|Group at the Hijaz Railway Station/Museum|
This tour already has several people signed up. It is becoming one of our most popular tours, and we offer it about the same time every year.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
February 12 – 23, 2012
$6715 pp/do, land only
Sun 12 Feb: Arrival in Riyadh On arrival in Riyadh you will be met and assisted, then transfer to our hotel, the Radisson BLU Hotel. Get settled and relax. Dinner and overnight at the Radisson BLU. (L/D)
Mon 13 Feb: Riyadh / Najran After breakfast we will begin our tour of Riyadh, the administrative capital of Saudi Arabia. It has grown into a modern, shining city in the middle of the desert and its unique architecture makes for a spectacular skyline. We will also see the camel market and visit Faisaliah Tower, a new landmark hotel with a restaurant and observation deck at the top of this obelisk-shaped tower. We will also visit Direya Town – a historical town of the Saud family. Lunch will be at Al Mazraha Restaurant. Next we will visit the Masmak Fortress, captured in 1902 in King Abdul Aziz’s battle to regain control of the city, his ancestral home. At the entrance to this mud citadel we will see a spear tip broken off and embedded in the door lintel of the old fort, and preserved that way as a reminder of the battle for the city. Afterwards we will visit the Heritage Souq near the fortress for some shopping – antiques and gold can be found here. We will end our day at the King Abdul Aziz Museum, then transfer to the airport. We will have dinner at an airport restaurant, then take our flight to Najran. Upon arrival in Najran we will transfer to the Holiday Inn for overnight. (B/L/D)
Tues 14 Feb: Najran Najran is very close to the border with Yemen and at one time was considered part of Yemen. It was on the main frankincense caravan route that ran from southern Arabia to Jordan, Syria, and Egypt. Najran’s most prosperous trading time was during the first and second centuries BC when it was known as Al-Ukhdood. We will start our sightseeing at Al Ukhdood Museum, Al Ukhdood Site, “the Massacre of Trench”, Raoum Castle, Najran Gigantic Dam, the local souk, and the Emarat Historical Palace. Lunch will be at our hotel. Dinner and overnight in Najran. (B/L/D)
Weds 15 Feb: Najran – Abha After breakfast we check out and drive to Abha. Along the way we will have stops at Dhahran Al Janoub and Al Haraja to visit the old city. We will also stop for a panoramic view of Farrshah from the Tehama mountains. Once we arrive in Abha we will check in to the Abha Palace Hotel and have lunch. In the afternoon we visit the mountainside village of Al Habala. Al Habala village is 2000 meters above sea level, is no longer inhabited but is a destination for visitors. The terraced village is sometimes called the hanging village because it virtually hangs on the side of the steep mountain. The inhabitants used ropes to climb from one place to another. Visit the souk then return to the hotel for dinner and overnight. (B/L/D)
Thurs 16 Feb: Abha This morning we will enjoy the natural beauty of this region with a visit to one of many parks in the area, Al Soodah Park. The area is mountainous and the climate really varies from top to bottom. We will see terraced mountainsides, and green vegetation like nowhere else in Saudi Arabia. We will also take a cable car ride to see the picturesque mountain village of Rijal Al Maa and to view Sarawat Mountain. After lunch at the hotel we will go to visit Asir National Park, home to Saudi Arabia’s highest mountain peak, and Bin Himsan Cultural Village and Museum. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight. (B/L/D)
Fri 17 Feb: Abha / Al Ula After breakfast we transfer to the airport for our flight to Medina. On arrival in Medina we will have lunch at Le Meridien Hotel, then proceed to Al Ula. On arrival in Al Ula we check in to the Arac Hotel dinner and overnight. (B/L/D)
Sat 18 Feb: Al Ula Today we will spend the day visiting Al Ula. Our tour will start with a visit to the ruins of the old city of Al Ula and the Al Ula Museum. We will also see the Islamic Castle and the Old Railway Station then visit the ancient tombs cut out of the mountainside at Al Khuraibah. Return to the hotel for lunch, then in the afternoon we go by 4×4 to see the Nabatean ruins at Mada’in Saleh, an ancient city built by the same civilization that built Petra to the north in Jordan. We will also visit the Hijaz Railway Station No. 2, as well as Mammoth Rock and end at Hara Hill to view the sunset. Dinner and overnight at the Arac Hotel. (B/L/D)
