As a team of travel consultants, the opportunity to participate in a familiarization trip, or FAM trip, is one of the most exciting aspects of our profession. These journeys allow us to experience firsthand the destinations we promote (or will promote in the future!). Enriching our knowledge and passion for travel. In this blog post, I’m thrilled to share our team’s recent Saudi Arabia FAM trip, a country renowned for its captivating landscapes and cultural treasures.
Over the course of four memorable nights, our group explored the stunning landscapes of Al Ula and enjoyed a luxurious stay at Habitas AlUla, an eco-conscious haven. Join me on this journey as I recount our unforgettable experiences, from visiting Elephant Rock to adrenaline-pumping zip-lining adventures.
Day 1: Arrival and Welcome to Habitas AlUla
Our adventure began with an Flydubai flight from Dubai. Our flight arrived in the afternoon, where we had evening activities to choose from. Join either the Sound Star Meditation or just have dinner in Habitas (or in one of the restaurants outside if you wish to leave the hotel).
We were greeted with a warm welcome to Habitas AlUla, a unique eco-resort nestled in the heart of AlUla. This oasis of tranquility offered us a sense of solitude and serenity amidst the captivating desert surroundings. The hotel’s commitment to sustainability and ecotourism was evident in every aspect of our stay. From the sustainable architecture to the farm-to-table dining experiences. The accommodations, blending seamlessly with the environment, provided us with the perfect balance of luxury and sustainability. **Note that your options to stay are either 3 nights or 6 nights. Our group stayed here 3 nights.
Day 2: Discovering Elephant Rock
Our first full day in Saudi Arabia led us to the iconic Elephant Rock, a natural wonder shaped like an elephant drinking from a water source. This geological masterpiece stands tall amidst the arid desert landscape, and it was an awe-inspiring sight to behold. Our guided tour provided us with insightful information about the rock’s formation and cultural significance. The vastness of the desert and the serenity of this location made it a unique experience. One that etched itself into our memories.
While enjoying views of Elephant Rock, be sure to grab some tasty food at Sun Sand Salt. You can enjoy a tasty slider burger (we recommend the one with truffles!) while sitting at one of the sunken tables. Or perhaps, enjoy ice cream or coffee, or even shisha! It’s a great time.
Day 3: Exploring the Old Town and Culture
Saudi Arabia is a treasure trove of history. While we didn’t have the time, we recommend guests visit the Old Town of AlUla, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The labyrinthine streets, mudbrick buildings, and ancient ruins tells the story of the civilizations that once thrived here. You can book a guided tour introducing you to the rich history of the region, making it a journey through time. The locals’ hospitality and openness will provide you with a true cultural immersion. Leave with a deep respect for their way of life.
For a quick photoshoot, make sure you stop by Maraya. Meaning ‘mirror’ or ‘reflection’ in Arabic, Maraya is a stunning piece of art set in the desert canyon of Ashar Valley. Designed to blend into the surrounding landscape, it rises from the sand like a mirage. The state-of-the-art structure is covered in 9,740 mirrored panels reflecting AlUla’s beauty. According to Guinness World Records, making it the largest mirrored building in the world.
Maraya also celebrates AlUla’s significant role in history as a crossroads of cultures for centuries. The mirrors themselves become a contemporary canvas, reflecting the area’s remarkable heritage. And while the building itself stands as a work of art, it was also designed as a fully functioning multi-purpose venue and centerpiece of AlUla’s emerging cultural scene on a global scale.
Day 4: Adrenaline Rush – Zip Lining in AlUla & Helicopter Tour
For the thrill-seekers, you can adrenaline-packed adventure – zip lining in AlUla. The experience of soaring over the desert landscape with the wind in your hair and the stunning scenery below is sure to be exhilarating. It will offer a unique perspective on the region’s beauty. The thrill of the zip line will be quite a contrast to the tranquility you experienced in the desert. Showcasing the diverse experiences one can have in Saudi Arabia.
And speaking of adrenaline rush… we also recommend a helicopter tour! It was an incredible way to see Saudi Arabia from above.
Day 5: Khaybar and Tama
As our FAM trip drew to a close, our team had some luxury resorts to visit including the 5-star Banyan Tree Alula.
For those who are not travel agents doing hotel and resort tours, we recommend a visit to the ancient city of Khaybar. Uncover even more of the country’s rich history with its old forts, preserved palaces, and ancient mosques. Tama, known for its stunning mountainous terrain, provided the perfect backdrop for some final moments of reflection and connection with the natural beauty of the region. As the sun set over the rugged peaks, it marked the end of our remarkable journey.
A trip to Saudi Arabia is an opportunity not to be missed. Offering a blend of history, adventure, and breathtaking natural beauty. I look forward to helping others discover the magic of this remarkable country and create their own unforgettable memories.