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Travelling to Middle East? Check out these lesser known Middle Eastern marvels on your next trip

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Jan 31, 2024 08:01 PM IST

Here are some Middle Eastern destinations beyond Dubai, that offer an array of different experiences from adventure to cultural immersion, varied gastronomy etc

The Middle East, known for its diverse culture, rich history and modern marvels, extends far beyond the glitz of Dubai. While the city shines brightly on the travel map, several other destinations in the region now offer distinctive experiences waiting to be discovered and cherished.

Travelling to Middle East? Check out these lesser known Middle Eastern marvels on your next trip (Photo by SALEH on Unsplash)
Travelling to Middle East? Check out these lesser known Middle Eastern marvels on your next trip (Photo by SALEH on Unsplash)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Lubaina Sheraazi, CEO and Co-Founder of BRANDit, recommended checking out these Middle Eastern destinations beyond Dubai, that offer an array of different experiences from adventure to cultural immersion, varied gastronomy and more -

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  • Doha, Qatar: The Fusion of Tradition and Modernity

Doha, the ever-evolving gem of Qatar, skillfully weaves tradition and modernity into its captivating fabric. The city renowned for its architectural marvels offers an array of experiences that fuse warm Arabic hospitality with contemporary luxury. The cultural tapestry unfolds at Katara Cultural Village, nestled between the expansive beachfront and the twin Katara Hills, where art, culture, and culinary wonders converge at the heart of Doha. Doha's emergence as an art district further elevates its appeal, captivating enthusiasts with its energetic artistic scene. Visit the iconic National Museum of Qatar, envisioned by the pioneering architect Jean Nouvel, stands as a representation of Qatar’s heritage, depicted through its awe-inspiring design which is reminiscent of a desert rose. Or discover Richard Serra’s magnificent East-West/West-East installation made of colossal steel plates is a monumental testament nestled amidst the limestone formations just beyond Zekreet.

Qatar offers a gastronomic journey like no other, that starts with traditional Qatari flavours and culminates in a selection of dishes from the global cuisine in settings ranging from street food trucks to fine dining restaurants. Thrill seekers can prepare for an adrenaline rush with exciting activities in the mesmerising Khor Al Adaid such as sandboarding, camel rides, and thrilling quad bike and ATV excursions. The thrill extends to various water adventures like sailing, water-skiing, canoeing, kitesurfing, jet-skiing, windsurfing, diving and more thanks to the 560 km of coastline with crystal clear waters and vibrant marine life.

  • Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: Gateway to the Red Sea

Jeddah, the gateway to the Red Sea, beckons adventurers with its aquatic wonders. Offering thrilling experiences like snorkelling and scuba diving, this city is more than a marine paradise—it's a cultural gem. The historic district of Al-Balad showcases ancient architecture and lively souks, introducing visitors to Hijazi cuisine and enriching shopping tours around its landmarks.

  • Muscat, Oman: Experience the Omani Opulence

Muscat, the Omani capital, mesmerises with its luxury and cultural heritage. Discover the allure of the renowned Amouage Perfumery, marvel at architectural wonders like the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Mutrah Souq. Witness dolphins in their natural habitat and explore Oman's rich history at various museums like the Bait Al Zubair Museum which brings the rich cultural heritage right before you. As the oldest independent state in the Arab World, the country has embraced the tenets of modernisation while preserving its quintessential cultural tapestry. Nestled within a dual resort complex is Shangri-La Muscat seamlessly integrating cultural, artistic, culinary and architectural heritage. Its location along the Gulf of Oman pays homage to its rich maritime history even as the architecture is designed to resemble forts, villages, towns, and markets. An in-house Frankincense Sommelier is appointed to give insight into Omani cultural nuances and traditional welcome rituals too.

  • Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Where History Meets Modern Entertainment

Riyadh, the birthplace of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, balances historical treasures with a bustling, modern cityscape. Uncover the city's historical legacy within old palaces and contrast it with the vivid entertainment scenes in places like Riyadh Boulevard. From luxury shopping destinations to thrilling activities like hiking the Edge of the World, Riyadh blends business, entertainment, and cultural richness seamlessly. Held between October to March, Riyadh Season transforms the city into the biggest winter entertainment event in the Middle East with huge concerts, food trucks, cafes and shopping experiences from around the globe. The festivities embody the essence of Saudi Arabia, showcasing its rich Najdi heritage and vibrant present-day dynamism.

  • AlUla, Saudi Arabia: Unveiling Hidden Historical Marvels

AlUla, a treasure trove, entices travellers with its deep historical significance. Home to Hegra, a UNESCO World Heritage site, this land reveals ancient civilizations and stories etched within its rocks and inscriptions. Delight your taste buds with innovative Najdi cuisine against breathtaking views, and embrace exceptional experiences like rock climbing, hiking, and camping under the starry desert sky.

These Middle Eastern destinations offer an array of experiences, blending history, culture and modern allure with the generosity of Arab culture, inviting travellers to explore and appreciate the diverse tapestry woven into the fabric of the region.

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