What to see in Al Qunfudhah, where to stay and what to do in this seaside town, on the coast of Red Sea, plus a few tips on traveling with children.
I went on an exciting short adventure with the kids to see some parts of Saudi Arabia that we hadn’t explored before. First stop, was Al Qunfudhah to see the beaches. The initial plan was to go to Al Bahah, a hill top tourist spot, very famously known for its natural beauty and historic ruins. We wanted to stay in Bahah for two days and explore the surroundings but we started out late and Bahah is 6 hours or more from Jeddah.
Al Qunfidhah, is 3.5 hours from Jeddah and it is in the other direction but my BIL, who was travelling with his family, advised us that that was the more scenic route. It was therefore decided that we would first go to Al Qunfudhah to the enjoy the beaches and then to Bahah, where we can see the moutains. The plan was to return from Taif to Jeddah.
We traveled in two cars – four adults with six children, aged 2-9 years old. Travelling with kids has it’s own charm. If you time your travel plans right and schedule them to a time when they are most fresh or tired (whatever is your style) then it really can get very easy. Check out my tips on carseats and what to do if your child rejects them.
Travelling to Al Qunfudhah with Kids
Packing for the trip:
We were planning to stay away for 2 nights and 3 days. I had packed a travel case with two sets of clothes for each child plus their swim suits and towels. I had been warned that it could get chilly in Bahah at night so I had made sure to pack full sleeves shirts and pants instead of shorts or skirts. We also had a hoodie and a beanie for each child. For the car trip, the kids had their favourite books, a notebook for doodling or taking notes and some pens and crayons. The girls took their Lovey to hold on to.
We had lots of water in bottles as well as a cooler but we still stopped along the way to get cold drinks, snacks and ice cream as it was very very hot.
About AL Qunfudhah
Al Qunfudhah is also known by the names of Al Kunfuda or Qunfida or Qunfaida too. It is a sleepy little town (not that little because it is supposed to be the fourth largest town in the Makkah region but little nonetheless) on the coast of the Red Sea. It is four hours from Jeddah and four hours from Yemen. Yes, it is right in the middle.
The city of Al Qunfudhah has historical significance, so I had read. It is known for the Battle of Battle of Kunfuda Bay in 1912 between the Italians and Turks. I had read that there was remains of the battle ship still in the sea and that you could see it but… no, it wasn’t there. We only saw what could have been barrels in the sea or God knows if they really were anything like that. We drove around looking for it and searched online if we could find the exact location but alas…
The people on the beach and around were just tourists… nobody who could guide us or tell us where to look.
We started off at around 11am from Jeddah. The road is from the industrial city towards South Corniche. It is interesting to note that there is no petrol pump or rest station till around 100km. The traffic was very little and it was like driving in a desert with nothing in sight. In fact, there were hardly 3-4 petrol stations along the way. (Scroll the pictures below to see our journey)
Word of warning: The restrooms on the way, even at the petrol pumps are terrible!! If you have kids travelling with you, I highly recommend that you take a portable potty and disposable liners with you.
The region is prone to Sandstorms and we encountered one ourselves. You have to drive very slowly in that weather. It was also very very hot. I had to get in the back seat with the girls when they started getting restless due to the heat.
What to see there
It is basically a seaside resort town. The beach has hardly any crowd and there are playgrounds for children to slide or swing. The play areas are all covered by carpets so kids can be safe. The water is low, so you can swim in it but… there are many crabs!! We saw at least fifteen just standing on the shores. ::scary::
There are manmade canals running through the city. I am not sure what the purpose of those canals are but it was quite noticeable right away that there were many bridges upon water.
You can rent a boat or dhow in Al Qunfaida. You can rent a private beach too but since there were hardly anyone at all, we didn’t need any privacy anywhere.
Where to stay and where to eat in Al Qunfaidhah
There are many furnished apartments and hotels around the city that you can rent easily. The hotels by the sea are of course prime tourist spots so they will be a bit expensive but even then they shouldn’t cost more than SAR500. In the city, we got a fully furnished 2 bedroom, hall and kitchen apartment for SAR150. The rate also depends on the season so do book in advance, if you can.
Finding restaurants in the city was quite a task even though we needed to just find breakfast, lunch and dinner for one night and half a day. We found the above place while leaving. It was closed but by then we had already found a Foul Tameez place and had eaten. We left for Al Makhwa from Al Qunfudhah which was about 85km away.
More details in the next post.
This post is part of the Exploring Saudi Arabia with Kids series. Do join my mailing list below to stay updated on the latest posts from JeddahMom.Com