Ta'if (pronounced "Taayef", also written Taif) is a city in western Saudi Arabia. It is in the mountains near Mecca and was once used as the summer capital, letting the royal family get out of the much hotter Riyadh.
- 1 Ta’if Regional Airport (TIF IATA) (located some 15-20km north-east of the city). Domestic flights are available to Abha, Dammam, Jazan, Jeddah, Medina, Nejran, Riyadh and Tabuk on Saudi. Flights to Cairo are available on Nile Air and Nesma Airlines, while Nile Air also offer flights to Alexandria.
The main areas of Taif are:
- Al Shafa (الشفا): A natural place with green scenery and a good picnic location
- Al Hada (الهدا): Famous for its cable cars and the Al Kur Tourist Village
- The Town (البلد): Where you can eat and where locals Live
- South Road (طريق الجنوب): high way to south of Saudi Arabia and it has beautiful sights.
- Maysan (ميسان): A natural place with green scenery and a good picnic location and it has a huge amount and great high look out and magnificent sight and weather. to go there you need to have car and take south road till you see board written to Maysan.
The only way to get to these areas is by road. A well-established road network connects main places. Don't hesitate to ask locals, but mostly they won't speak English. The best way is to consult the concierge in your hotel.
Whenever you go, you will see breathtaking mountains.
- 1 Shubra Palace museum. A former royal residence, built in 1858 and now turned into a regional history museum.
- Al Rudaf Park, south of Taif, has clumps of trees lie and beautiful weathered granite rocks, plus a small zoo.
- Wadi Mitna was Muhammad's refuge in 619 AD.
- Ta'if rose plantation. In April, fields are full of pink roses. They are harvested and distilled into Ta'if rose oil, a luxury item which has been used in famous perfumes including Chanel.
- Rock Carving Site, 40 km north of Taif, is where there used to be a large souq (market) in ancient, pre-Islamic times.
- Turkish Fort: This is near the Rock Carving Site, and it is believe that Lawrence of Arabia fought here during World War I. Many other battles have taken place in the area, so there are graves of war dead nearby.
- Nature Reserve: This reserve is 2100 meters above sea level, at the peak of Al Hada Mountain. This is a novelty in Saudi Arabia: A place of greenery, trees and shrubs, and also a great place to watch the sun set.
- Al Shafa: A village in the mountains (2200 to 2500 meters above sea level), where many fruits are grown. Great views are to be had.
Located beside the Ramada Hotel, the newly opened cable car, which is the largest in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, will show you the extremely fantastic scenery of Taif's Mountains. If you are lucky you will be able to see monkeys. These cable cars, located in Al Hada Region will cost you a notable amount of money. The cable cars drop you in Al Kar Tourist Village, which is mainly a water games center with swimming pools. The cable car will cost you 30 Riyals for an adult and 15 Riyals for kids. If you wish to take a return trip, you will pay double. You can have your own cable car for 150 Riyals one way and 300 Riyals for two way. Don't Forget Your Camera! Since 2011 the price is 90 Riyals flat, this includes to and fro cable car and waterpark.
The most important thing you have to buy is fruit. Taif specializes in peach (khokh), pomegranate (romman), grapes (enab), and dates (tamr) These are the best fruits in Saudi Arabia.
Try to eat Saudi's own Kabsa or Bukhari Rice. The signature dish of Taif is "Seleeg," a sort of large-grain rice and milk pudding. However, be careful because hygiene in some restaurants is not satisfactory. Don't miss The Tazaj fast food chain.
As with the rest of Saudi Arabia, alcohol is strictly prohibited. You can drink Saudi champagne (alcohol free) from any coffee shop.
- For Muslims, Mecca, about 1 1/4 hours' driving time to the east on Route 15, is a logical place to go next.
- Jeddah is about 2 hours' drive for Muslims. However, non-Muslims driving from Taif to Jeddah need to use the non-Muslim Bypass to avoid Mecca. This adds about 70 miles to your trip.