On the way back home to Doha from umrah, we decided to take one night stay in Jeddah. Curious how the second largest city in Saudi Arabia looks like.
From our hotel we booked a shuttle transfer to Jeddah. We booked through an agent which office located just outside Al Marwa Hotel lobby. The cost is 250QR. The same arrangement can be made through hotel concierge as well for the same cost.
The agent sent us a driver who later turned out to be so annoying (I don’t want to elaborate more, but the agent up there is not recommended!)
With service from an Indonesian working as a travel agent staff in Jeddah, also a long time Jeddah resident, we were taken for city tour to different parts of the city and famous tourist sights.
We went to IKEA (yes, we are big fans of it! …and its meat balls) in the evening, then to King Fahd Fountain (unfortunately did not operate). The fountain is said to be the biggest salt water fountain of the world; it jets the water about 312 meters above the Red Sea. The fountain has been given as a present by King Fahd to the city Jeddah. At dawn or during nighttime is the best time to visit the fountain as it is lighted with 500 spotlights. We were also taken into driving along Tahlia Street, an important fashion and shopping street in the mid-town of Jeddah housing many upscale department shops and boutiques.
The following morning, we went to Floating Mosque, or White Mosque, or formal name Ar Rahmah Mosque, located just west of airport on the Red Sea Coast. It is called the floating mosque because when the tide is high it is surrounded by water giving the impression that the mosque is floating looked at from the Corniche.
You may notice that Hilton Hotel Mecca’s window is inspired by traditional ornament of the houses in Al Balad.
We were also taken to visit Tomb of Eve, execution yard, Bab Shareef, and Bab Al Makkah. Bab Al Makkah (Mecca Gate) is used to be one of the main entrances for Hajj pilgrims (through Old Mecca Road) before construction of Jeddah – Mecca Highway.
The cosmopolitan city of Jeddah is in fact a home for hundreds thousands Indonesian citizen, constitute one of the major expatriate community in Jeddah. We were taken to see specific areas in Jeddah (Al Sharafiya) where large concentrations of Indonesians are living. No wonder I saw so many Indonesian restaurant or specialty stores dotted the areas. How unfortunate we were that none of them ready to serve lunch!
A quick tour of Jeddah gives us a brief introduction to Jeddah’s life.