Al Khobar is commonly referred to as just Khobar and is situated in Eastern Saudi Arabia along the Persian Gulf. Most of the city’s 360,000 residents work for the largest oil company in the world, Saudi Aramco although the tourist sector is growing leading to the creation of more attractions and places to visit in the city. Originally Al Khobar used to be only a small fishing village until oil was found in the 1930s and now it’s a bustling commercial city with shops and plenty of clean beaches. The beaches are immaculate and quiet, as although it’s a port for oil the majority of shipping has been transferred to Dammam and Saudi Aramco’s dedicated port, Ras Tanura. This has led to Khobar being able to transform the seafront and extensions have been made to the land to allow for the development of restaurants, parks and beaches.
The Corniche is a section of reclaimed land that is the city’s main leisure area as it’s lined with places to eat and there play areas provided for kids. The gardens are well maintained with a few shaded areas under the palm trees but it can really come alive at night when it’s cooler and people come out to sit under the stars. It’s common for people to be seen bringing the shisha pipe as informal gatherings of friends set up along the stretch of land. Through the middle is a ladder shaped pond and the whole area is beautifully landscaped.
Al Khobar’s most significant landmark is the impressive King Fahd Causeway. The road is constructed through the sea as it runs all the way from Khobar to Bahrain. The construction is split in two, with an island in the middle connected by two bridges and cost a hefty $1.2 billion to build but was paid in full by Saudi Arabia. In total it stretches for 16 miles, the longest bridge connects Khobar to Bahrain’s Umm al Na’san Island and then a shorter section connects to Bahrain’s main island. On the island in the middle is the Causeway Tower which can be climbed and the viewing deck provides expansive views of the bridge as well as far reaching views of the Persian Gulf. Within the tower is also a restaurant which is popular for coffee breaks and tea and the views from the restaurant are also pretty good too.
Beaches in Al Khobar provide good spots for swimming and with them a variety of water sports including jet skis and pedallos. The beaches are all near the city and Al Khobar hotels so it’s easy to be one minute in urban surroundings and then the next to be down by the sea. The finest lengths of sand are at half-moon beach while Al Azizia has ideal spots to catch some rays. Then as the evening draws in, to watch the sun sink over the horizon it can only be Sunset Beach.
Just outside the city, a thrilling way to explore the desert is by quad bike as the vehicles can tear over the sand dunes and there are a collection of companies that offer trips. Alternatively camel rides are a more traditional and sedate way to go exploring but they can canter at quite a pace if needed to. The whole camel riding experience is rather magical on a tour in the cooler early evening and the camels themselves are decked out in the finest saddles complete with multicoloured headpieces. The rides can vary in length from a couple of hours, to full on afternoon excursions and there’s always a handler available so it’s even safe for children to take part too.
Lek Boonlert is an editor and content reviewer at DirectRooms and is responsible for all Al Khobar Hotels content.