We left Riyadh at 6:30am on 11th May 2021. The roads were almost empty, probably since it was still the second to the last day of Ramadan. Our GPS was set to our hotel in Abha and expected travel time was almost 10hours.
When we reached Bisha, one of the cars in our convoy had a mechanical trouble so we had to stop. Fortunately we found a group of Filipino mechanics at Aman Car shop along Prince Sultan Road. They were very accommodating and helpful.
We hit the road again as soon as the car was fixed around 11pm. We reached our hotel in Abha a bit past 2am. We were up quite late the following day but we were prepared for a full day out in Abha. The spring weather felt very pleasant and welcoming.
Our first stop was at the Al Soudah (Jebel Al Soudah) trail and view deck. It was almost 10am and there were already quite a few tourists in the site. The view from more than 3000 above sea level was astronomical. Hundreds of baboons were roaming around, seemingly enjoying the nice cool weather at the mountaintop.
ff to our next stop, Rojal district where Rijal Almaa historical village lies 45km west from the city of Abha. Bordered by Soudah Mountain, which is Saudi Arabia’s highest peak, the way to reach Rijal Alma’s was a huge challenge by itself. In fact this very road is listed amongst the most dangerous roads in the world- stiff, curvy, narrow with the sharpest turns I’ve ever seen in all my travels, but nonetheless it also has one of the most stunning views.
Reaching Rijal Almaa safely after a nerve-wrecking drive was such a delight. The facade is very insta-worthy as my daughter puts it. We paid 20SAR each for the museum, strolled in and out of the forts and took pleasure of knowing about the significant role that this humble village played during the ancient times from trading, hunting and wars.
Because our second day in Asir Region coincided with the last day of Ramadan, some tourists attractions were closed including Al Habala settlement, cable cars, and the Green Mountain, so it was a little disappointing.
We then headed to Abu Kheyal Park to see the popular purple flowers of Jaracanda trees in Abha. The word ‘Jacaranda’ is believed to mean ‘fragrant’ in a native South American dialect, and the trees are known for their purple blossoms. Jacarandas bloom all over the city of Abha during Spring, offering stunning selfie backdrops, breathtaking views and probably a reminder that a new season has arrived.
As the call for prayer marks the end of fasting, we found most restaurants closed in the city center, so we opted for a light meal instead at the AlRashid Mall which was near Ostrava Hotel where we were staying at.
After a quick rest, we went to the High City in central Abha . Overlooking city lights, being surrounded by mountains, glowing stars in the sky, and feeling the cool, night air in Abha, all so peaceful and quiet, provides a soothing relief to any tired soul of a far city dweller like me.
We were up early the following day, hoping to take photos of Jabal Soudah’s sea of clouds. We reached the peak at 7am and we found a rather thick fog. The wind felt cold at 16C. Since it was the day of Eid Al Ftr, most shops were closed, and people were gathered up in the mosques for Eid prayers. Even the streets were crowded with worshippers. We went back to the hotel for breakfast and shower.
What makes me happy?
People. Everyone around me who believes and inspires me.
Life itself is a happy experience. The world is a happy place.
I had my own share of struggles, life was not easy for us back then but my Dad taught me how to believe in myself, work hard , be kind and to be strong. He inspired me to go out of my comfort zone. He used to tell me that the possibilities in life are endless and so I believed him.
l Iost him quite a few years ago but he has left me with so much inspiration to follow my dreams - to visit places I have only dreamt of or have seen in the movies when I was little and to do things I thought were only for the privileged few.
Wherever I go, I always remember my Dad, wishing he could see me from afar and somehow be proud of me as I have always been so proud of him. Life is short and I promised him that I would make the most of mine.
Travelling makes me happy and in all other things, I choose happiness. We all should- always..