Journey across Saudi by train for a picturesque way to cross the country and still stay on schedule. The rail route from Dammam and Riyadh is a budget-friendly way to city hop, and one that offers a window-side view of the country’s wild and arid desert.
Although it’s only just over an hour by plane, once you factor in the check-in times at the airport, making the journey by train is only a little bit longer. The route takes three and a half hours and there are six trains a day leaving from Dammam, starting at 5:18am and the last leaving at 8.12pm. You can get a first-class seat for SAR136.5 (about US$36.38) or SAR78.75 (about US$20.99) for second class, and both are perfectly fine ways to travel.
When booking your seat, try to secure a spot next to a window for the best views. Wi-Fi is available on board the train and in the waiting lounge at the stations. The carriages are air-conditioned and onboard there is a café and prayer area.
The journey between Dammam and Riyadh includes two stops along the way. The first is in Abqaiq, home of a Saudi Aramco gated community, and then soon after is Hofuf, nestled in the heart of Al Ahsa Oasis and best known for being one of the largest date producers in the world.
There are few more memorable ways to roll across the country, gazing out over the landscape as you speed past the rippling dunes and sand flats.