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  • Writer's pictureEmmanuel Adu-Awuku

Thrill seeker or beach bum? Here are four attractions to find in Jeddah

Updated: Mar 30

Palm trees


Hosting the second round of the 2024 F1 world championships was the main reason I visited Jeddah this past weekend. Beyond that, I discovered a city with subtle attractions and a wicked personality. Let’s dive into four main attractions that make Jeddah worth visiting, along with the budget needed.


First things first, I booked my flight tickets six weeks in advance so the prices were at their cheapest. The browski, Alexios and I booked four-day accommodation for sharing at Merada Hotel in Al Zahra - basic hotel, nothing fancy. Conveniently, the hotel was ten minutes away from the Formula 1 (F1) race track. We also rented a car for mobility around Jeddah. This was important as the Jeddah Airport and Obhur & Corniche beach areas were 30 - 40 minutes away from the hotel. E-hailing is also an option in Jeddah, however expensive.


SAR currency

ZAR currency

Flight tickets (return)

SAR 418

ZAR 2,090

Accommodation (two person sharing)

SAR 420

ZAR 2,100

Car rental

SAR 322

ZAR 1,610

Petrol (40 litres of fuel)

SAR 80

ZAR 400

Total

SAR 1,240 pp*

ZAR 6,200 pp

* pp - per person

Chasing clouds

 

1. Let’s go racing


Ok, let’s get into Jeddah’s main attraction - F1. To say this was a dream come would be an understatement. I never expected to go to the Formula (as it’s called in Jeddah) so soon. The crew (Alexios, June, Mpho, and I) chose Main Grandstand B tickets which cost SAR 1,650 each (ZAR 8,250). This was the seating after the Start/Finish line but before Turn 1. Main Grandstand A - the best seats in the house outside of VIP - cost SAR 2,400 (ZAR 12,000). Main Grandstand B was an amazing experience. We got to see the pit lane, practice starts, high speed, and thrilling overtakes. Additionally, the trackside commentary and screening helped us follow the race when the race cars were zooming down other parts of the track.

From the couch to trackside

 

2. Sunscreen and sunbathing


Beaches are a popular attraction in Jeddah and sunbathing was definitely a must. We explored two main beach areas - (1) Obhur, which has the popular main attraction beaches like Narcissus and La Playa and (2) Corniche, which is more on the Jeddah port side, not as attractive, and not much hospitality infrastructure. Obhur is definitely the place to be. For SAR 200 (ZAR 1,000), Narcissus offers you a buffet breakfast and beach access for the day - if you arrive before 1130am. La Playa on the other hand only offers beach access for SAR 85 (ZAR 425).

Let's take it back to the beach

 

3. History is undeniable


Next stop, Historic Jeddah. Historic Jeddah had a symbolic role as a gateway to Mecca for Muslim pilgrims. Now it forms part of Jeddah’s historic appeal. Guided tours are available for SAR 70 pp (ZAR 350), however the crew chose a self-guided tour in the hot sun. We got lost a couple of times but after composed directions from Alex and June, we made it to the best parts of Historic Jeddah.

Historic Jeddah

 

4. Party no dey stop


Apparently, Jeddah knows how to party…so we heard after leaving Jeddah. I don’t have much to say on this as the Formula took up most of my time. Outside of Historic Jeddah, we didn’t explore Jeddah or its nightlife. I’ll leave you to explore this attraction when you visit Jeddah.


In addition to non-negotiable costs (flights, accommodation, car rental), lunch, dinner and adhoc costs also need to be budgeted.


SAR currency

ZAR currency

Snacks and beverages

SAR 120

ZAR 600

Lunch

SAR 120

ZAR 600

Dinner

SAR 320

ZAR 1,600

Adhoc

SAR 85

ZAR 425

Total

SAR 645 pp

ZAR 3,225 pp

Let's go home


Here’s a collation of my total budget across the four-day weekend:


SAR currency

ZAR currency

Non-negotiables

SAR 1,240

ZAR 6,200

F1 ticket

SAR 1,650

ZAR 8,250

Brunch and beach access*

SAR 485

ZAR 2,425

Historic Jeddah

SAR 0

ZAR 0

Additional

SAR 645

ZAR 3,225

Total

SAR 4,000 pp

ZAR 20,000 pp

* two visits to Narcissus and one visit to La Playa


SAR 4,000 pp (ZAR 20,000) is a lot of money, but considering the range of activities and luxury on offer, the price tag was worth it. My highlights of the trip were spending time at the beach relaxing, bonding with the crew, and rocking stylish outfits!


I would give Jeddah a 6/10 rating - not for any bad experiences (although the driving is so horrible) but rather for the potential that wasn’t explored. It’s also difficult to imagine Jeddah without the Formula. How much is the Formula responsible for Jeddah’s pull?! So the question becomes - will I go back to Jeddah? Definitely, not just for the Formula, but to discover Jeddah’s nightlife and hidden gems. 


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