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  • Monday 9.00am - 5.30pm GMT
  • Tuesday 9.00am - 5.30pm GMT
  • Wednesday 9.00am - 5.30pm GMT
  • Thursday 9.00am - 5.30pm GMT
  • Friday 9.00am - 5.30pm GMT
  • Saturday 9.00am - 5.30pm GMT
  • Sunday Closed
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Explore the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia - Trip code KSA Discovery
Carbon Footprint Leaf Icon
1330Kg of CO²e
Average carbon footprint per person
Carbon Footprint
You deserve to know everything about your holiday, from what is included, what to expect and every kilogram of CO2 emitted on average per person along the way.

We've partnered with ecollective to measure the carbon footprint of this tour based on an average group size. Find out more about how we calculate this and why we think it's important here.
 
Days 13
Deposit From CHF 482
Price from CHF 4821
Flights not included
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Why book this trip?

There are few places in the world that could be described as outside the reaches of tourism, and Saudi Arabia may be one of them. Images of desert adventures or busy souks are only one side of this eclectic country, known as the birthplace of Islam. This trip will introduce a Saudi Arabia of high mountains, chaotic camel markets, diverse food and a history that spans prehistoric rock art, the ancient spice trade and Lawrence's Arabian deserts.

  • Hegra (Mada'in Saleh) - Discover this ancient Nabatean city, second in size only to Petra, in the middle of the desert
  • Al Bahah - Experience the mountainous side of Saudi in this region of cave-dwellings, hidden villages and hairpin roads
  • Jeddah - Explore the atmospheric alleyways of the UNESCO-listed old town, and get some Red Sea air on the coast
  • Included meals

    Breakfast: 12

    Lunch: 2

    Dinner: 3

  • Trip staff

    Explore Tour Leader(s)

    Driver(s)

    Local Guide(s)

  • Transport

    Bus

    4WD

    Train

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    Accommodation

    8 nights comfortable hotel

    2 nights premium hotel

    2 nights comfortable lodge

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    Trip pace:

    Full on

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    Group Size:

    10 - 16

Itinerary

Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.

Day 1 - Join trip in Riyadh

Arrive in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Once a desert trading post on the caravan route, this skyscraper-filled city is fighting a battle between the old and the new. Riyadh has a more traditional atmosphere than its red sea sister, Jeddah, and its historical significance as the birthplace of modern Saudi Arabia can be seen in the contrast between the modern, gleaming buildings in the business district, and the many forts, museums and colourful souks that confirm the city's ancient past.

Due to the number of evening flights into Riyadh, the Tour Leader plans to do the welcome meeting in the morning of Day 2. There are no planned activities today, so you can arrive into Riyadh at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary transfer today, you'll need to arrive into King Khalid International Airport (RUH), which is around 40 minutes' drive.

If your flight arrives earlier in the day, you may wish to ascend the Faisaliah Tower or the Sky Bridge for their vantage points over the city. We will visit the Sky Bridge tomorrow but not at sunset, and it gives a great view of the Riyadh skyline as the sun goes down.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Swimming pool available

Meals Provided: None

Day 2 - Discover the old and new faces of Riyadh; 4WD trip to the Edge of the World

Riyadh is a chaotic, sprawling city, where ancient palaces and palm trees are found just a few traffic-laden streets away from bright, modern architecture. We'll get a feeling of both the old and new today.

Before the 1930s, Riyadh was a small, walled oasis town in what was then known as the Second Saudi State. After Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud conquered the state in the late 1920s he retook his family's ancient seat and brought together most of the Arabian Peninsula in what he went on to name 'Saudi Arabia'. We'll learn some of this history in a trip to the National Museum this morning - the museum is enormous so we will pick and choose some of the key exhibits. If you arrive to Riyadh early on day 1 it's well worth spending more time here.

We'll go on to visit Masmak Fortress, the most prominent remnant of the old walled oasis town of Riyadh. From here, we visit the modern part of the city, taking the lift up the Kingdom Tower skyscraper for impressive views.

