Fly to Jeddah, an ancient city that has hosted pilgrims travelling to Mecca for hundreds of years.
King Abdulaziz International Airport (JED)
As the busiest airport in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Jeddah Airport (JED) also known as the King Abdulaziz International Airport is currently undergoing a huge expansion plan (due to be completed in 2017) so that it can handle up to 80 million passengers per year. Despite this project not yet being finished, the airport’s facilities are still very good. You will find banks, ATMs, currency exchange services, a post office and charged WiFi access available throughout the airport. There is a good selection of restaurants and cafes available before and after check in, as well as souvenir and gift shops you can browse.
Airlines to Jeddah
All flights to Jeddah from Australia will involve at least one stop in an international airline hub, usually these will be Singapore (SIN), Doha (DOH), or Abu Dhabi (AUH).
However, you will find lots of carriers operate along this route, these include: Etihad Airways, Emirates, AirAsia, SriLankan Airlines, Qatar Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jet Airways, Kenya Airways and Turkish Airlines.
Getting into Jeddah
You will find taxis outside the terminal, and these are usually offer fixed prices. Expect a journey into town to take around 30 minutes and cost between 60-130SAR ($21-45)
There are car rental desks within the airport if you’d prefer to drive, there are recognisable brands such as Avis, Budget and Hertz at JED Airport. Please note that women are not permitted to drive in Saudi Arabia.
What can you do in Jeddah?
The city of Jeddah is the most popular in Saudi Arabia for visiting tourists and is the nation’s most prominent jewel. It is a place that has seen much since it was founded in the Middle Ages, but yet still managed to retain a lot of its Old World charm.
Explore the Old Town, where you can wander through narrow walkways that will lead you to colourful souqs and bustling markets that sell everything from jewellery, clothing, food and spices. It is here where you can see the exquisitely designed coral houses, the most famous of these being Naseef House, which was once owned by a rich merchant family, and though it went under disrepair, it has since been restored.
One of the biggest advantages to Jeddah’s location is its access to the gorgeous Red Sea. Divers from all over the world sink below the surface of the water to see the complex coral reefs and technicolour marine wildlife that lives on the ocean floor. But not all of the seaside attractions take place underwater; families and couples can spend the afternoon walking along the Jeddah Corniche, a long golden beach which features some of the city’s best attractions along the way, such as the King Fahad Water Spring, the largest fountain in the world, and the Floating Mosque, both of which are worth seeing, especially when the sun starts to set.
When should you go?
Saudi Arabia has an extremely hot and arid climate. The mildest months are the winter ones (December-January) when lows are 18°C and highs are 29°C. Summers can be stifling out of doors, with average highs soaring to 40°C, and the lows never sinking below around 27°C.
What do you need to know?
Currency: Saudi Riyal (SAR)
Visa: Most foreign nationals will require a visa to enter Saudi Arabia. Please note that Saudi Arabia has strict visa policies and applicants will need to be granted sponsorship to obtain a tourist visa. You can find more detailed information on the process here.
Please note all information is current as of March 2016.
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Airports near Jeddah
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