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Inside The Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia

Group Tour

11 Days From $6,293

Overview

A land of arid desert and scorched mountains, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia conjures up all the romance and adventure of the golden age of discovery. The only country on the Arabian Peninsula with a foot in both the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf, the birthplace of Islam is one of the most difficult and enigmatic countries on earth to visit.

Beginning in historic Jeddah with its beautiful Ottoman houses, this astonishing journey takes us deep into the heart of its ancient landscapes, visiting ...

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HIGHLIGHTS

At a glance

MEALS

10 x Breakfasts
9 x Lunches
9 x Dinners

TRANSPORT

Depending on the final group size, we will use a combination of minibuses and 4WDs as well as trains. We do not use any domestic flights on this trip.

GROUP SIZE

Maximum: 12

CARBON CONTRIBUTIONS

A carbon-offsetting contribution to Eco Act for all bookings

EXPERT TEAM

The full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides where appropriate

ACCOMMODATION

All accommodation as outlined in the itinerary

ACCOMMODATION

As an overall ethos, wherever possible we aim to use characterful accommodation that enhances the overall travel experience, not just offers a bed for the night. This can obviously vary dramatically from country to country and from trip to trip. On this particular trip we will stay in a combination of comfortable hotels and a fixed desert camp with en-suite facilities. Please note that the accommodation mentioned in the itinerary is intended as a guide only and is always subject to availability.

ENTRANCE FEES

All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

FITNESS RATING

Low

FITNESS RATING

LOW: You should be comfortable walking around towns and cultural sites. May include some optional walks (typically 1-2hrs).

LOW/MODERATE: May be of a long duration and/or involve numerous border-crossings. May include easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-3hrs/day). You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle.

MODERATE: May include several easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-5hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle. Previous experience of similar trips helpful.

MODERATE/HIGH: May involve several days of moderate hiking (up to 3-6 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

VERY HIGH: May involve several days of moderate/strenuous trekking (up to 4-7 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a very fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

Map & Itinerary

Individual departures may vary so please refer to the information in the tour specific links in the Dates and Prices section below

Inside The Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia
EXPAND ALL ITINERARY DAYS
COLLAPSE ALL ITINERARY DAYS

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN JEDDAH

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN JEDDAH

The tour begins at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia’s commercial capital and the main gateway to Mecca, the holiest city in Islam. Its historic centre, Al-Balad (The Town), once served as a major trading port along the Indian Ocean trade routes and today its distinctive architecture has seen it inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Characterised by imposing tower houses and coral stone buildings, the old centre of the city encapsulates the rich mix of influences and traditions that once flourished along these trade routes and reflects a style and tradition essentially lost now outside Saudi Arabia.

Red Sea Palace or similar

DAY 2: JEDDAH

DAY 2: JEDDAH

This morning we will start our discovery of The Kingdom by exploring the port city of Jeddah. The local motto in Arabic is “Jeddah Ghair” meaning “Jeddah is different” and today we find out why. The city boasts the largest seaport on the Red Sea, plus a ‘floating’ mosque sculpting an iridescent silhouette along the water's edge. Jeddah is considered the commercial capital of Saudi Arabia and hides many a unique historic treasure inside its contemporary walls. Today we manoeuvre through the streets taking in the modern elements such as the artsy waterfront Corniche Walk and the contrasting old city, souqs and traditional bazaars.

Red Sea Palace or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3: JEDDAH TO TA’IF

DAY 3: JEDDAH TO TA’IF

Leaving Jeddah behind, we will skirt around the famous holy city of Mecca and stop at the mountain village of Al Hada on our way to Tai’f. The village of Al Hada exhibits some outstanding examples of traditional Hejazi architecture backdropped by breath-taking views of the surrounding mountain range. From here we continue to Ta’if, known as the “City of Roses”, aptly arriving to tour a local rose factory to learn about production in the region. We will also stop at some notable historic buildings such as the Shubra Palace and will complete the day with a stroll through Ta’if’s bustling souq in the city centre.

