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They have set up a very nice sitting area. It's early in the morning so it's very pleasant. We are having a good time.

You must have seen a number of unique buildings in your life. For me, this is among the most unique buildings I've ever been to. If you have a look from this angle.. You notice the reflection from sun... but... Let me give you a tour of RV.

A very cozy looking sleeping room for two people. There are two single beds. Assalam Alekum and Welcome Back to the Channel from Al-Ula.

Every tourist in Saudi Arabia or anyone who wants to.. They all have one desire. To visit Al-Ula.

The Saudi government has invested heavily in advertising Al-Ula. It has been at the top of the wish list for a traveler like me. I'm quite excited and I hope I can share it with you as well. The plan for today starts with Madain Saleh.

Then there's a place called Ashar valley. We are gonna visit these places today and you'll get all the relevant details in this vlog. Besides, if I discover anything worth sharing, I'll share it with you. No need to put all the luggage on Rangeeli today. Because it's gonna be a day tour.

Time to leave and show you Al-Ula. Bismillah.. In the name of Allah... *Prayer for the journey* I pray to Allah for a problem free and memorable day. And I wish the same for all my viewers. We've just left from our hotel.

And the first destination of the day is Madain Saleh. Also known as Al-Hijr. More details to come when we get there. And we have to wait at a 50 second long traffic signal. You need to buy tickets to go to Madain Saleh.

And you have to take a bus. We have already purchased the tickets online. It's a 2 hour tour which starts from a park nearby. That's where we are headed. Normally, the bus picks you from the park 30 minutes before the tour starts. We still have another 12 minutes.

We just need another 5-7 minutes to get there. Hopefully we'll get there on time. The park from where the bus is gonna pick us, is on our left side now. We need to make a long round to go to the other side to get to the park.

Here are our buses. That will take us to Madain Saleh. Where shall we park Rangeeli...?

Yasir has parked here... so we'll park here too. There's a waiting area here as well. It is an air conditioned building. One can sit here comfortably while waiting.

Shall we? Shall I take all the stuff along? Sure. Since we have to come back on this same bus... we can leave some of the luggage in it. Okay. He told me they are waiting for two persons... And I was like.. That's us. And he asked... Where's the other one?

We are on time. It's 9:30 now.. so we have reached here on the scheduled time. I think we are late... No, I don't think so. Take a look. It's 9:31 am. Assalam Alekum There are other people as well. Keep going.

Salam The bus has dropped us at our destination. Important point... You can only come here on bus. You have to leave your conveyance back in the city.

People would come here in the past but now they have changed the system. That's the reason we had to park our motorcycles back there. They have setup a nice sitting area.

It's still early in the day so it's very pleasant. We are enjoying ourselves. They have given us qahwa and dates.

There are some other items as well... What is this? It's some sort of a sweet. I don't know what it is...but it's rather delicious. Take a look... This place belonged to the Nabtean kingdom or civilization.

It's their second largest city. Petra was their capital city. And Petra is not too far from here. Hardly 300 - 400 km apart. This place had significance in terms of trade.

Merchants from Yemen or Damascus would use this route to get to the Red Sea. According to Quran, the people of Thamud used to live here. They perished because of their ill deeds. I'll show you all those places in more detail in some time. I mean any place here that has some back story of a touch of history. The structure that you can see behind me is actually a grave.

It's called the Son of Lihyan. I'm not sure who this Lihyan was. However, it is said that there is no one really in this grave. I mean it was made for the guy but he died some place else. So he couldn't get buried here.

It's called Al-Fareed. Because it's the most beautiful and unique tomb in this whole place. The people of Thamud were experts in making homes in mountains. And also in the use of wells to collect rain water. So they were really proud and arrogant about their power. And they were idol worshippers.

Prophet Saleh (AS) was sent to this nation. He preached them to believe in Allah... but most of them refused to pay any heed. On the contrary, they asked him to show a miracle and bring out a she-camel from this mountain. Only then would they listen to him.

Allah gave them this miracle and an alive she-camel came out of the mountain. After that, some of them actually became believers. But most of them still refused to become the people of faith.

They even mistreated the camel; first cut her feet and they slaughtered her. As a punishment of their deeds, they had to suffer a deadly earthquake. And it was followed by lightning strikes from the sky. Only the believers were able to leave the place safely with Prophet Saleh (AS). This whole city was destroyed along with everyone in it.

Today, very few of those houses and graves are still intact. Tourists can come and watch them. I'll try my best to capture them and show it to you.

This place is called Jabal Al-Banat. Banat is the Arabic word for women. And Jabal is a mountain. So, all the graves that you can see on this mountain belong to women.

