JizanThough Jizan (Jazan, Gizan or Gazan) may be the smallest province of Saudi Arabia, it boasts an astounding natural and geographical diversity that few other regions can match. From scorching desert sands to deep green forests, grassy plains to rocky mountain tops, fertile land to tropical islands and colourful coral reefs, Jizan has it all. But the province is not limited to natural beauty, for it also boasts interesting archaeological sites, a historic harbour that bustles with life, and a huge variety of tropical fruit.
The RegionDespite being the smallest province in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Jizan boasts huge geographic diversity and beauty, featuring desert expanses, fertile plains, forests and the green Faifa Mountains with their captivating rock formations and enticing hot springs. It is one of the country's most important agricultural areas, producing everything from coffee and wheat to an enormous variety of delicious tropical fruits. The province also has over a hundred small islands just a short distance from the coast, including the much beloved Farasan Island, which houses a natural reserve and beautiful wildlife, including seabirds and the Farasan Island gazelle. Additionally, the city of Jizan is a very important port in the Red Sea and boasts a wonderful harbour, where traditional wooden fishing boats called chows can be admired.
Do & See
Jizan's mesmerising natural beauty is doubtlessly the biggest draw for travellers. From desolate sandscapes to lush mountains, idyllic beaches to natural hot springs, tropical islands to coral reefs, there is plenty here to keep everyone busy, whether you are looking to relax on the beach, hike in the mountains, dive in the Red Sea or take a dip in the hot volcanic waters.
The cuisine in the province of Jizan is quite varied, with diverse sources of food from both the sea and the land. Many main ingredients come from the water, while meat and ghee are brought from the nearby mountains, and produce and grains from the surrounding area's agriculture, all of which makes the local dishes a combination of flavours and sensations.
A stop at a local coffee house is a great way to escape the sweltering heat of a Jizan afternoon, and the city has some great ones for you to visit. Many of them have ideal locations right on the beach or on the Corniche, and all of them have high-quality and expertly prepared drinks. Many places roast their own beans and offer great desserts, as well.
Bars & Nightlife
The cultural environment in Saudi Arabia is highly conservative. Religious law forbids the sale or consumption of alcohol throughout Saudi Arabia, so there are no bars or nightclubs. Instead, evening social activities are centred on shopping or dining out in one of the city’s many restaurants or cafés whilst indulging in a delicious mocktail (a mix of fresh fruit juices) or a strong cup of Arabic coffee.
Much of Saudi Arabia's social life revolves around shopping, an activity where everyone can participate. It is very common for families to visit one of the many large shopping centres and spend the whole day browsing, enjoying some refreshments and escaping the intense heat in the air-conditioned malls. But be sure to head to some of the smaller markets for more traditional and authentic shopping experiences, as well.