The most popular car rental agents at Jeddah Airport:
- Budget (Tel: +966 9200 04124)
- Avis (Tel: +966 12 685 0629)
- Enterprise (Tel: +966 9200 00028)
- Hertz (Tel: +966 55 446 6137)
Jeddah Airport Mini Guide
Why Might I be Going to Jeddah?
If you’re a Muslim then the answer would most likely be that it is part of the journey of your hajj to either Mecca or Medina
. It’s the biggest gateway for pilgrims performing their hajj. If you’re simply a tourist then Jeddah has the longest corniche, or beachfront promenade, in the Middle East at over 18 miles long. With beaches and parks along its length, it’s also adorned with weird and wonderful statues. Al-Balad, Jeddah’s old town is a fascinating area of old traditional houses made from coral but sadly crumbling due to the soft and fragile nature of the substance they’re made from.
How do I get into Jeddah?
You’ll need to fly to Saudi Arabia’s largest airport, King Abdulaziz International Airport. It’s twelve miles from the city and transport is easily obtained, either by bus, hire car or taxi. You can even get to Jordan
and Syria from there. British Airways, Saudi Arabian Airlines and BMI all have flights from London Heathrow
What is the Airport Like?
Only a few years ago, many people avoided it as it was dirty, often with sand blowing through the terminals from the desert, and plagued by flies. A much needed overhaul means that it is now far more befitting of a large international airport. There are two permanent terminals and a separate hajj temporary terminal situated between the two main ones. The south terminal takes only internal flights whilst the north terminal takes international ones.
What can I Expect When I Arrive at Jeddah?
There aren’t air bridges for most flights at the north terminal but upgrades, expected to be completed by 2018, should introduce them. There is a short walk in often sapping heat, for most flights to the air-conditioned building where you’ll have your passport checked and collect your suitcases. The arrivals hall is easily navigated as it’s a large oblong with services around the perimeter wall.
Signed in English as well as Arabic, you’ll find the information desk and be able to find your way around the airport with their help. The car rental desks are discovered with ease and the paperwork is usually completed quickly before you set off for your destination. Also along the perimeter of the airport, you’ll see the branches of two banks that can exchange currency for you.
What About When I Leave Jeddah?
Facilities are quite limited but this is a Muslem country and so no alcohol can be sold at the airport thus limiting the shopping opportunities. Once you have checked in, there is a reasonable gift shop selling chocolates, perfumes, newspapers and books and once you’ve finished browsing you can eat a good meal at the café style restaurant in the main hall of the north terminal. Once you pass through security you’ll come across only a small café bar mainly selling drinks and accompanying light snacks. There’s currently no Wi-Fi facility there but there is a mosque for those that wish to participate in the daily prayers.
Hajj is a very important part of Muslim life and many pilgrims to Mecca begin their journey there. Before setting off, hire a car to see the sights of this big city. Drive down to the Corniche and spend some time amongst the locals who use this 22 mile stretch of promenade in the evenings to enjoy the cooling breeze off the sea.
For a truly staggering sight, search out the King Fahd Fountain. The tallest in the world at 312 metres, it shouldn’t be too hard to find as it’s visible from almost everywhere in the city.