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Day 5 – Al Ula (Dadan), Jeddah | Nine Days in Saudi Arabia

We had booked three tours in Al Ula though Experience Al Ula:

  1. Hegra by day tour (9-11am previous day)
  2. Al Ula Old Town tour (4-5pm previous day)
  3. Dadan trail tour (9-11am today)

Of these three tours, “Hegra by day” and “Al Ula Old Town” tours were scheduled for previous day, and “Dadan trail” was scheduled for today.

Note: We did not go for “Hegra by night” tour as some fellow travelers who’d seen it did not recommend!


The ´Dadan and Jabal Ikmah’ tours start from the Winter Park office location, from where visitors are taken in luxury coach to all the sites. The tour starts at 8:30am from here, and lasts 2 hours.

Dadan was the capital of the Dadanite and Lihyanite Kingdoms. There are several theories about the difference between the Dadanite and Lihyanite peoples. A significant aspect of Lihyanite society was the high level of skill in architecture and sculpture, including carving rock-cut tombs. The most famous of these are the ‘lion tombs’.

Dadan has many hundreds of tombs, the most visible of which are cut into the rock face just south of the site, Their location probably reflects the social position of those buried. The best-known tombs at Dadan are the two lion tombs.

The carved lions could symbolise powerful status or strength, or they could have been carved to protect the tomb’s occupants. Some of the tombs may have belonged to members of the Minaean community who lived in Dadan after the 5th century BCE, including one of the lion tombs.

Important note: At the time of writing this, visitors could stand in the parking lot and view these tombs from a far distance, and not allowed to go anywhere close to these tombs although there are built-stairs to access them from close. Binoculars are provided by the team to view the tombs.

Dadan Lion Tombs
[Dadan Lion Tombs – this is the distance from where visitors were allowed to see the tombs]

Dadan Lion Tombs
[Dadan Lion Tombs – zoomed-in picture of the tombs with one of them displaying two lion heads]

Dadan Lion Tombs
[The two lion heads of one tomb up-close]

After exploring the tombs, the bus takes visitors on a 10-minute drive to the ruins of old Dadan which is completely in shambles! This was the least interesting place on the tour.

Old Dadan ruins
[Old Dadan town ruins]

Final stop in the tour is another 10-minute drive to Jabal Ikmah, an open library of inscriptions, rock art and petroglyphs set in a stunning desert canyon.

Thousands of pre-Arabic inscriptions across numerous sites make Al Ula an important location in studying the Arabic language. Featuring more than 450 early Arabic inscriptions, Jabal Ikmah has the highest concentrations of inscriptions in Al Ula and is one of the oldest inscriptions of the Islamic era that dates back to 644BC.

Jabal Ikmah mountains
[Jabal Ikmah mountains]

Rock inscriptions dating back to 644BC at Jabal Ikmah mountains
[Rock inscriptions dating back to 644BC at Jabal Ikmah mountains]

Rock inscriptions dating back to 644BC at Jabal Ikmah mountains
[Rock inscriptions dating back to 644BC at Jabal Ikmah mountains]


After the tour, visitors are dropped back to the Winter Land parking lot around 10:30-11am.

We had an 8-hour drive back to Jeddah, so right after we got dropped off, we headed straight to Jeddah! On the way, we stopped by for coffee and this beautiful symbol of Saudi Arabia.

Emblem of Saudi Arabia

After reaching Jeddah late night, we checked in to our hotel – Bram Suites. Headed out for dinner at Chennai Darbar restaurant for delicious south-Indian food.



Note: All values in USD, unless otherwise mentioned, are approximate and based on the exchange rate of USD 1 = SAR 3.65 at the time of publishing. Each cost is for one adult.

What Cost Notes
Gas $22.60 Full tank.
Lunch, snacks and coffee $6.96 Fast food lunch, chai and snacks at a gas station.
Dinner $4.30 Chennai Darbar restaurant (Jeddah). Total cost of $17.30 for four persons.
Hotel $35.75 Bram Suites. One night. Four beds. Total cost of $143 for four persons.
Total Costs $69.61 Per person
Overall Costs $852.63 Per person


« PREVIOUS – Day 4

Al Ula (Hegra, Old Town)

Visiting Hegra and Al Ula old town.

Day 5

Al Ula (Dadan), Jeddah

Visiting Dadan and driving to Jeddah.

Day 6 – NEXT »

Abha, Rijal Almaa

Exploring the southern mountain area.

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