In the late afternoon, we drive in 4WD vehicles to Jebel Fihrayn, also known as the Edge of the World. This dramatic set of cliffs, just one hour outside of Riyadh, rises vertically from the desert floor. The horizon dances before us yet is somehow unobtainable - this visual illusion gives the wonder its name. We aim to be there for sunset, before driving back to the city.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Swimming pool available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 3 - Visit the Ushaiqer Heritage Village; drive to Buraidah

Leaving Riyadh this morning, we'll drive north-west to the Ushaiqer Heritage Village, a winding maze of alleyways and mud-brick houses. Nearby springs and palm groves made this a convenient stopping point for ancient pilgrims to Mecca. The village is a glimpse into an old way of life, with some incredible examples of ancient Nadji architecture. It's still partially inhabited today, and there is a lot of protection work going on here to ensure that it retains its character for future generations.

From here we drive on to Buraidah. The area is famous for its date farms, and sampling some of the local produce is highly recommended.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 4 - Experience the Buraidah camel market; train journey to Ha'il

Rise early this morning to drive to the dusty outskirts of Buraidah, where we find the Kingdom's famous camel market. A chaotic melee of people, sounds and smells, the daily market sees hundreds of camels, as well as sheep and goats, being bought and sold by local Saudis. A visit to the market is a glimpse at traditions that haven't changed in hundreds of years. The auctions are loud and theatrical, with the best camels going for many thousands of dollars.

In the early afternoon we take a two-hour train to Ha'il, a modern service that offers comfortable seats, a cafe car and, usually, WiFi available on board. At around 2pm we'll arrive into Ha'il, a small town on the edge of the massive Jabal Aja protected area, a red granite mountain range that is a surprising haven for plant and birdlife. We'll explore the town this afternoon, including the massive Aarif fortress. This 17th-century monolith is visible on its hilltop position from anywhere in Ha'il.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 5 - Discover the UNESCO-listed rock carvings at Jubbah; drive to AlUla and our desert accommodation

The oasis of Jubbah was once a huge inland lake, rich in wildlife and plant life and on the edge of the windswept Nafud Desert. On a set of sandstone rocks, which pop out of the sandy floor at the western edge of this oasis town, we'll find some of the Middle East's most extensive and important ancient rock carvings. These Neolithic petroglyphs date back as early as 5500BC, and depict scenes of everyday life; hunting is widely represented, and from the images we can see the kind of animals that would have been prevalent at the watering hole, from camel to ibex. Jubbah's rock art has been a crucial link in the chain for palaeontologists to put together a picture of Neolithic human life not just in the Middle East but also spreading through north Africa.

From here we drive to Al Ula and our desert-based accommodation.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Lodge

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 6 - Visit the Nabatean city of Hegra (Mada'in Saleh) and the Lion Tombs of Dedan

A short drive this morning brings us to the Lion Tombs of Dedan. Pre-dating the Nabatean Empire, the kings of Dedan, and later named Lihyan, ruled from the 6th to the 2nd Century BC. At their capital, Dedan, the remains of ancient tombs have been found hewn into the rockface at different heights and of different sizes. The name 'Lions Tomb' comes from the carved lion sculptures found outside one of the necropolis entrances - denoting the importance of its owner.

From here, we continue to what may be one of the highlights of our Saudi Arabian journey - the ancient Nabatean city of Hegra (also known as Mada'in Saleh). This set of ornately carved tombs was constructed in the 1st Century AD by the Nabatean people, and it would become their second-largest city after the capital, Petra, in Jordan. These magnificent tombs are eerily quiet in contrast to Petra, but as tourism grows we can expect this to change dramatically within the next few years. For the moment, what was once a thriving city at the southern-most part of the spice trade, and a key part of the Nabatean Empire, is now a deserted outpost, with many buildings partially hidden under layers of sand.

We end our day at Elephant Rock, an instantly-recognisable geological feature that takes its name from its elephantine shape.

Please note, the sites around Al Ula currently depend on timed tickets, so the order of our visits may change. We may also have to split the group in two depending on the maximum numbers permitted at either site.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Lodge

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 7 - Drive through the desert, and past the Sarawat Mountains, to Medina

Driving south to Medina, the desert extends before us, with the Sarawat Mountains flanking us to the left. En route, we will stop at an old Hejaz Railway Station - the building, and it's partly reconstructed train, is now fenced off but if we're lucky we'll be able to find a gap in which to get closer. The Hejaz Railway was the brainchild of the Ottomans, an attempt to pull together their disparate empire from the reaches of Constantinople to the holy site of Mecca. In the early 1900s, the railroad was complete from Damascus to Medina, and it was a strategic crown in the Ottoman Empire. Its glory days didn't last long however, and the railroad was almost completely destroyed during World War One and the Arab Rising.

