What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

I thought it was great fun when Saudi finally let me as a woman drive, and watch all the guys stare in shock. - Oct 2019

The Red Sea is what makes Jeddah livable, and in my mind what separates it from Riyadh. There are a string of private beach resorts north of the city where the rules are much, much looser than the rest of the country - women in bikinis, smoking in public, etc. No drinking, but otherwise you would forget you are in Saudi Arabia. We have been to Taif, which is worth at least a day trip to see the wild baboons in the mountains and to get a look at another part of the country; it is also a welcome relieve from heat/humidity in the summer. - Mar 2019

Rock climbing, beach, geocaching, dune buggies, and desert camping. - Jan 2019

Traveling outside the city, but the MOI will accompany anywhere you go. - Apr 2016

No to much to do. - Nov 2015

Just scuba diving. But you can have a lot of social life in the compounds: they have groups, such as the Korean speakers, the French speakers, Spanish speakers, Russian speakers, etc. - Oct 2015

The beaches, old markets, and ruins, but you have to drive at least 3 hours, after getting permission from the security office in the consulate and informing the Ministry of Foreign affairs, which is a long process. - Oct 2015

Al Balad - old downtown area, fish market, grilled fish restaurant "Al Murjan," Al Wahbah crater, Taif region, several souks, plenty of Western-like malls, but they aren't unique shopping destinations. We haven't done too much exploring outside of the city. - Aug 2015

Swim, scuba dive, go to the beach, travel … you will have lots of friends from all nationalities. - Feb 2014

Scuba diving in the Red Sea is a must. There's no reason to live in Jeddah and not certify. Hiring a boat and spending a day on the sea is a great way to spend a weekend, and the sea is warm enough year-round to dive without wetsuits. Mada'in Saleh is spectacular and nobody goes (no tourism in Saudi). Dhee Ein, just down the mountain from al-Baha, is also amazing. And there are seemingly innumerable nameless ruins along the mountain and desert highways that are awesome to explore. - Dec 2013

If you speak Arabic, it is fun to go out into the smaller towns. USG employees need permission from the government for most trips outside Jeddah, and they are often accompanied by police (who are a bit of a bother, because they have to trade off with another set of police in every town). But you can camp in the desert, hike, visit ruins and old palaces, see the Hijaz railroad, visit Taif, go to the beach, snorkel, scuba dive, go for boat rides, ATVs, horseback riding, camel rides, paintball, etc. For some destinations (such as Mada'in Saleh), government permission is required for all visitors. - May 2013

The beach, diving, four-wheeling, desert trips. - Nov 2010

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