Blue Abaya » Saudi Arabia Travel Guide

The Riyadh date and vegetable market, also known as the date souk or fruit souq, is located off exit 14. It’s THE place to go for some serious date-shopping and to get on a natural sugar high! Even if you’re not a fan of dates, which I guarantee you will become after visiting this place, it’s […]

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  • LynHzbJune 30, 2013 - 9:38 pm

    this post is great ! the pictures are so lovely, i wish i could come and visit that market.
    but here’s a question; ajwa dates are being sold here at very high prices (minimum £15 for 500gr). they say it is because there is moer demand than supply and it is hard to grow them nowadays. is that so? or is the price being kept high because of the desirablity of ajwa dates due to them being mentioned in the hadith (Sahih Bukhari: Vol 7, Book 65, Number 356 and Vol 7, Book 71, Number 664 and Sahih Muslim: Book 23, Number 5083)? are they more expensive than other dates as well at your end?

    keep blogging! love it!
    salaam alaykum


  • LuvAlaskaJuly 2, 2013 - 10:38 am

    Those dates look amazing. I can only seem to get a hold of mejdool dates here in Australia, which is disappointing as there is so much variety out there. I would go gaga in that souq lol

    Laylah, could you do a post on your Islamic reversion? Such as how you first discovered Islam, reactions from family and friends etc. How do you balance your Islamic lifestyle with relationships with your Finnish family? But I guess this wouldn’t be much of an issue if they were completely accepting, however.

    You briefly touched on the back lash from so called ‘friends’ in the ‘hate mail hall of shame’ post, and I’m fascinated by how it happened.

    I understand if it’s too private to blog about, as it’s a highly personal matter.


  • Denise BomfimJuly 2, 2013 - 12:05 pm

    Salam, Layla!

    how are you? Loved the photos and the text.
    I would like to visit the souk and buy the dates…
    I wrote a poem abou the vision of an arabian woman about love. Take a look at it, it is written in portuguese and english too.

  • LaylaJuly 2, 2013 - 12:14 pm

    LuvAlaska thanks for the suggestion, I have been wanting to write that post for a long time, just never got around to writing it (same goes for 50 other ideas I have in my head but no time to implentent!

    Life’s just too busy right now with the kiddos so small :)

    I really hope I can get the chance to sit down and write it for Ramadan.
    I can just quickly say that from my family’s side they’ve all been accepting and most really didn’t even care that much since it’s a private issue we don’t discuss such things in our family or society at all.
    Friends are/were another story altogether though..ReplyCancel

  • LaylaJuly 2, 2013 - 12:16 pm

    Hi Jamilah, the dates you asked about are more expensive here as well, and it’s because they’re the ones mentioned in Hadith and are from Medinah. The kg prices vary according to quality but can go up to over 100sr/kg!


  • […] Riyadh Date Market-Dates Galore […]ReplyCancel

  • RobertAugust 6, 2014 - 1:45 pm

    Hi Layla

    Superb photos and info on your posts. However, a bit hard to find Date Souq – any chance of a map or CoordinatesReplyCancel

    • LaylaAugust 9, 2014 - 2:14 am

      hi Robert and thanks for the comment,
      I don’t have any co-ordinates for it or a map sorry :( my suggestion is you ask around for it, if it’s that you’re in the area but can’t locate the actual souk? Ask for souk al Rabwa, or vegetable market, it’s right next to it. Good luck!ReplyCancel

    • Allan CatchpoleAugust 19, 2014 - 12:06 pm


      try 24.695271, 46.779406 that is the North entrance to a long building which runs North/South.

      The date souk runs the entire length, but there are also dates for sale in the wholesale area to the west of the souq.


  • ignacioAugust 30, 2014 - 4:12 pm

    Amazing experience!! spent a few hours in the souk ! I think I wont be able to eat all the varieties i bought!
    I am putting the exact location details in case anyone needs it:

    سوق الخضار والفاكهة
    Ar Rabwah, Riyadh 14215, Arabia Saudí

    also opening times: early morning the best, midday until 3pm still activity in the dates galleryReplyCancel

    • LaylaAugust 30, 2014 - 10:39 pm

      thanks a lot ignacio for the location details and your feedback, much appreciated :)ReplyCancel

  • EkhwanAugust 26, 2015 - 5:07 pm

    Thank you for the infos
    Is there entry fees?ReplyCancel

  • LizzieAugust 27, 2015 - 7:57 pm

    Hi there, just wondering what days the markets are open? Hoping to go this weekend if they are open!

Eid Mubarak to all Blue Abaya readers! We wish you and your loved ones a blessed Eid al Fitr 2015. If you’re in Riyadh and looking to celebrate, this quick guide will help you find the locations, timings, and best events around Riyadh. Riyadh Municipality is organizing over 200 Eid Al Fitr events for the […]

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  • My Own FairytaleAugust 18, 2013 - 7:33 pm

    Beautiful pictures!



  • […] After the month of fasting is over, Muslims celebrate Eid al Fitr, which this year 2014 will be 12 days long holiday during which most government offices will be closed. There are some interesting activities and events organized by the Riyadh Municipality every Eid. Here you can find a list of Top Ten Things to do during Eid Al Fitr holidays in Riyadh. Check out these posts for photos from the previous years’ Eid celebrations in Riyadh. […]ReplyCancel

  • Eid MubarakJuly 3, 2015 - 3:35 pm

    Wising All the Muslims Around The World, “Ed Mubarak”…..%$###ReplyCancel

  • Mohd HussainJuly 11, 2015 - 6:39 am

    Happy Eid To All My Dear Muslims Around The Word!!! May Allah Bless You With Forgiveness and Peace.ReplyCancel

  • Muhammad Ali SohailJuly 19, 2015 - 12:41 am

    Hi Layla
    thanks for such a wonderful compilation.
    How about the Eid festival in Kindy Plaza in DQ ?ReplyCancel

    • LaylaJuly 19, 2015 - 1:26 pm

      Hey there and Eid Mubarak!
      The past years the Kindy plaza festivities have been cancelled another or last minute, no reason given but I’m guessing it must be for security concerns. The US embassy is opposite the plaza.ReplyCancel

  • Samantha Topham HatchJuly 22, 2015 - 8:00 pm

    I love hearing about all the fun things that KSA has to offer. Thanks for sharing!



The Ramadan giveaway is here! As a token of gratitude to our fans for the continuous support, Blue Abaya together with The Ritz Carlton are giving away 3 sets of iftar for two at Riyadh’s prestigious Ritz-Carlton Ramadan Tent. The iftar buffet will be served at the spectacular Ritz ballrooms, which have been decorated for […]

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  • […] and customers, Blue Abaya together with the Ritz-Carlton are offering the chance to experience the Ramadan tent in the form of a giveaway–don’t miss out on a chance to win, make sure you’ve subscribed to the Blue Abaya […]ReplyCancel

  • Karen BremnerJuly 4, 2015 - 2:53 pm

    Sorry if I am missing something but I can’t see how to actually enter other than to click on the sharing buttons. Am I missing something??ReplyCancel

    • LaylaJuly 4, 2015 - 5:33 pm

      You log in with either facebook or your email then do as many of the entries as you like. The giveaway graphic should open up below the image.ReplyCancel

  • Sherwin Shierly NoraJuly 4, 2015 - 3:15 pm

    I have been in the Kingdom for 5 years which means I have experienced and witnessed 5 Ramadans. During this Holy Month, I have learned to respect my Muslim brothers and sisters on their faith, beliefs, religion and cuture. What I love most about Ramadan is the people who are sincere on their sacrifices and of course the food which draw us more closer not only to families, to friends, colleagues and to other nationalities as well. :)ReplyCancel

  • Tuba Z MalikJuly 4, 2015 - 6:26 pm

    Following Blue Abaya from long time and enjoy all ur blog and posting hope to win 😀ReplyCancel

