Jeddah is the gateway to Mecca. It is a major airport and the nearest one to Mecca. So most of the pilgrims land here and move on towards the holy city. However, what if you have a stopover in Jeddah? Well, the good news is that Jeddah is a major city on the shore of the Red Sea. There are enough things to be done here too. I know a friend who regularly takes Saudigulf Airlines from Dubai to Jeddah for certain work and he gave me some tips regarding things to do in this city. So, if you have a day or two to spare in this city, here are a few things you can consider.
Al-Balad: The Old City
Most ancient cities have an “Old Town” along with the modern city. Jeddah is no different. While the modern Jaddah is a busy and bustling city, you should definitely a pay a visit to Al-Balad, the old quarters of Jeddah, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. This was historically the centre of Jeddah, dating back to the 7th century. With the petrolium-induced economic boom in the 20th century, the modern city developed in the peripheries as teh narrow alleys of the old city could not fit in those modern buildings and cars. But this is where the charm of Al-Balad lies. It not merely reminds but transports you to the past. Ideally, you should spare a few hours for this part to fully soak in the history.
Scuba diving surely is not something that comes to your mind while talking about Saudi Arabia. However, it does have a long coastline and Jeddah is a port city too. The good thing is that, the lack of awareness and exposure has kept this part of the Read Sea relatively clean and untouched. However, diving and other activities have come up rapidly in recent times. You can take up a scuba diving course, go snorkelling, or simply opt for a boat ride if you are looking for something less hectic.
Jeddah Corniche is spread over a 30 KM long Red Sea coastline. It has recently been developed as a recreational area replete with hotels, resorts, amusement parks, restaurants, aquarium, gardens, fountains, cultural centre, and much more. Even a man-made island has been developed near the shore, lined with palm trees. World class amenities are available for everyone and a day can be well-spent here with your families.
Tahlia Street is located at the heart of Jeddah. It is a premium shopping paradise and the wealthiest area in the entire country. Branded stores, boutique shops, and departmental stores have turned it into the fashion and shopping capital of Jeddah and if you are in the mood for some shopping, this where you must head to.
King Fahd’s Fountain
Located in aforementioned Jeddah Corniche, the King Fahd’s Fountain is also called the Jeddah Fountain. At 312 meters, it is considered to be the tallest fountain in the world. Built in the 1980s, it was designed to honour the legendary Saudi Monarch. The very sight of such a colossal fountain spraying water over the Red Sea is a sight to behold.