Sunday, 18 January 2015

Tourist Attractions in and around Abha

Abha is a city located in the Asir Province of Saudi Arabia that is a very popular holiday destination during the summers. The reason being obviously, its beautiful scenery, frosted mountain tops and the cool breezes throughout the year. A lot of people from the Gulf States visit Abha to escape the summer heat, bringing along a large number of tourists as well. The place is highly respected because of the elevation of 2200m above the Red Sea, which gives Abha a beautiful and pleasant weather the whole year round. What's so difficult to decide once you are here is that you can't pick the right activities, since there are plenty of them to choose from! In today's read I'll be giving you a quick guide on the places you wouldn't want to miss on your trip to Abha.

New Abha Resort and the Abha Lake Dam
While you are in Abha make sure you spend a few days at the New Abha Resort and the Abha Lake Dam. You can stroll around the beautiful and calm lakeside in the 300,000 square meter garden. Along with this you can dine in to enjoy some delicious food at the Abha Palace Hotel, accompanied by beautiful views of the lake and the lighten up city. You can also avail the scenic cable car ride from the resort to the Green Mountain which is one of the specialties here.

Hanging Village down in Habala
Now visit some of the old villages such as the Hanging Village down in Habala. This village is accessible only by ropes since the whole village was built halfway down a cliff so the people at that time could feel protected from the Ottomons. To reach Habala one must take a thrilling Cable Car Ride. This village truly brings much of the history and culture however it has been much commercialized over the years though it should be visited.

Cable Car Ride to the Green Mountain
As mentioned earlier that one can take a Cable Car Ride to the Green Mountain from the resort, others can take a drive up the mountain enjoying many restaurants and beautiful views along the way. While going up to the top you should make a stop at the traditional asiri style mud house, souvenir shop. This shop also has a restaurant in its basement that is well decorated. This is actually a hill that overlooks the whole city of Abha, which during night time is lit up by green lights. At the top of the mountain you'll find a pleasant cafe and restaurant where you can enjoy the famous mint tea and sheesha along with the beautiful sunset.

Asir National Park
More of the bird watcher type? Abha has that sorted out too. Take a trip to the Asir National Park with the Asir Tourism Board, such as Al Qaraa, Al Souda, Al Wardeh, Dalafan, Al Hassab and Al Jarrah. You can wander endlessly along the parks and discover the forests that are home to nearly one hundred and seventy different species of birds.

Jebel Soudah
Now wander about to see the tallest peak in Saudi Arabia, Jebel Soudah which is nearly 2910m high. This is found in the Soudah which is also an ideal location to enjoy a picnic with complete privacy only bothered by nature and nothing else. The weather here is pretty good and ties the whole atmosphere together.

Rijal Al Maa, also called the mud brick village
A trip seems to be incomplete if museums and libraries are not visited. Now from Al Soudah you can take the cable car ride down to Rijal Al Maa, also called the mud brick village. Here you can visit the museum and library, enjoying food at the traditional restaurant and once you've eaten enough you can enjoy a stroll in the beautiful Valley.

Paragliding and taking mountain bikes down hills
If you've got the will and determination you must try on the extreme sports here such as paragliding and taking mountain bikes down hills. During the summers a French group organizes mountain climbing programs too at mountains near Habala. Challenge yourself and put yourself up to adventures!

Shada Palace and Al Milfa Palace
If you've done much of the difficult stuff, give yourself the time to wander about the city to discover the buildings and their beautiful architecture by visiting places like Shada Palace, Al Milfa Palace and many old mud houses located all around Abha. You must make sure to visit the Al Miftaha village turned museum to see how the old cultures of the area.

Arabian Baboons
Around this you can pay a special visit to the Arabian Baboons that are spotted around the mountain roads. You must take care though that your children you not tease them with food since they may make attempts to grab it. They are always in need to find food and try to get it by meeting tourists about.

Abha's Tuesday Market (Souq al Thulatha)
If you are looking for a shopping destination make your way to the Abha's Tuesday Market ( Souq al Thulatha) and its neighboring Khamis Mushayt's Thursday Market ( souq Al Khamis). In the Tuesday Market you can find separation women vendors that display colorful straw baskets, dresses, jewelry etc. In the Thursday you can find silver and gold Bedouin Jewelry common amongst the people of the region.  Other things that are popular are white or gold honey, daggers, frankincense and shab (white powder used as deodorant and antiseptic).

The above content was initially published on Blue Abaya

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