Visiting Al Jubail – A City Guide
Towering over the coastline of the Persian Gulf Coast of Saudi Arabia, the industrial city of Al Jubail is a crucial part of the Kingdom’s economy. The former fishing village retains pockets of old-world charm, interspersed with upscale shopping malls and highly industrialised grids and factories in or near the port. Beaches, parks and marinas soften the landscape and offer refreshing getaway spots.
Al Jubail: city layout and top attractions
Al Jubail, a city in the country’s Eastern Province, is divided into two distinct sections. The old town, now called Jubail al-Balad, is the residential heart of the region and contains the city centre.
The Jubail Industrial City on the northern strip of the coastline is home to the largest petrochemical company in the Middle East, as well as King Abdulaziz Naval Base and King Fahd Industrial and Commercial Port.
Many restaurants and shops are located in the Al Fanateer District of Jubail Industrial City. The best hotels in Al Jubail are in or near Fanateer as well, particularly along the coastline. The Fanateer seafront and marina is where to find water excursions such as scuba diving, water skiing, boat tours and fishing.
Jubail connects to other Saudi Arabian cities by two main roadways: Dhahran-Jubail Highway and Abu Hadrivah Highway. The King Fahd International Airport lies about 60 kilometres away in Quatif.
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Eating Out in Al Jubail
Restaurants in Al Jubail cater to a diverse crowd, as visitors from far-flung destination arrive to conduct business or engage in commerce. Traditional Middle Eastern fare, including Lebanese, Pakistani and old-world Arabic, is served in the small eateries of Old Town, as well as in more upscale hotel restaurants.
Al Diwan Restaurant, located inside the Intercontinental Hotel near the industrial district, seats guests in exclusive curtained alcoves for a meal of traditional Lebanese dishes. The hotel also has a Tex-Mex restaurant.
For a mixture of Asian and Arabic delicacies, you can try Pakistani, Peshawari and Afghani food at Namak Mandi Jubail just off 274 Road, near Old Jubail. Both Indian and Arabic food are served at Grand Dunes Indo-Arab Family Restaurant on Mashoor Street. You can also find Indian and Pakistani specialties at Curry Gardens on Al-Wajeha Road, while Al Danah Road hosts exotic Brazilian and South American food at Brasa De Brazil.
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Shopping in Al Jubail
Shopping in Al Jubail centres around modern malls with international brands and upscale merchandise. However, traditional markets, known as “souks,” are still frequented by both locals and tourists, especially in the Old Town residential areas.
Al-Fanateer Mall overlooks the Arabian Gulf Beach, adjacent to the Fanateer Corniche. In addition to Western-style fashion, stores offer traditional Arab fashion. Fast food joints abound, and a children’s playground keeps the little ones happy.
Al Jubail Mall boasts 140 specialty shops selling high-end fashion, jewellery and designer sunglasses, as well as high-tech gadgets and technology. Mainstream Western-brand retailers include Guess, Aldo and Skechers.
Al Huwaylat Mall offers practical shopping venues such as a Panda supermarket and a Jarir bookstore. The food court serves both local and international fare.
You can experience the “Ladies Market” souk on Al-Qutif Road in Jubail Al-Balad, to purchase local crafts, textiles and gift items.
Culture & Nightlife in Al Jubail
As Al Jubail is primarily a working, industrial region, its culture and nightlife are quieter than in nearby Bahrain. But you can find entertainment at several upscale hotels and restaurants. In particular, the Intercontinental Hotel hosts Thursday BBQ nights on its private beach, with grilled seafood and meats, live music and walks along the waterfront.
For museumgoers, scientists and creative thinkers, Al Jubail boasts the Jubail Science Centre, part of the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu.
Weekend Getaways for Nightlife
Leisure in Al Jubail
Get in a game of golf at the 18-hole Whispering Sands Golf Course on the edge of Jubail Industrial City. You can also enjoy horseback riding or mini ATV racing at the Jubail Equestrian Centre, located within the Royal Commission area.
Several uninhabited islands lie just off the coast of Al Jubail, including the secluded Juraid and Jana islands. Though permits are required and visitors are vetted, those with permission to venture offshore can relax in the solitude of unspoiled nature, or hit the water for swimming and snorkelling in the coral reefs.
An afternoon trip to Quatif, less than an hour’s drive from Al Jubail, puts you in near proximity of Tarut Island, the second-largest island in the Arabian Gulf, where you can visit Tarut fortress and castle, built in the 1500s.