Located in the Tabuk region of Saudi Arabia, this small coastal town on the northwest coast of the Kingdom is often referred to as the Maldives of the Kingdom and it’s no wonder why! Whatever you seek, be it a day at a tranquil beach, underwater fun, island hopping, or bird watching, Umluj has it all.
#AboutSaudi: In postcard-pretty Umluj, the "Saudi Arabian Maldives", you can spot dolphins leaping through the turquoise waters at the right time of the year.— About Her (@AboutHerOFCL) August 24, 2020
: @EsraaRayes / IG pic.twitter.com/mhVP3fxJkm
Its beaches have been described as some of the most pristine, dream-like beaches in all of Saudi Arabia. According to the Visit Saudi website, Umluj beaches offer public access and private resorts, each with a myriad of amenities that cater to swimmers and sunbathers, divers and watersports aficionados.
Once you pick the way you want to enjoy the city’s coastline, there is a world of underwater fun to be had. Its clear waters, diverse marine life, and stunning coral reef make Umluj a great choice for diving and snorkeling, and it is less crowded than other sought-after Red Sea dive spots like those in Egypt. A dive into Umluj’s waters and one will come across a breathtaking underwater world, home to green and Hawksbill turtles, dolphins, dugong sea cows, over 1,200 fish species, and 300 species of hard coral, estimated to be about four times as many as in the Caribbean!
For those who want a more above water exploratory experience, Umluj is home to 104 little islands, each marked by white sands and swaying palms. Once on the water sailing towards deserted atolls and sandbars, it is not unusual to spot dolphins and various kinds of fish on the way. The website explains that visitors can take day tours on larger boats but many prefer to book private trips in shaded little fishing boats with drivers.
To discover a few of Umluj’s spectacular sites, visitors can take a boat to islands like Jabal Hassan or palm-covered coastal beaches such as Ras Al Shaaban and Doqm, and from town they can also visit nearby mango farms or travel an hour or so inland to Harrat Lunayyir, which is a black lava field of craters and cones.