Sun 19 Feb: Al Ula / Jouf After breakfast we will check out and depart for Jouf, with a boxed lunch and a sightseeing stop at Taima. Taima was part of the ancient kingdom of Midian and was home for the last Neo-Babylonian king, Nabonidus, who moved there in the seventh century B.C. One important archeological find in Taima is Taima Stone, inscribed with a religious text in ancient Aramaic and was discovered there in 1888. It is now in the Louvre. It was found near the great well Ain Haddaj which has been in use since Nabonidus’ time and which, until diesel pumps were installed, required up to 60 camels at a time to draw water. Continue on to Jouf where we will check in to the Al Nusl Hotel. We will then have a brief tour to Sakaka and visit the Bir Saisra (well), Qasr Zabal and end the day watching the sunset. Return to Al Nusl Hotel for dinner and overnight. (B/L/D)
Mon 20 Feb: Jouf / Hail We will have an early breakfast then depart for Hail with a stop to visit the archeology center of Jubbah and the surrounding area, known for its huge collection of petroglyphs. Continue to Hail and check in at the Golden Tulip Hotel and have lunch. In the afternoon we will have a sightseeing tour of Hail. For centuries, Hail was seen as the “key to the desert” because it was the main transit point for pilgrims heading for the Holy Cities of Makkah and Madinah and for traders traveling north or south in the Arabian Peninsula. When, towards the end of the Abbasid Caliphate, Muslim scholars of Hail took it upon themselves to protect and promulgate Arabic in its purest form. As a result the city became an important center of scholarship and learning. We will visit Qalat Aarif and Al Qashlat Barracks, then return to the hotel for lunch. Check out and depart for Jouf, visiting Jubbah and surroundings on the way. Check in at Golden Tulip Hotel in Hail for dinner and overnight. (B/L/D)
Tues 21 Feb: Hail / Jeddah After breakfast we will transfer to the airport for our flight to Jeddah. Upon our arrival we will check into the Intercontinental Hotel and have lunch. Afterwards we will begin our sightseeing of Jeddah, the Red Sea port and commercial center of Saudi Arabia. It is also the main gateway for Muslims arriving from around the world for Hajj or Umrah. The city is said to be the burial place of Eve, thus the name Jeddah, which is grandmother in Arabic. We will drive along the corniche to see the vast open air sculpture “museum” then visit the Al Tayabet Museum, a collection belonging to Abdulraouf Khalil, a lifetime collector of all types of cultural pieces – modern, pop, and antique. We will have dinner and overnight at the Intercontinental Hotel. (B/L/D)
Weds 22 Feb: Jeddah After breakfast we will start our sightseeing with the historic Nasif House, which is an excellent example of Arabian and Islamic architecture, and is now a museum. We will walk through the old city see other examples of older restored homes and buildings before going to the Alawi Souq for jewelry, perfumes, fabrics, incense, coffee, and more. Our next stop is at Al Chafee Mosque, then we will return to the hotel to pack and check out, then drive along the corniche to enjoy the open air sculpture museum. We will have a farewell dinner at Al Nakheel Restaurant on the Corniche, a favorite of Saudi families. After dinner transfer to the airport for our early morning departure. (B/L/D)
Thurs 23 Feb: Departure.
End of services.
Accommodations on double occupancy basis, full board (all meals)
Group transfers in air conditioned motor coach
All sightseeing as listed in itinerary with English speaking guides throughout
International Air fare (call us for flight details and pricing), air in Saudi Arabia
- Items of a personal nature such as phone/fax calls, room service, laundry, etc.
Tips for guides (about $8) and drivers (about $4) per person, per day
Optional tours and activities not listed on the itinerary
Single Supplement: $710