  • Mohamed SorourJuly 4, 2015 - 6:28 pm

    Really looking forward to this oneReplyCancel

  • Hamza FarooqJuly 4, 2015 - 6:36 pm

    Looking forward to win one the slot :)ReplyCancel

  • Rudina FejzullaJuly 4, 2015 - 6:37 pm

    It will be a great experience for me since i am new in Riyadh :).ReplyCancel

  • Emaan Z. MalykJuly 4, 2015 - 7:02 pm

    Enjoyed reading your blog…hope to win :)ReplyCancel

  • Tracy VaughanJuly 4, 2015 - 7:19 pm

    Love being here during this time because it’s a time to reflect and opportunity to spend time with your family.ReplyCancel

  • JasonJuly 4, 2015 - 7:47 pm

    Great Iftar dinnersReplyCancel

  • WasifJuly 4, 2015 - 8:01 pm

    I like the ambience of Ritz Carlton. It’s simply great!ReplyCancel

  • Sara MohammadJuly 4, 2015 - 8:09 pm

    The blessings, the generosity the urge to do more good deeds…. all of a sudden the whole environment changes. Everything seems to be pure and you can feel spirituality. Love the Iftars held here in KSA. And feels good to see people helping others at the Iftar time by giving juices and dates. And yes love the Iftar tentsReplyCancel

  • Macoy Nieto-GuevarraJuly 4, 2015 - 8:18 pm

    Ritz Carlton Hotel is one posh hotel.ReplyCancel

  • Sana Binte MaleckJuly 4, 2015 - 8:56 pm

    I love everything about my Country <3 hope to b lucky ^_^ReplyCancel

  • nazlaJuly 4, 2015 - 8:58 pm

    Alhamdulillah the spirituality here i get cannot compare anywhere in the world can perform an umrah , and taraweeh prayers and most of all peace and less work .ReplyCancel

  • danieyJuly 4, 2015 - 10:15 pm

    The Ritz Carlton is a very nice hotel.ReplyCancel

  • Sana MirajJuly 5, 2015 - 12:11 am

    Iftar Dinners its a blessing from Allah that we are living near custodian of two holy masjid <3ReplyCancel

    • Sara MohammadJuly 5, 2015 - 1:57 am

      The blessings, the generosity the urge to do more good deeds…. all of a sudden the whole environment changes. Everything seems to be pure and you can feel spirituality. Love to do perform umrah.Love the Iftars held here in KSA. And feels good to see people helping others at the Iftar time by giving juices and dates on signals. And yes i really like the Iftar tentsReplyCancel

  • Carmen HillJuly 5, 2015 - 12:36 am

    I love the peace and night prayers during Ramadan!!ReplyCancel

  • Loola LoolJuly 5, 2015 - 1:14 am

    Great idea! Thanks! :)ReplyCancel

  • Sumera AsaadJuly 5, 2015 - 1:48 am

    Gud luck!ReplyCancel

  • Asma khurramJuly 5, 2015 - 2:00 am

    A very informatibe blog and a well explsined ome two hope to get my dream iftari this ramadan with the help of blue abaya

  • Sara SiddiquiJuly 5, 2015 - 3:44 am

    Hope to win!ReplyCancel

  • AimenJuly 5, 2015 - 3:59 am

    Love the atmosphere and late night shopping and spirit of Ramadan here.ReplyCancel

  • Kanwal AnesJuly 5, 2015 - 4:00 am

    What a fun prize! ReplyCancel

  • Nonzy TrlscJuly 5, 2015 - 4:51 am

    When I came to Riyadh in 2008 , I felt Alien for sometime until I did not explored Blue Abaya Blogs and slowly I realized “No, I am not at a really bad place and there is so much to explore and learn here” About Ramdhan here; Being Muslim I feel entirely Beautiful to spend my Ramdhan here in KSA and it can never be as wonderful as it has been here. I would love to win the Giveaway as I have never been to Ritz Carlton and would love to enjoy the food and ambiance simultaneously.
    Keep writing with same enthusiasm , we enjoy your blogs thoroughly :)ReplyCancel

