The best way to see Medina, is the City Sightseeing Hop On Hop Off bus. We decided to try the double decker tour bus as an easy way to get to know the city and the sights. At this posting, adults cost 80 SAR and kids are 40. If you are a family of 4 then you get a discount ticket for 200 SAR for the family. The ticket is good for 24 hours and the buses run approximately every 30 minutes and you can hop on and hop off. The bus tours start after the first prayer in the am each day, and go into the night. Each person receives new headphones and the tour can be found in a number of different languages. The start of the route is located across from The Prophet’s Mosque a few streets away. It was really informative and I enjoyed it very much. You won’t be disappointed. Try the night tour as well! Here is the bus website for more information: www.csmadinah.com
The first day my family stopped halfway through to get off at the Al Noor Mall (one of the stops) for bathroom and lunch breaks. We had a great lunch at the food court by ordering food from Azal, one of the chain food places. It is really good regional food, with fresh made large round bread, mixed vegetable and meat dishes and vegetarian bean options too. The lunch as delicious and really filled us up. We couldn’t finish it all, however the boys had room for Baskin Robbins ice cream. That is the most popular brand.
I was ready to get back on the bus to see the next spots on the tour, however my family just wanted to go back to the hotel, with the weather being dusty and windy. Our headphones also weren’t getting all of the tour description. If this happens to you, see if the driver can do anything about it, or stop off and get on the next bus. The headphones and tour worked fantastically the next day.
The next morning I was determined to finish the bus tour and so left my husband and kids to find breakfast, while I boarded the bus for the second time. My timed ticket had just expired (24 hour limit), however the bus driver let me back on. This time the weather was clearer and I could get a better look at the mountains surrounding the city, as well as see some sun peeking through. For both days the bus had about 15 people riding in the morning. We all sat on the top level, however I liked to be in the front of the bus in the A/C, while everyone else enjoyed the hotter air, sun and dust. This time it was fun to go through all the places of interest without being interrupted by a whiny family member. Ah the joy of peace!
There is a fantastic Egyptian restaurant named Ramesses, located at the end of Abu Baker Al Saddiq road “Sultanah”, which is one of the stops on the tour. You can have dishes like stuffed pigeon, orzo soup, mahshi, mixed meat platters, molokhia and rice pudding. We were very happy and stuffed when we left.
Four things I would do next time that I didn’t on this trip:
- Take the night tour on the bus!
- Go to the Uhud Battlefield and stand on the hill of archers to see the mosque.
- I had also wanted to see the Hejaz Railway Museum, however the bus did not stop at that sight. You can always hire a Careem driver, like Uber, to bring you there. It is not that far from all the big hotels.
- The King Fahd Glorious Quran Printing Complex was closed because of Covid. That is supposed to be really something to see, as they have a process to check for mistakes in printing.
Here are some videos I took of the tour, so you can get a sense of the environment and a look at the places of interest along the route. I also made a cute video for kids/adults, showing a man taking care of the pigeons with Traveling Octopus! Hope you enjoy! Check out my related blog about traveling to Medina: https://datepalmsncamels.com/2021/03/25/travelling-to-madinah-medina-and-videos/