FARASAN ISLAND (جزر فرسان)

It is a group of more than 170 coral islands in the Red Sea located 40 kilometers off the coast of Jazan. The climate in the Farasan archipelago is characterized by a long hot season (April–October) and a short, mild one (November–March). We had a bearable average temperature of 36°C with light wind and 60% humidity, but we couldn’t stay any longer since the wind stopped blowing.

While several civilizations, including the Romans and Ottomans, have marked their stay here, dating as early as the first millennium BC. In 1900, the Imperial German Navy struck a deal with the Ottoman Empire that allowed them to establish a coaling station on the islands to support their ships operating in the Red Sea. The German Empire planned on eventually acquiring the islands, but the project was dropped in 1902 because the coal depot remained unused, and the Ottoman Empire refused to transfer it.

We overnight at Alhsas Beach and the other days at the nicer Janaba Beach. During our stay, we did visit the Ottoman Fort (closed) and the sandstone village of Al Qassar (closed, but can use another damaged gate on the side), which dates back to the time of the Romans. It is no longer inhabited and has been completely rebuilt into a local “Disneyland.” We also spent a few minutes at Beit Al Refai (closed), a beautiful home that belonged to a prosperous pearl merchant a hundred years ago. The house is built with coral stones and features intricate carvings on its gypsum walls. Finally, we made some sunset photo stop at Maadi Bridge and Beach. One night we went to the town to find some restaurants. Well, probably because of the off-season, everything was closed or unacceptable. In the end, we found nice reviews on pizzeria Nag Nag, and it was a good bet, tasty small Chicken and cheese pizza for 16 SAR with Pepsi 0,33 l for 3 SAR.

Twice a day, the government provides free ferries for passengers at 07:30 and 15:30 (1-hour ride). Sometimes they add more times, so it’s always good to check availability with the Ticket office in Jazan (open at 05:30). Our truck carried another free ferry for cargo trucks (only driver allowed on deck). A cargo ferry is usually scheduled six times daily and takes around 3 hours. You must get the ticket in advance from Jazan to the island. Then, on the way back, you just come to the ferry, and port staff will issue your ticket on the spot. And a friendly reminder, on both trips, you must go through Xray in Jazan.

Parking location – Janaba Beach: 16.677866N 42.111687E (🚻,🔌,💦)