Holy Land 360 is exploring the possibility of providing holy land trips to Saudia Arabia.
Did you say Saudi Arabia?
Yes... I did!
Israel/Palestine, as we know, is predominantly recognized for its amazing holy land sites and pilgrimages. But, of course, there are other sites throughout the world that are considered "Holy" by Christians and other faiths. It could be argued that any place were we acknowledge the divine is "Holy," as God is everywhere. That said, more traditional places throughout the world abound, with one being Jebal Maqla in Saudi Arabia, considered by some to be the location of Mount Sinai. Local Bedouins call Jebal Musa (Moses' mountain) and have carefully preserved these locations over many generations.
With Saudia Arabia now opening up for tourism, local guides have reached out to me to consider a partnership to help facilitate tours in this area. Intrigued but cautious, I had multiple questions I know many of you (myself included) would want to know before even considering traveling to this mysterious land. Fortunately, they provided some answers the questions and concerns I had that I hope will shed some light for all of us.
What do COVID 19 protocols look like for travelers to Saudi Arabia?
Right now, you must have a government-approved covid vaccine. The requirements appear to be similar to most countries now allowing international travelers' entry. The regulations can be found on the official Saudia Arabia travel website.
How reputable and experienced are the tour guides?
The guides are from Australia and have facilitated numerous tours for many years. They are now leading official government-approved tours in and around Jebal Maqla.
What are the trips like?
There are currently two options. There is a VIP tour where people can stay in nice hotels in Tabuk. The other option is called the Bedouin tour, where you camp in tents near the heritage sites. All food is included. There is a combination of camp and local food. Most of the food is either catered from Tabuk or cooked at a fire on site.
Is the claim Mount Sinai is located in Saudi Arabia legit?
There are several proposed locations for Mount Sinai, most notably the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. That said, other sites have been proposed, with a number of them located in Saudia Arabia. There is ample evidence that would suggest this but certainly not proven.
What can a female tourist expect? Should they be concerned?
It is overwhelmingly safe for women, with the rights for women growing. Since this is in a very conservative Bedouin area, all tourists (men and women) should dress modestly. There are no specific laws on how to dress, but scantily clad clothing should be avoided. Swimwear and bikinis can be worn at the beach.
Is it Safe?
Saudi is very safe. The Northern border is one of the safest places in the region as the countries that border this area are all very peaceful. The Yemen border area is not safe and should be avoided.
So there you have it. This hopefully provides some initial clarification on what a tour to Saudi would look like. Still, I have more questions, and I'm by no means comfortable sending travelers to this area without some first-hand knowledge. This leads me to the question...
Who wants to go to Saudi?
I'm considering taking the Bedouin tour and bringing some adventurous friends with me as sort of an expedition or trial run - exploring regions very few westerners have experienced. I don't know about you, but it sounds pretty exciting and sure beats COVID lockdowns for the last 18 months! If you're interested in learning more, feel free to give me a shout.