Swiss Spirit Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4: TA’IF TO MEDINA

DAY 4: TA’IF TO MEDINA

This morning we set off early driving through the open desert to the spectacular Al Waba Crater, a dramatic volcano formation with a salt field at its centre. Here there is the option to circumnavigate part of the crater or you may opt for the more challenging steep climb down to the basin and then back up again (approx. 2.5hrs return). After our exploration we will enjoy a much-needed picnic lunch at the crater’s edge taking in this awesome natural wonder. In the afternoon we make our way to the outskirts of the holy city of Medina and conclude the day with a short hike up Mount Uhud to enjoy the sunset over the city. Please note that access to the centre of Medina is restricted to Muslims.

Le Meridien or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5: MEDINA TO AL ULA

DAY 5: MEDINA TO AL ULA

Today we travel north following the route of the historic Hejaz Railway, stopping at the abandoned Buwayr and Muduraj train stations both of which offer an eerie reminder of a turbulent and bloody past. The aftermath of the First World War's Arab Revolt can still be seen in the discarded dusty locomotives along this unfinished railway and on our journey north the story of Lawrence of Arabia gradually comes to life. On arrival in the remote desert town of Al Ula we visit the ruins of the Old Town, climb up to the castle, then check-in at our beautifully located permanent desert camp, our base for the next two nights.

Madkhil Camp or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6: AL ULA

DAY 6: AL ULA

An early start this morning sees us waking at dawn to beat the intense heat of the day. Embarking on an exhilarating 4WD ride we’ll then explore on foot the narrow overarching canyons at the Ragasat Mountains, known locally as the “Dancing Mountains”. After breakfast we explore the ancient Liyhanite ruins located at the nearby oasis of Dedan, then later meander through the impressive natural rock formations and man-made monoliths scattered in the area. The afternoon is dedicated to exploring the first UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Saudi Kingdom, the monolith of Mada’in Saleh, also known as Hegra or the ‘southern Petra’. Later we enjoy a desert sunset and return to our camp for the night.

Madkhil Camp or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7: AL ULA TO HA’IL

DAY 7: AL ULA TO HA’IL

This morning we say farewell to our desert camp at Al Ula and propel once more through arid desert to the great oasis of Tayma. One of the oldest settlements in the entirety of the Arabian Peninsula with evidence of a human settlement dating back some 90,000 years. Tayma features one of the oldest and greatest wells in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Haddaj Well. An excellent museum is located onsite displaying an array of artefacts and antiquities unearthed by archaeologists over many years of study in the area. The former township and trading post of Tayma holds considerable geological and historical significance for the Kingdom. This evening we arrive and check-in to our hotel in Ha’il.

Golden Tulip Ha'il or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8: HA’IL TO BURAYDAH

DAY 8: HA’IL TO BURAYDAH

A short distance north-west of Ha’il we find the UNESCO World Heritage site, Jubbah. This world-famous site features some of the best rock-art in Saudi Arabia. Strewn across the scorched rocks of Jabal Umm Sinman are thousands of intricate rock carvings, some of which are thought to be over 10,000 years old. Subjects etched into the sandstone include man, cattle, ibex, horse, ostrich and lion all of which are impressively well-preserved on their rock canvas. On returning to Ha’il we board a train operated by Saudi Arabian Railways to Buraydah and then transfer to our hotel for the evening. Please note that train schedules are subject to change and if necessary we will drive to Buraydah.

Golden Tulip Buraidah or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9: BURAYDAH TO RIYADH

DAY 9: BURAYDAH TO RIYADH

Today we need to start early to make the most of a truly unique Saudi experience. Buraydah’s lively camel market is located just a short distance outside modern-day Buraydah but the experience may feel like stepping into a distant era of times gone by. This is the world’s largest camel market where thousands of camels, goats and sheep are traded every day and this morning is sure to be a feast for the senses. We head back into the city to stroll through the mouth-watering date market to pick some tasty treats before driving towards the capital city of Riyadh. En route we will visit the heritage village of Ushaiqer, one of the oldest settlements in the region which boasts some stunning traditional Najdi architecture and considered one of the most attractive places in the country. In the afternoon we hike to the “Edge of the World” for the sunset atop these aptly named desert cliffs after which we make our way back to the city for dinner.

Holiday Inn Meydan or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 10: RIYADH

DAY 10: RIYADH

A full day is needed to explore the capital city of Riyadh with over five million people calling the city home. There are several historic sites to visit including the Masmak Fortress and Murabbah Palace alongside the impressive modern-day architecture like the Kingdom Tower also known as the ‘Bottle Opener’. Lunch will be a traditional Saudi Arabian affair served in the traditional fashion followed by a further UNESCO World Heritage Site on this trip, Dir’aiyah, where the story of modern Saudi Arabia began.

