THREE CULTURAL AND CAPTIVATING PLACES TO VISIT IN KSA
Saudi Arabia seems to be one of the most fast-paced destinations for tourism of late. Riddled with culture, rich naturescapes, natural beauty, luxury, outdoor adventure, and futuristic newly built cities, it’s no wonder it’s the place to visit.
Luxury destination management company ROAM has curated weekend experiences across some of the Kingdom’s most unexplored areas that offer a unique blend of luxury, exploration, and relaxation. Whether it’s exploring the pristine waters of the Red Sea, immersing in the breath-taking landscapes of Abha, or delving into the rich culture of Taif, ROAM has meticulously crafted each experience to create a truly exceptional adventure.
Red Sea Getaway
Where: Red Sea Jeddah.
Duration: 3 days.
Accommodation: A Pershing 88’ yacht sleeping nine is the perfect arrangement for a luxurious sail across the Red Sea.
When: Available all year!
Price: Can be customised on request.
Dive into the Red Sea for a weekend of pure luxury by private yacht. Explore the thriving coral reefs full of abundant marine life as well as mysterious shipwrecks. The Red Sea is home to world-class diving, with the chance to encounter a huge array of marine wildlife including dolphins, mantas, and whale sharks.
Enjoy snorkelling at golden hour, watch the sun set before tucking into a gourmet dinner onboard your private yacht while being treated to breath-taking views and a mesmerising cityscape backdrop of Jeddah. An evening can be enjoyed acclimatising to life on deck while soaking up the views.
Prepare to be enthralled by the untouched beaches and crystalline waters of Al Lith Island. It offers an ideal setting to explore the remarkable underwater realm of the Red Sea. Al Lith island is where you’ll find pristine beaches and open waters. Guests can also visit hot spots such as the renowned Shoiba beach, home to an enchanting shipwreck and Shib Habil, Arabic for ‘rope reef,’ a known hotspot for whale sharks.
As you journey towards Shib Habil, stay alert for the presence of dolphins and whale sharks that often grace these waters. Onboard, a knowledgeable marine biologist will be available to address any queries you may have about the fascinating marine life. Moreover, they will provide insights into the sustainability initiatives being undertaken to preserve and safeguard this remarkable area.
Throughout your time spent onboard, you can try out a range of watersports. For the thrill-seekers, there are plenty of towables to take for a spin or set off exploring by jet ski. There are also glass-bottomed kayaks for those wanting a more relaxed pace, or simply snorkel the surrounding reefs from the swimming platform.
Come face-to-face with marine life in a shark cage diving experience or experience the Red Sea in a sea breacher, gliding through the water at 80mph. After all the adventure, the weekend will end in Jeddah. Back on land, you can spend the afternoon exploring the magical old town of Al Balad. Admire the sunset from a private rooftop within the old town, before heading to the new waterfront where dinner at the Yacht Club awaits you. Why not try Medeo, an immersive dining experience courtesy of the renowned Veitina family. A delightful combination of local ingredients and Tuscan recipes. The perfect way to end the weekend.
The Wonders of Abha
Duration: 3 days.
Accommodation: Citadines Abha offers stylish, modern apartments near Abha’s natural attractions.
When: Autumn, Spring and Summer.
Price: Can be customised on request.
The scenic capital of the Asir province, Abha offers some amazing natural wonders to be explored. Add in the great climate of the city, offering cool temperatures at 2,200 metres above sea level, the city is the perfect weekend escape during the scorching heat of the summer months in Saudi. Surrounded by stunning landscapes and filled with culture and history, there is so much to explore during a weekend break.
Watch the sunset from Abha High City before heading to the famous Art Street, home to around 10 charming art galleries, theatres, and cafés. Discover the high-altitude haven of Abha. Located near the Asir National Park, this scenic capital is famed for its beautiful mountain setting. Tear your eyes away from the scenery long enough to uncover Abha’s impressive cultural heritage on a memorable getaway.
Arise for a morning hike on Soudah Mountain—Saudi Arabia’s outdoor adventure capital. As you ascend to an elevation of 3,000 metres, relish the crisp and refreshing air while being surrounded by mist-covered valleys. Accompanied by an experienced guide, traverse the trails scented with the aroma of juniper, and capture the breathtaking beauty of these misty mountains. Begin the day on a high and explore the Soudah Mountain before immersing yourself in ancient tribal culture at the historical village of Rijal Almaa. This area is also known for the Flowerman Festival. As you explore, encounter the fascinating Flower Men of Asir. These individuals have captivating stories to share. You’ll have the chance to immerse yourself in their tribe’s tales, gaining insights into their traditions, customs, and the rich cultural fabric of Asir.
