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.
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:
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.
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.
Here are a few options for getting to Thuwal: