Qatif
                     
Bahrain
                       
Hofuf
Desert Roses
   
Khurais
Riyadh
With respect to Al-Khobar......
[Who are we ?] [ Camping Trips ] [ Day Trips ] [ OtherTrips ] [ Scuba Diving ] [ Photo Gallery ] [Junior Corner ]
                                             [
Camels' Log ] [ E-mail Us ] [ Upd: 24 June 2001 ]
Day Trips ...........
Khurais - SharkTeeth and Fossils
Qatif
Place the cursor on the red dots or goto index selection
Highlights


GPS Coordinates
Distance
Vehicle
Getting There
: Qatif Thursday Market (Souq Al Khamis)
  Qatif Fish (Samak) evening Market
  Portugese Fort in Tarut Island.
:
: 50 Kms
: 4 x 2
:
Take the Jubail Highway north,  take exit signposted for Qatif (After Airport).
Khurais is an ideal place to take children on this  “educational” trip.  However it is recommended to get to this place early in the morning as it tends to get very hot !  therefore protection from the blazing sun is a must as there is no shady area. Ideally the best time to visit is during the winter months.

The searching is a painstakingly slow process, tools such as a rake or spade may help you.
Once we were paid a visit by local youngsters in a pickup wagon, who after exchanges produced a big jar full of Shark teeth !
They wanted about SR 500 for the lot !
Khurais
Highlights
GPS Coordinates
Distance
Vehicle
Getting There
: Shark Teeth & Fossils
:
: 170 Kms
: 4 x 2
:
15 to 20 million years ago, most of the eastern part of Saudi Arabia was covered with ocean. In this area around Khurais you can find fossilized remains of marine life, especially sharks teeth.  A tooth becomes a fossil when it is buried in sediment (or other material) soon after being lost from a shark's mouth.  The sediment precludes oxygen and harmful bacteria from reaching the tooth and destroying it. The general fossilization process varies greatly depending on the exact situation.  In general, it takes approximately 10,000 years for a
tooth to become a true fossil.
Bahrain - Tree of Life, Quran & Bahrain Museum, Fort

Some 50km north of AlKhobar is the town of Qatif, one of the centres of the Eastern Province's large Shiite Muslim communities. The town was first settled about 3500BC and for centuries was the main town and port in this area of the Gulf. In fact, some early European maps label the present-day Arabian Gulf as the "Sea of Elcatif". Qatif and the nearby island of Tarut are historically some of the most interesting sites in the Kingdom.
The Thursday (khamis) market in Qatif  is  the highlight of activities of the  area.  Everything from pigeons to carpets is sold. The sounds, smells and the chatter are indeed a welcoming sight.  During the summer months it is advisable to come in very early, as the market is cleared by 9 O’clock.  It is more pleasant to visit the market during the winter months.  The fresh vegetables are indeed very cheap here.



During the shrimp season (July – October),  a visit to the Qatif fish market is a must in order to experience the sheer amount of shrimps and other local fishes.   The markets open after the Magrib prayers. Mountains and mountains of shrimps are traded here,  wearing of wellies is a must !  This is the best opportunity to stock up your supplies as the prices come down to less than SR 12 per Kilo.  Nearby, gangs of enterprising young boys will peel/devein your shrimps for SR 2 per kilo.
The Tarut Island lies in the sheltered bay of the same name, near Qatif. The island is now approached by a short causeway. Formerly trips had to be made by Dhow. The island is somewhat circular in shape and has four villages located on it. On the southern end is Darin, on the northern coast is Zor, a mile or two south is Sanabis while a mile or so inland is Tarut itself.



The history of this area makes a very interesting reading, especially the wars between the Portugese and Turks.
The most prominent landmark is the old Portuguese fort built in the 16th century, and situated on the jebal overlooking the village. The rounded towers are particularly interesting. On the side of the jebal  is an artisan spring that used to be restricted to women only. Fencing and young men on the outside discouraged any other visitors. The spring is free flowing and deep enough for swimming if you care to jump the five to eight feet down to the water level. About 8 feet under the surface of the water large blocks of quarried stone are in place, apparently to form a retaining wall.



The maze of narrow streets on the island show the close knitted community. The streets end up one way or other to the seaside.  There are a couple of good  picnic spots here, we normally buy fresh fish from the Qatif fish market and have  a  fish barbeque here. We have seen large flocks of flamingoes and other large birds here, with a pair of binoculars lotos of these migratory birds can be seen.
You can take a more scenic route back to Alkhobar by staying on the seaside road, this road will eventually bring you to the rainbow roundabout.


Qatif - Fish & other Markets,  Fort
Bahrain

Just beyond the 25km feat of modern engineering, the King Fahad Causeway opens the door to Bahrain, that "Pearl of the Persian Gulf".  The changes observed in such a short distance is indeed dramatic, hence so many of us grab a “multiple exit” visas, so that we can visit Bahrain  on regular basis.  There are lovely authentic Indian restaurants and the main speciality of Bahrain – the Bahraini Tikka ( Barbequed meat) is a must. Bahrain offers a lot of other interesting places to visit, among them are :



Bait Al Quran

Destined to be the world centre for the study of the Qur’an, this unique building houses a huge and priceless collection of volumes of the holy book of Islam, together with a school, a mosque, a research library and auditorium.

Magnificent Masjids
The oldest mosque in Bahrain is Masjid al Khamis whose earliest sections are calculated to be about at least 1000 years old. The twin minarets, recently restored and making a striking landmark on Sheikh Sulman Highway, were added in the 15th century.
In stark contrast, the Grand Masjid, with its massive 60 ton fibreglass dome, was completed last decade on reclaimed land on the seaward side of the Al Fateh Highway. An impressive sight by day, the centre is positively awe-inspiring at night under floodlights.



The Tree of Life

The image of The Tree of Life, an acacia tree growing alone in the barren crater south of Jebel Dukhan is so intriguing that it draws travellers like a magnet. It is quite surprisingly difficult to find, map co-ordinates being rather vague, but locals will be happy to guide you. The tree has apparently tapped some underground well and survived to become symbol of the tenacity of Bahrainis who live in this hostile environment.


Riyadh - Janadriya Cultural Festival & Diriyah

Al Areen

Al Areen Wildlife Park and Reserve is certain to be one of the most vivid memories you will take away with you when you leave Bahrain. Here you see Arabian Oryx grazing in the wild. There are only a few hundred of these handsome animals left in the world, and thanks to Bahrain Government funding of this conservation project the oryx and many other animals and birds are encouraged to breed here as in the wild.
Visitors are allowed to drive through part of the park to observe from a distance in closed vehicles. Other animals who find refuge in this park are eland, Grant's zebra, Thompson's gazelle, wildebeest and ostrich.



MUHARRAQ

Muharraq, a small island off the north-east tip of Manama, linked by causeway, is part residential and part airport runways and terminals. Once it curved around a bay but recent land reclamation largely filled in the bay leaving a land-locked lake in the centre. A finger of land reaches out past its southernmost village of Hidd far into the sea carrying traffic to and from the Arab Shipbuilding and Repair Yard (ASRY) and a new deep water container port (AISCO). Muharraq's Greek name of Arados is remembered in the restored ruin of the Arad Fort, and its old town retains an atmosphere of a bygone Arabian lifestyle through its souk and centuries-old houses. The best Bahraini Halwa can be bought here.


Hofuf
Hofuf - Camel Market & Caves

The town of Hofuf is the centre of the Al-Hasa oasis which is one of the largest in the world. Until about a century ago, most of the dates in Europe came from here and the area remains one of the world's largest producers of dates.

Hofuf itself contains an old fort and one of the most interesting souqs in the Kingdom. Because of the enormity of the oasis and the number of picturesque villages scattered through it, a leisurely drive through the greenery is an entertaining way to spend the Thursday afternoon. However, the start to the day should be with the camel market  which is situated near the airport, best time to get the full atmosphere is before seven.



Next on the list should be the Qasr Ibrahim, a 19th-century fort constructed during the Ottoman Turkish occupation, this is still undergoing renovations, so permission to enter the fort will be impossible. It has a large domed mosque within the walls. The  mosque was believed to have been built by the Ibrahim Pasha, the destroyer of Diriyah in the 19th century, meanwhile the fort was itself built in 1551 by the Turkish army.  The oldest mosque in Hofuf is the Al Jabri Masjid which built in the 16th century and is still in use.

The traditional souk nearby sell a lot of tradional items and is good for picking up gift items.



The afternoon picnic should be planned on the Jebel Qarra on east side of Hofuf, near the entrance to the caves with a wide and clear views of the palm groves nearby. The caves (known as Ghar Al Hashshab in Arabic – caves of the arrow maker) are wind and rain eroded limestones and during the hot summer, they make a cool refuge. Near the caves is pottery which has some simple unglazed potteries.

There also used be a site for hot springs, where bathing areas were built, but these are now closed. Also a meteriote was supposed to have fallen somewhere near the airport area, this as well we could not find.
One of the great stories of this region is that when the Hajr Al Aswad (Black Stone) was stolen from Makkah by the Qarmathians and kept here in one of the mosques (Masjid Al Jawatha) for nearly 22 years.


Desert Roses

“Desert Roses” are crystalline assemblages of gypsum and other salts that are formed as a result of the evaporation of the inland sabkha flats which lie between the major ranges of dunes (the formula for desert roses is CaSO42H2O !).  One of such place is very close to Abqaiq.  The area is currently used as waste disposable and the danger is that one day this spot will be covered up with rubbish.  Once in the area, numerous holes will be found, dug by predessors.



It is advisable to go very early and be prepared if it is a hot day with sun hats, lots of drinking water etc. as it requires a bit of digging ! Shovels are necessary. In order to get good samples care must be taken as to not to chip off the brittle petals of the roses. The best samples will be found about 1 meter down, once a hole is dug, sea water will creep in… really amazing in the middle of the desert.  It should be noted that the desert roses are a Saudi National treasure and should not be taken out of the country.


Riyadh - Janadriyah
Highlights

GPS Coordinates
Distance
Vehicle
Getting There
: Janadriya Cultural Festival
  Diriyah
:
: 400 Kms
: 4 x 2
:
Janadriya Cultural Festival
This an annual cultural festival which is held at Janadriya. It is organized by the National Guard and takes place at a special  permanently built site some 45km outside Riyadh (near the Airport). It includes traditional dancing, camel races, lectures and poetry readings as well as traditional arts, crafts shows and exhibitions by major Saudi companies (Including Saudi Aramco etc.).
There are also replica buildings representing the different cultural areas and their diverse architecture . It normally lasts about two weeks and takes place in the winter when the weather is cooler, usually in February.  Nice warm food from the stalls (breads and foul) is a welcoming sight!
Adjacent to the festival, outside the perimeter of the site, a lively flea market is open for business with a cross section of wares.
Diriyah
This ruined walled city, just west of Riyadh (11 mi/18 km), was the capital of the First Saudi Empire, the forerunner of modern Saudi Arabia. The First Empire collapsed in 1818 when the Ottoman Turks captured Dir’iyah and razed the city. The city remains pretty much as the Turks left it; only in 1981 did reconstruction begin. Ruins include the Palace of Salwa, the Palace of Fahd and the restored Mosque of Muhammed Bin Abdul Wahhab.
Al Khobar - Our home town
Desert Roses - Dig for Gypsum Stones
Previous
Top
Next
Next
Previous
Top
Top
Previous
Next
Top
Next
Previous
Next
Top
Previous
Top
Next
Previous
Next
Top
Previous
Date when page was last updated
North: 

East:   

South:


West:   
Highlights



GPS Coordinates
Distance
Vehicle
Getting There
: Tree Of Life
  Bait AL Qur’an
  Bahrain Museum
  Riffa Fort, Al Khamis Masjid 
:
: 50 Kms
: 4 x 2 (with valid papers)

: Across the King Fahad Causeway.
Highlights


GPS Coordinates

Distance
Vehicle
Getting There
: Thursday Camel Market
  Exploring the Qarra Jebel and Caves
  Visiting the Ibrahim Fort, and the Old Souk
: Camel Market : 25N 21.65 49E 31.97
  Qarra Caves : 25N 24.70 49E 35.17
: 150 Kms
: 4 x 2
:
Highlights
GPS Coordinates
Distance
Vehicle
Getting There
: Desert Roses
: N26 11.460 E49 50.780
: 40 Kms
: 4 x 2 (but a 4x4 is recommended)
:
You need Java to see this applet.
1