On arrival to the holy city of Medina, we'll visit the Archer's Hill - an important battle site in Islamic history. Medina is the Islamic world's second holy city after Mecca, and the Prophet's Mosque, right in the centre of the city, is home to the grave of the Prophet Mohammed. This innermost part of the city is restricted to Muslims, but we will take the opportunity to visit those places that we can. We also aim to visit a local date farm, where sampling the goods is highly recommended! The owner of this farm has a rather bizarre museum full of old collectables, from arabic rugs and clothing to old radios and jewellery.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 8 - Walk at the Al Wahbah crater; continue by bus to Ta'if

One of the most dramatic natural wonders in Saudi Arabia is our destination this morning, as we set out from Medina and drive south. At a massive four kilometres wide, the Al Wahbah Crater was originally thought to have been formed by a meteorite crashing to earth, but it is now generally accepted to have been created by volcanic activity. The base of the crater is encrusted with salt crystals, forming an enormous white ring in the centre of the vast hole. We'll have a picnic lunch here and take a short walk around some of the viewpoints over the crater.

From here we continue up a winding road, to the start of a completely different side of Saudi Arabia - the cool mountains of the south. Our final destination is Ta'if, located at approximately 1800m altitude. This evening we'll take a stroll through its lively souk, a thronging maze of shop fronts selling goods from honey and perfume to ornate jewellery.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

Day 9 - Explore Ta'if; continue into the mountains at Al Bahah

Ta'if is surrounded by lush wadis and mountains that bloom with roses in April. More than 900 farms produce upwards of 300 million roses for worldwide export each year, and it's from this industry that the city takes its name, the 'City of Roses'. We'll visit a rose farm this morning (there will be no blooms outside of March-April), and while in Ta'if you may like to purchase rosewater, scented rose oil or a refreshing rose tea as a souvenir of your time here. We'll also drive to a viewpoint with excellent views over the mountainside - the first time we've really experienced the mountains during our time in Saudi Arabia. During our time in Ta'if and Bahah we may see some of the wild baboons that roam by the roadsides.

In the afternoon we leave the city for the Al Bahah region. If Ta'if has given us a taster of life outside of the desert, Al Bahah will strip us of all illusions that Saudi Arabia is a mass of dust and sand. At 2200m altitude, the region is surrounded by forest and barren rock formations, with hairpin bends taking travellers to small mountain top villages. We'll arrive in the evening and settle in to our hotel.

Accommodation:

Grade: Premium Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 10 - Visit the unexpected mountain village of Thee Ain

Spend a day of adventure exploring everything that this wonderful area has to offer. We set out from our hotel onto the 25 tunnels road - a deeply dramatic road of tight hairpin bends that descends hundreds of metres in a short time. We'll visit the 600 year-old marble village of Thee Ain, a mysterious looking set of stone houses that were originally built as a citadel on top of a white marble outcrop, surrounded by banana plantations, fruit trees and mountains. The 8th-century construction is visually magnificent from afar, and fascinating close up. We'll have a delicious al fresco lunch in a calm and shady spot, in the shadow of the mountain village.

After our visit here we set off to meet our 4WD vehicles, for our adventurous drive to Shada Mountain, navigating hairpin bends on our uphill journey. At the top is a small 'resort' - a peaceful homestay that has several small rooms, a tranquil garden of fruit trees and a dramatic setting overlooking the valley below. We'll undertake an easy-to-moderate walk here among some remarkable rock formations. The walk itself is flat, but on some rocky terrain with a couple of narrow sections as we negotiate the space between rocks. These fantastical grottos and caves were, until recently, inhabited by humans - with some of the cave-dwellings going back hundreds of years. We'll stay in this spectacular location for our dinner this evening, before making our way back to the hotel.

