Thuwal Village


The village of Thuwal is KAUST’s closest neighbor, located immediately to the south of the KAUST community. Thuwal is a traditional Hijazi village and is well known for being a center for fishing and fish restaurants.  


History and significance 

The name “Thuwal” comes from Thuwal Wadi (valley) which surrounds the village from the east and south. Thuwal also has another less famous name, Al Duayjah. 

Located along the old Madinah Road connecting Madinah and Makkah, Thuwal has traditionally been a key spot for pilgrims travelling between Makkah and Madinah to get rest, water, and supplies. 

As part of late King Abdullah’s Vision, a Thuwal Development Master Plan was established with the objective of bringing KAUST and Thuwal together. Additionally, the intent was to create a shared community which provides cultural amenities for the University and village, and to ensure a safe, secure environment which protects the unique culture and environment of the area. 

The plan took into consideration the existing conditions of Thuwal and proposed physical improvements to bring tangible change to the village. These included:  

  • Fishing harbor and corniche - replacing the old beach harbor which existed inside KAUST 
  • A cultural park - recognizing the unique historical traditions of Thuwal as a rest stop for travelers 
  • National Guard headquarters and facilities and housing complex 
  • Streetscape enhancement – Including landscaping, lighting, and pedestrian amenities.  
  • Several schools
  • Some infrastructure and utilities, plus a medical center, a number of Mosques and other amenities 



Thuwal downtown

Thuwal downtown is a short 10-minute drive from the KAUST community and boasts many restaurants and shops. There are a variety of traditional restaurants as well as auto mechanics, stores for crafts, household goods, clothing, groceries, hardware and more. Most shops close for prayer times, so remember to check prayer times before going. Here’s a map


Thuwal Corniche

The Thuwal Corniche, which is maintained by KAUST and considered part of KAUST properties, is a further 5-minute drive from the heart of Thuwal downtown. Here you will find a wide promenade, a marina for fishing, opportunities to buy freshly caught fish, and the popular Fish & Hook restaurant. Here’s a map.

For an extra special experience, we recommend hiring one of our private boats to enjoy a business or personal dinner at the fish restaurant.  



Fish & Hook Corniche Restaurant 

This restaurant, located in a picturesque spot on the Corniche, features a variety of fresh local seafood with a traditional atmosphere. 

Learn more about Fish & Hook:

    • Phone: +966(0)5331-06663 





    Getting to Thuwal 

    Here are a few options for getting to Thuwal: 


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    See information about buses to Thuwal downtown
    Learn more
    Private hire boats can be arranged to the Thuwal Corniche.
    Learn more
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    Travel privately by hiring a taxi or renting a car.
    Learn more
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    Personal transport