Amber Dias pens down reasons why AlUla in Saudi Arabia should be at the very top of your list of destinations for your next vacation.
Nestled within the heart of Saudi Arabia, the ancient city of AlUla stands as a testament to the rich history and cultural heritage of the Arabian Peninsula. But there is so much more it has to offer. AlUla has emerged as quite the gem for travellers, offering unique and enriching experiences to whet every appetite. Art, wellness, adventure… the opportunities are endless.
Step Into The Past
Put on your hat and live out your Indiana Jones fantasy – sans the traps and baddies chasing you. Walk through cities of old, explore tombs and decipher ancient texts, discovering a new world hidden in the sand. AlUla is a treasure trove of archaeological sites that span thousands of years. The Dadanite and Lihyanite civilizations left their mark on the landscape, and the iconic city of Hegra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stands as a symbol of their architectural prowess. There are around 110 tombs that have thus far been identified at this site with the most famous among them being the 72 ft tall Tomb of Lihyan, son of Kuza or Qasr al-Farid, which remains incomplete.
The ancient city of Dadan also has much insight to offer into the lives of the people who once lived there. And Jabal Ikmah or the Open Library, is a trove of verses, records and messages that have been inscribed into rock faces of the canyon, with languages dating back to ancient Arabic and pre-Arabic as well.
Gear Up For Adventure
If a thirst for adrenalin-pumping action fuels your vacation plans, The AlUla Adventure Club has what you need to quench it. Rock climbing, rappelling, ziplining and more, there are plenty of activities to tackle. And if you’re up for it, give the Giant Swing and AlUla Stairway a try, they will definitely get your heart racing.
Indulge Your Senses
For those looking for a little R ‘n’ R, AlUla has plenty to offer in that realm too. From luxury resorts to a plethora of offerings curated for wellness and rejuvenation, it’s the perfect backdrop to detach from the world for a little bit and reconnect with yourself. AlUla has even been crowned ‘Favourite Wellness Destination of the Middle East’ at the Global Spa – Readers Choice Awards 2023.
Take In The View
AlUla’s natural beauty is as captivating as its historical sites. The vast desert landscape that surrounds the city is a playground for adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts. From the towering red sandstone mountains to the expansive desert plains to lush oasis palms, there’s a lot to take in. But perhaps the most stunning of sights are the unique and quite frankly marvellous rock formations, like the iconic Elephant Rock and Rainbow Rock. And if you look closely enough, you’ll probably find a formation or two that no one else has seen. Whatever it is that catches your eye, you can be sure your inner shutterbug will have plenty to snap.
Mix It Up With Modern Marvels
The Maraya Concert Hall is a stunning example of Saudi Arabia’s commitment to embracing the modern while preserving its cultural heritage. A gorgeous mirrored building – the largest in the world – stands like a diamond in the sand, reflecting the landscape around it. But that’s just during the day. Once evening falls, orbs of white and yellow light cast an enchanting glow from within, creating quite the spectacle. A hub of culture, this hall plays host to events, concerts, art exhibitions and more, bringing a piece of the world to AlUla.
AlUla is opening itself to the world, and a big part of this is unique experiences via activities or festivals that showcase all the wonders AlUla has to offer. From the high-flying Skies festival or the cultural explosion at the Winter at Tantora, there is an entire calendar of events to look forward to, each exhilarating and fulfilling in its own way.
If you are planning your next vacation, AlUla should top the list, it’s an adventure unlike any other and offers something for everyone. And what makes the trip all the better, is the people. Warm, welcoming and hospitable, they know how to make you feel at home. It’s an experience you won’t want to miss, so don’t!
The writer visited AlUla, Saudi Arabia, on an invitation from the Royal Commission of AlUla.
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