[Another travelogue from our visit to Bahrain and Eastern Saudi, 19-22 December 2010]
Completing our visit to Bahrain, we were heading to Dammam area, at the other end of causeway. Our first stop was Half Moon Bay beach. The beach is the one of most popular beaches in the region and gets its name from it’s semi-circular shape. Finding the beach itself was a struggle as some roads at the time were closed and we needed to find another route. If I’m not mistaken I was taking the old Abqaiq road.
We arrived there during siesta, where restaurant closed until 4pm. While waiting restaurant to open we spent exploring the beach. The beach has several spots of well-maintained permanent concrete huts/shelters and children playgrounds. Busy with taking pictures an old south asian man approached us and with his limited english warned us not to taking picture. Local people may not like what you are doing is what he is trying to say. A bit surprise (as we only take pictures of us) but thanks anyway.
Having good late lunch and as sun was about to set we left Half Moon Bay to go to our apartment we booked in Al Khobar.
Again, though using GPS, finding the apartment was quiet an effort owing to road closure and diversions and limited English speaking people to ask (incuding the hotel receptionist whom we called). Our night was spent only to IKEA Dhahran, just nearby. Unlike in Qatar, women in Dammam and Saudi in general must wear abaya. It is quite dissapointing though that international chain IKEA doesn’t have good English speaking store assistant, or should we blame ourself for not be able to speak Arabic 🙂
The next morning we headed back to Qatar with some stops at Al Khobar, Dammam, and later Abqaiq and Hofuf.
A more detail guide to Dammam can be obtained from Wikipedia: Dammam
Abqaiq is a Saudi Aramco camp, 60km southwest of Dammam. We stopped here for fuel filling. Driving the town reminded me the old day when we lived in Caltex Pacific Indonesia (now Chevron) Duri Camp, in Riau Indonesia.
From Abqaiq, we went to Hofuf with one stop at Jabal Al Qarah. The trip through Hofuf city center was a nightmare owing to traffic, diversions, and driving behavior (horns, lane cutting, poor lane discipline). But once we entered a palm date plantation area around Jabal Al Qarah all those road stresses relieved.
Hofuf, is basically major urban center in the Al-Ahsa Oasis, one of the largest oasis in the world. Jabl Al Qarah is located east of Hofuf. The mountain is considered to be one of the most important tourist and natural landmarks in Al Ahsa. It consists of sedimentary rocks, where the sedimentary layers can be seen with the naked eye. It is also famous for its caves and alleys between the rocks and therefore it has become one of the most famous nature sites in the Arabian Gulf region. The caves of the mountain are known to be cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
…and this wrapped up our visit to Bahrain and Eastern Saudi.