Just opened to tourism in Sep 2019, Saudi Arabia is top of the list among avid travellers looking for the last frontier. Here are 5 reasons why you should visit, and visit soon.
1. UNESCO heritage sites and world-class archaeological wonders all to yourself.
From UNESCO World heritage sites such as Dirriyyah and Madain Saleh to lovely quaint castles that dot the whole country, you can explore them all by yourself experiencing its historical setting in tranquility. Where else can you observe a 7000 years’ old Neolithic rock art up close without any restriction and with no other tourists?
2. Jeddah Old City
Founded in 670 AD by the 3rd Umayyad Caliph as a gateway to Mecca and Medina, Jeddah has since been the New York & London of the Islamic World. Over the 17 centuries, history has left its marks. Today, most of the best-preserved buildings date back to the Ottoman era. It is one of the few old cities that strike an excellent balance between preservation of the beautiful historical houses and maintaining the daily local way of life. It is a paradise for the culturally inquisitive and photography enthusiasts.
3. Madain Saleh
All avid travellers are familiar with Petra. Madain Saleh and Petra are the 2 most important cities of the Nabatean Kingdom which control the lucrative incense trade. While Petra is always crowded and thronged with tourists, Madain Saleh, which is in every way as impressive can be explored in solitude. You are free to indulge in the wild imagination of a glorious civilization that prosper two thousand years ago in this remote corner of a vast desert.
4. Abha – unique village architecture with brilliant colours among spectacular mountains
Bordering Yemen and hence with strong cultural affinity, this area is endowed with spectacular mountains. Hidden amongst the deep valleys are lovely villages with its unique village architecture of multi-storey mud houses. And the décor is stunningly colourful, making the whole area an incredible place to explore, whether you are looking to hike amongst beautiful mountain scenery or explore unique local heritage.
5. The friendliest locals
While many places brag about this, Saudi by far tops everyone else. On any trip, you will quickly be invited to be house guest by more than a dozen locals. In bazaars, most are more interested in befriending you than making sales.