Abha: The Green City of Saudi Arabia

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Abha is the capital city of the Asir Province in Saudi Arabia. Abha has located about 1000 kilometres away from the capital Riyadh. When I was first told about the city of Abha, it had taken me a minute to accept the fact that there existed a place where the mountains were fertile and lush greenery prevailed in the optimum temperature of up to 15 -20 degrees in the month of August, that too in the country of Saudi Arabia!

As I had mentioned in my first post about Saudi Arabia (linked here), the country is not much of a tourist- friendly place for non-Arabic speakers. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to go there with a couple of my travel-enthusiast colleagues, helped some of whom was fluent in Arabic. This made it easier for us to navigate and explore the country, from a local’s point of view.

As you leave Riyadh and step into the heart of the country, the rise in traditional lifestyle is clearly visible. One should mind every move and make sure to not end up hurting anyone’s sentiments or ending up on the wrong side of the law. Having lived in Riyadh for over a year, I was aware of the local customs and culture helped control our excitement and not make any rash decisions.

As I was doing my research about the city of Abha, my eyes couldn’t believe the lush green mountains, massive cable cars connecting the whole city and especially such great weather in a country like Saudi, which is famous for all the opposite reasons.

As we started planning the trip, we divided up certain responsibilities amongst ourselves. The Arabic- speaker would be our official voice, one person was the designated driver, and the third person was given the role of maintaining finances and managing our hotel bookings.Being the wanderers’ in the group, I assumed the role of creating an itinerary for our trip and also acted as the unofficial navigator for the driver.

After an hour-long bumpy flight, we landed at Abha late in the evening. Similar to Riyadh, Abha doesn’t have a strong public transport system either. We had to hire a car at the airport.  An added advantage of living in Saudi Arabia is that the cost of service-based facilities is really low. Hiring a car for two full days along with a full tank of oil cost us only 60 pounds.

Our itinerary had a lot of things to see within our two-day adventure and so I prioritised the places, based on the route we were travelling in so that we could make the most out of it. I shall be writing a separate post about the places we visited in Abha and share the amazing pictures of those sights. I have always believed in forming my own opinions about new places by visiting them firsthand. Abha is one of the best examples I have to prove my point. Some of the places were just unbelievably beautiful!You will probably realise what I am talking about, once I share the photos in my next post.

The highlight of our trip was the Jabal Sawda peak. It is the highest peak of Saudi Arabia. Over the course of my travels, I have been to the highest peaks of over 8 countries. I hadn’t planned on this to happen, but now thatI look back on it and realise what I have achieved, it’s a great feeling indeed.

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