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Day 8 – Riyadh | Nine Days in Saudi Arabia

We arrived at Riyadh airport late previous night, and picked up the rental car from the airport.

After breakfast at the hotel this morning, we set out to explore the sights of the capital city. It was a Friday (again!) so most of the places were closed – not just because of the weekend, but because of renovations and repairs.

First stop was Deera Square. Popularly known as the Justice Square or Chop Chop Square, this is the infamous spot for the public executions in the past. It is said that depending when the last execution occurred, there could be blood on the ground which was cleaned by the crew.

The largest mosque of Riyadh, Imam Turki Bin Abdullah Grand Mosque, is located at this square, along with a clock tower and Masmak Fortress. The fortress was closed to visitors because of repairs and renovations, but this 150-year-old is a vast clay and mud-brick citadel that witnessed the birth of a kingdom. Built in 1865, Abdulaziz Al Saud conquered and united the different kingdoms and provinces that make up Saudi Arabia.

Deera Square, Riyadh
[Deera Square]

Deera Square, Riyadh
[Deera Square]

Deera Square with the clock tower, Riyadh
[Deera Square with Clock Tower]

Mosque at Deera Square, Riyadh
[Imam Turki Bin Abdullah Grand Mosque at Deera Square]

Mosque at Deera Square, Riyadh
[Imam Turki Bin Abdullah Grand Mosque at Deera Square]

Al Masmak fortress, Riyadh
[Al Masmak Fortress]

Al Masmak fortress, Riyadh
[Al Masmak Fortress]


From Deera square, we drove our rental car to the historical area of Ad Diriyah. Birthplace of the first Saudi state, the mud-brick walls once housed a thriving desert city that was a powerhouse of culture and commerce. Its At-Turaif district, the area’s citadel-marked primary quarter, was the original seat of power for the kingdom’s Al Saud family. In 1727, the city was named the country’s capital, laying the foundations for what would later become a unified Saudi Arabia.

Because of renovations work at At Turaif citadel, it was closed!

At Turaif citadel
[At Turaif citadel]

Largest flagpole in Riyadh
[Largest flagpole in Riyadh]

We spent some time wandering along the streets of Ad Diriyah and stopped over for chai and snacks at Dim Light restaurant. Next stop was a drive through the Diplomatic Quarter before heading to Saravana Bhavan for late lunch.

Lunch at Saravana Bhavan, Riyadh
[Lunch at Saravana Bhavan, Riyadh]

Last stop for the day was at the world-famous Kingdom Center – the 302.3 m (992 ft) tower famously known as the ‘bottle opener’ because of the sky bridge shape. Visitors can access the sky bridge to the 99th floor for the best urban panorama.

Suspended 300 meters above the city, the tower’s curved Sky Bridge offers spectacular views across the Riyadh skyline and beyond. Tickets cost SAR 65 (approx $18.50) and can be paid with a credit card.

From the ticket desk visitors are whizzed in an elevator to the 77th floor — home to the King Abdullah Mosque, the highest mosque in the world — before transferring to a second lift serving the Sky Bridge on the 99th floor. You can visit the mosque, so make sure to let the attendants know on 77th floor, before going up to the sky bridge.

Kingdom Center in day
[Kingdom Center in day]
Kingdom Center in night
[Kingdom Center in night]


View of Al Faisaliyah in day
[View of Al Faisaliyah in day]
nightView of Al Faisaliyah in night
[View of Al Faisaliyah in night]


View of Riyadh City Boulevard in day
[View of Riyadh City Boulevard in day]
View of Riyadh City Boulevard in night
[View of Riyadh City Boulevard in night]


Sky Bridge in Kingdom Center
[Sky Bridge in Kingdom Center]
Kingdom Center, Riyadh
[Kingdom Center, Riyadh]


We spent the late evening before sunset at the Kingdom Center until after sunset for the best views! We headed back to our hotel after dinner and calling it a day!



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
Rental Car $123 Budget Car Rental. Economy car, two days.
Kingdom Tower $18.50 Entrance fees.
Chai and snacks $6.38 chai and snacks at Dim Light restaurant in Diriyah.
Lunch $8.30 Saravana Bhavan restaurant. Total cost of $33.25 for four persons.
Hotel $152.25 Boudl AL Qasr. Two nights. Four beds. Total cost of $609 for four persons. Breakfast included.
Total Costs $308.43 Per person
Overall Costs $1,537.44 Per person


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Al Jahamah, AL Khalaf, Al Habala

Historical villages of the south.

Day 8


Sights of capital city.

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Pigeon Tower, Riyadh

Visiting sights out of Riyadh and getting out.

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