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Maidain saleh archaeological site

Kingdom of the Nabateans

  • EXPERT-LED GROUP TOUR
Start dateEnd dateDays
Prices from
Single SupplementTour ExpertGroup SizeStatus
12/03/20 12/14/2012 days $8,122 ex. flights $806Roger Harrison15 Max AVAILABLE Reserve place

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

local man in saudi arabia 1

Pioneering

There are few places left that can be said to represent the last frontier of tourism.

Diriyah Old City, Near Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 2

Diriyah

Explore the historical sites around Riyadh including the UNESCO site of Diriyah.

Maidain saleh archaeological site 3

Madain Saleh

Visit the spectacular Nabatean site of Madain Saleh.

Arabian house, old Jeddah, Saudi Arabia 4

Jeddah

Take guided walks around the historic part of Jeddah.

Explore our suggested itinerary

  • Day 1

    Riyadh

  • Day 2

    Diriyah

  • Day 3

    Riyadh

  • Day 4

    Riyadh to Buraidah

  • Day 5

    Buraidah camel market

  • Day 6

    Hail to Al Ula

  • Day 7

    Madain Saleh

  • Day 8

    Lion Tomb and Elephant Rock

  • Day 9

    Hesma Valley

  • Day 10

    Tabuk to Jeddah

  • Day 11

    Jeddah

  • Day 12

    Jeddah

Day 1

Riyadh

Riyadh Skyline, Saudi Arabia

Arrive into Riyadh. Meaning ‘The Garden’, Saudi Arabia’s capital has a population of six million making it the largest city on the Arabian Peninsula.

Day 2

Diriyah

Diriyah UNESCO, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Travel to Diriyah on the road that dissects the dramatic Tuwaiq escarpment. Diriyah is located on the banks of Wadi Hanifah, a 120 kilometre stretch of the ancient watercourse, which has been partly rehabilitated into a wetlands project that has received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

Day 3

Riyadh

Gold mask, National Museum, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Full day sightseeing in Riyadh. Visit Musmak Fort, Deira Souq and the National Museum. Finally, stop at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre which aims to promote topics that include Islamic studies, politics, sociology and heritage.

Day 4

Riyadh to Buraidah

dried herbs flowers spices in the spice souq at Deira, Saudi Arabia

Today travel overland to Buraidah via the heritage village of Ushaiger, a journey of approximately 380 kilometres. On arrival, visit the Centre for Trades and Handicrafts which includes ‘Hirfah’, the craft market of women and the Mosawgof Souq.

Day 5

Buraidah camel market

Camel herder, Saudi Arabia

Early this morning visit the Buraidah camel market, one of the largest camel markets in the world. The word camel comes from the Arabic word ‘jamal’ meaning beautiful and these one humped dromedaries are an intrinsic part of Bedouin culture.

Day 6

Hail to Al Ula

Rock Art, Al Jubbah, Near Hail, Saudi Arabia

In Hail, see Qeshal (exterior), a house where the Rashid family were appointed by the Ottomans to control the Arabian Peninsula. Afterwards, visit A’arif fort which sits on a hill on the fringes of the city. Continue to Al Ula.

Day 7

Madain Saleh

Madain Saleh Tombs, Near Al Ula, Saudi Arabia

Today explore Madain Saleh, the first site in Saudi Arabia to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This ancient Nabataean city served as an important stopover on a very prosperous trade route.

Day 8

Lion Tomb and Elephant Rock

Edge of the World, outside Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Drive north-west of Al Ula to Khuraibba (the abandoned place) where tombs have been cut into the eastern wall of the wadi and decorated with lions – an unusual motif in Arabia. Continue to Elephant Rock, a towering monolith carved by the wind out of the soft, red sandstone.

Day 9

Hesma Valley

Rock Art, Al Jubbah, Near Hail, Saudi Arabia

set out by 4×4 to visit the Hesma Valley, a desert region of mountains, sand dunes and ancient rock art carvings. Many nomads live in the region as agriculture thrives here.

Day 10

Tabuk to Jeddah

Tabuk Museum and Hejaz Railway Station, Tabuk, Saudi Arabia

Morning sightseeing in Tabuk. See the Turkish Fort and wander into the local shops selling an array of fruit, flour and goods needed by the Bedu for desert-living. Fly to Jeddah in the late afternoon.

Day 11

Jeddah

Arabian house, old Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Visit some of the city’s traditional buildings, mostly constructed from coral and reinforced with wood so that beams criss-cross the interior walls.

Day 12

Jeddah

Al Rahma Mosque - Jeddah Coast - Saudi Arabia

Depart after breakfast and transfer to the airport.

