went for spa. After that, we had dinner and slept like a log.
The next day early in the morning at 5:30am, we took a cab to tour around Tabuk.
Our first stop was Al-Haql. It is at the coast of Aqaba and is the northern most tip of Saudi Arabia.
Then we stopped at the wrecked Ship “Gregorious G.” Also known as Saudi Titanic or simply as “Safinat Haql," which means “boat of Haql” in Arabic.
There are many stories about this place. As far as what I learned, this ship was built in England after the end of second World War. The ship was launched as cargo liner and at the time of its doomed this ship was carrying flour and was owned by Saudi businessmen, who purchased this liner shortly before ship met its ill fate. It is still a mystery as how this liner caught fire. Overall this is a very scenic place and is amongst one of must-visit destination amongst visitors.
The water surrounding this ship is turquoise, which hosts vibrant marine life, colourful corals and ornate white sandy beaches.
Next, we went to the Catalina Plane wreck. Its story goes that after the world war two (European General owned this plane) the General wanted to give his family a world tour. So, when they were passing through Egypt, a number of bullets were shot at them. They immediately turned towards Saudi Arabia but sadly, the plane blasted and it’s remains are still preserved and can be visited by tourists.
On this tour, we have also saw Mughir Shuaib’s Al-Taieb valley, which has a great historic and religious significance but unfortunately, due to some travel restriction we couldn’t get a sight of it. Remember to book a spot 24-hour prior to visit!!!!Our final spot was Jibal Hisma, the mountains in which thoughts were once written. They are of different colours and are designed by nature itself. Many drawings and quotes are carved on rocks.
It was our last day in Tabuk! Boooo! We spent the rest of the day relaxing in our hotel.
It was a pain to wake up early, but we had no choice, as we need to get back home. The journey back to Jizan was too long so we took a night halt at Yanbu and again our hotel was IBIS.
The following morning, we set out towards Jizan and this time we detoured our cars towards Al-Ula.
It was unfortunate that we couldn’t explore the place and its beauty. Still the part we did see was spell-binding!!!
Elephant rock is 52 meters in height and is believed to be formed by a rock erosion millions of years ago.
Finally, after an 11- hour car ride we were back to Jizan. Oh, what a relief! East or West, home is the best.
Hope you enjoyed reading it as we thoroughly enjoyed our trip, and hope you get an opportunity to visit Saudi Wonders someday!
I would like to conclude by mentioning lines written by Robert Frost:
“The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep”