• Best for
  • Exploring
  • Snorkeling
  • Nature

Explore Umluj and its islands


Coined the Maldives of Saudi

The people of Umluj

Get to know a bit about locals, their traditions and culture by watching the short video below.

Activities in Umluj

What to See and Do in Umluj

Not sure what to add to your Umluj itinerary? Start with these three family-friendly Umluj activities.

  • Diver shining light on coral reef

    Swimming at Umluj’s Beaches

    Warm, clear waters and abundant coral make Umluj a prime area for diving and snorkeling — one that is much less crowded than other famous Red Sea dive spots like Egypt’s Sharm El Sheikh. Many of the fringing reefs are found just off sandy beaches like those at the island of Jabal Hassan, an ancient passageway where Romans are said to have gleaned glass from the isle’s sandy plains. The warm seas around Umluj are home to 300 species of hard coral — more than four times what’s found in the Caribbean — green and Hawksbill turtles, dolphins, dugong sea cows and more than 1,200 fish species.

  • Family walking on small sand island surrounded by sea

    Island-Hop Around Umluj

    In this archipelago with more than 100 islands, the quintessential Umluj activities include those on or by the water — from dolphin-spotting and snorkeling to fishing or just chilling by the beautiful seafront. Tip: The only way to visit the islands is through a licensed tour operator like Shamal, which offers a Weekend in Umluj three-day itinerary that includes a boat ride to some of the islands. You can also book day tours on larger boats or private trips with drivers in shaded little fishing boats. As a part of the Red Sea Project, there are plans to build eco-friendly resorts on several of the region’s islands, but for now travelers can explore this mostly untouched area with few distractions.

  • See the Birds of Saudi Arabia

    The Umluj coast is as attractive to migratory birds as it is to humans, especially the pristine islands of Libana, Ataweel and Um Sahar, where cranes, kingfishers and white-tailed lapwings arrive at various points in the year to nest around the curved beaches and reefs rich in sea life.

Travel tips

  • Where to stay
    The boutique Juman Hotel offers beautiful sea views and a central location for exploring, while Royal Tours Permanent Camp is home to Bedouin-style glamping tents, set in the sandy desert on the edge of town.
  • Where to eat
    Head to Zaeem Al Asmak for epic seafood platters straight from the nearby Red Sea, or to Jareesh Omee for dates, chicken rice and traditional local food. Alternatively, indulge in the most classic Umluj meal: a picnic or barbecue on one of the area’s many islands.
  • Where to have fun
    Glimpse ancient history at the restored Umluj Castle and in the alleyways and architecture of the city’s old town. Later, head inland to explore the rare sight of the region’s lava fields, an inky array of cones, rocks and craters.

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Travel Responsibly

Travel Responsibly

Travel Responsibly

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