Backpacking Saudi Arabia

Hello to all seasoned and aspiring backpackers!

Do you want to discover a fascinating, diverse country? Saudi Arabia has so much to offer – as many sights as there is sand by the red sea! So grab your backpack and let’s go!


Important Basics

Official Language ( Arabic )
EnglishArabic
HelloMarhabaan
GoodbyeSalam
Thank youShukran
YesAh
NoLa
Capital city

Riyadh

Form of Government

Absolute Monarchy

Best Time to Visit

November to March

Fun Facts
  • Saudi Arabia is the biggest country without a river.
  • Rub al-Chali (literally: the empty neighborhood) located in southern Saudi Arabia is the largest sand desert in the world.
  • Every day, more than 100 camels are traded at Riyadh’s camel market.
  • There are about 2 million people doing the Hajj every year, a pilgrimage to the city of Mecca.

Cities

Jeddah

Jeddah is right by the Red Sea and is one of Saudi Arabia’s most important port cities. The climate here is warm and humid. However, here, people are very open-minded and there are plenty of multicultural influences in the city, so it is absolutely worth a visit! You should definitely take a walk on the beach and admire the sculptures. Some of them are original works by Pablo Picasso. You can also admire the houses as some of them are individually designed. After you walk on the beach, you can enjoy fresh fish because the Red Sea is right in front of you. You can also go jet skiing or diving. Jeddah is also known as the perfect place to go shopping and for its many great restaurants and cafés, meaning you should not miss this part of the city. In Jeddah, you can stay at one of the local hotels and get a double room for €38 a night.

Yanbu

The journey goes on to Yanbu by bus. The trip will cost you about €15 per person. Yanbu, like Jeddah, is right by the Red Sea and is home to about 190,000 residents, many of them being immigrants who work in the industry.

The city is known for its industrial center, but it has become more and more popular with tourists! There are countless activities here. For example, you can go diving, swimming, or simply relax on the beach.

The city is divided into three parts, called Yanbu Al-Balad, Yanbu Al-Nakhal, and Yanbu Al-Sina'iya, which are all about 15 minutes away from each other by car.

Most people live in the first part, where there are also many shopping centers and western restaurants and cafés. Yanbu Al-Nakhal consists of 20 villages and is about 47 kilometers away from the city. Many farmers live here and trade camels and sheep.

Yanbu Al-Sina'iya means “the industrial Yanbu” and is the southernmost part of the city. This part is subdivided again into the part where people work and the part where they live.

As you may have noticed, the city is exciting and very different from any European city. So there is a lot for you to discover!

You can get a single room in Yanbu for €38 a night.

Mecca

You’ll drive by bus from Yanbu to Mecca, which will cost €22.

Mecca is located in the west of the country and is, together with the Kaaba sanctuary, the central place of pilgrimage for Islam.

There are great sights in Mecca. For example, you can admire the al-Haram mosque. It is the holy, consecrated mosque, which means it is the most famous mosque of Islam, as well as the largest mosque in the world.

Together with the Prophet Mosque in Medina and the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, it is one of the three holiest sites of Islam. The Kaaba is located inside the mosque along with several other exhibits.

The Kaaba is a cuboid building that stands in the inner courtyard of the mosque and is called the House of God. It is a central sanctuary of Islam.

If you are interested in religion and history, you’ll love Mecca!

You can get a double room in Mecca for €28 a night.

Ta'if

Your journey through Saudi Arabia is not over yet. Your next stop is Ta'if, which you will get to by bus for €5 per person. Ta'if is located in the western part of the country. There is a lot of agricultural activity around the city, with grapes, figs, roses, honey and pomegranates – you should definitely try these delicacies when you are in Ta'if! Throughout the city, you can see breathtaking mountains and the city itself offers many points of interest such as the Al Rudaf Park: A big national park with high granite rocks and trees. There is also a small zoo in the park. Another sight is the rose plantation in Ta'if, which is filled with small, pleasant smelling, pink roses in April. They are picked at sunrise, distilled and processed into expensive rose oil, which is the ingredient for many perfumes. The Shubra Palace is also worth seeing, which is the regional museum of the city and was built around 1900. You can stay at one of Ta’if’s hotel and get a double room for €23 a night.

