Weekends and holidays are a pleasurable time, especially for us ka-OFWs. It is “me-time” for us. We have the days to ourselves to relax, enjoy and even pamper. Those personal tasks that we have put off can be done in our own sweet time.
There basically three holidays that we can enjoy in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia;
- Eid Al Fitr or also called the “Festival of Breaking the Fast”, is a religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.
- Eid Al Adha or the holiday that honors Ibrahim’s (Abraham) willingness to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God. It is also known as the Greater Eid, the Feast of the Sacrifice/Festival of the Sacrifice
- National Day: Saudi Arabia is celebrating National Day every September 23. The holiday commemorates the establishment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by King Abdulaziz in 1932.
Those who are working in government agencies normally have longer holidays during Eid than the one in the private sector. This could be the best time to unwind or just see other places for a change of scenery.
Riyadhizens, nationals and expats alike, preferred destination is Al Khobar.
It is just four-hour drive from Riyadh
Al Khobar is a city located in the Eastern Province of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the coast of the Persian Gulf. The distance between Riyadh and Al Khobar is 425.8Km and can be traveled by car for four hours (no stopover).
It is near Dammam, Dharan, Bahrain, Jubail and Al Hofuf (Al Ahsa).
Wikipedia said Khobar, Dammam, and Dhahran are part of the Dammam metropolitan area or Greater Dammam. They are often known as “The Triplet Cities” by many natives. They are less than 15 km (9.3 mi) apart. The Greater Dammam is closely linked to the city through social, economic, and cultural ties. It is the largest metropolitan area in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.
Jubail is also a city in the Eastern province and home to the largest industrial city in the world. It is 123 km away from Khobar and can be reached by car in an hour.
Al Ahsa is the biggest governorate in the Eastern province and a place of multiple historical civilizations and archeological sites. It is an oasis rich with green spaces and water springs. Al-Hofuf also known as “Al-Hasa”, “Al-Ahsa” or “Al-Hassa”) is the major urban center in the Al-Ahsa Oasis in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. It is also known for being one of the largest date producers in the world, and for its old souks and palaces. The distance between Khobar and Al Hofuf is 151.3 km and it is 1.5 to 2 hrs drive.
Photo credit to: Arab News
Bahrain (officially the Kingdom of Bahrain) is an island country in the Persian Gulf. It is connected with King Fahd Causeway by 25-kilometre (16 mi). Bahrain is 59.9km from Khobar and this will take an hour to drive. But bring exit-re-entry visa, if you plan to cross the Causeway.
So if you are in Khobar, it is like that you are in the center and can travel by land to cross other major cities and districts. You have other options to explore. There are more places to go to. Your choice. Your budget.
Baher Village, Al Khobar
It has beach resorts and shoreline.
As mentioned Al Khobar is located on the coast of the Persian Gulf. It is near the sea. It is open for beach resorts and shoreline or bay. It is a welcome change from landlocked Riyadh.
Al Shola Village, Al Khobar shore
There are several known beach resorts in Al Khobar where you can enjoy swimming and appreciate the beauty of the ocean. You experience sunset by the bay in areas such as Baher Village, Al Shola Village, Half Moon, etc.
Al Shola Village Al Khobar white sands
It has the corniche
Photo Credit to: https://www.wtca.org/
Its corniche, the large waterfront area, includes Prince Faisal bin Fahad Sea Park, with cafes and playgrounds.
Walking around the park will surely burn calories, that is if you will not sample the cafes and restaurants in the vicinity.
It has several popular attractions aside from beaches and corniche
Nearby, the city’s island Water Tower offers panoramic views.
The Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Science & Technology Center (SciTech) has an aquarium, interactive displays, and an IMAX theater.
West, the Aramco Exhibit is a museum showcasing the exploration of the Saudi oil industry.
It is partly an open city
When you are in Al Khobar, it is like you are not in Saudi Arabia.
There is a different vibe among Khobarians which are also imbibed by the people visiting the place.
It’s a place for food trip galore
There are numerous restaurants all over Khobar that offer Arabic, Western and Asian cuisines.
If you love seafood, this is a perfect place to be. You can jump to the fish market and enjoy the varieties of fresh seafood that you can turn into appetizing cuisines.
Dammam Fish Market
If your palette is looking for shabu-shabu, try to visit Boiling Pot a buffet restaurant that offers hot pot. Our group satisfied our cravings when we visited this place.
Drag Cafe Al Khobar
At Drag Café, aside from coffee, tea, and shakes, during Friday they have a live band playing music. (The groups/customers are throwing jokes na nalasing kami sa kape).
Drag Cafe, Live band jamming sessions
Al Khobar is my personal choice. I love the city because it is near the sea, the beauty of the whole city is can be seen in an hour (no heavy traffic). Sabi nila maiikot mo buong lugar in less than an hour. The markets are pro-Pinoy in the sense that they have seafood, vegetables and meat market in one place. Iyong pagkaing-dagat and gulay na gusto mo andun 🙂 . If given an opportunity to work there, probably I will grab the offer without hesitations.
This coming Eid Al Fitr, or any given weekend, visit the place and see for yourself.
Thank you so much Galura Family for making our last visit in Al Khobar memorable and fun as always.