  • madihaJuly 5, 2015 - 5:21 am

    totally love the feel of ramadan in kingdom, and it is carried by Ritz Carlton beautifully and elegantly!ReplyCancel

  • Arwa ShahidJuly 5, 2015 - 5:23 am

    I m really looking forward to this one!!ReplyCancel

  • AfifaJuly 5, 2015 - 5:43 am

    The spirit of Ramadan in Riyadh is something ELSE. Best part SubhanAllah, is when you’re stuck in Traffic before Iftar and our generous brothers/sisters distributes dates and water. Alhumdulillah ☺ReplyCancel

  • Al Razel Mohamad AbdulaJuly 5, 2015 - 6:53 am

    Ramadhan Kareem.ReplyCancel

  • Aqsa ButtJuly 5, 2015 - 10:03 am

    Great give away! Hope to win!ReplyCancel

  • Gail Durangparang-BolanioJuly 5, 2015 - 10:27 am

    The sharing, and how families come together. We have seen and experienced these acts of kindness. By the way, I LOVE your blog, it has become our go to guide in and around Saudi Arabia. Hope to win! It will
    make an amazing first Ramadan for us here in Saudi Arabia ☺ReplyCancel

  • Shatha KhasawnehJuly 5, 2015 - 10:49 am

    Wow I hope I can winReplyCancel

  • Zoobia ShoabJuly 5, 2015 - 11:52 am

    Ramadan is a month that helps bring out the best in you. Teaches you to be more considerate and generous. Helps you reconnect with your spirituality. The blessings in this month is tremendous. It shows you your capability to do so much more all year round! Love Ramadan in KSA!ReplyCancel

  • myriamJuly 5, 2015 - 12:11 pm

    My husband went there Last week for business And i really was jealous lol i wish i could Win And have the chance To discover such a Nice And luxury place thank you Blue Abbaya for the contest cheers And God bless youReplyCancel

  • Anna MarivienJuly 5, 2015 - 12:30 pm

    My mother really wanted to go in this Hotel…She’s been dreaming about it for a few years now…ReplyCancel

  • Umme AhmedJuly 5, 2015 - 12:31 pm

    Hope to win INSHA ALLAHReplyCancel

  • Bareera SaadJuly 5, 2015 - 12:51 pm

    What i love about ramadan in Saudi Arabia is how the whole atmosphere is prepared to receive this holy month from the lighting on the streets to the masjids for tarawi. It’s as if the blessings are showering in the ambience and that moves one to really reflect and get close to the Almighty.ReplyCancel

  • Saad FerozeJuly 5, 2015 - 1:00 pm

    Ample of time to do ibadat and easy access to perform umrah, Alhamdullilah.ReplyCancel

  • Mariam UsmanJuly 5, 2015 - 1:17 pm

    I have recently discovered about Blue Abaya and found it very informativReplyCancel

  • atika anjumJuly 5, 2015 - 1:42 pm

    Thank you for the wonderful competition. What I love about Ramadan is the spiritual atmosphere not only reflects in the Kingdom but also in the people’s hearts. I love RamadanReplyCancel

  • Rabaa MohameedJuly 5, 2015 - 1:44 pm

    Iftar dinners in very nice HotelReplyCancel

  • hina AdnanJuly 5, 2015 - 2:11 pm

    hope 2 winReplyCancel

  • SumeraJuly 5, 2015 - 2:20 pm

    I love the Ritz!ReplyCancel

  • Laura AlobaidJuly 5, 2015 - 2:20 pm

    During Ramadan I love the calmness and peace and the food! Hope I can winReplyCancel

