A Look at Umluj, Often Dubbed the Maldives of Saudi Arabia

To the north of Saudi Arabia, sitting on the stunning shores of the Red Sea, is a small town with a big reputation for all things beautiful. Umluj, often referred by locals as the Maldives of the Kingdom, sits in Saudi Arabia’s Tabuk province and it’s not hard to see why. It is known for its turquoise waters, fine sand, beautiful coral reefs, striking surrounding nature, and rich biodiversity.

Umluj is said to stretch some 150 kilometers north of Yanbu, a major Red Sea port in the Kingdom’s Medina Province. The town itself attracts guests due to its excellent year-round weather, offering lots of sunshine all year round, with very little rain and moderate dry heat during certain periods. Each day when the sun sets, visitors are greeted with evenings that are even more appealing, often cool and refreshing.

Umluj is still relatively unknown to many inside and beyond Saudi Arabia, which means most of its nature is still intact, clean, and exceptional. Near the coastal stretch of Umluj are a number of islands that offer the adventurous and curious traveler remarkable beaches, tropical vegetation, blue waters, and a beautiful calm. Its sands in particular are said to be soft and fine, a real pleasure to walk on.

In its waters are even more treasures. It is said to have hundreds of incredible coral species, over three times more than the amount found in Caribbean reefs. Its reefs are home to a diversity of marine life, from all kinds of fish to different types of turtles. Perhaps one of the most exciting residents of Umluj’s waters are dugongs, seagrass-eating mammals that Saudi Arabia has focused efforts on protecting, after becoming a Signatory State to the CMS Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation and Management of Dugongs and their Habitats throughout their Range (Dugong MOU) in 2013.

Surrounding Umluj are dormant yet quite grand volcanoes such as Harrat Lunayyir, Jabal Qidr, and Jabal Baydaa, as well as lava fields in the Harrat (black volcanic rocks) Khyber region. This area offers a visual feast, striking patterns melted into the ground, between large craters. Further out, Tabul region offers impressive mountain ranges and canyons such as the renowned Grand Canyon at Al Shaq and Sarawat Mountain Range.

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