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Introduction

Dammam (الدمام,ad-Dammām) is the largest city in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, and the 3rd largest city in the kingdom after Riyadh and Jeddah.

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Sights and Activities

Dammam Corniche. The Dammam Corniche is basically a green strip facing the gulf. On a good weather day, you can have a nice picnic on the green grass.
Al Morjan island. Al Morjan island is a small artificial island with a monument in the center, it is located as an extension to the Corniche. This is a good place to have an afternoon walk, which of course depends on the weather.
Flagpole. Visit the tallest flagpole in the kingdom. Take a picture next to the 60-meter high flagpole. The flag availability on the pole can't be always guaranteed.

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Events and Festivals

Milad al-Nabi

All Saudi Muslims celebrate the birthday of their Prophet, Mohammad, by elaborately decorating their homes and mosques. Children recite poems about the Prophet, while older Saudis tell stories about Mohammad’s life and accomplishments. Large feasts and street processions are among Milad al-Nabi’s other traditional activities. The date of Milad al-Nabi varies from year to year according to the Islamic calendar.

Unification of the Kingdom Day

The country’s only secular public holiday takes place each September 23 on the anniversary of Saudi Arabia’s 1932 founding. Although many Saudis still choose to quietly celebrate this formerly low-key holiday at home, growing numbers of young Saudis have chosen to express their national pride more overtly by singing, dancing, honking car horns, and waving Saudi flags.

Eid ul-Fitr

Like their Muslim counterparts in other nations, Saudis mark the final day of the fasting month of Ramadan with this three-day religious festival. Eid ul-Fitr begins with a small morning meal and quiet prayers, and continues with larger feasts and livelier celebrations among family and friends. Saudi children receive money and elaborately decorated gift bags from adults, several shopkeepers add free gifts to all purchases, and Saudi men secretly leave large bags of food on strangers’ doorsteps during this festive time of year.

Eid al-Adha

This important Muslim festival lasts four days and marks the moment when Ibrahim was willing to sacrifice Ismael, his son, for Allah. Today, most Saudi families celebrate Eid al-Adha by dressing up in their finest clothing, saying special prayers, and slaughtering lambs to share their meat with everyone.

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Getting There

Dammam is the main transport hub of the Dammam-Dhahran-Khobar cluster.

By Plane

King Fahd International Airport (DMM IATA). This vast airport is about 50 km from the city centre, literally in the middle of the desert — you'll see sand dunes, camels and Bedouin tents on the way there. The world's largest airport by area, the airport is enormous and underutilized. Long-distance links are limited, but Pakistan International Airlines (PIA)has flights from all major cities of Pakistan and Lufthansa has flights to Frankfurt Airport. All domestic and international flights leave from the same terminal. If you have time to spare and need a meal, head up to the fourth floor (above check-in), where you'll find an observation deck and a cafeteria serving up a simple buffet. Once through security, there are virtually no facilities aside from a snack stall and a book shop.

SAPTCO runs comfortable shuttle buses between the airport and the bus station roughly hourly (SR12). The trip takes around 45 minutes. Alternatively, taxis can cover the same distance in half an hour and charge upwards of SR50.

By Train

Dammam railway station is about 8 km from city centre, connects to Abqaiq (40 min), Hofuf (1:10) and Riyadh (3:30).

By Car

Dammam is well linked by the kingdom's modern highway network and the GCC road. Riyadh is 4 hours. Nearby Khobar is a 15 min drive, from where Bahrain is another half an hour by the King Fahd Causeway.

By Bus

The SAPTCO bus station is on 11th St, some 700m north of the city center. There are regular services throughout the country, as well as SABTCO buses direct to Bahrain five times a day.

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Getting Around

Public transport is poor. Taxis and "dubbabs" dominate the market, and are usually used by the lower scale foreign workers. SR.2 is the standard fare for anywhere to anywhere! Best deal is thus the rent a car. Taxis charge 10-20 SR for trips within the city proper.

Modern modes of public transportation that are becoming very popular include Uber and Careem cab booking services.

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Drink

Alcohol is banned in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, Dammam has no bars or pubs. However, there are several cafes, juice parlours and places serving speciality drinks and mocktails. Bottled non-alcoholic beer is also available in most shops.

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Sleep

Sheraton Dammam Hotel And Towers Hotel, 1st Street, ☏ +966 3 8345555, fax: +966 3 8349872. Prices from 500 SR (130 USD).
Swiss International Al Hamra, King Khaled Street (near Passport Office), ☏ +966 13 8333444, ✉ reservations.alhamra@swissiternationalhotels.com. 8 storey tower with 152 rooms, including 18 suites and executive floor. All rooms enjoy a city view. Non smoking rooms and disabled rooms are also available. From SR 311 per night.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafes abound in major Saudi cities, and many shopping malls feature a gaming parlor or two. Rates are around SR5/hour.

While Internet in Saudi Arabia is cordoned off by a filter, it aims primarily at pornography, non-Islamic religious and domestic political sites in Arabic, and (from the traveller's point of view) is nowhere near as strict as, say, China's. Google, Skype, Wikipedia, all major webmail providers etc. are all accessible.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The three mobile operators in Saudi, incumbent Al Jawal, Emirati rival Mobily and Kuwaiti newcomer Zain (Vodafone Network) are fiercely competitive, with good coverage (in populated areas) and good pricing. A starter pack with prepaid SIM and talktime starts from about SR 75, and you can sign up in most any larger mobile shop (bring your passport). Local calls are under SR 0.5/minute, while calls overseas are around or less than SR 2/min.

And yes, you can bring in your own phone: despite grumblings from the clerics, both camera phones and multimedia messaging (MMS) are now legal.

Post

Saudi Post has a good network of post offices around the country, but offices are closed Thursday and Friday. Stamps for postcards to anywhere in the world cost SR4. The bigger problem is actually finding postcards, as the mutawwa periodically crack down on the celebration of non-Islamic holidays like Valentine's Day, Christmas or even birthdays, causing all cards of any sort to disappear from bookstores! Your best bet is thus gift shops in major hotels. Mail coming in to the country from overseas is notoriously unreliable. Stories abound of things arriving months after they were sent or never arriving at all. There are branches of DHL, FedEx and UPS operating throughout the kingdom, so a good rule of thumb is to have anything important sent through those channels.

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Accommodation in Dammam

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Dammam searchable right here on Travellerspoint.

Dammam Travel Helpers

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This is version 5. Last edited at 14:19 on Oct 1, 19 by Utrecht. 17 articles link to this page.

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