Lights, Camera, Jeddah: Top Things To Do During The Red Sea Film Festival That Do Not Include The Screen
Today, the port city of Jeddah stands tall as a crossing point between the old and the new, a blend of the past and present. It is a city that is the best of both worlds as it has both remnants of the past through Old Jeddah, Al Balad District as well as a taste of modernity through its new five star luxury Jeddah Yacht Club and Marina. With the Red Sea Film Festival in full swing, might as well make the most of your visit by experiencing and exploring Jeddah to the fullest. These are all the things you can do to enjoy the booming city.
Cage Diving With Sharks
Sitting in front of the endless blue expanse of the Red Sea, Jeddah’s known to be a hotspot for global and local divers with it being home to thriving sea life as well as historical wrecks. When visiting the city, beyond exploring its waters, visitors can tap into their bold and adventurous side by trying out cage diving with sharks. You’ll get to come face to face with sharks along the company of an expert as well as enjoy a boat ride along the lapping waters of the Red Sea. There are many options on offer to try out this activity including packages offered by Experiences By Roam.
Exploring El Balad
In the beating heart of the city is its oldest neighborhood, El Balad, a weaving labyrinth of walkways containing Saudi’s history exemplified through its well-preserved architecture of the ancient homes. While walking through El Balad, take in the architectural elements around you from the wooden latticed window coverings to the varied paint colors of the buildings.
To get a taste for old Jeddah, we recommend visiting the Nassif House, a 19th Century home turned museum that was the previous residence of King Abdul Aziz as well as the Matbouli House which was originally a 400 year old traditional Hijazi merchant’s home that got turned into a museum. Inside the house, you will find old gramophones, ornate wooden ceilings, classic stairwells as well as antiques and local artifacts. Visiting the museum will give you a special look into what everyday life in El Balad was like in the past.
Checking Out The Jeddah Lighthouse
Sitting at the north side of the Jeddah Islamic Seaport is the tallest lighthouse in the world known as the ‘Jeddah Lighthouse’. 133 meters tall, this massive coastal navigator has made it into the Guinness World Records because it “surpasses in structural height any other traditional and non-traditional lighthouse in active use.” To get a glimpse of the unique structure, you can get a picturesque view from the Central Fish Market and the Corniche Commercial Center.
Indulge In Fine Dining At Jeddah Yacht Club & Marina
Boasting stunning views of the Red Sea as well as the best in dining along its boardwalk, the Jeddah Yacht Club and Marina is a must-visit to anyone arriving in the city. You will get to taste the flavors of the world at this very hot spot as it includes everything from the French eatery Le Comptoir de Nicole serving luxurious seafood gems to the funky Japanese restaurant Mashi No Mashi whose signature dish is the unlikely paring of wagyu beef with ramen.
Witnessing Al Rahma Floating Mosque
For lovers of history and architecture, Al Rahma Floating Mosque will tick off all your travel bucket list needs. Sitting on the Northern tip of Jeddah’s waterfront across the Red Sea and accessed through a walkway surrounded by walls is the 1985 Al Rahma Floating Mosque. You may be wondering what is the story behind its name. This special mosque gives the appearance that it is hovering over the waves especially because of the stilts that suspend it over the edge of the water.
It is a true architectural gem as it is built in the form of a turquoise domed structure with a white minaret and 52 outer domes. Along with that, it has 23 external umbrellas engraved with verses of the Holy Quran.
An Artistic Promenade At Hayy Jameel
Opening its door in 2021, Hayy Jameel is one of the city’s prominent art and culture hubs, home to year-round arts and culture-based programming. The space draws visitors to its art exhibitions, education spaces, a cinema showcasing Saudi, Arab and International feature films, shorts and documentaries as well as housing the first community theater in Jeddah. In the next couple of days, in collaboration with the Red Sea Film Festival is their new exclusive archival exhibition ‘Nawartuna’ that will celebrate the legacy of two iconic siblings, classic Egyptian stars Asmahan and Farid Al Atrash through a pop-up show.
Getting to experience Jeddah means dining in fine restaurants, gazing at majestic architecture as well as diving into the contemporary artsy vibe taking over the city. With so much to do, make the most of your time at the city by hitting up these spots.