Dammam Travel Guide For First-Time Visitors

The sprawling city of Dammam is one of the most populous cities in Saudi Arabia and well-known as the heart and center of the Saudi oil industry. That doesn’t mean there is nothing here for tourists — quite the opposite, in fact. All that oil money has turned the city into a fantastic playground full of sights, scenery, history, theme parks and plenty of delicious food. Here is a round-up of travel tips and advice for all you first-time visitors of Dammam. Have fun!

Why Visit Dammam?

For those who prefer soaking in the glory of a city with a rich cultural heritage, stunning desert scenery, serene seaside walkways, Dammam is just for you. The city is a scenic paradise with several fine attractions and some of the best beaches in the world.

Persian Gulf, as seen from Dammam (click to enlarge)

Best Time of Year to Visit Dammam

The best period to visit for tourists would be from November to February where temperatures are much cooler rising to about 26 degrees Celsius during the day and falling to around 19 degrees Celsius at night. Summers can be a bit warm and if you are not used to it, the weather can be a bit stifling.

Do You Need a Visa For Dammam?

Depending on where you are traveling from, you might have to apply for a visa to visit Dammam. It is recommended to have visa arrangements sorted at the earliest to ensure minimum hassle in travel. There now exists a provision for visa application online which makes the process easier.

What To Pack and What To Wear

Light cotton clothes are a good choice for daywear, and a jacket or two for the winter nights are more than enough to keep you comfortable. Avoid the wool. Tourists are requested to avoid carrying any banned items into the city as that will only bring needless trouble so make sure whatever you are carrying is within regulations of the state of Dammam.

How to Reach Dammam

You can reach the city via several different methods. The most popular being road and air transport. Travelers from different countries usually enter the city via air. King Fahd International Airport flies thousands of passengers every week and is well connected with several major cities around the world. If you are looking for Saudi airlines flight tickets from your country at the cheapest rate, make sure you book a couple of months in advance for great deals.

The roads and highways to Dammam are well networked, road services are readily available and there are no shortage of taxis and bus services. Travelers can even arrive by boat.

Befriend budget airlines

Many airlines fly to Dammam. If you are looking for cheap flights, strategize your booking by planning during the off-seasons and the holiday season. Some airlines provide fliers with discounts on certain festivals to boost tourism.

Language in Dammam

The national language of Saudi Arabia is Arabic as such the main language spoken in Dammam is Arabic with Hejazi Arabic, Najdi Arabic, and Gulf Arabic being the most popular regional dialects. However one can also speak in English in popular tourist destinations. It is because the Saudi government has set up a well-organized and friendly tourism department which caters to the needs of the outsiders.

How to get around Within Dammam

Tourists visiting the city can use a wide variety of transportation services to get around the city. The local train services are fast and considerably cheap. Bus and cab services are also available. The country has an excellent network of roads and tourists will find no hassle in travel.

Taste the Local Food

It is said one can only truly appreciate culture only after trying its food. Lucky for you, the country of Dammam has a wide range of delicious cuisines for you to partake in. from modern restaurants that serves you the best of the world to delicious unique traditional foods like the Yemeni Mandi and the Magliya.

Markets and Shopping in Dammam

A shopper paradise, Dammam is home to several of the world’s top brands with a plethora of high-end malls like the marina mall. For those who prefer purchasing of more sentimental value with traditional bearing, the many traditional markets in the country will surely leave you to spellbound with traditional souvenirs and products like the Camel Milk Chocolate.

Most Popular Attractions in Dammam

Dammam has a wide variety of attractions but if you are visiting here for the first time, these places are a must visit:

  1. Tarout Castle and the Old Town: Established in 1600 BC the old town is ancient and home to the ancestors of Dammam. The castle is a well-preserved historical monument build by the Portuguese in the 15th century though later on several civilizations have also laid claim to it.
  2. Dammam Regional Museum: If you are interested in history, visit the regional museums. Explore the time of man from six different aspects, beginning with the stone age all the way up to the modern age.
  3. Half Moon Bay: A visit to Dammam without visiting half moon bay is criminal. The beach is one of the most beautiful sights in the Arabian country and is not to be missed.
  4. Share Al Hob: A traditional market, it will surely excite the shopaholic with you several unique items sold here. The traditional market is a great place to purchase souvenirs and also Is a great spot to observe the traditional market life.
  5. Coral Islands: The Coral islands are famous throughout the country. Alternatively named as Marjan island. The island is a great place to enjoy a relaxing evening while watching the sunset.
  6. Dolphin Village: Located at the entrance of Marjan island is the dolphin village, a theme park containing a mini zoo and an aquarium. It holds regular sea lion and dolphin shows for tourists to enjoy.
  7. King Fahd Park: The largest park in Saudi Arabia. King Fahd Park is a magnificent park with several lagoons, waterfalls, fountains, and greenery, etc build for the pleasure of its citizens and tourists. If you are traveling with children, then the park attractions hold several rides and games which is bound to excite the children as well as the adults.

Where to Stay in Dammam

As Dammam is the oil capital of Saudi Arabia, the city attracts thousands of people who flock here every week for business and leisure activities. As such, the city has developed to accommodate these travellers with a wide range of accommodation services. From top-end hotel suites to budget single rooms, homes for rents, there are several means of accommodation one can avail of in Dammam. It is however recommended to always pre-arranged your accommodation when booking your flight to prevent yourself from falling into any hassles during your journey 😉


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About Derek Freal

"Some people eat, others try therapy. I travel."   Cultural enthusiast. Adrenaline junkie. Eater of strange foods. Chasing unique and offbeat adventures around the world since 2008. Derek loves going to new destinations where he does not speak a word of the local language and must communicate with hand gestures, or places where he is forced to squat awkwardly to poo -- supposedly its healthier and more efficient. For more information (about Derek, not squat pooing) including popular posts and videos, check out his bio.

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