Abha / Khamis Mushayt – the most toured place in Saudi Arabia locally and by other neighbouring countries. Al Soodah Park is the highest point in the Arabia Peninsula with an elevation exceeding 3000 meters above sea level.
Asir region has plenty of attractions to do and it might be a challenge to decide between all of the fun and interesting activities.
Is the sister town of Abha, where traders from outlying district congregate to sell their wares in the weekly market.
Khamis Mushait was known by that name since the 1760s. It has been named after the market that used to be held on every Thursday of the week which is “Khamis” and it has been referred to Mushait Ibn Salem the head of Shahran tribe and the guardian of the market.
The area around Abha is unique for its solidly built mud houses. The slight graduation from one layer to the next gives these houses the overall impression of truncated pyramids. Foundations are usually of stones.
Discover Asir region’s traditional architecture by visiting the Shada Palace, Al Milfa Palace and the old mud houses dotted around Abha. Visit the AlMiftaha village turned into a museum, exhibiting how people lived back in those days and check out the local artists displaying al Qatt al Asiri artwork.
Visit the New Abha resort and The Abha Lake Dam. Stroll around the lakeside in the 300,000 sqm garden and dine at the luxurious Abha Palace Hotel with fantastic views of the lake and the city. You can take a scenic cable car ride from the resort to the Green Mountain.
Drive up to the Green Mountain in the middle of Abha city. The “mountain” is actually a hill, overlooking the city which is beautifully lit with green lights in the night. There is a restaurant and café on the top with a nice outdoor terrace enjoying amazing views of Abha. Try the mint tea and sheesha while enjoying the sunset and the cool breezes on the terrace. On the way up be sure to stop at the excellent souvenir shop. There is also a small restaurant decorated like a traditional Asiri mud house in the basement of the shop.
Traditional markets are still a crucial part of daily life in Abha. Be prepared for some interesting finds in these souks. From culturally inspired paraphernalia to Asir’s prized honey, the souk alleys hold many secrets. For tourists, the favored souk is the Tuesday Market or Souk Al Thulatha as it’s referred to locally. Every Tuesday, traders gather here and sell most things that Abha is famous for.
Explore the legendary Asiri souqs that have been named after the days they’ve been held on for centuries; Abha’s Tuesday market (Souq Al Thulatha) and its sister city Khamis Mushayt’s Thursday Market ( Souq al Khamis). The Tuesday market has a separate women’s souq run by all female vendors and the Thursday Market boasts some of the best gold and silver Bedouin jewellery in the region. Other finds are white or gold honey, colorful straw baskets and hats, traditional embroidered women’s dresses, Jambiyah (daggers), frankincense and ‘slab’ a white powder used by locals as a natural deodorant and antiseptic.