Saudi not on your holiday list? Well that’s hardly surprising given that tourist visas are as yet not available to Arabia. Yet if you find yourself here with a day or 2 to spare then here’s an oasis of relative freedom from conventional Saudi customs…
If you don’t happen to be staying here, there’s a free shuttle to the Sheraton Red Sea resort leaving the Hilton hotel at 10am with a pick up leaving there at 4pm. It’s about a half hour drive & once there present your beach voucher that the concierge desk at the hotel will have given you. You can charge the 75 Saudi riyal (£15) cost to your room.
The car drops you at a gated entrance & you’ll need to sign in at the office where you’ll also be given a big blue beach towel. It’s then a 10min walk past the Sheraton villas on both sides to the cafe/restaurant & then another 2min walk to the jetty where you can swim, snorkel or dive.
Once there you can rent scuba diving & snorkelling equipment as well as kayaks. There’s a price list in the photos below. A mask with a snorkel for example is 25SR per day – about a fiver. There’s no extra charge for the use of sun loungers.
However, we were there on a Monday & the diving rental was closed as was the equipment shop just outside the entrance to the hotel. Luckily a nice lady who lived there lent us her snorkelling gear for free & we spent a fun 3hrs exploring the nearby waters which were just breath taking! Plenty of fish visible of all shapes & colours.
The food in the restaurant was surprisingly good! The pan fried sea bass was about £12 & I washed it down with the freshest glass of watermelon juice I’ve had for a long time!
Ideally, the timings for this beach run should be something like 2-7pm (sunset) to allow folks to enjoy a sunset and avoid the some of the worst heat. This is the only drawback for me of the timings. If you did wish to return early, you would need to pay yourself & I was quoted 200Sr (£40).