You should not miss Dammam, if you are visiting nearby cities like Riyadh or Holy cities of Saudi Arabia. It offers superb shopping, Arabian cuisines, parks, seaside, desert scenery and a lot more.
Why should anyone visit the city?
Muslim from all around the world visit Saudi Arabia for holy cities of Makkah and Medina. They also make a trip to Dammam for shopping and entertainment. Many non-Muslims visit Dammam to see Arab culture and try their cuisines.
How does one get to the destination (airport, ferry or others)?
King Fahd International Airport is the nearest major airport of Dammam that welcomes domestic and international flights. Other major airports to travel to Dammam are the Bahrain International Airport and Abu Dhabi International Airport.
Bus services in the entire country offer regular services to reach Dammam from different parts of the country.
Railway station is almost 8 km away from Dammam City Center.
Is the city safe? What areas are not safe?
There are very strict rules about tradition and cultural values of Saudi Arabia. Every visitor has to follow these rules and enjoy without violating them. It is a Muslim country and women are respected everywhere in the country. It is safe for travelers whereas they should not travel alone in the desert and isolated areas.
What’s the weather like?
Dammam is a hot desert area with an extremely hot temperature in summers. Dust storms are common from May to October and this is the driest time. Winter season remains warm and mild with occasional rainfalls.
What languages are spoken in the area? Is English spoken?
Arabic is the main language spoken in Dammam. It is the official language of Saudi Arabia. English language is also widely spoken especially in the tourist areas.
What’s the local currency?
Is US Dollar widely accepted?
Official currency that is used in the country is Saudi Arabian Riyal (SAR). You can use credit, Debit, visa and master cards almost everywhere in the city. US Dollar can be used at the airport but not directly in the city. There are many money exchange places which can be easily used to exchange USD to SAR. Money exchange offices in Makkah, Madinah and Jeddah remain extremely buy during Hajj and Umrah season so try to exchange your money in Dammam if you are going to visit other cities.
What are the best areas or districts to stay in the city?
Good accommodation is available in the entire Dammam. Best areas to stay are:
- Gulf Road connects Dammam with neighboring cities Qatif, Saihat and Enak. It is a coastal area of almost 26 kilometers with different options of accommodation.
- Al Faisaliyah is also a very nice accommodation place near the historic center. This is the center of the city. There are different eateries, cafes and shopping options.
What’re your top 3 hotels (budget, moderate, luxury) and why?
- OYO 411 Moon Hotel is a nice budget accommodation near the commercial hub. There are shopping malls and business centers near the hotel. It has coffee shop, restaurant and banqueting.
- Howard Johnson By Wyndham Dammam is located near the Persian Gulf with an easy access to many attraction, eateries and shopping places. Hotel has an indoor swimming pool, restaurant, café and bar.
- Tripper inn is a luxury accommodation that offers comfort to their guests. It has an outdoor swimming pool, fitness center, lounge and free parking. Each room has a wardrobe, TV and private bathroom.
How does one get around the city? Taxi, Uber, similar apps, ATVs?
Public transport in Dammam is very poor that is used by low scale workers.
Bets thing is to either rent a car or hire a taxi service. Charges of car rental and taxis are reasonable. You can also use Uber or UberX in Dammam.
Can you highlight the Top 5 MUST see sightseeing?
It is the best area to see the tradition and heritage of the Saudi Arabia. It is an amazing tourist site with fascinating historical pieces, ancient weapons, old photographs, antiques, manuscripts, jewelry and other numerous items which are displayed in the 5 storey fortress like building. You can also try Saudi food in the heritage village.
King Fahd Park
It is considered as the largest park of the country with hundreds of native and international plant species. There is a food outlet, cobra ride and many other rides. Park also offers a variety of entertainment to the visitors.
It is the most visited attraction for the visitors of Dammam. It is the coastline of the Arabian gulf with walkways, stunning gardens, restaurants, cafes and other sitting places. Most famous activities of the area are lion and dolphin show, carnival and boat ride to the Al Marjan Island.
It is a must visit attraction that allows visitors to see the dolphin and lion show. People can take pictures with beautiful sea creatures. Animals are well trained to perform different tricks. There are many other marine species and an aquarium.
Al Marjan Island
Al Marjan Island is artificially created island at one corner of the Corniche. It is very well connected with the bridge. There is a stunning green space on the island for the visitors to sit. Island also offer a boat ride and fishing spot for the people who love to enjoy fishing.
What’s the best place to take a photo?
There are some restrictions over taking photos in Dammam. Make sure that you do not click any Arab females and children without their permission, government and military buildings. You can click superb photos at every entertainment place.
What about the top 3 restaurants?
- The Steak house – It allows the visitors to make their own steak combos and enjoy.
- Raeeha’s Seafood Local Restaurant – Offers fresh seafood dishes and you can pick seasoning according to your taste
- Fayrouz Lebanese Restaurant – authentic Halal Lebanese dishes in very affordable rate.
What about the top 3 breakfast places?
- Manoosha Alreef – Lebanese, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food
- Balcony – Middle Eastern and International Cuisine
- Beit Misk – Lebanese, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean food, vegan dishes.
What’s the one thing you MUST eat in the city?
There are many Arabian delicious dishes to try in different places of the city. A must try food is Yughmish. It is a bread that is filled with different types of meat. People eat it as a quick snack.
What about food markets?
- Dammam Fish Market
- Seiko Dammam Building
- Dammam Vegetable Market
- Tamimi Markets
- Makkah Hyper Market
Where should one go at night? Any bar/nightlife areas or districts you recommend?
Culture of Dammam is highly conservative. There are strict Islamic Laws due to which sales and consumption of alcohol is prohibited. Dammam has no bars, clubs or nightlife places. People visit restaurants, cafes and shopping places for evening entertainment.
Any rooftop bars or restaurants that you recommend?
- RBG Grill Restaurant
- Novotel Dammam Business Park
- Chapter 1 Restaurant & Rooftop Lounge
- Da Vinci Italian Restaurant
Can you recommend the best shopping areas? Best shopping mall?
- Marina Mall
- Al Othaim Mall
- Mall of Dhahran
- Al Hayat Plaza
Do you recommend any tours outside the city? Islands? Boat Tours?
- Share Al-Hob Market
- Muraikabat Mountain Park
- Coral Island
- Half Moon Bay
- Tarout Castle and Old Town
Are Casinos allowed? Blackjack tables? If so, what’s the best Casino in town?
There are strict Islamic laws in Dammam. There are no gambling places and casinos in Dammam. Violating this rule results in strict punishment and penalty.
Any last advice for people visiting the city?
- Saudi Arabia is a Muslim country. Women cover themselves so it is important to dress conservatively.
- Always carry your Saudi residence ID with you and if you are having a visit visa, then carry a photocopy of your passport with you.
- Pork, alcohol and Public display of affection is strictly prohibited. However, there is a huge variety of Arabian food and beverages.
- Do not help anyone until they ask for it. It is considered getting involved in other’s matters. Save emergency numbers in case someone need it.
- There are very strict laws for theft, drugs and other illegal activities. Never pick a bag or any other belonging from public places.