My Regent Moment: Saudi Recce Tour

My Regent Moment: Saudi Recce Tour

Saudi is not all sand

Most people probably have an image of Saudi Arabia as a sea of sand and little else but, on the Regent Holidays recce trip to the country, that myth was quickly dispelled.

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Yes, of course there is sand...something we saw for ourselves as we watched the sunrise from the tops of the dunes after a cold night camping in the desert.

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Viewed at dusk from the Skybridge on the 99th floor of Kingdom Tower, the capital city of Riyadh with its ultra-modern skyscrapers is a world away from those open wilderness vistas.

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There's ancient history too, best seen at Mada'in Saleh near Al Ula where huge Nabataen tombs, akin to those at Petra,  dominate the landscape.

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The influence of Islam can't be ignored and the huge parasols shading the courtyard of the Prophet's Mosque in Medina offer an unusual sight for non-Muslim visitors who have only recently been allowed to enter the holy city.

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Local people seem genuinely pleased to see visitors from abroad, including this stallholder in the souk at Ta'if who was keen to demonstrate the properties of honey from the area.

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The landscape of the south west is a complete contrast to the rest of the country where misty mountains provide relief from the heat of the desert and the humidity of the coast.

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Ending the trip in the historic city of Jeddah offers the opportunity to stroll along the Red Sea Corniche and mull over the sights and sounds of a country that has now opened its doors to outsiders and has much to offer an adventurous traveller.
Photos and words by Alison Harrington

 

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our Saudi Arabia tours.

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