Holiday Inn Meydan or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 11: RIYADH

DAY 11: RIYADH

The tour ends with breakfast in the morning.

Breakfast

PRIVATE HOLIDAYS: DATES DON’T FIT?

All group tours can be taken on a private basis.

Additional Details

Responsible Travel

Responsible travel and sustainable tourism are fundamental ideas that Wild Frontiers has been committed to since our birth. It is our strong belief that these words should not be simply ‘tagged on’ to itineraries and websites but should be at the very core of each trip, and our adventures are therefore designed with the local people, culture and eco-system in mind. We believe that a successful trip not only delivers a unique and unsurpassable journey for our clients, but that it also benefits the peoples whose lands we are privileged to visit. For more information, please see our responsible travel page.

Getting There

If you would like us to send you a quote for the suggested tour flights or on any alternative flight that may suit you better, please let us know, noting that for our US clients, we will most likely refer you to one of our preferred partners. For this trip our suggested flights from the UK (subject to change) are shown below.

If you wish to arrange your own flights you are completely free to do so and in this case we can arrange any transfers or supplementary accommodation that you may require. However please note that if you are planning on making your own flight arrangements, we recommend that you first check with us to see if the trip is guaranteed. We then suggest that you purchase flights that are flexible and ideally refundable as due to the nature of adventure travel, itineraries and destination accessibility can change at any time. For more information, please refer to our booking conditions.
 

Flight Code Departing Arriving
SV 112 London Heathrow (LHR) 12:30 Jeddah Intl Airport (JED) 20:25
SV 117 Riyadh Airport (RUH) 10:55 London Heathrow (LHR) 16:00

Visas

Visas are necessary for many of the destinations we travel to and while we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information, requirements frequently change and as such for the latest advice we advise that you check with the relevant embassies or contact our recommended visa agency, Travcour www.travcour.com 

For this tour UK & US passport holders currently require a visa for Saudi Arabia which can easily be obtained as an e-visa.

Non-UK/US passport holders should contact the relevant embassies for individual requirements.

NB. It should also be noted that anyone with a passport showing evidence of having visited Israel (including having entered or left Jordan/Egypt from posts which are known to border Israel) will be denied a visa for Saudi Arabia.

Further details will be sent out to you on booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas are obtained remains the sole responsibility of the client.

Extensions

If you have more time available, why not arrive early to adjust to a new time zone or just to get a feel for the country before your tour starts? Or alternatively you might choose to allow a few extra days after the tour to relax or to undertake some further exploration.

The choice is completely yours and we can usually arrange anything from simply additional accommodation and transfers to full tailor-made itineraries.

Below is just a small sample of what you could do. Please contact the office for more details and to discuss your individual requirements.

Abha

Head south to the lush fertile mountains and milder climes of south-western Saudi Arabia to discover a very different side to this vast sprawling Kingdom. Allow 3 – 4 days.

Governmental Travel Advice

Many governments issue advice which highlights potential hazards their citizens might experience when travelling abroad. We strongly suggest you refer to your country’s particular advisory site before booking and contact us if you have any queries or concerns. Click to follow links to the advice of the British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) or the US State Department.

Non-UK citizens should consult the travel advice of their respective governments.

Key Information

CLIMATE

Given the extreme summer heat of the desert, October to March is definitely the optimum time for visiting Saudi Arabia. At these times of year typically you can expect daytime temperatures to reach 20 - 30C with night times being surprisingly cool, often in the single digits. Rain is rare although not unheard of!

IS THIS TRIP FOR ME?

It may sound obvious but Wild Frontiers tours are not always for everyone and it is important to us that the tour you choose is the most suitable. All our tours have a fitness rating as a guideline but you should check the day-by-day itinerary carefully. In certain instances we may ask you to complete a travel questionnaire before confirming your booking in order to ensure your suitability. Should you have any concerns about your ability to partake in any aspect of the tour then please contact the office.

