Eastern Saudi – Dammam and Hofuf

Half Moon Bay

 [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.

Half Moon Bay
Half Moon Bay
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.
Train! It's been a while that we haven't seen train 🙂
Upss! Unpassable Saudi Aramco compound. Blame it to GPS
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.
Al Khobar Corniche
Al Khobar Corniche Road
Somewhere in Al Khobar-Dammam
On the way to Dammam from Al Khobar
Dammam - on the way to its corniche
Approaching Dammam's corniche
Dammam's Corniche
Dammam's Corniche
A roundabout monument in Dammam
A more detail guide to Dammam can be obtained from Wikipedia: Dammam
Highway Dammam - Riyadh
Entering Abqaiq
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. 
In between Abqaiq and Hofuf
Hofuf - some directions are written in Arabic only
Hofuf is undergoing rapid development. Including the development of this excellent road that connect northern Hofuf to Dammam-Riyadh Highway
...and consequently - at that time - road closure, road diversion are common in Hofuf, making driving a bit stressful
Road in front of Jabal Al Qarah - Hofuf
Road to Jabal Al Qarah passing fertile date plam area with unique irrigation system (see left side of picture)
View from Jabal Al Qarah
Jabal Al Qarah
…and this wrapped up our visit to Bahrain and Eastern Saudi.
Our drive home to Qatar was accompanied by little sand storm

9 thoughts on “Eastern Saudi – Dammam and Hofuf”

  1. Dear Mr.Hidayat

    Thanks for posting this much informative travellogue. I just want to ask one question, If I am going to Bahrain by road and get Saudi Transit Visa(Road permit). Can I stay in Dammam and Al khobar, if yes then how long.


  2. Dear Mr Hidayat,

    Does that mean I can stay 3 days in Al Khobar, exit saudi for Bahrain. On my way back can I stay again again for 3 days in Al Khobar? which in total will be a 6 day stay in Al Khobar

  3. Dear Mr. Hidayat,

    Assalamu alaikum.
    Insha Allah, I’m planning to go for Umrah with my family this week and is planning to drive to Dammam from Doha and then take domestic flight to Jeddah. I presume we have to drive through Hofuf but there are two routes showing up in the google map. One is taking the Riyadh-Dammam highway from Hofuf (485km) route 75/40 and another through Buqayq (425km) route 615. It is much appreciated if you could advise me the safest and better route to reach Dammam.

    Many thanks

    Shanavas Abdul Majeed

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