Abha

Abha is your next destination on your journey through Saudi Arabia. The night bus trip will cost you €30. The city is the capital of the province Asir, is located in the southwest of the country and has about 200,000 inhabitants. You can visit an old fortress, which is located in the largest of the four districts as well as admire the mountain Mt. Sooda. Climb up Jabal Sooda or use the cable car, which starts in Abha. It’s also possible to buy traditional clothes from Asir province from the museum. Another particularity is Kabsa, a local dish consisting of chicken on rice. Sleep at one of Abha’s hotels and get a double room for €31 a night.

Riyadh

After having already explored so many different places in Saudi Arabia, now is the time for your final stop in Riyadh. You will fly from Abha to Riyadh for €50. In the capital, you can try the typical cuisine of the country, while also having the possibility to eat international specialities. Wheat serves as the main component for a lot of traditional dishes, especially semolina, couscous, or bulgur. The locals also cook a lot with millet, pulses, dates and various vegetables. The vegetables are stuffed, prepared as a stew or pickled in milk: don’t miss out on these regional delicacies! Riyadh has about 6.5 million inhabitants, and 7.9 million people live in the province of the same name. The capital is also the economic, administrative and cultural centre of the country, as well as having are many universities, museums and monuments. Riyadh has also been home to the main palace of the Saud royal family since 1824. Riyadh is located approximately in the middle of the Arabian Peninsula and is on average 612 meters above sea level. The city is surrounded by desert, the climate is subtropical and the average

temperature here is 25.6 degrees Celsius. However, during summer the heat becomes very intense as the temperatures range in an average between 38.9 to 43.5 from May until September. You can discover a lot here because, besides high buildings like the old Fort Masmak or the 170 tall television tower Riyadh, there are numerous parks in the capital. You should visit Al Maktaba Park because it has a swimming pool, waterways, beautiful seating areas and a clock tower. The most popular sport in Saudi Arabia is football. Riyadh is the right place for sports because Al-Hilal is the most famous football club in the country. It plays in the first league; so how about going to a match during your stay? Otherwise, you can watch another popular sport, such as falconry, or go to a horse or camel race. This will undoubtedly be a great way to end your trip! You can get a double room in one of Riyadh’s hotels for €33 a night. After having spent so much time in this fascinating country, now is the time to catch your flight back home!


Jeddah

Jeddah

Jeddah is right by the Red Sea and is one of Saudi Arabia’s most important port cities. The climate here is warm and humid. However, here, people are very open-minded and there are plenty of multicultural influences in the city, so it is absolutely worth a visit! You should definitely take a walk on the beach and admire the sculptures. Some of them are original works by Pablo Picasso. You can also admire the houses as some of them are individually designed. After you walk on the beach, you can enjoy fresh fish because the Red Sea is right in front of you. You can also go jet skiing or diving. Jeddah is also known as the perfect place to go shopping and for its many great restaurants and cafés, meaning you should not miss this part of the city. In Jeddah, you can stay at one of the local hotels and get a double room for €38 a night.

Yanbu

Yanbu

The journey goes on to Yanbu by bus. The trip will cost you about €15 per person. Yanbu, like Jeddah, is right by the Red Sea and is home to about 190,000 residents, many of them being immigrants who work in the industry.

The city is known for its industrial center, but it has become more and more popular with tourists! There are countless activities here. For example, you can go diving, swimming, or simply relax on the beach.

The city is divided into three parts, called Yanbu Al-Balad, Yanbu Al-Nakhal, and Yanbu Al-Sina'iya, which are all about 15 minutes away from each other by car.

Most people live in the first part, where there are also many shopping centers and western restaurants and cafés. Yanbu Al-Nakhal consists of 20 villages and is about 47 kilometers away from the city. Many farmers live here and trade camels and sheep.

Yanbu Al-Sina'iya means “the industrial Yanbu” and is the southernmost part of the city. This part is subdivided again into the part where people work and the part where they live.

As you may have noticed, the city is exciting and very different from any European city. So there is a lot for you to discover!

You can get a single room in Yanbu for €38 a night.

Mecca

Mecca

You’ll drive by bus from Yanbu to Mecca, which will cost €22.

Mecca is located in the west of the country and is, together with the Kaaba sanctuary, the central place of pilgrimage for Islam.