Includes / Excludes

Important Information

Activity Level
Active
Single Supplement

Travelling on your own? Our group tours are perfect for solo travellers, as travelling as part of an organised group in faraway places provides security and peace of mind. We handle all of the arrangements for you and there will be a local tour guide on hand throughout to provide advice and help if needed, as well as the expertise of a Tour expert.

Flexibility

To allow flexibility, our group tours do not include international flights as standard. We can arrange international flights on your behalf, please get in touch with our travel experts for a quote. All international flights from the UK are ATOL protected.

What is included

  • Accompanied by Tour expert throughout
  • Accompanied by English speaking local guide throughout
  • Accommodation in 3-4* hotels
  • Transport throughout in air conditioned vehicles
  • Internal flights
  • Gratuities for local guides, drivers and porters
  • Meals as per the itinerary
  • £25 to help fund the communities, conservation agencies and NGOs that we work with
  • £25 contribution to ‘Trees and Science’ in mitigation of your carbon emissions

What is excluded

  • International flights
  • Visa
  • Travel insurance
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Meals not mentioned
  • Drinks with meals
local man in saudi arabia
Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia Expectations

Saudi Arabia is new to tourism, only allowing tourists to visit the Kingdom from at the end of 2019. As such, it is important to set expectations. Things may not run as smoothly as in other destinations.

Please be aware that when travelling in Saudi Arabia, plans may change at the last minute, journeys may take longer than expected, sites may not always be open when they say, guides, whilst good, are not used to groups of foreign nationals. Meal times may be ad hoc, depending on the location, days of the week and prayer times. However, for those with a thirst to discover the unknown, the jewels The Kingdom has to offer are well worth it. There can be few countries that are so misunderstood as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and perhaps no other country is as worthy of a first visit. 

As part of our tour, we have secured a wonderful tour expert, Roger Harrison, who has experience of travelling in Saudi Arabia and will accompany the group adding insight into this country from his perspective. In addition, a local guide will travel with this group and will be in charge of all the group logistics.

Madain Saleh, Saudi Arabia, Justin Wateridge
Madain Saleh, Saudi Arabia

Madain Saleh

No trip to Saudi would be complete without a visit to Madain Saleh. Accessed from the oasis town of Al-Ula, Madain Saleh, Petra’s twin, was Saudi’s first World Heritage site. With its well preserved, ancient, rock hewn tombs set amongst a dramatic desert back drop, it is easy to see why Madain Saleh was chosen as a World Heritage site. The settlement of the site took place during the 1st century AD, when the Nabateans made Madain Saleh the kingdom’s second capital, after Petra in the north. The sense of history at Madain Saleh is palpable in the rock art and sculpture that can be seen all over the site, giving fascinating insight into the lives of the Nabateans over 2,000 years ago.

Riyadh Skyline, Saudi Arabia
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Al Rahma Mosque - Jeddah Coast - Saudi Arabia
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Riyadh and Jeddah

Saudi cities are full of fascinating sites with major historic significance, often juxtaposed with very modern, high-tech architecture and infrastructure. This is most noticeable in Riyadh, the starting point for our group trip – a city that forty years ago had a population of 100,000 people but is now home to over 7,000,000. Finish in Jeddah – a city with a history that can be traced back to more than 2,000 years ago. There will be time spent in the old town and the Abdul Rauf Khalil Museum, which not only represents the rich Islamic heritage of Jeddah but also the city’s pre-Islamic past, with artefacts on show that can be traced back to the fishermen tribes who first inhabited this region.

Group Tour FAQs

Why should I travel with Steppes Travel to Saudi Arabia?

There are few places left that can be said to represent the last frontier of tourism. Follow your curiosity and put experience before prejudgment.

What are the highlights of this Group Tour?

No trip to Saudi would be complete without a visit to Madain Saleh. Accessed from the oasis town of Al-Ula, Madain Saleh, Petra’s twin, was Saudi’s first World Heritage site. With its well preserved, ancient, rock-hewn tombs set amongst a dramatic desert backdrop, it is easy to see why Madain Saleh was chosen as a World Heritage site. The settlement of the site took place during the 1st century AD, when the Nabateans made Madain Saleh the kingdom’s second capital, after Petra in the north. The sense of history at Madain Saleh is palpable in the rock art and sculpture that can be seen all over the site, giving a fascinating insight into the lives of the Nabateans over 2,000 years ago.

Is it safe to travel to Saudi Arabia?

