Located on the crossroads of ancient civilisations, the old Incense trading routes and the pilgrimage journey from Damascus, Egypt and beyond, AlUla has been always a place of restoration and relaxation. Its natural beauty and silent majesty of dramatic mountains and green oases allow travelers to relax, returning harmony to their mind, body and soul to continue their long travels.
AlUla Wellness Festival returns to AlUla from today, 29 September, to 16 October in its second edition. Offering hundreds of experiences, including the return of the most popular alongside some new exciting concepts, the festival is fast becoming the signature event of its kind in the region to promote physical and mental health and the very latest in well-being practices.
The first in the AlUla Moments series of festivals, AlUla Wellness Festival takes place during the autumn harvest when the temperature begins to fall and the farmers harvest their crops. The festival marks the changing of the season and elevates the importance of changing lifestyles to restore mind and body wellbeing and positive change.
Through a series of events over the two-week period, AlUla Wellness Festival leans into the key theme of ‘silence’ with the proven health benefits of quietude inspiring many of the festival’s experience.
AlUla Wellness Festival allows friends, families and their children to experience fun, healthy and back-to-nature experiences, inspired by AlUla landscapes, local culture and traditions.
As the key highlight of AlUla Wellness Festival, Five Senses Sanctuary, the region’s leading retreat for wellness practices, yoga, physical and mental health is back in AlUla. With a new approach inspired by its name, the 10 days event will feature more opportunities to engage and stimulate all five senses. In this second edition, Five Senses Sanctuary will amplify the healing power of music and silence; the use of art as therapy and dance and the movement of the body connected to the holistic forces of the moon and the stars. The exciting mix of immersive experiences is aimed at furthering self-connection, revising inner-feelings and igniting positive change.
As in the first edition, Five Senses Sanctuary will introduce an impressive list of yogi celebrities, motivational speakers, engaging workshops, musical performances, customised retail inspired by AlUla and much more. Five Senses Sanctuary will be located in a new spot close to Ikmah Oasis, with easy access for all visitors. Five Senses Sanctuary is running now, until October 8.
Bringing an “old school” touch from the 70s to a real old school in AlJadidah – Rocks n’ Roll AlUla offers roller skating with music for the first time in AlUla. This new immersive fun and fitness activity features spectacular neon glow lights and video effects on the open-air skating rink surrounded by the rocks of AlUla. Visitors will slide around the track in a vibrant flow of colour and movement while listening on their headphones to a fun playlist of throw-back songs. Promoting body movement and awakening of unused eye senses to perceive the glowing colors, Rocks ‘n Roll AlUla offers a family-friendly mind-freeing, fun and exhilarating experience on wheels.
During weekends, special glow parties will take place on the track, with DJ sets and special lighting effects that will transport participants into a new world of senses and fun. Visitors will be able to use their own skates or rent from the helpdesk. With food trucks available on-site, an array of dining options completes the not-to-miss experience.
The Resonant Shell is a new immersive art-experience by artists Nathalie Harb and Youmna Saba; commissioned specially for the AlUla Wellness Festival. The site-specific installation offers visitors a mini retreat, a connected physical and spiritual experience, a moment of deep resonance with AlUla’s extraordinary landscapes. Both sculpture and architecture, the artwork takes the form of a double skin tower in mudbrick and fabric that is activated by human presence at its core.
Visitors are offered a transformative experience, ascending a spiral staircase from earth to sky, awakening their perspectives, and leading to a holistic awareness of the present moment. At the heart of the earthen tower, the space is acoustically isolated providing the visitor with meditative silence, while speakers offer an artistic sound-work drawn from the desert and the ancient geology of AlUla.
Open daily, The Resonant Shell may be visited as a singular experience or combined with new learnings from the classes and talks at the nearby 5 Senses Sanctuary.
Leaning in the health benefits of silence, the Silent Trail Hike offers participants a refreshing change from day to day life. Participants will be asked to switch off their mobile phones to enjoy the silence of the majestic landscapes in AlUla. From the vast sand flats to the stunning mountains and sandstone rock formations, the desert of AlUla is the perfect setting for self-reflection, mediation and transformative thinking. Energy will be offered in the form of natural plant food and participants will be requested to try a moment of sleep to feel the silence of the desert.
The Drone Light Show at Hegra promises to be one of the most exciting and visually compelling experiences of AlUla Moments. The show explores the origins and beauty of light in its purest form. Light is the cornerstone of wellness, characterised by strengthening the powers of mind and body. It drives mood and health daily and without it, the world would not exist.
The event will take place during the silent evenings of Hegra, where the skies are black, far from the light and sound pollution of the city. Drones will be flying across the long-preserved Nabataean tombs of Hegra, creating a dance of ideas in a 3D light show inspired by deep thoughts of the ancient civilisations through colour and beauty, movement and origins.
Ancient Roots highlights the importance of some of the native plants in AlUla: The Moringa, the date palms and the citrus trees. In these immersive workshops, visitors will be involved in sessions about the usage of the plants and the extracts made out of them. They will have the opportunity to plant seeds and have an experience of being a farmer for one day in one of AlUla’s farms.
While on weekends visitors can visit AlUla Dates Festival 2022, which runs on four weekends starting the last weekend of September, to enjoy tasting and shopping for their favorite types of dates and indulging in a local annual harvest festival celebrating the season of dates. The festival is becoming an important date on the annual harvest calendar for date farmers from near and far who attend the date auction. There are 2.2 million date palms growing in AlUla’s oases and the fruit plays an important role in the history of agriculture in the region.
Thuraya Wellness Centre at Habitas AlUla Resort will continue its wellness offering and sessions, aiming to inspire the guests with the nature and magical surroundings of the resort’s location in Wadi Ashar, and navigate their way to restore and relax. Named after a star constellation widely used by Bedouins to navigate in the desert, Thuraya Wellness offers a peaceful lounge space with an alchemy bar, spa treatment rooms, a fitness center, an outdoor wellness agora, and a yoga studio. Activities will be available for booking throughout AlUla Wellness Festival and will continue further.
Maraya concerts will return to celebrate the start of AlUla Moments calendar. Four concerts will take place during the festival including the global phenomenon, Irish superstars, Westlife, who will perform for the first time in Saudi Arabia on 28 September 28 as part of their global Wild Dreams Tour, followed by three concerts to be announced soon.
AlUla’s heritage sites are open all year round. Hegra, AlUla Old Town, Dadan and Jabal Ikmah, can be booked to compliment any AlUla Moments festival activity with a choice of general tour of VIP tours.
The dining scene in AlUla welcomes this winter a whole new raft of returning favourites and new concepts. This September, Maraya Social returns to the rooftop of Maraya and popular OKTO takes its position at the top of the Harrat Viewpoint overlooking the valley of AlUla.
Tickets for AlUla Wellness Festival experiences and Maraya concerts are available for booking through www.experiencealula.com