There are great sights in Mecca. For example, you can admire the al-Haram mosque. It is the holy, consecrated mosque, which means it is the most famous mosque of Islam, as well as the largest mosque in the world.

Together with the Prophet Mosque in Medina and the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, it is one of the three holiest sites of Islam. The Kaaba is located inside the mosque along with several other exhibits.

The Kaaba is a cuboid building that stands in the inner courtyard of the mosque and is called the House of God. It is a central sanctuary of Islam.

If you are interested in religion and history, you’ll love Mecca!

You can get a double room in Mecca for €28 a night.

Ta'if

Ta'if

Your journey through Saudi Arabia is not over yet. Your next stop is Ta'if, which you will get to by bus for €5 per person. Ta'if is located in the western part of the country. There is a lot of agricultural activity around the city, with grapes, figs, roses, honey and pomegranates – you should definitely try these delicacies when you are in Ta'if! Throughout the city, you can see breathtaking mountains and the city itself offers many points of interest such as the Al Rudaf Park: A big national park with high granite rocks and trees. There is also a small zoo in the park. Another sight is the rose plantation in Ta'if, which is filled with small, pleasant smelling, pink roses in April. They are picked at sunrise, distilled and processed into expensive rose oil, which is the ingredient for many perfumes. The Shubra Palace is also worth seeing, which is the regional museum of the city and was built around 1900. You can stay at one of Ta’if’s hotel and get a double room for €23 a night.

Abha

Abha

Abha is your next destination on your journey through Saudi Arabia. The night bus trip will cost you €30. The city is the capital of the province Asir, is located in the southwest of the country and has about 200,000 inhabitants. You can visit an old fortress, which is located in the largest of the four districts as well as admire the mountain Mt. Sooda. Climb up Jabal Sooda or use the cable car, which starts in Abha. It’s also possible to buy traditional clothes from Asir province from the museum. Another particularity is Kabsa, a local dish consisting of chicken on rice. Sleep at one of Abha’s hotels and get a double room for €31 a night.

Riyadh

Riyadh

After having already explored so many different places in Saudi Arabia, now is the time for your final stop in Riyadh. You will fly from Abha to Riyadh for €50. In the capital, you can try the typical cuisine of the country, while also having the possibility to eat international specialities. Wheat serves as the main component for a lot of traditional dishes, especially semolina, couscous, or bulgur. The locals also cook a lot with millet, pulses, dates and various vegetables. The vegetables are stuffed, prepared as a stew or pickled in milk: don’t miss out on these regional delicacies! Riyadh has about 6.5 million inhabitants, and 7.9 million people live in the province of the same name. The capital is also the economic, administrative and cultural centre of the country, as well as having are many universities, museums and monuments. Riyadh has also been home to the main palace of the Saud royal family since 1824. Riyadh is located approximately in the middle of the Arabian Peninsula and is on average 612 meters above sea level. The city is surrounded by desert, the climate is subtropical and the average

temperature here is 25.6 degrees Celsius. However, during summer the heat becomes very intense as the temperatures range in an average between 38.9 to 43.5 from May until September. You can discover a lot here because, besides high buildings like the old Fort Masmak or the 170 tall television tower Riyadh, there are numerous parks in the capital. You should visit Al Maktaba Park because it has a swimming pool, waterways, beautiful seating areas and a clock tower. The most popular sport in Saudi Arabia is football. Riyadh is the right place for sports because Al-Hilal is the most famous football club in the country. It plays in the first league; so how about going to a match during your stay? Otherwise, you can watch another popular sport, such as falconry, or go to a horse or camel race. This will undoubtedly be a great way to end your trip! You can get a double room in one of Riyadh’s hotels for €33 a night. After having spent so much time in this fascinating country, now is the time to catch your flight back home!

Saudi Arabia Route Map

Itinerary and Stops.

