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
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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.


Ronaldinho plans football academy in Jeddah

Updated 26 min 52 sec ago
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Ronaldinho plans football academy in Jeddah

  • Backstage at Misk Global Forum, Brazilian football legend reveals intention to open school some time next year
  • Player offered advice for audience, speaking about the value of teamwork, learning from failure and the rewards of giving back

RIYADH: Ronaldinho plans to open a football academy in Jeddah some time next year, the Brazilian football legend revealed to Arab News backstage in an exclusive interview after his appearance at the Misk Global Forum on Wednesday.

“First of all, I want to say thank you for a warm reception and kindness which I have received from the Saudi people,” he told Arab News. “As for the kids, those who want to be a player some day, dedicate as much as you can and follow your dreams.”

Earlier, Ronaldinho appeared on stage to a chorus of cheers at the end of the day’s sessions, where he gave a talk titled the Discipline – and Fun – of Teamwork. 

”I was lucky enough to be on a team with stars,” he said of his career with European clubs Paris St-Germain, Barcelona and AC Milan, and a World Cup win in 2002 with the Brazilian national team. “We all respected each other.

“For me it was wonderful, because my history with this team and players was a beautiful one: To idolize them and later play with them and later win titles again…”

Ronaldinho said he feels grateful for his God-given talent. “Throughout my career we had a plan, and I always worked hard. God gave me the privilege to play football. It was fun, not a sacrifice.”

“I’ve always liked to have a ball around me, to have contact with the ball.”

His advice for the audience? “Prepare yourself and help your colleague or team member,” he said. “Humility is important. Try to stay humble.”

He also said to train hard, read as much as you can and don’t fear failure. “I failed a lot of times,” he said. “Football is like that. You can’t always win. You have to seek lessons from the defeats and not lose hope.” 

Now that he’s retired, Ronaldinho is more concerned with giving back. “After I stopped playing, I have soccer academies. That’s what I’m proud of, and it has given me pleasure. To give something back (as a)  thanks to football and everything it have given me.”