Jeddah Airport is renowned for being home to the Hajj Terminals, built to accommodate travellers on their way to making the Hajj pilgrimage each year. The architecture of the Hajj Terminals is unlike any other - it looks more like a series of marquees placed adjacent to each other.
The airport plays the Azaan, the Islamic call to prayer, over the loudspeakers so that travellers may not worry about missing their prayer times. Even if you are not a Muslim traveller, it has been said by transiting passengers that it is a beautiful and serene experience, listening to the lush voice intoning Arabic words. Across the Muslim world, only the most soulful voices are chosen to make these calls to prayer. The airport also facilitates ablution and prayers. Every washroom has a designated area for the washing of limbs and feet that is required before each prayer, and there are separate prayer rooms for men and women, as is the traditional practice.
Travelling from the airport into the city of Jeddah itself, you may choose to take a taxi, which is very affordable, although do be careful as there are “illegal”, unlicensed taxis always waiting for passengers. You may also take a bus, although in Jeddah it is not exactly a means of transport as an experience in itself. Taking a bus ride is an exposure to traditional Arabic music and grassroots sights and sounds. However, even government buses do not run on a fixed schedule so consider taxis if you are short of time.
Jeddah is famed for its houses made of coral, a material not known for durability, so the coral buildings are decrepit, though still a sight to behold. Souqs (traditional markets) line the streets, where you are able to find all and sundry: food, clothes, antiques, carpets, jewellery. It could be considered the Arabic counterpart to Western bohemian culture and scene.
Once in Jeddah, it is highly recommended that you visit Jeddah Corniche, a coastal town from which you can take a boat to view the Red Sea, rich in mythical history. You can stay on land and admire the view from shore, if you prefer. As the waters of the Red Sea are clear and there is abundant underwater flora and fauna, the Red Sea is an amazing place to scuba dive.
You may also want to view King Fahd’s Fountain, the highest-spouting fountain in the entire world. It makes for a pretty memorable breath-taking sight in the evening, either when the sun is setting or accompanied by its lights display at night.
Jeddah is considered a food haven, as it offers cuisines from every culture on the globe. In particular, it would be a food haven to Muslims for they have American and European cuisines and dishes but all their options are Halal. It would be a fuss-free, spoilt-for-choice kind of experience for Muslim diners. Jeddah’s own food fare are the shawarma and hummus, simple to prepare yet very tasty.
Overall, Jeddah is definitely not a typical run-of-the-mill tourist destination, although you may find many things to enjoy and adore about it.more