When it comes to the safety of tourists, the Saudi Arabian people are extremely friendly and will do their best to make foreigners feel safe and welcome. However, we advise leaving valuables at home, keeping an eye on personal belongings in crowded areas and avoiding unknown areas without your guide.

Do I need a visa to visit Saudi Arabia?

Saudi Arabia has opened its doors to the world through its new tourist visa. The fast and easy-to-use online portal allows international visitors from eligible countries (including UK and USA) the ability to apply for an eVisa. The eVisa is a one-year, multiple-entry visa, allowing tourists to spend up to 90 days in the country.

What is the standard of accommodation on this tour?

Accommodation is varied in this region, where possible, we have carefully selected a range of small comfortable hotels and three to four-star guest houses for this group tour.

Is this tour suitable for solo travellers?

Our group tours are perfect for solo travellers, as travelling as part of an organised group in faraway places does provide security and peace of mind. We handle all of the arrangements for you and there will be a local tour guide on hand throughout to provide advice and help if needed, as well as the expertise of a Tour expert.

If you are willing to share, we will always do our best to match you up with another solo traveller of the same sex so that you do not have to pay for a single room.

If you would prefer the privacy of your own room and would like this guaranteed, then the single room price supplement will apply.

What is the best time to visit Saudi Arabia?

Nov–Mar Cooler temperatures make daytime weather bearable and nights surprisingly chilly, especially down south.

Apr-Oct Daily temperatures above 40°C, high humidity along the coast; watch for April sandstorms.

Is there a dress code in Saudi Arabia?

It is important that both men and women dress conservatively when travelling in Saudi Arabia. In non-business situations, women do not need  to wear an Abaya,  a long robe-like dress. However, they should always  carry a headscarf.  If visiting a mosque, the head, hands and legs should be covered and shoes removed. Men should make sure that their arms and shoulders are covered up, and opt for long trousers in place of shorts.

What is the food like?

Saudi Arabian cuisine today has many outside influences including Lebanese traditions such as hummus, tabbouleh, and spices that are now common in Saudi Arabia and throughout much of the Middle East. Other influences are Persian, Indian, and European.

Do I need to be physically fit to enjoy this tour?

General overall fitness is required. There will be a number of walks to monasteries, and sites with a certain number of stone steps and uneven surfaces, as well as some hill climbs, however, this is done at a leisurely pace. We would suggest that you bring a comfortable pair of walking shoes.

Can I extend my time in Saudi Arabia?

Yes, this can easily be arranged at the end or the beginning of the tour. Private travel arrangements with a car and driver will be provided and a private guide arranged for sightseeing. Speak to one of our experts for possible suggestions on what extensions would complement this tour.

There are also options to go further afield in Russia, such as exploring the Golden ring. For more information, speak to one of our Russia specialists.

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Why a Steppes expert-led group tour

1.Experience Matters

We have been running insightful and groundbreaking group tours since our inception in 1989. We have worked with institutions such as the British Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum and run wildlife tours in conjunction with conservation agencies such as Fauna & Flora International, Wildlife Conservation Society, the Orangutan Foundation, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and the Jane Goodall Institute.

2.Size Matters

Our average group size is typically eight to ten people, smaller than other group tours typically offered – a factor which many of our clients appreciate. Travelling as part of a smaller group provides a more intimate, personalised and relaxed atmosphere.

4.It’s about who you know

We have developed an enviable pool of expertise from which to choose our tour experts, who we carefully select based on their knowledge, companionship and personality. Often, these experts can use their influence to facilitate private access to sites not typically open to the public.

3.Like-Minded People

Steppes Travellers are like-minded people – interesting, interested and curious. Our group tours aim to create an easy and informal atmosphere – we have a lot of fun on our tours and many friendships have been formed.

5.Value for money

Our tours are well-priced to ensure you get real value for money. We include gratuities on the majority of our tours and do not pass on currency surcharges. We strive to look after single travellers as well as we can, keeping single supplements to a minimum.

6.Peace of Mind

When you travel on one of our group tours, you will be looked after by our local agents and your tour expert with the back-up of our 24-hour emergency number and duty manager. All our holidays are fully bonded and protected – our ATOL number is ATOL 6495.

Our future tour dates

For further information about any of these tours please call 1 855 2037885

Start dateEnd dateDays
Prices from
Single SupplementTour ExpertGroup SizeStatus
12/03/20 12/14/2012 days $8,122 ex. flights $806Roger Harrison15 Max AVAILABLE Reserve place

Reserve your place on this group tour

Our travel experts have a wealth of first-hand knowledge, so if you have any questions about this expert-led group tour, please get in touch. They would love to help. We hope you can join us on this tour.

01285 601 784

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