ThePlace: The Farasan Islands in southwestern Saudi Arabia

The Farasan Island Marine Sanctuary, supervised by the Saudi Wildlife Authority, is home to the Arabian gazelle. (Photo: Getty images)
Updated 03 November 2018
0

ThePlace: The Farasan Islands in southwestern Saudi Arabia

  • The Farasan Island Marine Sanctuary, supervised by the Saudi Wildlife Authority, is home to the Arabian gazelle

The Farasan Islands comprise 84 coral islands that form an archipelago in the Red Sea, about 50 kilometers off the shore of Jazan in southwestern Saudi Arabia. Although lacking in vegetation and greenery, the islands are beautiful nonetheless. Originally inhabited by fisherman and pearl divers, they are now a protected area that serves as a natural reserve for Arabian Gazelles.
With its historical sites, remote, unspoiled beaches and rich marine fauna, the Farasan Islands are now a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. In particular, they are often described as a divers’ paradise, as the Red Sea is home to some of the most beautiful aquatic life on the planet, and the islands offer the best diving locations in Saudi Arabia.
For those who prefer to remain on dry land, the islands offer not only a beautiful landscape but also a historically rich site to explore. They contain, for example, beautiful Turkish artifacts carved out of stone, including the doors of mosques and other remnants.
Another reason the islands are so popular with tourists is the weather, which is moderate all year long. The serenity of the peace and quiet, meanwhile, makes it easy for visitors to relax and forget about their normal busy lives in polluted and noisy cities, at least for a while.
The Farasan Island Marine Sanctuary, supervised by the Saudi Wildlife Authority, is home to the Arabian gazelle. The islands are also important breeding sites for seabirds, migratory birds and shorebirds. All the islands are low lying, though the two largest islands have a broken terrain of small hills, gullies and craggy coastal cliffs.
Whether you go diving or snorkeling, or just explore the rich history and wildlife of the islands on foot, you are sure to make some wonderful memories. Other fun activities include boating and fishing, making the islands a must-visit destination for everyone, whatever their interests.


Jeddah to host first global village in Saudi Arabia

The marketing plan of the village has been put in place to target private and international schools to ensure high attendance. (Shutterstock)
Updated 21 January 2019
0

Jeddah to host first global village in Saudi Arabia

  • “Participants from some 50 countries have so far confirmed their interest in taking part in the festival, which will be held on an area of more than 45,000 square meters,” Suzan Eskander said

JEDDAH: For the first time in Saudi Arabia, Jeddah will host a multicultural festival that takes visitors on a virtual tour of 50 countries.
The global village will be set up inside Atallah Happy Land Park along the city’s famous waterfront every day from 5 p.m. to midnight between Feb. 28 and March 29.
The event is one of many aiming to enhance tourism, as well as the local economy.
Suzan Eskander, director-general of International Image, the organizing company, told Arab News that the village is expected to attract 1 million visitors.
“Participants from some 50 countries have so far confirmed their interest in taking part in the festival, which will be held on an area of more than 45,000 square meters,” she said.
“There will be pavilions for participants from five Gulf Cooperation Council states, 10 Arab countries, 18 African countries, 10 European countries and four countries from the Americas.”
She added that folkloric dances would be performed by bands from each country.
“Performers will be dressed in traditional costumes,” she said. “Visitors can also enjoy dishes and traditional products from different countries.”
Eskander also said paintings portraying heritage and culture in the different countries would be on display.
“In addition, we are hopeful that the children’s zone will wow young visitors,” she said. “Little guests can develop their skills in drawing and games, as well as play zones.”
Eskander said the village was timed to coincide with the city’s good weather season, adding that a marketing plan has been put in place to target private and international schools to ensure high attendance. Eskander expressed her gratitude to the General Entertainment Authority for their continued support and cooperation.
“They have not only provided us instructions for obtaining the festival’s license, but are still following up to ensure that everything is going smoothly,” she said.