Kempinski Blog Article
Located on the shores of the Persian Gulf, Al Khobar is one of Saudi Arabia’s prettiest cities. As well as its wealth of parks and waterfront restaurants, it is rapidly becoming an important business centre, attracting visitors from all over the world.
Bustling Al Khobar
Along with Dammam and Dhahran, Al Khobar is one of Saudi Arabia’s “triplet cities” on the Persian Gulf, and is the one that has the longest coastline. Known as a town of fishermen and traders for many centuries, Al Khobar grew rapidly from a small fishing port in the 1930s to the metropolis it is today thanks to the discovery of vast oil reserves.
This increase in wealth helped the city to transform its beautiful waterfronts into the Corniche, an extensive stretch of parks, beaches, museums and cafés offering beautiful views over the Gulf. Today, the Corniche is Al Khobar’s biggest tourist attraction, offering the perfect place to relax and socialise.
Al Khobar is also a growing centre of business and finance, as demonstrated by the many skyscrapers spread across the skyline. Whether you are here for work or pleasure, don’t miss out on what the Pearl of the Gulf has to offer.
Visiting Al Khobar
Al Khobar and its two sister cities are served by the King Fahd International Airport, which lies about 60km away on the western edge of the tri-city area. It is also possible to enter the country through Bahrain Airport, driving across the magnificent King Fahd Causeway to arrive in Al Khobar.
Taxis are the most popular way for visitors to get around and are plentiful in and around the city centre, as well as at both airports. As well as locally-operated taxi companies, Uber and its Middle Eastern equivalent Careem are popular here too.
Alternatively, there are multiple daily buses to and from Bahrain operated by the Saudi-Bahraini Transport Company, leaving from Dammam, Al Khobar and Manama. The buses are air-conditioned and comfortable, and may be faster than taxis during periods of high traffic as they can use their own lanes at immigration and customs.
If you are staying for a while, you may prefer to rent your own car from one of the many services available. At the time of writing, women are still forbidden from driving in Saudi Arabia, but this is expected to change from June 2018: we advise checking what the law in place will be when you plan to visit.
When visiting Al Khobar, take the time to enjoy the very best of Middle Eastern hospitality. Kempinski Al Othman Hotel Al Khobar, located in a peaceful spot overlooking the grand waterfront, is perfectly placed for visitors who want to appreciate Al Khobar, Dhahran and Dammam equally.
Al Khobar's cuisine
Al Khobar is home to many fantastic waterfront restaurants, many specialising in locally-caught seafood. Its residents come from many parts of the Middle East, and this is reflected in the quality and variety of food on offer. Staples include yoghurt, wheat, rice, fava beans, chicken, lamb and dates.
Local delicacies include kabsa, a mixed-rice dish of Yemeni origin that is often made with chicken in Saudi Arabia, rather than lamb. Hejazi cuisine is also popular, including dishes like stone-grilled chicken, magliya (a local variation on falafel) and magloobah – a savoury upside-down cake made with rice. Traditional Middle Eastern creations like shawarma, kofta and kebab are commonly eaten as street foods too.
Fusion food, particularly Asian, is very popular as well, and for those craving a taste of home there are many international chains in the city to choose from.
Please note that eating pork and drinking alcohol are strictly forbidden in Saudi Arabia, and visitors should not request them to avoid causing offence.
Al Khobar’s Corniche district is home to many of the city’s unmissable sights – we recommend taking at least a couple of days to see everything.
Al Hariri Mosque
This mosque sits on a man-made outcrop looking out to sea, where visitors can admire the contrast between the impeccable white stonework and the blue waters and sky. Ornately constructed in a stand out geometrical style, it is an unmissable landmark for anyone strolling along the Corniche. Further down the coast, be sure to look for the amazing Khobar Water Tower, which has a restaurant at the top of it.
Scitech Technology Centre
A great place for kids and adults alike to learn all about science, space travel and wildlife. It is divided into six halls, each focusing on a different aspect of science and technology. There is an observatory at the northern edge of the centre, complete with a telescope – ideal for getting a closer look at the night sky.
If you are looking for a bit of retail therapy while you are here, you can get everything from fashion and food to electronics and essentials. With hundreds of stores and many places to eat and drink, this bustling mall is longest-established in the city. If you would prefer a more relaxed shopping experience, try Venicia Mall which has a low-key, boutique feel.
Toy Town Leisure Centre
The perfect place to go if you are visiting with children, this centre offers fun rides and attractions that will keep little ones busy for hours. Carousels, mini roller coasters and even an amazing 7D cinema are all part of the entertainment on offer. Toy Town also does birthday parties, in case you are celebrating a special day while you are here!
King Fahd Causeway
You may travel across this on your way in to Al Khobar, but in case you don’t, it is worth the drive by itself. Stretching an incredible 25km in total, this series of bridges and causeways links Saudi Arabia with the neighbouring island nation of Bahrain. On a sunny day, it makes a spectacular drive with the Persian Gulf stretching away on either side.
Let us show you the Al Khobar we know and love – contact Kempinski Al Othman Hotel Al Khobar to book your stay.