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Baskets in Saudi Arabia

Overview

A totally immersive experience

Since our inaugural visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1992, before any other university alumni travel program and before Saudi Arabia even offered a tourist visa, Stanford Travel/Study has led numerous groups of inquisitive travelers to this extraordinary country. Wander souks rich with carts of sweet dates and Egyptian oranges. Study early Aramaic relief carvings on the faces of ancient tombs. Walk modern avenues lined with palms and skyscrapers.

Join us as we travel through a country intent on charting an innovative new course. While meeting prominent academicians, museum curators and local leaders, we’ll witness the amazing contrast of a society steeped in tradition and set against an ultra-modern backdrop.

Dates

February 26–March 9, 2023

Duration

12 days

Price

From $11,995 per person

Trip size

34 participants

Minimum age

18 years
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Itinerary

Ancient crossroads in a modern land

Explore the many sides of Saudi Arabia, from stark desert landscapes to lush date palm groves, from mud brick ruins to revolutionary urban developments. Crisscross the kingdom from the Red Sea to the Persian Gulf meeting with journalists, educators, entrepreneurs and historians along the way.

  • Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

    Transfer to the hotel upon arrival in Jeddah.

    Accommodations:

    Jeddah Sheraton Hotel

  • Jeddah

    This morning visit the Al Tayebat Museum which is part of the International Tayebat City of Science and Knowledge, a 300-year-old building that was originally the palace of Sheikh Abdul Rauf Khalil. This privately owned collection includes pre-Islamic artifacts, exquisite Islamic manuscripts and traditional Saudi clothing. Enjoy a special lunch at the private residence of Sami Nawar, director emeritus of Al Balad, Jeddah’s historic district that is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Afterward, wander among the mosques, merchants’ houses and souks of Al Balad with Mr. Nawar. Later this afternoon, venture outside of Jeddah for a glimpse at the Bedouin lifestyle, which retains a lingering influence in modern Saudi life.

    Accommodations:

    Jeddah Sheraton Hotel

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Jeddah / Abha

    This morning, embark on a snorkeling excursion in the Red Sea, which contains one of the greatest coral reefs in the world with more than 200 species of coral and numerous endemic fish. Enjoy lunch at Medd Café in Jeddah, located on the city’s corniche. After lunch depart Jeddah by plane for Abha, situated in the Hejaz Mountains.

    Accommodations:

    Abha Palace Hotel

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Abha

    Today we explore Asir National Park, which stretches from the coast to the desert areas beyond the mountains. From Mount Soodah, we can see traces of the ancient caravan routes weaving through the Hejaz Mountains. Stop at the deserted village of Habalah, settled 350 years ago by Kahtani tribes and situated in the face of a steep cliff. End the day with a visit to the new Al Muftaha Village, which was established to showcase the region’s photography, traditional crafts and fine arts. Later this evening, enjoy dinner in a private home, learning more about the region’s history and traditions from two of its residents.

    Accommodations:

    Abha Palace Hotel

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Abha / Al-Ula

    Today fly via Riyadh to the walled city of Al-Ula, an oasis in the desert valley that was founded in 6th century BCE. It was located along “Incense Road,” the network of routes that facilitated the trading of spices, silk and other luxury items through Arabia, Egypt and India. Meet with staff from the Royal Commission for Al-Ula, which is working with local and international experts in archaeology, heritage conservation, preservation and architecture to preserve and develop the Old Town.

    Accommodations:

    Sahary Alula Resort

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Mada’in Saleh

    Spend the morning exploring Saudi Arabia’s most spectacular archaeological site, Mada’in Saleh. Built by the Nabataeans around 50 BCE, the well-preserved tombs were hewn out of the rock and carved from top to bottom. After lunch return to Al Ula to explore the Old Town, an ancient city constructed of 2,000-year-old mud-brick and stone houses. Reconstructed over the centuries before being completely abandoned in the 1980s, many of the original structures remain intact.

    Accommodations:

    Sahary Alula Resort

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Al-Ula / Tabuk / Riyadh

    Rise early this morning for our drive to Tabuk, where we visit the state-of-the art museum that was opened in the old Hejaz Railway Station in 2019. The elegant building offers a journey from prehistory to modern times and beyond, with a look at the “mega-city” of Neom that will soon rise in Tabuk Province. After lunch, transfer to the airport for our flight to Riyadh, the kingdom’s capital. Visit the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, which was established by the late King Faisal bin Abdulaziz (1906–1975) to transmit knowledge between the kingdom and the rest of the world.

    Accommodations:

    Hyatt Regency Riyadh Olaya

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Riyadh / Diriyah

    Meet with a Saudi journalist and correspondent for the Financial Times this morning before embarking on a walking tour of the city’s main square. See the newly built Al Imam Turki bin Abdullah Mosque, the Dira clock tower and the Bedouin souk, where veiled women clothed in black sell jewelry, nuts and other items. After lunch, travel to Diriyah, a town whose mud-brick walls once housed a thriving city that served as the birthplace of the first Saudi state. Visit the Palace of Salwa and the Saad bin Saud Palace with its sun-dried brick walls and exquisitely decorated wooden doors.

    Accommodations:

    Hyatt Regency Riyadh Olaya

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Riyadh

    This morning, visit the National Museum with its sweeping, curved wall and Najd architectural design. The extensive museum includes a village street that winds through buildings replicating the unique architecture of houses in the kingdom’s various regions. Later, meet the founder of SheWorks to learn about the inspiration that led to creating Saudi Arabia’s first co-working space for women. After lunch, visit the offices of Neom, a planned eco-city under development in the Saudi desert. Learn about the vision of this $500-billion project and its role in preparing Saudi Arabia for the post-oil era.

    Accommodations:

    Hyatt Regency Riyadh Olaya

    Included meals: Breakfast and lunch
  • Riyad / Dammam / Al Hofuf / Al Khobar

    Depart Riyadh by train for Dammam, located on the Persian Gulf. Drive inland to Al Hofuf, capital of Al-Ahsa, the largest in oasis in the world, where date groves produce approximately five tons of dates a day. Learn about the irrigation system and the geological phenomenon that ensures water for the area’s 3 million palm trees. Enjoy lunch on a private farm before returning to Dammam and nearby Al Khobar, where we spend the night.

    Accommodations:

    Le Meridien Al Khobar

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Tarout Island / Dhahran

    After breakfast travel to Tarut Island, believed to be one of the oldest sites inhabited by humans on the Arabian Peninsula. Visit the 16th-century fort that was built on the base of a Phoenician temple dedicated to the worship of Mesopotamian goddesses. Continue to Dhahran to visit the recently opened King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture. Developed by Saudi Aramco (the Saudi Arabia Oil Company), the center includes a museum, library, cinema, auditorium and lecture halls. Here we will learn about the history of oil extraction and processing in Saudi Arabia, as well as the emerging field of alternative energy sources. Return to our hotel this evening for a festive farewell dinner.

    Accommodations:

    Le Meridien Al Khobar

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Dammam / Home

    Transfer to the airport for return flights.

    Included meal: Breakfast

Trip details

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Pricing

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The price of your trip covers a comprehensive educational program in addition to meals, accommodations, tours and excursions. Continue reading for a full list of what’s included.

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