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Quad Biking In Thumamah

One of the most popular outdoors activities for locals and expats alike is going out to the nearby desert for some quad biking. Quads, four wheelers, sand buggies, whatever you call them, it’s always a blast to drive them! The best thing is women can also drive, even in an all-women groups.

The Thumamah sand dunes outside Riyadh are a popular place for renting quads on the weekends. There’s a stretch of over 20 km next to the highway lined with quad bike rental places. They also have Saudi style tents with their own private yards for rent which would be ideal for families. There’s camel riding, horse back riding and other desert activities to enjoy.

The rental guys will be helpful in choosing the best bike and showing how it works. If they see a group of women going out on their own sometimes they might come with you some distance in case you get stuck and need pushing help.

To reach Thumamah drive out of Riyadh toward the Janadriyah festival area, you will pass it and the King’s farm on the left hand side of the road. Continue on this road and you will soon see the sand dunes on the left of the road. The rental places are on the side of the road and they are easy to spot with the bikes lined in rows.
The further you drive out on this road, the better. There are literally hundreds of rental places here. The further out of town you drive the less people there will be around and the prices become cheaper. The sand dunes have less trash and there’s not as much disturbance.

When you see a nice spot just make a turn left to the dunes and drive to whichever rental place you like. It might be worth shopping around a bit for a better price. If you go on weekdays during daytime there will most likely be nobody else around. On the other hand weekend afternoons and evenings turn this place crazy busy, dusty and crowded!

Prices will range according to bike size from 100-300 SAR an hour. You can choose a bike with gears (recommended) or an automatic one. There are even very small bikes available for the children to try safely. You will need to get one of the larger size bikes to be able to climb the steeper hills and venture out to the dunes.

Bashing in the soft sand is really fun but can also be tricky. You need to be careful watching out for sudden steep hills, thorny bushes, holes and large pieces of trash.

Sometimes a nuisance for the female bikers are the “shabab”. These Saudi men are curious and persistent and will sometimes follow unaccompanied women around. To avoid this it’s best to go during daytime and to places further out away from the crowds. It would be advisable to have a male accompany you during weekends and the peak hours. I’ve noticed that if these men keep bothering you, the best way to send them off is to start taking their picture.

Look out for falcons which can often be seen hunting in this area.

Everyone gets stuck every once in a while! The trick is to avoid driving too slowly, especially when going uphill! Don’t stop the bike uphill, only on a flat area or slightly downhill. If you get stuck get off of the bike and try pushing the bike out slowly while giving a little it gas.

Women can remove their abaya out in the desert if they so wish and it’s actually much safer to drive without it! The abayas hems that might get stuck in the wheels and engine. I’ve managed to ruin three abayas like this! If you keep it on, make sure your abaya doesn’t get tangled and burned from the hot engine.

Unfortunately many areas of the beautiful Thumamah sands are ruined with trash left behind by bikers and campers. Don’t leave any trash behind and pick up any that you can!!

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>> << 16 comments

  • My Own FairytaleJuly 26, 2013 - 9:40 pm

    That`s very cool!
    But they should clean their trash when they leave.

    XO

    ReplyCancel

  • Jerry Mc KennaJuly 26, 2013 - 10:08 pm

    Love the photos, but it isn’t a Falcon in the 5th photo. It looks like an Eagle, but I am not familiar enough with the local hawks to be sure which kind of hawk or eagle it is.ReplyCancel

  • LaylaJuly 29, 2013 - 10:14 am

    Thanks Jerry, I’m, not an expert of any kind when it comes to birds so you’re probably right :) It just looked like one of those falcons from afar. What kind of eagle could it be?ReplyCancel

  • myeverydaystrugglesJuly 29, 2013 - 8:42 pm

    We’ve passed this place on our way to Makkah for umrah but haven’t been there.

    Kaye
    http://myeverydaystruggles.wordpress.comReplyCancel

  • Jerry MJuly 31, 2013 - 7:53 pm

    The bird you photographed is definitely a large hawk. The Golden Eagle is the most common eagle in most of the world, so I would go with the golden.ReplyCancel

  • ZatZAugust 2, 2013 - 11:14 pm

    looks like super fun :)

    Just found your blog.. do come visit mine too when you got time :)

    http://pinkcloudsz.blogspot.com/ReplyCancel

  • 10 Things To Do In Riyadh During SpringDecember 3, 2014 - 12:53 am

    […] too hot yet. Easy to reach even with two wheel drives are the Red Sands area on Mecca highway and Thumamah sand dunes and park in the North. For further expeditions out of the city try Rawdhat Khuraim, Red Sands or […]ReplyCancel

  • JavierMarch 4, 2015 - 10:21 am

    Dear,

    I want to do a “Quad biking in red sand”. Because I heard that in that place is pretty fun. But I do not have to much information about this. Where is it exactly, prices…

    I do not know if you can help

    Thanks in advanced

    RegardsReplyCancel

  • Riyadh To Do Guide » Blue AbayaMarch 10, 2015 - 4:10 pm

    […] rent quad bikes for couple hours and drive on the dunes. Yes women can drive them tooMy favorite is Thumamah area, on weekdays its almost empty, you can have the vast desert to yourself, but don’t get […]ReplyCancel

  • Divan SmitJuly 8, 2015 - 3:12 pm

    Any contact details please! !!!ReplyCancel

  • […] a beautiful area of red sand dunes surrounded by majestic mountains. This is a popular place to rent quad bikes to explore the area. You can rent them for an hour at a time, and women can drive without abaya no […]ReplyCancel

  • Sans Abaya in Saudi » Blue AbayaFebruary 23, 2016 - 7:06 pm

    […] biking There are few areas around Riyadh for quad biking but the most scenic ones are Red Sands and Thumamah. During the weekdays its very quiet and women can drive around without being disturbed especially […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Not being able to drive: Very frustrating sometimes especially for women who enjoy driving and are used to doing it a lot. – while you’re being driven around by your driver, make the most of your time! Read a good book, a newspaper, call a friend, or your mother! Do your makeup on the way (ok depends on your driver’s skills and how stable your hand is). – if you have an suv or a husband /male friend that can rent one go out to the desert to drive! It’s fun but be careful don’t venture too far. Bedouin women drive around all the time, once you’ve passed the checkpoints you will be fine. Check out the book “Desert treks from Riyadh” available in Jarir book stores. – go to the Reem race track!they have carting and women can drive too!Exit 11. – rent quadbikes or beach buggies to get rid of the extra “driving withdrawal symptoms”. Available at red Sands area Mecca highway and the Thumamah area. […]ReplyCancel

  • patrickSeptember 14, 2016 - 5:49 pm

    Hello, can you please send me the exact location of this place because my boss wants to go there but I dont know the exact location in google map. ThanksReplyCancel

    • Arabian LauraSeptember 18, 2016 - 11:15 am

      there is a large area with quad rentals. Just follow the directions and you will find the strip where they are renting them. The you just take a pick from those places. There are literally hundreds of them on weekends!ReplyCancel

  • Nauman TariqDecember 2, 2016 - 2:55 pm

    Hi Laura,

    I just bought your ebook on the Secret lake, very interesting. Would it be possible to share the coordinates of QUAD BIKING IN THUMAMAH?

    ThankxReplyCancel

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