All these graves belonged to the elite people of that civilization. We are told that there are almost 40 graves here. I think we can only visit a couple of them. Your are not allowed to visit the rest of them. I noticed some bullet marks near a grave.

We are told that this used to be a completely abandoned place without any law and order. Anyone could come here without having to ask for permission. Many people have harmed these remains by firing bullets at them. So that's the story behind those marks.

These days you can't go inside. And you can hardly get to spend 5 to 10 minutes at one spot. Let's go and see if we can find some other interesting thing about this place. We are now at a place called Mount Ithlib. An interesting thing about this place is the area to my left is called Diwan.

This used to be a place for meetings of the chiefs and the elite. Important decisions such as political decisions were made here. Religious meetings were also held here. It's unique because it is situated at some height.

Therefore, you could have a glimpse of the whole city from here. You can see that it's a naturally made Siq. I think 'Siq' is what they call the narrow trail passing between two mountains. The shapes formed on these mountains are so strange looking.... that it seems as if this place was filled with water for a long time. Or it could have been formed due to rain water.

Another interesting fact... They have constructed this place so systematically that... If you would stand by the wall behind me near that window... Well, it's not really a window but..

if you would say something here, its echo would make it audible till far away. Other than that, I can't see anything special... I mean any idol or worshiping item..

Those things could have been destroyed. People must have ruined the place while it was still unsupervised. Towards the end, we are visiting this gift shop. We have been here for almost 90 minutes now. However, there is a railway station here from the times of the Ottoman Empire. There used to be a railway track that passed by here... It would go from Damascus to Medina.

Since it's the old Pilgrim route to Makkah and people would travel on foot. After the advent of Railways, the journey that took months was reduced to 4 days. But it's closed these days.

Not only that but there are a number of other places... I've seen them in old videos. You can say that 95% of those places are closed now. The remaining 5% that's open is only enough to give you a glimpse. It's sort of a disappointment... having come this far and not being able to see all the places.

There's another thing that I almost forgot. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on his journey from Medina to Tabuk, directed his companions to pass through this area as quickly as possible. That's because the people of this place were punished by Allah.

He also forbade his fellows to enter these houses. I think it's time to go back. I think I heard someone calling. Every few minutes, someone calls everyone to get on the bus to leave.

We are leaving Al-Ula now. There's a valley, almost 18 km from the city, called the Ashar valley. I've come to know of a glass structure there, through some online photos. Looked rather interesting so I thought to go and see. There's also a resort and few other places.

Normally, all the places here, that are outside main cities, are remarkable places. So we thought that we should at least visit a few of them. This is one such place. These days, you have to get permission to visit it.

Because it's temporarily closed for tourists due to construction work. I met a guy yesterday who works in the Royal Guard. He is also a motorcyclist. Lucky for us, he told us that he could get us the permission as works there.

Today I got a message from him, informing that we have got the permission. Hopefully there won't be any issue once we get there. And we can explore, cherish and share that place with you. Just take a look.. As soon as you are out of any city...

You get to see such amazing views. This is just splendid. On the right side, you can see a row of small houses with gardens. Apparently, these houses predate the recent tourism boom. Some of these gardens have been converted to cafes and coffee houses. And because of these trees, there are quite a few nice places to sit.

The sitting places are built on traditional style with carpets and everything. Before this, I saw this arrangement in Medina too. And this trend is on the rise.

We may get a chance to visit one such garden later in the evening. And share that scene with you all. I covered such places in Medina where I went to a couple of these gardens.

You can check that out in my Medina vlogs. Leaving the main road for this little off road patch. Let's hope it's not too sandy. The construction work is going on in full swing.

I can see army guys in front... but we do have the permission. Our meeting with that guy yesterday was actually fruitful. Otherwise, we won't have gotten the permission to get in.

But let's wait till we get there. Sometimes you put so much effort in getting permissions but there's nothing to be seen. That has happened to me a lot. Once you get there, you find that the place was not worthwhile.

That's because many places are partially renovated... And an unfinished work is no fun. They are building a road here.

I noticed that the guy on the truck was pouring some stuff on the patch. That's why this section seems a little wet. The location looks great for a resort. The rock formations in front of us, appear like a giant wall stopping your way. What a splendid place this is.

I'm admiring this place for its uniqueness. You can find similar places around the world. But some places are so unique that they leave you spellbound.

It's more like a wonder. And I have just spotted the glass house. I'm sure you guys will be equally surprised and amused when you see it.

Man... what are they trying to build here...! It appears more like a base on some other planet. Really impressive. I'd like to take a round of this place first. I think we can go since I can't see anyone from the authorities.

