Located in the northern province of Tabuk in Saudi, Umluj is a small fishing village situated around a bay. “It’s some of the most pristine water I’ve seen in this part of the world,” says Hilary McCormack, a Riyadh resident who recently spent some time in the island paradise. It offers nature lovers and those just looking to get off the grid pure white-sand beaches and turquoise waters so clear you can observe marine life without a snorkel mask. Umluj also boasts casual dining options and a beachside town to explore. (Keep in mind that Umluj is so untouched that there is nowhere to stay overnight at this point.)
Umluj is a two-hour drive from the popular diving town of Yanbu. Once you reach the port of Umluj, you can explore a great cluster of islands just off its north coast. “It was easy to get a boat at the port, as there were a few lined up on the shore waiting for guests,” McCormack says. “The boats take you out for two to three hours, and you need to bring all your own gear and food,” she adds. If you’re staying in Yanbu, consider asking your hotel to prepare a picnic basket.
Locals and visitors recommend divvying up your time in Umluj between land and sea. We put together a handy itinerary that contains something for everyone.