Although you will be among the first visitors in modern times to see the extraordinary heritage sites, beautiful wilderness and epic landscapes, AlUla has been famous as a welcoming place for thousands of years.
The ancient Dadanites and the Nabataeans greeted pilgrims and those travelling historic routes with hospitality and a safe place to stay along their journeys.
That’s true of the people of AlUla today. Everyone you meet has a smile for you and wants to tell you a story or show you a special place.
Information desks are located at the airport, Shaden Resort, Sahari Resort and the Dadan visitor centre. During the annual Winter at Tantora event, you’ll also find them at Winter Park and Wadi Al Qura (Old Town AlUla).
Winter, typically October through April, is the best time to visit AlUla, with temperatures ranging from a pleasant 10–25 degrees Celsius (45–70 degrees Fahrenheit). It does get colder at night, so it is important to pack some warm clothing.
May through September is much hotter in this desert climate, with temperatures ranging from 20–35 degrees Celsius (60–95 degrees Fahrenheit).
The official language of Saudi Arabia is Arabic, but English is widely spoken in AlUla and around the country. When greeting locals a friendly greeting is “Marhaba” (“hello”) and “Salaam aleikum” (“peace be upon you”).
To be respectful of local customs we suggest both men and women dress modestly (with knees and elbows covered and avoiding tight-fitting clothing or those with profane languages or images). Women do not need to wear a head cover or abaya. Flat comfortable shoes are recommended when visiting various sites and experiences, since walking over varied terrain is often involved.
Proof of marriage is not required for couples to share a hotel room. However, public displays of affection are not consistent with local culture. Visitors should also avoid using profane language or gestures.
Female travellers aged 18 and older can travel independently (including driving and booking hotel rooms) on an eVisa without the need for male companions.
At prayer time, five times a day, music is turned off in public places and many shops close briefly. Visitors should observe decorum during these times.
The sale, purchase and consumption of alcohol is illegal in Saudi Arabia. It is illegal to bring alcohol or drugs into the country.
Learn more about laws and etiquette in Saudi Arabia
For electronics, AlUla uses the same power plugs and sockets as in the United Kingdom (Type G).
Wi-Fi hotspots are located at specific locations and all hotels. However, for visitors coming from outside Saudi Arabia, we recommend purchasing a local mobile SIM card from a telecom provider at Riyadh or Jeddah airports.
The local currency is the Saudi Riyal (SAR). Some shops in town only accept cash, so it’s good to have some with you. There are ATMs in AlUla, but there is no currency exchange — plan to exchange money at Riyadh or Jeddah airports before your arrival.
Saudi Arabia has a handful of special occasions and holidays, so if you would like to visit during these periods, it is good to be prepared as most of them vary year to year due to the lunar calendar.
Ramadan: During the holy month, muslims are fasting from sunrise to sunset. You will find that most restaurants are closed during the day, however hotels will be able to deliver room service. Take away and delivery services are also available at some restaurants. Most restaurants will open for iftar, the evening meal during which muslims break their fast after Maghrib, or sunset prayer. Shops will be open only a few hours in the day and reopen late in the evenings. The start of Ramadan depends on the sighting of the new moon. In 2021, the month of Ramadan is likely to be over the period 13 April to 12 May 2021, however dates may vary slightly.
Eid Al Fitr holidays: To celebrate the ending of Ramadan, muslims celebrate the Eid Al Fitr. Eid Al Fitr in AlUla is a time for family and friends to come together and enjoy meals, celebrations and many local activities. During the first three of five days, most businesses remain closed and restaurants may have shorter operating hours, but it is a wonderful time to be in AlUla and celebrate with the locals with many activities to do. In 2021, Eid Al Fitr is likely to fall on 12, 13 or 14 May, depending on the sighting of the moon.
Eid al Adha holidays: This is the second of the Eid celebrations in the muslim calendar and known as the greater Eid. A celebration a day after the completion of the Hajj pilgrimage, it falls on the tenth day in the final month, Dhu-al-Hijjah, of the Islamic Lunar Calendar. As the dates of Hajj also vary slightly year to year, so does the actual day of Eid Al Adha. Normally, five days before and after Eid, most businesses remain closed and restaurants may have shorter operating hours. In 2021, Eid Al Adha is likely to fall on 20, 21 or 22 July, depending on the sighting of the moon.
Saudi National Day holiday: This special day is to celebrate the unification of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and is held annually on 23 September. All businesses are closed for this national holiday, however each year this day is celebrated with many special events and activities around the country and is a special time to visit Saudi Arabia.
Bin Eid Market in AlUla city is available for a good variety of food, health and personal care products, and other necessities.
For minor illnesses, there’s Pure Clinic, Bateel Clinic and Al-Busraji Clinic, all located in Al-Aziziya.
There are also many well-equipped pharmacies in AlUla city.
For emergency situations, please go to Prince Abdulmohsen Hospital in AlUla or call the Saudi Red Crescent to request an ambulance 997.