The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been hidden “behind the veil” for many years. Throughout the decades, its people have had very limited contact with the non-Muslim world. This is a groundbreaking journey that very few individuals have embarked on. Experience the fascinating history and sites of the kingdom as we explore the largest nation in the Middle East, seldom visited by outsiders. On this exclusive nine-day tour, we experience sweeping desert vistas, archaeological sites dating to prehistory, and historic cities and towns reflecting both the epic dynasties of past days and traditional village life. Along the way, we have the opportunity to visit three of Saudi Arabia’s six UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Hands-on cultural experience is also an important part of this tour as we meet and converse with locals, sample traditional Saudi food, and a lot more.
|Price (From)||:||US$ 5860|
|Includes international air|
Day 01: Arrive Jeddah
Our unique journey to the least known and probably most important country in the Middle East begins as we arrive in Jeddah, the major urban center of western Saudi Arabia and commercial capital of the kingdom. Since the 7th century, Jeddah has hosted millions of Muslim pilgrims from all over the world on their way to Hajj. We are warmly received at King Abdulaziz International Airport and transferred to our hotel. Check in time starts from 1500 hrs. Balance of the day is free. In the evening, our tour guide joins us for dinner and we get our first introduction to the country, its people and the delicious Saudi cuisine.
Overnight: Prime Al Hamra Hotel, Jeddah (2 nights) (D)
Day 02: Jeddah
Our introduction to the kingdom begins with a visit of Historic Jeddah, the Gate to Makkah, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that became even more influential after the opening up of the Suez Canal. The city was established as a major port for Indian Ocean trade routes in the 7th century, feeding goods to Mecca. It was also the gateway for Muslim pilgrims to Mecca who arrived by sea. These twin roles saw the city develop into a thriving multicultural metropolitan area, characterized by a distinctive architectural tradition, including tower houses built in the late 19th century by the city’s mercantile elites. We visit Bayt Nasseef (Nasseef House), one of the finest traditional houses in Jeddah, dating to the 19th century, which now serves as a museum and cultural centre. Usually, our visit to Bayt Nasseef is from the outside. However, at times, we have been fortunate to get permission to visit the interior. We then see the beautiful Al-Shafi Mosque, which dates to the early Islamic period and is one of the most historic mosques in the entire kingdom. Our day will conclude with a visit of the Abdul Rauf Khalil Art Museum, housing a large collection of objects tracing the various pre-Islamic civilizations that inhabited the region and the rich cultural heritage of the city. (B, L)
Day 03: Jeddah/Al Ula (Flight)
We start our day visiting the Jeddah Sculpture Museum on the Corniche, which brings together more than twenty world-famous modern sculptures. We then take a short flight to Al Ula (flight cost extra), which was historically located on the Incense route. The governorate is also home to Mada’in Saleh, the oldest UNESCO World Heritage Site in Saudi Arabia. We will be met at the airport and transferred to our hotel. Balance of the day is free.
Overnight: Sahary Resort/Naseem Al Atheeb Resort, Al Ula (2 nights) (B, L, D)
Day 04: Al Ula
Today, we visit the famous archaeological site of Al-Hijr (Mada’in Saleh), the largest conserved site of the Nabataeans south of Jordan’s Petra. The Nabataean kingdom was legendary for its knowledge of building magnificent structures, including the world famous Treasury at Petra. Here in Al Ula, the kingdom’s largest settlement after Petra, the Nabataeans built well-preserved monuments with decorated facades dating from the 1st century BC to 1st century AD. Of the 111 monumental tombs still existing, 94 are decorated water wells. After our exploration of Al-Hijr, we drive approximately 11 kilometers north east to see yet another interesting site, Elephant Rock. The natural formation here looks like an elephant with a ground-bound trunk surrounded by hundreds of rock monoliths. (B, L, D)
Day 05: Al Ula/Sakaka (Drive)
Journey by road to Sakaka, an oasis town set on the ancient caravan route crossing the Arabian Peninsula. Our travels take us through the Saudi desert, giving us a very interesting view of life in this region often considered a “wasteland”. On the way, we explore the historic Haddajj water-well, Al Hamra Palace and al Radham Palace, dating from 6th century BC. Lunch will be en route before reaching Sakaka, the capital of Al Jawf province. By mid-afternoon, we should reach Sakaka and check into our hotel. Balance of the day is free. Evening, perhaps take a wander around the oasis town and meet the local folks.