KEY ASPECTS TO CONSIDER

Saudi society is going through some major changes at the moment so please bear in mind that any considerations raised here may alter at any time. Ultimately the Kingdom remains a deeply conservative country and is likely to be different from any other destination to which you may have travelled. Tourism (other than for religious purposes) is a new concept for the Kingdom so come expecting enthusiastic but inexperienced levels of service. Encouragingly, in contrast to previous edicts, there are no current restrictions placed on adult women travelling solo and while it is expected that foreign visitors will dress conservatively, women will not have to wear an abaya (the long black dress covering the body from shoulders to feet) and they will not have to cover their hair.

Alcohol however is still currently forbidden and should not be brought into the country.

It’s also worth mentioning that sometimes sites can be closed for no foreseen reasons and without prior notice.

In conclusion, anyone in a reasonable state of health, with an open mind and a sense of adventure should be perfectly able to cope with this tour, however, please note the tour involves some options for desert walks so to get the most out of the tour you will need to be fit enough to enjoy these aspects of the tour.

THE NATURE OF ADVENTURE TRAVEL

We feel that it’s worth pointing out that while we will always strive to stick as close to the stated itinerary as possible, it may be necessary from time to time to make changes to our itineraries or services (due to weather, political and religious influences etc.) and this can happen with little or no notice. This unpredictability can be one of the most exciting aspects of adventure travel and for many of our clients often leads to unexpected highlights as the tour-leader necessarily adapts the tour to the changing conditions. However we are aware that this lack of assuredness may not suit everyone. As such, with the greatest respect, if you are someone who needs to know that everything will happen exactly as planned, we would kindly suggest that perhaps our tours are not for you. Adventure travel can be infectious and once you’ve caught the bug, it is likely to never leave you, but especially if this is your first such tour we would strongly urge you to give us a call if you have any concerns whatsoever about your suitability for this trip.

TRAVELLING SOLO AND SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS

As a company approximately 70% of our clients are solo travellers, so it’s very unlikely you’ll be alone!

Our prices are typically based on twin-share accommodation but single supplements are not compulsory for any Wild Frontiers tour. If you prefer not to pay a single supplement we’ll pair you with someone else of the same sex for you to share with throughout the trip.

On this trip, if you do opt to pay for a single supplement then please note that it will cover you for all nights of the tour.

Please note that paying a single supplement entitles you to lone occupancy of a single room. In many cases these rooms will be of the same size as a double/twin room, but in some cases they may be smaller.
 

INSURANCE

Insurance that provides cover for emergency repatriation in case of a medical emergency is compulsory for all tours. You should be aware that due to some of the geographical areas visited and some of the activities included on certain of our trips some standard insurance policies may not always provide adequate cover. As such we strongly recommend that you purchase a policy that adequately covers your trip. If you choose to purchase the Wild Frontiers bespoke policy through Travel & General (currently available to UK residents only) then please note for this trip the minimum required level of cover will be the Standard policy. Please see the Insurance section for more details.

General Information

TOUR PRICE

All our tours are priced on a land-only basis, giving you maximum flexibility when deciding how to get to and from your tour.

DEPOSIT

A £200 (or equivalent) deposit is required to confirm your booking.  In addition, due to the particular nature of this trip, an interim deposit of £600 (or equivalent) per person will be required within 30 days of booking a guaranteed departure, or subsequently within 30 days of receiving confirmation from us that the trip has been guaranteed.

PROTECTION FOR YOUR MONEY

For further details please see our travelling with peace of mind page

WILD MILES

This tour will earn you 5902 Wild Miles

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

We believe in a completely transparent approach to pricing with no hidden extras. As such, please note that the following are not included in the cost of the tour.

Visas & Travel Insurance: Visas will always be tour/nationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatory
Tips: Always optional but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information documents
International Flights: Please ask us for an obligation-free quote for flights which originate in the UK
Beverages & any costs of a personal nature: This will include items such as laundry and souvenirs

WILD FRONTIERS COMMUNITY

If you’re still not sure if this trip is right or just want to see get some different perspectives, then why not have a look at the wide variety of resources we have on our website? Browse our community section to read our blogs, watch videos and find out about our events. 

WHY WILD FRONTIERS?

We are frequently asked what makes Wild Frontiers different from other tour operators. Visit our Why Wild Frontiers page to find out.

INSPIRATION

SAUDI ARABIA TRAVEL GUIDE | WILD FRONTIERS

In this film Wild Frontiers Operations Director Marc shows us around some of the highlights of Saudi Arabia

REVIEWS OF THIS TRIP