Travel to Saudi Arabia

5 Awesome Things to Enjoy in Saudi Arabia

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Why You Should Travel to Saudi Arabia?

Saudi Arabia is one of the Middle East destinations where you can find a big percentage of Overseas Filipino Workers. Despite the various heartbreaking work-related experiences of some kababayans (Fellow Filipinos) in  this country,  there are still a lot of people who want to secure a job here. Travel to Saudi Arabia and miss to do these things!

If your intention is purely to earn money, Saudi Arabia is a good place to go. With the right financial management and discipline, you will certainly enjoy the advantage of working here since tax deduction is not being applied.  However, if you consider travelling here and exploring the place just like a typical tourist, you would probably have the second thought if you get aware of the limitations imposed in this country.

Known for its conservative practices, women are required to wear tarja and abaya in public places.

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Men and women are not allowed to mingle with each other. Restaurants provide separate dining places for bachelors and families. Only few Saudi women are employed. Women are not allowed to drive.  No heavy make-up application is allowed.  All malls, stores, and restaurants close every time Muslims pray which they do it five times a day. Capital punishment for crimes like public beheading is still done up to the present.

Getting aware of these things, you would not probably include Saudi Arabia among the list of places you want to visit. You may think there’s no way to appreciate this place because of its restrictions, rules and peculiar practices.

Being an OFW family for 5 years in Riyadh, we have considered it as our second home. Aside from the fact that this is where my family gets the main source of income, it has particular attributes that we have learned to enjoy.

The limitations being applied lead to the appreciation of this country’s life simplicity.  Here are some of the things my family appreciates despite being bounded by some constraints.

1. Food

Consuming pork is absolutely prohibited and considered “haram” (sinful) under Islamic laws.  Likewise, alcohol drinking is punishable. However, these restrictions do not deprive us from enjoying the allowed food here. There are many available fancy restaurants and hotels that provide different international cuisines.  The accessible foreign cuisines like Japanese, Asian, American, and Mediterranean food will surely satisfy your cravings.

However, the Arabic menu has distinct appeal to indulge people’s taste buds.  Arabic cuisine is influenced by diversified food from India, Mediterranean and Middle East countries. Kabsa and Shawarma are the two most popular and affordable Arabic foods that will surely pacify the hunger of people from all walks of life.

If you are a “rice eater” just like most Pinoys (Filipinos), then you should not miss eating Kabsa. It is a traditional Arabian dish made with rice, chicken and mixture of spices like pepper, cardamom, saffron, cinnamon, lime, bay leaves and nutmeg that give it a unique delightful taste. This national dish is served in a big portion that 2-3 persons can share.  To make eating kabsa more pleasurable, it is commonly eaten with the hands and prepared directly on a table covered with disposable food plastic instead of a plate.

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I personally consider shawarma as an instant healthy meal.  The grilled strips of seasoned meat commonly served as a wrap in Middle Eastern flat bread is very convenient to eat everywhere.  Accompanied with other fillings like tomato, cucumber, onion, lettuce, French fries and garlic mayonnaise dressing, this may be considered a complete meal.

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2. Parks

Aside from eating and traveling, watching movies is another favorite bonding activity of my family.  Since there are no movie houses in Saudi Arabia, going to parks has become an additional favorite in our list. Most of the parks have no entrance fee and everybody is welcome to gather regardless of nationality.   Parks appear in various features.  There are parks that typically covered with grass to comfortably lay a mat.

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King Abdullah Park

Some are rocky therefore it is better to bring portable tables and chairs.

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Wadi Hanifa

Other parks have additional features to provide entertainment for visitors of all ages like dancing fountain in King Abdullah Park and miniatures of famous landmarks in World Sights Park.

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World Sights Park

Since Saudi Arabia has a desert climate characterized by extreme heat and low annual rainfall, it is more fun to spend time in parks during the November-February when the weather is generally cold.

If you are a music lover, listening to loud music is not permitted in public. You’d better bring your headset or earphones.  It is also very important to note that public display of affection is strictly not allowed.

3. Museums

Saudi Arabia has very interesting culture to share among its people and other nationalities. Artifacts and other historical information do not only captivate your eyes and educate you about the past but they also broaden your understanding about the present. They serve as channels to appreciate different factors that influence its civilization.

The National Museum and Royal Airforce Military (Saqr Al-jazeera Aviation Museum) are some of highly recommended museums to visit in Riyadh.

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Aviation Museum

It is very important to check from the website the visiting schedule of every museum. Every establishment has specific time and day of visit for bachelors and families.

4. Shopping Spree

If you are a shopaholic person, you will surely enjoy the successive SALES offered by many malls and groceries stores. There is no need to wait for special season to grab discounted prices of branded clothes, gadgets and other accessories. Unfortunately, this is one of the reasons why many OFWs are tempted to purchase unnecessary items that eventually lead to mismanagement of their hard-earned money.

