Visitors throng Red Sand on weekends and holidays

Updated 29 January 2014
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Visitors throng Red Sand on weekends and holidays

Red Sand in northeastern Riyadh has become a popular weekend destination among Saudis and expatriates who are fond of the desert.
As its name suggests, the sand is red.
It is an hour’s drive along winding roads. Mountainous areas, ancient date forests and green hills and valleys can be seen along the way.
“You could rent four-wheelers to ride around the area, like we do whenever we go there on weekends or Eid holidays,” said Jack Canete, who works for a local construction firm and is a member of a bikers’ group.
Canete and his group head out just before sunrise and find residents from the city or adjoining districts renting out four-wheel drives.
“This is a way of reliving our youth back home, where we used to bike as a way of keeping ourselves physically fit.”
For others, visiting Red Sand is a way of taking a break from city life. “If you’re tired of the humdrum, especially bumper-to-bumper traffic during peak hours, a visit to Red Sand is a welcome break,” said Cenon ‘Nonie’ S. Sagadal Jr., a local bank marketing representative.
Sagadal still visits Red Sand but not as frequently as when his family was still with him in the Kingdom.
“There’s not much to see if you’re looking for breathtaking scenery, but the vast desert that you see around as you drive toward the area could evoke immense happiness that’s better felt than understood,” he said.
He added, however, that the adventurous could make things happen. “My family and I, for instance, used to hike the sand dunes. We considered this an important exercise because it’s one way of bonding as a family.”
Abu Ali, a Saudi who works for a local company, added that he and a few friends go to Red Sand once in a while to escape the noise of the city.
“We have our own place in the area for quiet reflection, while others have their fun. We hike the trails out of curiosity with the birds chirping and flying above us. We try to discover new ground every time we go,” he said.
Benny M. Quiambao, a Filipino community leader, added that he also likes Red Sand.
“I have memories of certain woods and certain hills at Red Sand,” he said.
One advantage is that visitors make it a point to pick up any litter before they leave the place, he said, probably because they want others to do the same as well.
“Others bring food which they eat after hiking or riding around with their four-wheelers, but they make it a point to pick up trash before they leave. This encourages visitors to the area to do the same,” he said.


‘Colors of Saudi Arabia’ forum kicks off in Riyadh

The forum includes seminars on the latest technology in the fields of photography and filmmaking. (Photos/Supplied)
Updated 12 December 2018
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‘Colors of Saudi Arabia’ forum kicks off in Riyadh

  • Increased number of categories and awards will motivate local filmmakers
  • The efforts made by the SCTH to enhance the contest will help strengthen national tourism and inspire youth to take part in introducing the Kingdom’s many fascinating sites

JEDDAH: A forum highlighting the Kingdom’s cultural and natural heritage will be held between Dec. 12 and 16 at Riyadh’s International Convention and Exhibition Center.
The ‘Colors of Saudi Arabia’ forum, now in its 5th edition, will be held under the patronage of Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH).
The forum spans 15,000 square meters and is expected to attract over 30,000 visitors, including celebrities and innovators.
Awards will be handed to the winners of the forum’s photography and short film competitions, as well as the Prince Sultan bin Salman Award for Photography, during the opening ceremony by Prince Sultan himself.
“The forum has been given a makeover with the aim of increasing visitor numbers and interaction,” said Abdullah Al-Murshid, SCTH vice president, adding that the commission recently increased the number of categories and awards given during the contest in an attempt to motivate local filmmakers to shed light on the Kingdom.
“The move only inspired more people, even from neighboring Gulf countries, to enter into the photography contest, which will garner three finalists in each category (with the exception of the tourism film contest, in which only one winner will be selected per category). There will also be an additional voting contest held exclusively for Saudi photographers.”
Forum committee and jury members had received hundreds of photographs and video clips from both amateurs and professionals hoping to enter into the competition.
“The efforts made by the SCTH to enhance the contest will help strengthen national tourism and inspire youth to take part in introducing the Kingdom’s many fascinating sites, monuments and scenery,” added Al-Murshid. “This may, in turn, inspire regional heritage cultivation and documentation efforts.”
This year, the Saudi Film Council (SFC) partnered with the SCTH to offer a group of intensive photography and filmmaking training courses held by American and Australian trainers.
The forum, which will be held every day between 4 and 10 p.m., includes seminars on the latest technology in the fields of photography and filmmaking, specialized programs, a daily short film theater, and an educational program of workshops and daily lectures.
The forum’s educational agenda also includes discussion sessions focused on filmmaking and film production, which are conducted by 30 local and international experts.
Al-Murshid explained that the SCTH would hold mobile exhibitions throughout the year in various cities across Saudi Arabia.
Photographers and visitors can register online and find more information at www.colors.sa