Located 28 miles from Abha, Rijal Almaa, with a history that spans 700 years. It is renowned for its striking basalt buildings adorned with distinctive white quartz windows. Discover the history and the folk tales that have coalesced here and the region’s remarkable history. A weekend at Abha wouldn’t be complete without a visit to this ancient village. En route to Rijal Almaa, make a stop at Bees Tower Honey Refinery. This delightful hidden gem of a café is only ten minutes away from Rijal Almaa. Have an aromatic coffee or tea as you sit down to view the emerald-green mountains and sample the fabulous honey made here.
Take advantage of a leisurely morning to replenish your energies or uncover the cultural riches of Abha’s museums. Gain insight into Saudi Arabia’s remarkable national story and learn about the role Abha has played in that grand narrative through a guided city tour. Pore over archaeological treasures or discover the cultural history through examples of local crafts. Visit Abha’s famed ‘Tuesday Market’ (open every day of the week), or wonder around Shamsan Historical Castle, a symbol for the heritage of Asir, the castle acted as the main gate to Abha from North Aaqabat Al-Shaar, and its first line of defence.
One of the most extraordinary museums is the Fatima Museum, a showcase for the renowned Al-Qatt Al-Aseeri artworks. You’ll be enchanted by the colourful, geometric designs created by generations of talented Asiri women. Included on UNESCO’s Intangible Heritage List, the Al-Qatt Al-Asiri artworks are explored through multimedia exhibits, helping to highlight this ancient world of colour.
For your final stop, visit the Hanging Village of Al Habala. Located in the Asir Region, this sandstone village is perched on a ledge 300 metres beneath a Grand Canyon-esque cliff edge. Reached via a cable car, this nearly four-hundred-year-old village, with its remarkable situation, panoramas, and remarkable history ensure an unforgettable visit.
A Taste of Taif
Duration: 3 days.
Accommodation: Le Reve, a luxurious five-star hotel in the financial district.
When: A year-round destination!
Price: Can be customised on request.
Embark on a remarkable weekend getaway to Taif and delve into rich culture, breath-taking landscapes, and delectable cuisine. This region attracts outdoor enthusiasts throughout the year due to its steady climate, making it the perfect weekend destination. With aromatic rose farms and the Sharif Museum, Taif presents an array of experiences to cater to any culturally sophisticated palette.
Taif is situated on the slopes of the Hijaz Mountains. It is known as the City of Roses on western Saudi Arabia’s Makkah Province. Famous for its picturesque mountainscape, you’ll have to meander through Al Hada’s famed mountain routes to get there. Arrive at a viewpoint to watch a spectacular Al Hada sunset, as part of your transfer to Taif.
Once you arrive, explore the charming streets of Taif Al Balad, discovering vibrant bustling night markets and dip into the rich flavours of the city’s unique regional spin on traditional Saudi cuisine.
And if you’re not ready to retire for the night, venture beyond the city lights to an ideal spot for stargazing. With its mountainous setting, the backdrop provides a perfect landscape to admire the celestial wonders above and take a moment for meditation. You can even arrange for a professional photographer equipped with the necessary gear to capture stunning images of you against the starry sky, creating lasting memories of your time in Taif.
Begin your day by journeying to the source of that delicious food you tasted the previous night. Arriving at a local farm, you’ll sit down to a delicious breakfast featuring succulent pomegranates, peaches, and strawberries for which the area is renowned.
Hopefully, you’ll have saved some room for your next visit: a cheese and honey farm. Taste the farm’s delicious selection of treats, discovering the local honey’s range of flavours from delicate, floral to robust. Drizzle your favourite honey over some artisanal cheese for a signature Taif gastronomic combo.
Burn off some of those delicious calories in the afternoon with a scenic hike. Accompanied by an expert guide, you’ll explore carefully selected trails that show off the natural highlights of Taif. Revel in the pristine natural beauty, allowing the panoramas and peacefulness to infuse your body with positive energy.
Feed your mind with a visit to the Sharif Museum. With a footprint of 6,500m2, the Sharif remains one of the Kingdom’s most impressive museums. Dedicated to preserving the region’s culture and history, you’ll gain fascinating insights into the lives of Taif’s citizens, their traditions, and cultural artifacts, such as their ornately carved wooden gates.
An exclusive Roam experience: Meet Safwan. A traditional Saudi key maker and Guinness World Record holder, Safwan shares the secrets of his craft. Learn about his art’s significance to Saudi’s grand houses, the country’s key making history, and how Safwan’s ancient art is maintained. Learn from this grand practitioner and gain insight into this fascinating part of Saudi culture.
As your weekend in Taif comes to a close, bid farewell to this enchanting city. As you return home, you’ll reflect upon the cultural treasures of the Sharif Museum, your energising hikes, and the exquisite flavours of the regional cuisine. Your bag will probably be a little heavier on the return journey, the jars of fabulous Taif honey clinking within.
All trips are fully customisable and include exclusive access to world-class concierge services, accommodation, private transfers, and local guides. Pricing upon request. To enquire about one of ROAM’s bespoke weekend packages visit the website here.