|03 Mar - 16 Mar|
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a country which has for centuries been steeped in Islamic tradition and law, has been making many changes over the last few years; heavy restrictions are slowly lifting and life, particularly for women, is changing fast. Motives for these changes and how deep they actually run are still topics for much debate. The introduction of tourist visas for non-religious purposes has opened the country up to visitors and we’ve decided to embrace the opportunity to run tours in the Kingdom.
This tour will take in the main highlights, including the Nabatean city of Mada’in Saleh, the historic city of Jeddah, the modern city of Riyadh and the deserts of Tabuk. Saudi Arabia is a huge country so there’ll be some long drives ahead! Tourism as we know it is at the very beginnings, so we’ll have an experience unlike other countries in the region. For those travellers who are willing to accept this, it’ll be a very rewarding journey.
Depart London on a direct flight to Riyadh. On arrival be met and transferred to the city centre hotel.
A full day guided sightseeing in the capital city shows off the contemporary sky-scrapers and modern buildings, before heading into Old Riyadh's historical area. Take in the impressive National Museum for a walk through the history of Saudi Arabia, offering a great introduction to the country. Visit the mud-brick Al Masmak Fort, which saw the birth of the Saudi Kingdom, and its royal family museum. Head to the Sky Bridge of the Kingdom Tower later in the afternoon to watch dusk fall over the twinkling lights of the city from above. (BLD)
Spend the morning with a Riyadh resident for a different perspective on into what life is like in Saudi Arabia. Joining her in some of her favourite local places, hear how the recent government changes have affected those who live there over the years. After lunch, visit the UNESCO-listed capital of the first Saudi kingdom in the 18th century, Diriyah, which was abandoned following the siege of the Ottomans. Continue on to the airport for a flight to Tabuk. (BLD)
Time for some adventure! Head out in a 4x4 for an exploration of Wadi Disah, also known as Wadi Qaraqir. This 15km canyon is home to the 80km sandstone massif of Jabal Qaraqir and towering sandstone outcrops that extend down from Wadi Rum in Jordan. Venture through the Al Shuwaq Canyon with spectacular views of the cliffs. Return to Tabuk for the night. (BL)
A long day's drive takes you through the desert, stopping in Tayma to see the Haddaj well, a complex piece of engineering once powered by camels. Then, detour into the desert by 4X4 to see the Al Naslaa Rock, split perfectly in two and balanced on pedestals, before arriving to Al Ula to see the sunset at Elephant Rock. (BLD)
One of the tour highlights, today enter the archaeological site of Hegra to see over 90 rock cut tombs of the second Nabatean City. Tours are organised by the local authorities - board one of their coaches to see some of the tombs. This afternoon, visit of Al 'Ula old city. The mud brick city is in ruin but is slowly being restored. After a short tour, enjoy sunset from the roof of the fortress before visiting some of the small handicraft shops in the souk. (BLD)
This morning, embark on a 4X4 journey to visit some of the local rock art sites and see the rock formations of the desert. After lunch, make the journey across the desert to Ha'il. (BLD)
Travel in to the desert again today to see the rock art of the Jubbah region. The area is full of rock art dating back tens of thousands of years where you can see many different depictions of ancient life. On return to Ha'il, visit two mud-brick forts before having an early evening wander through the local souk. (BLD)
Heading west, spend the morning driving to Medina. On arrival to Medina, visit the famed date farm. Next is a short tour of the city, visiting important historic sights, as well as the first ever mosque, Quba Mosque, and the Prophet's Mosque, the second holiest site in Islam (Mosque visits from outside only). (B)
The Wahba Crater sits in the volcanic landscape of western Saudi Arabia, at 250m deep and 2km wide it is an impressive sight. We stop to admire the views as we walk along the rim and enjoy a picnic lunch. On arrival in to Ta'if we will head to the busy souk which comes alive at night and is known for its honey, rose water, dates and incense. (BL)
We stop at a rose farm and also the local history museum this morning before travelling to the village of Dhee Ayn along a twisting mountain road. Dhee Ayn, built 400 years ago was abandoned in the 80s and is now a museum village. We'll have lunch in the gardens and explore this quirky village. (BLD)
A long day's drive takes us from the mountains to the Red Sea either taking the coastal road or travelling around Mecca. Arriving in to Jeddah in the afternoon there will be some free time, perhaps to stroll along the Corniche and watch the sunset. (BL)
Our day in this captivating and historic city will take us to the fish market, for a walk along the Corniche and to the old city - Al Balad. Here we will explore the narrow streets, visit some of the old houses and admire the crumbling architecture. We have a final farewell dinner in a seafood restaurant this evening. (BLD)
The return flight is in the early hours of the morning.
· Return flights in economy class with Saudia from London Heathrow
· All airport taxes & security charges
· Accommodation in 3 and 4* hotels with breakfast
· Meals as specified
· Transportation in private bus
· Airport transfers when arriving/departing on group flights
· Sightseeing with local English-speaking guides
· Entrance fees on sightseeing tours
· English speaking tour leader
· Travel Insurance
· Tips and gratuities
· Covid testing (if applicable)
* A visa is needed to enter Saudi Arabia, this is an electronic visa and should be applied for in advance of travel.
* Minimum group size 9
* Maximum group size 12
* Regional flights are available—please speak to a Regent Sales Consultant for details
* Saudi Arabia is a strict Islamic country, please see country information for further notes on dress code/etiquette etc
* The tour is escorted by a member of the Regent office
* Covid testing regulations may be in place; you will be advised by the Regent booking of any mandatory testing needed.
|Itinerary Dates||From Price||Single Room Supp.|
03 Mar 2023
16 Mar 2023