So you have made it as an OFW in Saudi Arabia! Awesome! But as reality sinks in, bouts of overseas boredom and sickness will quickly replace those feelings of elation. If your current work situation doesn’t allow any downtime options, you might want to spend your free time that’s closer to home instead. And the best way to do that, my friend, is to check out the great Arabian desert.
The desert as a fun place? No kidding!
Looking to venture into the unknown? Yes, the Arabian desert can be a fun place to check out! But first, where is it located?
The Arabian desert is a wide expanse of dry wilderness, with most of it located in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). It also stretches into its neighbor countries, like Oman, Yemen, Jordan, and Iraq.
The desert temperature can be scorching during the day and drops to frosty cold at night. If you need a respite from your daily OFW routine, the experience would totally worth it.
The Arabian desert is more than just a large plateau of sand, dunes, and dry landscapes. It’s a vast open space that’s also home to an astonishing series of rugged mountain landscapes, bush Savannah, plus miles of undiscovered and picturesque boondocks this side of the Arabian Peninsula. Experiencing the abundance of space, stillness, and beauty of the desert lets you reconnect with nature, leaves you feelings of wonder and tranquility, and helps you de-stress and deeply appreciate the opportunity that you have been given as an overseas worker.
Getting excited? Read on…
As an OFW in Saudi, what activities can you engage in?
Saudi Arabia offers more than be exotic and mysterious. Although there are specialized tour operators near your locale, it’s best to ask someone in the Filipino expat community or grab organized local trips. Remember, it’s fun (and safer!) to be among friends rather than embark on a tour on your own. A desert safari tour may typically include activities, such as camel rides, belly dancing, sunset photography, and star gazing.
You haven’t taken a real desert safari if you haven’t experienced these!
Have a dune bashing adventure
Dune bashing or Tet’ees is an off-road desert safari. You can rent your own four-wheel drive and hire a professional driver to help maximize your dune bashing experience.
During the drive, you’ll experience exciting vehicle action, such as climbing up sand hills, bursting through dunes, and racing askew across the sand.
Participate in sandboarding
Don’t pass up the chance to join sandboarding trips! Travel operators will drive deep into the desert to search for steep and even-shaped dunes. Some tour packages provide customers special sand boards that are designed to smoothly and swiftly glide through the sand without sinking.
Experience Bedouin life and cuisine
The Arabian desert is home to the Bedouins – a tribe of nomadic shepherds and herdsmen that speak the Arabic tongue. You can mostly see them herding a flock of sheep and goats. They live in camp settlements composed of tents woven with goat hair and light poles.
You can smell delicious, traditional Bedouin food wafting from the tents. Bedouin meals may consist of a Mansaf dish (lamb or camel meat), yogurt, dried fruit, nuts, rice or flatbread, and Arabic tea to drink.
Don’t forget to snap incredible photo selfies you can share (or brag!) to your family and friends back home! Oh, and ask permission first before taking pics!
A few words of caution
OFWs are being encouraged to stay and work in Saudi Arabia. But if you feel like you need to unwind, visiting the desert can be therapeutic.
A few words of caution, though. Be aware of restrictions in Saudi Arabia before your travels. Street rules include not to shoot building photos, eat pork, or go to the cinema. Same will apply on your desert trip. Snap pictures only if you have to, eat offered meals (even if you don’t like it) as an act of courtesy, and bring friends to accompany you.
Before going, don’t forget to pack some of your favorite traveling clothes. Tours may allow the removal of the traditional abaya for women – a black, ankle-length garment that covers the body from head to toe. It’s advisable to bring comfortable-fitting, but still conservative clothing, such as pants, T-shirts, and sweaters. Wear sandals, not shoes. Sand can get into your shoes, which may feel uncomfortable. Bring your shades to protect your eyes, and if possible, don’t wear any jewelry.
While some tour packages come with refreshments and meals, bring some bottled water or snack bars to keep yourself hydrated and your hunger pangs in check.
So don’t just leave your footprints in the sand. Be in the know so you can get the most out of your Arabian desert adventure!
Are you an OFW in Saudi Arabia? Been to or wanting to traverse the great Arabian desert? Tell us your stories! Sound off below!
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Ericson Ebuenga – youtube.com/watch?v=4xBCYdHk1c0