Our tried and tested guide to driving to the eastern province.
What to Keep an Eye Out For
- The Road – There are no lights so head out earlier in the day to avoid the darkness.
- Gas Stations – There are around 13 of them throughout the trip and they generally have coffee shops, markets, toilets and prayer rooms (although it would be advised to stay away from the toilets).
- The 9th gas station is Sasco, which has yummy places like Cinnabon, Dominos Pizza, Kudu, Burger King, Baskin Robbins, Shawermer and other interesting places.
- Fog and Sand Storms – Drive slow and don’t go with the general flow of wild driving.
- Camels – It’s not very common but at times you might come across a flock of camels on the sides of the road.
- Crazy drivers! It doesn’t matter how everyone else is driving, take your time and don’t join the race against time.
- Trucks – Steer away when you notice trucks! Them trucks think that they’re on an F1 track.
- Speed Cameras – There are cameras quiet often drive safe.
What to Pack
- Leave your moisturizer back in Riyadh; the east has got your (dry) back.
- An anti-frizz spray for those hairs that are going to try to escape the humidity.
- A swimsuit and tanning oil, because it’s time to hit the beaches.
- Your passport for a day well spent in the neighboring Bahrain. It really should just be a part of Saudi.
- Car Check-Up – Check tire pressure, gas tank and fluid levels. Make sure you have a spare tire and the tools needed to change a flat one.
- Snack Pack – Teapot, nuts, fruits or some junk food. Don’t really worry about it though since you can grab yourself a coffee or anything from the roadside gas stations.
- Entertainment – Anything to keep you awake. You can download audiobooks or comedy shows, put together a great playlist, or even get a book with you if reading in the car doesn’t get you sick.
- Snapchat! This is essential 2015 road trip must-do. It helps you document your trip, update your friends and pass time.
- Take a Selfie – You could always stop on the side of the road to take selfies with the desert or camels behind you. The amazing variety of different sands on the road will make you want to stop anyway.
- Soaping the car – Don’t bother with soaping your car. It does you as much harm as the sand.
- Toys – If you’ve got children, make sure to get some entertainment with you like toys, an iPad or portable consoles to keep them busy.
Ride the Train
Women, we can take it on our own. Gents, if you’re not up to focus on the road and would rather text, watch a movie or eat, just get on the train – please. Currently, there are two types of trains to choose from: Modern and Standard.
Here’s what you need to know:
- It’s a 4-5-hour trip from Riyadh to Dammam; Al Khobar is a 45-minute bus or car ride.
- Taking the premium seat is worth it; you get free Internet access, lots of legroom and cabin space, a cozy chair and outlets for your gadgets.
- Three ways to get your
- Book online through saudirailways.org
- Call the booking hotline number: 9200008886
- Go to the station at least three days before your trip, it’s at Al Malaz District, Ring Road, Exit No. 16, Omar ibn Al Khattab Road, Prince Abdulaziz ibn Abdullah ibn Turki Street.
|Route||Al Rihab||Al Taleea||Al Qafela|
|Riyadh – Hofuf||SR 100||SR 55||SR 45|
|Riyadh – Abqaiq||SR 115||SR 65||SR 55|
|Riyadh – Dammam||SR 130||SR 75||SR 60|
*Return trip ticket prices are the same
Get on the Bus
Ride VIP, you get free Internet, snacks on board and a toilet. The cost of a round trip ticket is anywhere between SR 100-200. You may need to check with SAPTCO since their route, timing and prices tend to change.
SAPTCO Tel. No. +966-11-2132318