Oh well... there they are... why don't we give you guys a show from up close. You must have seen many unique buildings in your life. For me, this is among the most unique buildings I've ever visited. This is definitely among the buildings with the biggest mirrors.

Or it could be the biggest of them. That's because I haven't seen anything like that before. But what makes it really unique is its location. You can see the mountains in the background. Let me just give you another angle.

Take a look now. So here are the mountains. To reemphasize, I haven't seen any other building with such huge mirrors, ever before. And the reflection.... You get a reflection from each side. It's all about this amazing environment around.

I have come to the other side now. It's a bit more sunny on this side. I hope you'll get a better view from this side. Here you can see me and the sun is on my back. And from here you can see these amazing reflections on these mirrors. Actually this building is meant for organizing different events.

I mean, right now, everything is under construction here. But previously... because this building is already finished. I think this building has already been hosting events.

I saw some photographs that suggested that it is functional. There's a large and beautiful looking restaurant inside. But it's closed since there are no tourists these days. It's quite possible that they open it only during events.

Can't show you from inside for now. But I hope you must have enjoyed this view out here. I really loved it. I have spent some time to absorb this beauty. The sun in front is too strong.

And its reflection from these mirrors make it even more hot. Can't stand here in this heat anymore. I tried my best to give you a good overview. I can see some other interesting places in front. Gonna show you these as well.

Let's hop on the motorcycle and take a round of this building. The army guys on duty didn't allow us to bring our motorcycle this way. Lets now go to the other side where I can already notice some interesting things. If I were allowed to fly my drone here, I would have recorded some really amazing shots. There's so much dust here.

Check this out. Oops... I almost fell down. Can I go from here? I think I can. Let me give you some perspective shots. You can see the reflection of Yasir's motorcycle with mountains in the background.

And from this angle, you can see me as well as Rangeeli. It's really a fun place. Some construction work is being done here on this side.

This is the resort area. We were just told that we can't go any further. But we told 'em that we have the permission. After that, we were happily let through.

Over here, you can see villa sort of structures. You can also see the tents. This is built in traditional style. Because the locals who lived in deserts, had tents like these.

So, they have indeed imbued their culture in their architecture. And that's a really nice thing. I liked it. If it were open and I could afford it, I would have loved to spend a night here.

Because locations like these are really hard to come by. But we may find the other valleys to be even better. But this is top notch. I mean just look at these views. Unique is the only adjective that comes to my mind.

In Australia, they have Ayers Rock. That's just one rock. But they have established an entire tourist industry around it. Here you have so many of them .... Each one better than the other.

People from around the world visit Ayers rock to witness its beauty and uniqueness. They have distributed this place into different sections. They have made these villas section by section.

And there's a restaurant as well. Just at a walking distance. I can also see small cars like golf carts. We are now getting out of the valley.

There's one more place to see before we go. Yasir told me that they rent out RVs and campers here. That's also in this valley but on the other side. Let's see where we can find them. Every section here has different names. But the whole valley is known as Ashar valley.

Let's see what we have here. Looks like that's some place for activities. Well... Well.... Looks like we have quite an atmosphere here. This section has RV hotels.

These accommodations are here for the tourists who want to spend the night here. There are cafes, restaurants and some really beautiful sitting areas. One can really enjoy their evening here.

Such a peaceful place.... No noise from anywhere... And the landscape is unbelievably beautiful. I'm literally at a loss of words to appreciate this marvel.

Especially the way these RVs have been decorated and parked here... Just too good. I'm sitting in a tent right now.

It's a very nice place for day sitting as well because the tent blocks the sun. However, the evening view is much better outside. Let's go out and order some coffee. But cold coffee for sure... because it's still quite hot. We want to enjoy our evening. We'll try to see if we can record the interior of these RVs for you.

Only if we get permission. Let me give you an RV tour. Although we are not staying here... But we requested them to let us have a look inside. You never know... we may end up deciding to stay here for a night. If you are visiting and you can afford it...

These days, these RVs cost 1000 to 1200 SAR... Depending on the views. So if you want to have a look, we are here to give you a tour. These are some really comfortable looking sofas.

It's quite spacious. Comfortable and spacious enough for two people. This is the kitchen. Oven... Microwave is inside here.

Here's the crockery... Something must be in here as well. No, it's empty. Nothing inside. Here's the fridge. I think it must be full of stuff.

There's a bar inside. These are just cabinets. Nothing special. This here is the toilet.. Much similar to the ones you see in airplanes. This is the bathing area.

Very clean and tidy. Moving on... This is the sleeping section. Two single beds. You'll wake up to an amazing view through these windows, in the morning.

The temperature inside the RV is controlled through AC. You can set a temperature of your own choice.

2022-08-19 08:35

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