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Expat Exchange - Best Places to See While on a Look-See Trip to Saudi Arabia (Plus, Itineraries) 2024
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Best Places to See While on a Look-See Trip to Saudi Arabia (Plus, Itineraries)

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Mondly by Pearson
Mondly by Pearson

Summary: If you're thinking about relocating to Saudi Arabia but haven't decided on a particular city or town yet, taking a discovery trip to explore several sought-after expat locales can offer valuable perspectives. Check out these recommended destinations for your exploratory journey in Saudi Arabia.

Moving to Saudi Arabia - Best Places to See While on a Look-See Trip to Saudi Arabia (Plus, Itineraries)

Embarking on a Look-See trip to Saudi Arabia is an invaluable step for anyone considering a move to this culturally rich and rapidly modernizing country. Such a trip allows potential expatriates to explore the living conditions, amenities, and cultural environment firsthand, ensuring that their decision to relocate is well-informed. It provides an opportunity to visit various cities and towns, gauge the expat communities, and assess factors like healthcare, education, and entertainment options, which are crucial for a smooth transition to life in Saudi Arabia.

Recommended Itineraries

For a comprehensive Look-See trip in Saudi Arabia, it's important to tailor your itinerary based on the length of your stay. A 10-day trip could focus on the major cities and economic hubs, while a 20-day journey allows for a deeper exploration of both urban and regional areas. For the shorter trip, consider starting in Riyadh, then moving to Jeddah, and finally Dammam. If you have 20 days, add visits to Al Khobar, Dhahran, Medina, and perhaps some smaller towns in the Eastern Province or the Asir region for a broader perspective.


Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia, is a bustling metropolis with a population of over 7 million. It's the political and administrative center of the kingdom and offers a blend of modernity and tradition. Expats and digital nomads are drawn to Riyadh for its diverse job opportunities, particularly in the finance and tech industries. The cost of living can be high, but the city provides a range of housing options and international schools. Riyadh is also known for its shopping malls, fine dining, and cultural festivals.

Travel Tip: While in Riyadh, make sure to visit the Al Masmak Fortress, a 19th-century castle that now serves as a museum detailing the city's history and heritage.


Jeddah is the gateway to the holy city of Mecca and is known for its more relaxed atmosphere compared to other Saudi cities. With a population of around 4 million, it is a commercial hub with a vibrant expat community. The city is famous for its beautiful Red Sea coastline, offering beachside living and water sports. Jeddah also boasts a historic district, Al-Balad, and a variety of international schools and hospitals, making it a comfortable choice for expatriates.

Travel Tip: Don't miss the chance to stroll along the Jeddah Corniche, where you can enjoy the sea breeze and view the iconic King Fahd's Fountain, the tallest of its kind in the world.


Dammam, part of the Dammam Metropolitan Area, is an important industrial city on the Arabian Gulf. It has a population of approximately 1.5 million and is known for its oil industry. The cost of living here is generally lower than in Riyadh or Jeddah, and the city offers a range of residential options. Expats appreciate the city's growing cultural scene, family-friendly atmosphere, and proximity to other Gulf countries.

Travel Tip: Explore the Coral Island in Dammam, also known as Marjan Island, a popular spot for picnics, fishing, and enjoying the panoramic views of the Gulf.

Al Khobar

Al Khobar is a city in the Eastern Province, adjacent to Dammam and Dhahran. It's known for its scenic waterfront, the Corniche, and its modern lifestyle. The city has a significant expat population, attracted by the employment opportunities in the oil and gas sector and the high quality of life. Al Khobar offers a variety of international schools, shopping centers, and recreational activities, making it a comfortable place for foreigners to settle.

Travel Tip: Visit the Al-Rashid Mall for a shopping experience that includes a range of international brands, dining options, and entertainment facilities.


Medina is the second holiest city in Islam and offers a unique living experience steeped in history and spirituality. While non-Muslims are restricted from entering the core religious areas, the city itself is home to a diverse community. Expats working in Medina enjoy a peaceful lifestyle and a slower pace compared to the larger cities. The cost of living is moderate, and the city provides essential services and amenities.

Travel Tip: Although access to the Prophet's Mosque is limited to Muslims, the surrounding area of Medina offers markets and historical sites that provide insight into the city's rich past.

Asir Region

The Asir region, located in the southwest of Saudi Arabia, is known for its mountains and cool climate. Key cities and towns to explore include Abha, Khamis Mushait, and Bisha. The region is becoming increasingly popular with expats looking for a different side of Saudi life, away from the desert landscapes. The cost of living is lower, and the area is known for its natural beauty and outdoor activities.

Travel Tip: In Abha, make sure to visit the Asir National Park and the Al-Soudah Park, where you can enjoy cable car rides with stunning views of the mountainous terrain.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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Mondly by Pearson

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Mondly by Pearson

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