• A Trip to the Asir Region - Abha, Baha, Khamis Mushayt, Habala and more

    Salaam! Been a while, but, I've been super tied down.  This trip actually took place about a month a go but I haven't had the chance to write a post about it :( So I visited the Asir region for the first time over 3 crazy days.  May Allah bless my dear friends who did all the driving.  Absolute legends!  Asir is spectacular! Very very scenic and the people are so nice, down to earth and humble.  I highly recommend a visit to the region.  Below is a brief glimpse in to the places we visited.  Pictures from the trip are available on my FB album. Enjoy!

    Sawdah Mountain / جبل السودة 
    Google: 18.2990385,42.361185

    One word: Stunning! Seriously. One of the most beautiful spots in KSA. The mountain peak, the drive down, the clouds, the cable car, the scenic view, the beautiful breeze and on and on and on. What is there not to love about this place? A definite must visit. O and you'll encounter plenty of wild monkeys on the way too.

    If you're in to a little adventure, para gliding is also available. Although, when we went, it was closed.

    Abha Dam / سد أبها
    Google Coordinates: 18.211690, 42.486722

    The Abha Dam is a nice little chill out place unfortunately littered with garbage and mainly closed off for public. It is located right next to the Abha Palace Theme Park, which, coincidentally, was closed when we visited. There are other smaller parks close by as well so it is worth a visit.

    Dhee Ayn Village / قرية ذي عين
    Google: 20.271372,41.436317

    Dhee Ayn Village is also sometimes known as the 'Marble Village'. The village dates back around 400 years and is located roughly 24KM away from Baha. It's known as the mable village due to it being built on a small marble mountain. It's a beautiful little place with lush green banana and palm trees.

    The village has, of course, been abandoned for a while. It is now a tourist attraction with ticketed entry. Tickets are SR10 per person and you can enter the abandoned houses and the ancient Mosque. You can climb right to the top of the mountain and the buildings at top if you wish to. Be warned though, some of the structures are weak and crumbling so do take care. I didn't see many security staff around either. 

    Is it worth a visit? Definitely. The village is beautiful and the drive leading to it is even more beautiful. You will love it.

    Habala / حبلة
    Google: 18.031764,42.865675

    Be warned: it's only open on weekends (Friday + Saturday). This is a small mountain village now turned in to a tourist attraction. The name Habala in Arabic means 'Rope' and it's named such because in the past, when it was inhabited, it was only accessible via rope ladders. Nowadays, the locals no longer live there and it is now accessible via cable cars. Since we went on a week day, the cable cars were closed so we just had to look at the village from the top.

    Apparently the village was inhabited until the 1980's after which it turned in to a tourist attraction and the locals were asked to leave. Without having been down, I can't really recommend it. I guess it would be a nice outing on a weekend.

    Khaira Forest and Waterfall / غابة خيرة
    Google: 20.0541388,41.3931515

    Once again, our timing wasn't the best as the waterfall was dry, but, the area was beautiful. very green, very scenic and we did see a small stream. Definitely worth a visit. There's something very serence about just sitting at the top of one of the mountains and admiring the natural beauty all around you. 

    You could just sit there for ages staring at the mountains, the criss-crossing roads and the beautiful green trees. Time it better and you could also catch the lovely waterfall.

    Raghadan Forest / غابة رغدان
    Google: 20.0235871,41.4350038

    We didn't spend much time here at all, but, just standing and walking through clouds was an amazing experience. The drive through mountains to get here and out of here is a wonderful experience too.

    Rijal Alma'a / رجال المع
    Google: 18.2119775,42.27372

    A historical village and museum. Located at the foot of the famous Sawda Mountain, Rijal Alma'a is known as the stone village due tot he fact that is was built from local stone. A lot of it currently lies in ruins and there's a bit of construction work going on. 

    There are two ways to get to it. You can either take the cable car from the top of the mountain, or, be a little adventurous, and take the long-winding roads down the mountain offering you stunning views and heart-stopping moments of on-coming traffic.

    Entry to the main tourist attraction and museum is ticketed. To be honest, the museum wasn't anything special. But, again, the drive down is well worth it and the locals are very friendly.

    Alwahba Crater / فوهة الوعبة
    Google: 22.8999906,41.1375117

    Whilst how the crater came about remains somewhat of a mystery, was it a meteorite or volcanic activity, there's no doubt that it's a beautiful sight. Especially around sunrise or set.

    A piece of live-saving advice: the road leading to it can be extremely dangerous at the end. There are no warning signs. You go over a couple of humps and before you know it, you are staring at metal poles. If you don't slow down, you'll either smash in to the poles, or, swerve around them and end up straight down in to the crater. Not a small fall. So, be very careful.

    There isn't too much to see apart from the crater itself to be honest. Might be a good family day out but make sure you keep the kids away from the edge. The friends I travelled with found a novel way of entertainment: echoes. Try chucking a large rock down and listen out for the sound.

    There is apparently a trail leading down to the crater itself. We didn't go down but if you're feeling adventurous and are in need of some white sodium phosphate crystals, why not give it a go?

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