Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province stretches from the shallow shores of the Arabian Gulf, through the palm-cloaked hills of Al Ahsa Oasis, and deep into the forbidding plains of Rub’ Al Khali. Historically, its position at the crossroads of the great civilizations of the Levant, Mesopotamia and India made it a thriving trade hub. And while Aramco’s oil and gas activities constitute much of the region’s economic activity today, for centuries merchants used it as an in-land route, bringing frankincense, incense and other goods from ancient Yemen towards the great empires.
Some of the region’s first human settlements can be found in Al Ahsa, home to one of the world’s largest oases, and the Gulf region’s first UNESCO-listed city. Visitors will love the city’s natural springs, clustered among date palm trees, and the beautifully preserved archaeological sites that capture the kingdom’s culture and traditions.
Take time to experience the sublime views from Al Qarah Mountain, or take a guided tour of the maze of caverns and coves that weave through the cliffsides.
For more of an urban vibe, make a stop in the region’s anchor city, Dammam, or venture out to nearby Al Khobar. Visit the Sultan bin Abdulaziz Science and Technology Center (SCITECH), where kids can take a virtual tour into space, explore the human body or indulge in a 3D IMAX screening. For some downtime, take a stroll along the corniche, or dabble in the waters at Half Moon Bay. For those wanting an off-road adventure, take a guided trip into the dramatic dunes of the Empty Quarter and follow in the footsteps of the great explorers. Watch the sunset over the shimmering plains for a truly magical experience.
Enjoy souvenir shopping in Al Hofuf’s centuries-old market.
For souq shopping at its best, take a trip to this colorful traditional market.
Thought to date back to 5,000 BC, the castle’s time-weathered walls have seen the rise and fall of multiple empires.
Taybeen Museum is an extraordinary passion-project and wonderfully unexpected trip into a bygone age.
Journey across Saudi by train for a picturesque way to cross the country and still stay on schedule.
The Science and Technology Centre (SCITECH) is home to interactive and immersive exhibits.
The Eastern Province is extending from the rippling waters of the Arabian Gulf to the untamed depths of the Rub’ Al Khali.
Don’t be dissuaded by the laid-back air of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province. Here are some of the regions' top cultural draws.