Accommodation:

Grade: Premium Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 11 - Drive to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia's second largest city on the Red Sea

We finally meet the Red Sea today, as we journey back northwards towards the coastal city of Jeddah. It's a long day of driving, but we'll make stops en route. Jeddah is the largest commercial city in Saudi Arabia. A major port, a historical Red Sea trading point, and an important gateway for the thousands of yearly pilgrims heading to Mecca or Medina, the city has a bustling atmosphere of opportunity and growth.

We hope to arrive around 4pm, although this may depend on traffic. On arrival we'll be free to explore the city - the Islamic Museum is one of our options, a veritable showcase of Arab history and tradition. Alternatively, you may wish to go for a walk along the corniche, which is a key spot for locals to socialise, stroll and enjoy the evening air.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Day 12 - Walking tour of the UNESCO-listed old town; traditional evening meal

We'll explore Jeddah today, beginning with a visit to the enormous fish market. Seafood is essential to the economy of Jeddah, and a visit to this thriving fish market puts this into perspective. We'll also explore Jeddah's corniche, which extends many miles along the Red Sea coast - this long sea front incorporates parks, mosques and playgrounds, and is lined with sculptures that culminate at the small open-air sculpture 'museum' in the north of the city. We'll walk a section of it, aiming to see the 'floating mosque' along the way.

After lunch we visit the afore-mentioned sculpture park, before driving to the UNESCO-listed old town of Al Balad this afternoon. A quirk of Saudi culture, which we will have noticed throughout the trip, is that many places only come alive after 4pm, with souks, shops and cafes opening late into the night. This is no different in Al Balad. Founded in the 7th Century, Al Balad was once the city centre of Jeddah and an essential Red Sea port. This wonder of architecture is famous for its wooden 'roshans' (intricately carved facades), which provide fascinating subjects for photographers. During our guided tour of Al Balad we'll enter some of the houses for a perspective on how people lived and worked in old Arabia. We'll also have some free time to explore the maze of narrow streets that lead into the Souk Al Alawi section of Balad - in the late afternoon this area is transformed into a busy network of shops selling rugs, herbs, silver and perfume, as well as a lively street market with everything from okra and rice to meat and chilli peppers.

Our included meal this evening will give us the opportunity to sample what Jeddah is really known for - fish! We'll go to one of the city's popular fish restaurants and try the local catch. Normally the menu includes a delicious and creamy fish chowder, alongside a main of fish (grouper or parrotfish are common) and shrimp, together with hummous, vine leaves, rice and the trimmings. It's a fitting end to our Saudi Arabian journey.

Accommodation:

Grade: Comfortable Hotel

Single room available

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 13 - Trip ends in Jeddah

The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Jeddah.

There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Jeddah at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from King Abdulasiz International Airport (JED), which is a 20 minute drive from the hotel.

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Trip information

Climate and country information

Saudi Arabia

Climate

Saudi Arabia has a predominantly desert climate, meaning that the summers are very hot and dry, and the winters are more temperate. The majority of the country's annual rainfall occurs between November and April, but aside from in the mountainous areas this is very minimal. However, there are certain regional differences that should be taken into consideration. Along the coast near Jeddah, winter and shoulder season temperatures range from approximately 22-32 degrees celsius. The desert plateau, which encompasses Riyadh, Buraidah and Medina, can range from 15-30 degrees celsius (again, in winter and the shoulder months) depending on the time of day. Ha'Il and Al Ula are also on this desert plateau but at a slightly higher elevation, so night time temperatures can drop as low as 5 degrees celsius. In the mountains around Asir, and to a lesser extent in the lowlands of Al Bahah, the climate is temperate year around. However, rainfall is at its highest particularly from January to May.

Time difference to GMT

+3

Plugs

3 Square Pin (as in the UK)

Religion

Islam

Language

Arabic

Budgeting and packing

Optional activities

The following excursions and/or activities are usually available and may be arranged locally. Estimated costs are provided below for guidance only, are on a per person basis unless shown otherwise, and may depend on the number of participants. Prices quoted are correct as of the date these tour notes were originally issued but may change at any time due to currency fluctuations. Please note: These activities are booked and paid for direct with the supplier and do not form part of your Explore holiday contract.