Since Saudi Arabia is gifted by enormous supply of gold, gold souks (marketplace) is another place people love to go. Saudi gold has a better value than other gold standard. If you love collecting jewelries then you may take advantage of the lower price offered here. In spite of this, I seldom buy gold accessories. Contrary to what others think that gold is a good investment, I consider it as a dead investment. That is why I only purchase small jewelries according to my mood.

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5. Other Outdoor Activities

Exploring places outside cities gives you the chance to appreciate the utmost beauty of this desert country.   Outdoor sightseeing will surely give you breathtaking and unforgettable experiences.

To enjoy better the adventures, it is very important to consider the weather.  It is extremely hot during months of May to September.  It is advisable to go out on winter months to avoid the harmful effects of heat exposure.

Although it does not snow in this country, travelling to Red Sand is the best way to enjoy the winter season.  The fine and smooth sand invites you to play, take a shot or simply savor the entire view while on the top of the dune.

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If you are a thrill seeker, going to places like Camel Trail or Edge of the World is highly recommended.  The effort you will exert in reaching the top of the ridge is worth upon seeing the path that zigzags its way to the desert floor.

Travel to Saudi Arabia

If you suffer from acrophobia or fear of heights then you may prefer going to heritage villages like Ushaiger Village or attend the annual Janadriyah Feast.  Here you will get ideas about the way of living of ancient people by seeing some remnants.

Related Article: Looking for affordable accommodation in Saudi Arabia? Check out deals in .

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Mud House

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Janadriyah Feast

These places are free to visit.  It may take a few hours to reach it but it is really worth seeing its distinctness.

It may not be convincing to some people the things listed here to entice them to visit Saudi Arabia. For some, they will still prefer the conventional way of enjoyment. Perhaps, others are unwilling to experience the unusual practices here. You may not choose to come here as a sightseer but for certain circumstance that you have the chance to come to Saudi Arabia, take advantage to discover and enjoy this country’s unique qualities. Respecting the culture and rules is the key to open your eyes to the beauty of this place.

People here may be confined to certain restrictions. However, my family prefers not to complicate things by asking many WHYs. There may be few things that this country offers but the limitations make us appreciate things that matter most especially for the family. That is why, no matter what, Saudi Arabia will always be a home away from home.

Monkey DividersAbout the Writer:

things to do in Saudi Arabia-Lady MarquezLady Marquez is a blogger and a home school mother.  The challenges brought by the long distance relationship with her husband were all surpassed when finally they became a complete family in Riyadh after 10 long years. She has been inspired to use the failures and successes they experienced during those years through writing family-related articles. She strongly believes that her success is measured by what she does with the abilities God gave her.

5 Awesome Things to Enjoy in Saudi Arabia

Comments 61

  1. wow what an amazing article your article make us know a lot about Saudi Arabia in just a few lines your speech is very simple, well organised and to the point you select interesting topics to present about Saudi your photo is highly professional and functional to the article mood its really great now all the reader and i have million of reason to visit Saudi

  2. But where do the people watch movies?? Though im surprised that pork is prohibited. This is such an informative post! Will come in handy in the future! 😀

    1. It’s a Muslim country, Maaya, that’s why. Nevertheless there are plenty of foods to try and things to enjoy in Saudi Arabia.

  3. If ever I choose to go and visit Saudi , there are only two things I’m looking forward to seeing. The sand dunes and the mud house. Good thing you shared some photos from the mud house. Were they really just made of mud?

    I wouldn’t probably miss the opportunity to taste the specialty food of Saudi Arabians. Btw, do they really have magic carpets there? lol

    1. Interesting points, Dominic. Excited with your visit in Saudi Arabia and finally find the answers to all your curiosity. Haha.

  4. Because of how restrictive it seems for women, I don’t think I’d ever visit Saudi Arabia, but those pictures look amazing!

    1. A week of visit may let you enjoy it, Emily. There are lots of things to enjoy in Saudi Arabia for you not to mind much its ‘restrictiveness’

  5. great post, looks as though you had a really interesting time. I’ve got to say I’ve never really thought about Saudi before…

  6. I’ve never considered traveling to Saudi Arabia, to be honest. But I do love shawarma! Hehe! We have it here in the Philippines but nothing probably beats the real thing.

    1. Exactly, Nadine. Food is awesome in Saudi Arabia. Hope you can visit Saudi and try the original Shawarma. haha

  7. I’d never have thought about holidaying in Saudi Arabia but it looks like somewhere I’d like to visit- the gold, souks, food really remind me of my trip to Marrakech last summer! xxx

  8. My Dad used to work in Saudi back in the 1980s but I never visited – it does sound like a very interesting country though

  9. It’s great to know about Saudi Arabia. Personally, I think it’s still a good place to visit just to experience their culture. I’m interested in their food too!