Tag
Route/Station
Transport
Unterkunft
1. Home – Jeddah
Home – Jeddah
Flight
200
Double room
38
2. Jeddah
Jeddah
-
Double room
38
3. Jeddah
Jeddah
-
Double room
38
4. Jeddah – Yanbu
Jeddah – Yanbu
Bus
15
Single room
38
5. Yanbu
Yanbu
-
Single room
38
6. Yanbu
Yanbu
-
Single room
38
7. Yanbu
Yanbu
-
Single room
38
8. Yanbu – Mecca
Yanbu – Mecca
Bus
22
Double room
28
9. Mekka
Mekka
-
Double room
28
10. Mekka
Mekka
-
Double room
28
11. Mecca – Ta’if
Mecca – Ta’if
Bus
5
Double room
23
12. Ta'if
Ta'if
-
Double room
23
13. Ta’if – Abha
Ta’if – Abha
Bus
30
Night bus
14. Abha
Abha
-
Double room
31
15. Abha
Abha
-
Double room
31
16. Abha
Abha
-
Double room
31
17. Abha – Riyadh
Abha – Riyadh
Flight
50
Double room
33
18. Riyadh
Riyadh
-
Double room
33
19. Riyadh
Riyadh
-
Double room
33
20. Riyadh
Riyadh
-
Double room
33
21. Riyadh – Home
Riyadh – Home
Flight
200

Total price.

Flights 450,00
Transportation 72,00
Tours 0,00
Accommodation 621,00
Total1143,00

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deine eigene

Reise erstellen?

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eigene Reise erstellen?

Dos and Donts, Food & Drinks, Costs.

Breakfast

Dates and figs: these fruits are iconic in Saudi Arabia and are often served for breakfast. They are served with pita bread and hummus dip.

Soups

Lentil soup: the soups in Saudi Arabia are mostly made from lentils and chickpeas pureed and diluted with water. It’s served with pita.

Main courses

Tahina: this is fish in a traditional sesame sauce. You can add vegetables or a little bit of rice, depending on what you like.

Kibit Ruz: these fried balls are made of rice, potatoes and all kinds of meat. Perfect with a delicious dip made from Arabic herbs and sour cream.

Sfafid Allusch: these lamb skewers are often sold at the roadside. You can simply eat them with your hand or together with rice and vegetables.

Poultry rice: Rice is the staple food in Saudi Arabia. This dish is fried with poultry and mixed with a spicy sauce.

Taboulé: the salad consists of bulgur and is usually prepared sweet and sour dressing. It is served with grilled vegetables.

Tattoush: another salad that is typical for Saudi Arabia. It is a so-called bread salad. It is lettuce with vegetables and small pieces of bread.

Drinks

Coffee: the national drink in Saudi Arabia. It is usually powerful, and people drink it only in small portions.

Qamar ad-din: a viscous drink that the locals drink almost daily. It consists of fresh apricot juice diluted with a little water.

Saudi Arabia

The exchange rate for 2 Saudi riyal (SAR) is around €0.50 (as of May 2022). See prices for certain products and the cost of living below:

Cost of Living

Food

Free Time

Personal Hygiene

Dos

Be careful with what you wear! Saudi Arabia is a Muslim country, and it’s therefore essential that you dress appropriately. It is best to bring some wide long trousers, so you are well equipped.

Respect the separation between genders. Women and men have different areas on the bus where they are allowed to sit, for example. Also, as a tourist, it is mandatory that you follow the rules and do not violate them.

Bring a headscarf with you. This especially applies to women because the headscarf is very important in religion. Even as a tourist, you don't have to walk around completely covered, but its often useful if you don't want to attract too much attention.

Don'ts

Don't drink alcohol! As often in Islam, alcohol is completely forbidden. In Saudi Arabia, this law is widespread, and even tourists are expected to avoid the consumption of alcohol in public.

Hands off each other! Showing affection in public is not tolerated in Saudi Arabia and is an absolute no-go! So, in any case, please respect this.

Offer your help only when asked explicitly. If you come to someone's help unexpectedly, it can seem very pushy and rude in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, it is better to wait until you are specifically asked for your help.

Do not shake hands when you greet someone. This conservative country has clear rules here, so you'd better not touch when saying hello.

Visa, Visa, Passport & Vaccinations

Passport

Yes

Temporary passport

Yes

National ID

No

Temporary national ID

No

Child’s pass

Yes

Visa

Yes

Vaccine

Robert Koch Instituts

Additional Remarks.

Travel documents must be valid for at least six months beyond the duration of your stay or at the time you apply for a visa. Please also inform yourself on the current entry regulations regarding the Corona virus. Current information about this can be found at the your country’s Foreign Office.

The team at Backpacker Trail wishes you lots of fun and an unforgettable trip!

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