Riyadh: Going to the top of the Sky Bridge - 60SR

Clothing

Although Saudi Arabia is going through a period of great change at the moment, it remains a deeply conservative country. Visitors are asked to dress modestly - both men and women alike - avoiding tight-fitting clothes and items with profane language or images.

Women should take an abaya with them (the long robe that is worn over the top of clothes). These can be purchased before travel, or locally for around £20. Your local guides will ask you to wear one at the Buraidah camel market and in Medina. It's not necessary to wear one in the rest of the country, although it is certainly easier to throw this on over your clothing without worrying about what's underneath. Otherwise women should wear long, loose clothing - long skirts or trousers, and long-sleeved blouses or t-shirts.

A scarf should be carried with you, to cover your hair when entering mosques and throughout your stay in the holy city of Medina. Headscarves are not compulsory in the rest of the Kingdom.

Men should wear long trousers or long shorts, covering the knees.

On a practical note, the weather will vary greatly between day and night, and between the desert and the mountains. It will also be colder in the winter months from mid-December to February. You may experience highs of 30 degrees celsius in Jeddah, whereas Al Bahah will be very cold at night. Layers are essential, including warm clothing and a rain jacket for any time of year.

Footwear

Comfortable walking shoes or tough and sturdy trainers are recommended for Bahah and the Wahbah Crater. During the rest of the trip, sandals or lightweight shoes will suffice for exploring towns and sites.

Luggage

20Kg

Luggage: On tour

One main piece of baggage and a day sack. Hotel porters are not always available, so don't overload yourself.

Equipment

The amount of single use plastic consumed within Saudi Arabia is abysmally high, and the recycling facilities are almost non-existent. We recommend that you take a Water to Go bottle with you, which has a filtration system that allows you to drink water from any non-saline water source in the world. This means that you can drink safely from the tap in Saudi, as well as in any other country. It's a great (and low cost) investment to your travels.
Find out more here: https://watertogo.eu/partnerships/explore
Explore customers get a 15% discount using the code EXPLORE15

Tipping

Explore leader
Tipping isn't compulsory, and we work hard to ensure that our leaders all receive a fair wage. However, you might want to recognise a leader that's done a great job or really added to your trip by giving them a tip. We're often asked about the recommended amount. It's a tricky one, and down to personal preference, but we'd recommend US$3.00 per person per day (US$21 per person per week) as a guideline.

Local crew
Although entirely voluntary, tipping is a recognized part of life in this region of the world. Some local staff will look to members of the group for personal recognition of particular services provided. In order to make things easier for you, your leader may organise a group's tips kitty and if this is the case, they will account for it throughout the tour.

Accordingly, you should allow US$ 25.00 per person for group tipping.
For all non-included services and meals on your trip please tip independently at your discretion.

Saudi Arabia

Food and drink

The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.


Lunch price
£3-10
Dinner price
£10-20
Beer price
£n/a
Water price
£1
Foreign Exchange
Local currency
Saudi Riyal (SAR)
Recommended Currency For Exchange
GBP, USD and Euros are all widely accepted at Bureaux de Change. Although there is a Bureau de Change at the airport, it may close around 5pm, and there is limited time in Riyadh to visit another. We therefore recommend changing money before departure and using your credit or debit card for the remainder of the tour, rather than relying on currency exchange. The exchange rate with the SAR is approximately SAR 5.25 to the British Pound. Please check on line for up to date information.
Where To Exchange
Your Tour Leader will advise you on arrival.
ATM Availability
ATMs can be easily found throughout the country for cash withdrawals in SAR.
Credit Card Acceptance
Credit cards are widely accepted.
Travellers Cheques
We do not recommend Travellers Cheques.
Transport, Accommodation & Meals

Transport Information

Bus, 4WD

Accommodation notes

During the trip you'll be accommodated in predominantly excellent 3-4* standard hotels. In some locations you'll find the hotels are located on the outskirts of town, which is appropriate for this full-on trip.

In Al Ula, we cannot guarantee which hotel you will be staying in. The entire area is controlled by the Royal Commission of Al Ula, which can requisition rooms or entire hotels at will, usually at short notice, for their needs. The Sahary or Arch Mountain Resorts are just two of several hotels that may be used. This is just one of the quirks of travelling in a country new to tourism!

Swimming pools in hotels are either men-only, or operate with separate men-only and women-only timings.

Food and drink

It's worth noting that Saudi Arabia can be a challenging (but doable) location for vegetarians. Many of the dishes revolve around meat or fish, and on learning that you don't eat meat, you'll no doubt be asked, 'but chicken is OK?' It is always possible for us to work around this, but just be prepared for some locations to be limited in your choice. Side dishes are great for this - hummous, tabbouleh, fattoush salad and baba ganoush are often found. Where not, the Tour Leader will help organise something for you.

Due to the nature of the trip and the distances covered, some lunch stops will be very much on the go, whether grabbing a quick shawarma or some snacks from a petrol station stop. On the other hand, where we do eat out, you'll be taken to some really local places. One memorable dish that you may have the opportunity to try is Areeka - a sweet dish commonly eaten among the savoury courses, which typically includes honeyed date paste, cream or yoghurt, mashed banana and cornflakes. Very odd, but unusually delicious!

Essential Information

Government Travel Safety Advice

We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.

Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
 

Under 18 immigration guidance

Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.

Price Guarantee

Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions

Visa and Passport Information

Saudi Arabia: British, Australian, New Zealand, Canadian and America passport holders can apply for an evisa on line at the following portal - https://visa.visitsaudi.com/
Other nationalities should consult the relevant consulate.

All Visit Visas:
The fee for the visa is SAR 440 (approx £85). This includes the base fee (SAR 300) and health insurance (SAR 140). However, additional charges apply for VAT and payment processing.
The validity of the visa depends on its type. A single entry visa allows you to stay for a total length of one month, while the multiple entry visa allows you to stay in Saudi Arabia for up to three months.
A multiple entry visa is valid for a maximum of three months, regardless of whether you leave and re-enter the country during that period of time.

If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.

All visa information is subject to change. You should confirm all visa related issues with the relevant Embassy prior to departure.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination


If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
 

Booking conditions

Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
 

Minimum age restrictions

For our group tours, the minimum age is 16. The minimum age on Family trips varies between 7 and 11 - please check the 'Family information' section of the trip page for more information. 

Transfers

Find out more about Trip Transfer Terms and Conditions before you book.

Booking a land only package with Explore

Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information. 

You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.


Joining Tour Abroad

Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.

The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.  

Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Polar, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.

If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.  

For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here

Insurance

It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.

Flight information

Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.


Flight Information

You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.

  

Booking a flight inclusive package with Explore

We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.

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Saudi Arabia

Vaccinations

Nothing compulsory, we recommend protection against typhoid, tetanus, polio and hepatitis Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.

Is this trip for me?

Is this trip for me? 

The recent opening up of Saudi Arabia to foreign tourists has brought with it a relaxation and modernisation of some of the country's cultural and legal system. On the other hand, it really is a country just beginning to discover tourism, so their organisation can be slapdash or illogical, and sites occasionally close without any warning or notice given. Local guides vary from absolutely fantastic, some of the best we have across the world, to others who have varying levels of English (in which case our Tour Leader will translate). All guides are extremely passionate about their area and willing to talk about everything from marriage norms in Saudi Arabia to what Hajj means in the Islamic world. You absolutely must travel with a flexible and 'go with the flow' attitude to get the most out of this fascinating place. 

On a practical level, the tour is graded 'full on'. Saudi Arabia is three times the size of France, and we cover a fair amount of it during this trip. Be prepared for long drives with plenty of stops. Our vehicle is a very comfortable 50-seater coach so you won't be cramped during your journey, but some lunches will be a gas station shop before getting back onto the road again.  

Women are able to drive, and travel solo throughout the country. It's no longer necessary for women to wear the abaya (the long robe worn over clothes), aside from in the holy city of Medina and at the Buraidah camel market (a typically traditional environment). Our female product manager has travelled to Saudi Arabia and felt incredibly at ease there. From personal choice she wore the abaya in several other locations, as she found it a relaxing way to travel - instead of worrying about what's underneath it, you can just throw it on over your clothing, even leaving it open rather than buttoned up. Headscarves are also only required in Medina and at the Buraidah camel market.

Despite the significant changes, and the period of change that Saudi Arabia is going through at the moment, the country remains deeply conservative. Alcohol is illegal and shouldn't be brought into the country under any circumstances. Public displays of affection are also unusual, and prayer times are respected throughout the country - shops may close briefly up to five times a day to observe prayer.  

Dates, prices and booking

📢 Prices may change - book now and today's trip price is guaranteed in our price promise
Tue 18 Oct 2022 - Sun 30 Oct 2022 Guaranteed departure
KSA_2022 0 spaces available
CHF 4821
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+CHF 1107
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Add a flight with Explore

  • Full Explore refunds in the event of FCDO cancellations or major disruption at your UK departure airport
  • Carbon neutral flights – Gold Standard offsetting included
  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
  • ATOL protected
  • No surcharge guarantee
 
Mon 24 Oct 2022 - Sat 5 Nov 2022 Guaranteed departure
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CHF 4834
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+CHF 1107
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Add a flight with Explore

  • Full Explore refunds in the event of FCDO cancellations or major disruption at your UK departure airport
  • Carbon neutral flights – Gold Standard offsetting included
  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
  • ATOL protected
  • No surcharge guarantee
 
Mon 7 Nov 2022 - Sat 19 Nov 2022 Guaranteed departure
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CHF 4834
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+CHF 1107
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Add a flight with Explore

  • Full Explore refunds in the event of FCDO cancellations or major disruption at your UK departure airport
  • Carbon neutral flights – Gold Standard offsetting included
  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
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Mon 14 Nov 2022 - Sat 26 Nov 2022 Guaranteed departure
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Add a flight with Explore

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  • Carbon neutral flights – Gold Standard offsetting included
  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
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Mon 21 Nov 2022 - Sat 3 Dec 2022 Guaranteed departure
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Mon 28 Nov 2022 - Sat 10 Dec 2022 Guaranteed departure
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Wed 21 Dec 2022 - Mon 2 Jan 2023 Guaranteed departure
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  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
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Tue 10 Jan 2023 - Sun 22 Jan 2023 Guaranteed departure
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Add a flight with Explore

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  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
  • ATOL protected
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Tue 24 Jan 2023 - Sun 5 Feb 2023 Guaranteed departure
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Tue 31 Jan 2023 - Sun 12 Feb 2023
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+CHF 1107
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Add a flight with Explore

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Tue 7 Feb 2023 - Sun 19 Feb 2023 Guaranteed departure
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Add a flight with Explore

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  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
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  • No surcharge guarantee
 
Tue 21 Feb 2023 - Sun 5 Mar 2023
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+CHF 1107
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Add a flight with Explore

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  • Carbon neutral flights – Gold Standard offsetting included
  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
  • ATOL protected
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Tue 7 Mar 2023 - Sun 19 Mar 2023 Guaranteed departure
KSA_2023
CHF 5351
was Save
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i
+CHF 1107
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Add a flight with Explore

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  • Carbon neutral flights – Gold Standard offsetting included
  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
  • ATOL protected
  • No surcharge guarantee
 
Tue 17 Oct 2023 - Sun 29 Oct 2023 Guaranteed departure
KSA_2023
CHF 5443
was Save
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+CHF 1140
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Add a flight with Explore

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  • Carbon neutral flights – Gold Standard offsetting included
  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
  • ATOL protected
  • No surcharge guarantee
 
Tue 31 Oct 2023 - Sun 12 Nov 2023
KSA_2023
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+CHF 1140
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Add a flight with Explore

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  • Carbon neutral flights – Gold Standard offsetting included
  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
  • ATOL protected
  • No surcharge guarantee
 
Tue 14 Nov 2023 - Sun 26 Nov 2023
KSA_2023
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+CHF 1140
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Add a flight with Explore

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  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
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Tue 21 Nov 2023 - Sun 3 Dec 2023
KSA_2023
CHF 5443
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+CHF 1140
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Add a flight with Explore

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  • Carbon neutral flights – Gold Standard offsetting included
  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
  • ATOL protected
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Fri 22 Dec 2023 - Wed 3 Jan 2024
KSA_2023
CHF 5443
was Save
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+CHF 1140
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Add a flight with Explore

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  • Rearranged flights and transfers in the event of delays, missed connections, or cancellations (including accommodation overseas)
  • ATOL protected
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