    Nina |

    1. Culture and Food are just few of the awesome things to enjoy in Saudi Arabia, Nina. hope you can go there soon. 🙂

  10. I have to admit I’d never ever thought of what the food in Saudi Arabia would be like but it looks like the sort of stuff I like! My dad used to work in Saudi Arabia so it’s somewhere I’d love to visit 🙂

    1. How long did your father work in Saudi, laura? Must be great if you two can go in Saudi Arabia and try these things.

  11. It is so good to understand about some of the customs and ways taht they do things in Saudi Arabia. I have never been but one thing that has held me back is not knowing the customs that would be presented for me to uphold. You don’t want to cause trouble there! I think it would be amazing to see the Edge of the World! That place looks amazing!

    1. Well said, Alison. Learning to adapt and to respect the contry you are visiting. Looking forward to your trip in Saudi Arabia and what are the things you will do. 🙂

  12. Saudia Arabia is a destination I have always wanted to visit as it looks so interesting and such a different culture that I would love to explore – nice to know they have so many parks and the food sounds good too.

    Laura x

    1. Good to hear that you are thinking to visit Saudi Arabia. Share us here if ever you had a chance to enjoy the parks and the food in Saudi. 🙂

  13. Wow I didn’t realise how strict things were there. I knew of some of the practices but not all those you mentioned. This post was an eye opener for sure!

    1. Thank you Leanne. Saudi Arabia is an interesting place to explore and sure the enjoyment will always be there. 🙂

  14. I’ve never really thought bout visiting Saudi Arabia before now . Looks like there are some amazing things to see and do, I’d also love to try the food!

  15. Great post I’ve never been and didn’t really think of going there before reading this. The food and the shopping appeal to me.

    1. Melanie, you have lots of choices for food and shopping in Saudi Arabia. Just few of the things you can enjoy there. 🙂

  16. My uncle once worked in Saudi Arabia and he told us a lot of great stories and adventures he had in this wonderful country… exploring the dessert has been one of my dreams since I was a kid and hopefully I’ll get a chance to explore the beauty that Saudi Arabia has to offer!

    1. Cool,, Bluedreamer27. Invite your father for Saudi trip and see the dessert. Haha. Sure will will have lots of things to enjoy in Sadi arabia.

  17. I have only been to Saudi via transit but would love to go for a shopping spree and the food I think. Loved your pictures

    1. Next time you will go out from the airport, Anosa. From then, enjoy shopping and other things in Saudi Arabia. 🙂

  18. You really showed a different side to Saudi, it actually seems like somewhere I would love to visit x

  19. Thank you for sharing the other side of Saudi. I am always hesitant to go there even just for a tour because of so many unfortunate news I heard about the country. You made me think twice and appreciate the country’s beauty inspite many restrictions. By the way, beautiful photos of you and your family.

  20. You gave a picture of Saudi Arabia very far from what i have imagined. From your narratives, it seems that Saudi is a nice place to stay for work and also for entertainment. Given the museums, park and sales, i guess a family would instantly fall in love with Saudi. Thank you for sharing this. 🙂

  21. I would be very interested in going to Saudi Arabia. I know there are cultural differences, but I am sure I would enjoy the museums, parks, and shawarma. I cannot drive, so there would be no problems there. And the Red Sands look gorgeous in your photos. You have persuaded me to put Saudi Arabia on my travel list!

  22. I have a few friends who have been to Saudi Arabia and loved it. I think it would be an amazing cultural experience.

  23. I would definitely have to try some cultural food and see what it’s like. It’s great that you’ve been able to see so much of Saudi Arabia.

  24. I enjoyed your honest article. I do love Middle Eastern food and the red sand and cultural places to visit looked interesting. I honestly admit I don’t ever see myself going because of their customs regarding women. It must be challenging for you. Yes, I could see shopping being a challenge to avoid, being an avid shopper myself.

  25. Wow, look at the view from the edge of the world. Truly awesome, but there is very similar in Oman, which I’d far rather go to.

  26. I would love to go to Saudi Arabia – mainly for the food, as it is all my favourite flavours.

  27. Oh wow Saudi Arabia looks such an incredible place, truly something for everyone! I love all your photos too. Kaz x

  28. Well written post. I don’t plan on visiting Saudi Arabia anytime soon though. However I do plan to visit Dubai again, I love that place.

  29. I completely disagree with Arabic customs concerning the treatment of of women and it sickens me that women don’t have the same rights as men but I have to admit Arabic food is very delicious.

  30. Wow, it looks like there are some fantastic places to visit! I think I would be staying clear of any cliff edges though, even the thought terrifies me!

  31. Places like this seem like such a culture shock compared to more Westernized countries, looks like a really interesting place to visit though x

  32. Wow, that was such an interesting post, it’s nice to hear about a place from someone who actually lives there, I knew that Saudi Arabia has some very strict rules but I didn’t know about segregated restaurants.

  33. Pingback: A Visit to the Kingdom’s Aviation Museum | Stories of The Wandering Feet & Mind

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