TabukCopyright: Mario Micklisch/Flickr
TabukFrom snowy mountains to the deep blue sea, the province of Tabuk in Saudi Arabia is home to some of the most varied natural landscapes in the country, offering possibilities for beach holidays, island hopping, Red Sea diving, mountaineering and, of course, sightseeing. The region holds some of the nation’s highly treasured historical and archaeological sites, a rich heritage left behind by ancient civilisations of foregone eras.
The RegionThe earliest mentions of Tabuk (known back then as "Taboo") date back to 1500 BC, but events of historic significance have started unfolding here as early as 8000 years ago. Tabuk is believed to have been home to prominent Islamic figures such as Prophet Shuaib and Prophet Moses - the natural springs used by the latter are still open to the public today, and are just one of many sacred sites in the region. The province's major towns include Umluj, Tayma, Al Bada, Haql, Duba, Magnah, Wajh and, of course, Tabuk City - the region's capital. Although the majority of state-run attractions are located in Tabuk City, recreation and pastime opportunities abound all over - from seaside towns with beaches stretching along the Red Sea coast to the elevated mountainous areas inland, where snowfall during winter is a common occurrence, in stark contrast to the rest of the country.
Do & See
Those looking for an active holiday can choose between climbing up the mount of Jabal Al-Lawz and trekking or island hopping along the coast and descending underwater for diving sessions conducted by one of many professional dive centers. If you prefer to stay on land, venture upstate to the region's capital - Tabuk City, or pay a visit to the historic town of Al Bida that still holds evidence of ancient presence in its mountain caves. Other archaeological sites include those in the towns of Al Muwailih, Al Khuraibah, Rawwafa and Al Muzim.
Grains such as wheat or rice and meats (such as lamb) constitute the bulk of Saudi cuisine--pork is normally not served in the country, as its consumption is forbidden by Islam. Yoghurt is often used in local cooking, and dates constitute a dessert staple. There is a lot of variation within the province of Tabuk, with coastal cuisine being known especially for "Al-Sayyadiah"--a signature local fish and rice dish served with spices. Restaurants often feature separate seating areas for families and single diners.
There are quite a few cafés to be found in the city of Tabuk, many of which serve western-style foods and coffees, as well as tea, local desserts, and fresh fruit juices. Cafés serving shisha often turn into evening social hot spots teeming with visitors.
Bars & Nightlife
The cultural environment in Saudi Arabia is highly conservative. Religious law forbids the sale or consumption of alcohol throughout Saudi Arabia, so there are no bars or nightclubs. Instead, evening social activities are centred on shopping or dining out in one of the region’s many restaurants or cafés whilst indulging in a delicious mocktail (a mix of fresh fruit juices) or a strong cup of Arabic coffee.
Shopping opportunities abound in Tabuk, where tradition (old "souks" or markets) meets modernity (modern shopping malls), often in the space of one city block. Tabuk City features a number of shopping centers representing international and local brands, as well as an entire pedestrian-only shopping street of Prince Fahd bin Sultan. Small shops and stores are scattered throughout the entire province, and so are traditional markets. Local crafts include woodwork, weaving, stone inscriptions and more.