Overnight: Raoum Inn, Sakaka (2 nights) (B, L)
Day 06: Sakaka/Al Jawf/Sakaka
We start our day with a visit of the Sakaka Fort, situated on a strategic point overlooking Sakaka from the northwest. The fortress, also known as Zaa'bal Fortress and Zaa'bal Palace, is at the heart of many legends and is believed to have been built in the 7th century BC. Mud construction was added to the structure in the 3rd century AD. We then visit Al-Rajajil, sometimes referred to as the Standing Men, or Standing Stones, a collection of some fifty groups of man-made stone columns. The stones are arranged in groups of four or more, joined at the base and leaning outwards at random angles. Nicknamed the Stonehenge of Saudi Arabia, the Al-Rajajil stones are believed to have been erected more than 6,000 years ago. We then head to Dumat al-Jandal and visit Marid Castle, which commanded the old city of Adumato from the 3rd century AD. Dumat al-Jandal became the capital of the kingdom of Kindah in the 5th century AD. In 633 AD, Khalid ibn al-Walid, a famous general during the early days of Islam, captured Dumat Al-Jandal and it became a part of the newly formed Islamic empire. We visit its famous well, and Omar’s mosque, named after the second Moslem Caliph, Omar Ibn Al Khatab. We will also have the chance to visit the newly discovered rock carvings depicting camels at Al Jawf. (B, L)
Day 07: Sakaka/Riyadh (Flight)
Morning, we take a short flight to the capital city of Riyadh (flight cost extra). Upon arrival, we first enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Then comes the exciting part as we venture to “The Edge Of The World”. The Edge Of The World (Jebel Fihrayn) is a geological wonder in the rocky desert. The site earned its nickname because, from the top of the escarpment, one gets an uninterrupted view of the desert and its rocky formations. You may go for an optional soft hike before we enjoy the remarkable sunset from “The Edge” before returning to Riyadh. What a way to spend the end our tour of life “behind the veil”.
Overnight: Holiday Inn Meydan Hotel, Riyadh (2 nights) (B, L)
Day 08: Riyadh
Today, we tour Riyadh, originally named Hajr, starting with a visit of Qaṣr al-Maṣmak (Masmak Fort), a clay and mud-brick fort lying in the center of the old city. The fort was built around 1865, during the reign of Mohammed ibn Abdullah ibn Rasheed. This building also played a major part in the kingdom's history, as it was here that the recapture of Riyadh, led by Ibn Saud, occurred in 1902. Next, we see Dira Souq, famous for its shops selling gold and silver. After enjoying a traditional lunch at Najd Village Restaurant, we proceed to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Diriyyah, an archaeological site of great importance to the Saudis. Diriyyah was founded in the 15th century as the first capital of the Saudi Dynasty, and remained its capital until 1818, when it was succeeded by the nearby settlement of Riyadh. Next, we visit the National Museum of Saudi Arabia, designed by Canadian architect Raymond Moriyama. Established in 1999, it is part of the King Abdulaziz Historical Centre and displays artifacts dating from pre-Islamic times to modern Saudi Arabia. Our visit here will give us an excellent insight into the country and its people. (B, L)
Day 09: Depart Riyadh
Today, our unique journey, Saudi Arabia: Behind the Veil, comes to an end. Check out time from our hotel is by 1100 hrs, after which we are transferred to the airport for our departure flight. Or, if you want to continue your adventure, ask us about extension options to further explore this undiscovered region, including a unique opportunity to self-drive through Saudi Arabia! (B)
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
Departure Dates & Prices
We accept payments in US$, CA$ as well as in other convertible currencies like EUR, AUD and GBP. Tour prices have been costed in US$. CA$ price shown below is an indicative amount reached at by using the conversion rate at the time of web posting and will be applicable if there is no change in the conversion rate. Should the currency conversion rate change, the US$ pricing will prevail. Bestway Tours & Safaris offers a conversion rate protection. Once full payment has been received and no modification has been made to the tour itinerary, we will honour that rate. For complete payment procedures, please click here
|2023||Per Person on
|Estimated Airfare (FROM)+|
|Departures||East Coast||West Coast|
|Feb 10||US$ 5995||US$ 720||-||-|
|*Private departures for 2 people or more are available at US$ 7395 per person sharing Twin, US$ 720 single room supplement. Pick your own dates!|
|2023||Per Person on
|Estimated Airfare (FROM)+|
|Departures||East Coast||West Coast|
|Feb 10||CA$ 7794||CA$ 936||-||-|
|*Private departures for 2 people or more are available at CA$ 9614 per person sharing Twin, CA$ 936 single room supplement. Pick your own dates!|
This tour operates on a minimum of 04 and a maximum of 12 participants
If you would like to have a tour on dates other than the above ones or with a customised itinerary, please contact us and we will be happy to work out an exclusive program for you.
You may e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-604-264-7378. Residents of U.S.A./Canada may call us toll free at 1-800-663-0844.
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