A City Guide to Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia
Al Khobar is a metropolitan city, situated in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia on the coast of the Persian Gulf. With a population of 941,478 as of 2012 census, it is one of the largest cities in the Gulf Cooperation Council. Al Khobar is a part of the Dammam metropolitan area along with Dammam and Dhahran, which together forms the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Saudi Arabia having an estimated combined population of over Four million as of 2012.
In earlier days, Khobar was a tiny port on the Persian Gulf coast, a fishing village inhabited chiefly by Al Dosary tribe members. The city got transformed into a major commercial and shopping center and an industrial port with the discovery of oil in the year 1930. Nowadays, most of the commercial shipping activities in the Eastern Province are under the authority of larger port of Dammam. The oil gets exported to all foreign countries by the dedicated Saudi Aramco port of Ras Tanura. Khobar has extended and transformed its water front along the Persian Gulf into a scenic Corniche with parks, family beaches and eateries, hence making it one of the most iconic features of the city.
The most popular activity in the southern town of Khobar is riding ATVs near the coastline of Arabian Gulf. The tourist as well as the locals enjoy running up and down the sand dunes or along the coastal line in an ATV at 40 km per hour. You can take ATVs on rent from the locals. Prices may differ depending on the operator and the quality and size of the ATVs. Usually, 80 to 120 Riyal per hour is considered a fair deal.
The Half-Moon Bay situated in the southern coastal area of Khobar also has numerous beaches. Throughout this area, the water is incredibly shallow and lukewarm. To escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, most of the beaches have clean sand and are large enough for a perfect family outing.
The Rashid Mall and The Mall of Dhahran are Khobar’s two largest malls and are comparable to those present in western countries. Both the Malls offer plenty of stores and ample food halls with well-known outlets as well as Middle Eastern specialists and versions. For those with families, both of these malls have amusement parks. When visiting these malls it is necessary to watch out for family and females only areas.
The traditional meal here is Chicken Shawaya which is fundamentally chicken and rice, again a combination that is very popular worldwide. Other Fun place in Khobar is Golf World, a pleasant place to enjoy playing Golf along with your companions. It has four screen golf rooms as well as a three Cushion Billiard table.
The downtown area near the waterfront is highly-developed and modernized with plenty of brand stores, Western eateries, coffee shops and retailers. It is a busy area with magnificent local food and nice buys on merchandise though quality may differ. Most of the restaurants downtown will cater specially to Westerners. Prices may vary, but tend to be reasonable – it is often feasible to have an amazing dinner downtown at a cafe providing different varieties of cuisine ranging from lamb, beef liver, chicken, rice, bread, falafel, veggies and more at a price of only $10 USD for four people.