  • Abdul MuqtadirJuly 5, 2015 - 2:31 pm

    My family visit to kingdom will be memorable after this win :)ReplyCancel

  • alyjzJuly 5, 2015 - 3:09 pm

    One of the best hotel in RiyadhReplyCancel

  • JessicaJuly 5, 2015 - 3:17 pm

    Love being in such a religious place, and being able to celebrate Ramadan with so many wonderful people.ReplyCancel

  • Sumaiya HayathJuly 5, 2015 - 3:21 pm

    Iftar at RITZ -CARLTON is a must for us every ramadan…its the best..ReplyCancel

  • Marc Lawrence MagsinoJuly 5, 2015 - 3:39 pm

    I love the wide open roads in the early morning of ramadanReplyCancel

  • AmnaJuly 5, 2015 - 4:15 pm

    It’s so peaceful to fast in ramadan in KSA. This holy month taught us patience. KSA is the only country where you live RAMADAN.ReplyCancel

  • Shabbir MullaJuly 5, 2015 - 4:41 pm

    Ramadhan in Saudi Arabia is very special, I am visiting from he UK but here its completely different, the atmosphere is lovely, everything is calm obviously until sunset but feels really nice to do ramadhan first time in Riyadh, me and my family only have 5 days left here so would be really special to win.ReplyCancel

  • IbrahimJuly 5, 2015 - 4:50 pm

    Best ramadan u can have in the world is ksa for sure !
    Night life after taraveeh is just so amazing.. 😉ReplyCancel

  • Saba RiazJuly 5, 2015 - 4:51 pm

    Ramadan Mubarak everyone … Hope to win!ReplyCancel

  • Umer ayazJuly 5, 2015 - 5:48 pm

    Love the iftaris and the festive atmosphere!!!ReplyCancel

  • Umer AyazJuly 5, 2015 - 5:51 pm

    Love the iftaris and festive atmosphere in KSAReplyCancel

  • Omar ShakeelJuly 5, 2015 - 6:27 pm

    Ramadan in Saudia is the best among all the Muslim Countries…The atmosphere and energy all around is beyond explanation…You can feel the pleasure and blessings of Ramadan in the air.

    Love to spene my Ramadan In Saudi ArabiaReplyCancel

  • Farina MirzaJuly 5, 2015 - 6:43 pm

    Ramadan in KSA are blessings. u can feel each and every moment of this blessed month here. I hope i win this competition and u will choose me :) fingers crossed 😀ReplyCancel

  • Tahani JawedJuly 5, 2015 - 7:23 pm

    One more thing added to the dua’a list..! Hope i win..!!ReplyCancel

  • bahaJuly 5, 2015 - 8:22 pm

    ASALAMLIKUM..the gud thing about ramadan in KSA is the ibadah and to go to makkah n madina weneve u wishReplyCancel

  • Hamza FarooqJuly 5, 2015 - 9:04 pm

    Times up… Waiting for winners announcement :)ReplyCancel

  • Rah MåJuly 5, 2015 - 9:30 pm

    what i love most about ramadan in Saudi Arabia is the peaceful and religious atmosphere..everyone trying to get closer to Allah by thr increased acts of worship..change of duty timing in order to create ease for the employees while short everything <3ReplyCancel

  • Nabaa AfridiJuly 5, 2015 - 10:59 pm

    What I love most about Ramadan in Saudi is the atmosphere. Ramadan is a celebration, one that is celebrated by the entire country!ReplyCancel

  • Marium GulJuly 5, 2015 - 11:17 pm

    I love how the city comes alive at night during the month of Ramadan! It feels quite festive. :) Wishing myself luck to win this! :)ReplyCancel

  • SamanJuly 5, 2015 - 11:27 pm

    Ramadan in saudi arabia is d best as there we get vacation from work to do ibadah.. there is no place on this earth that offers same except saudi arabiaReplyCancel

  • Maya AftabJuly 6, 2015 - 1:31 am

    Great opportunityReplyCancel

  • NoorJuly 6, 2015 - 1:50 am

    Wow, this would be amazing, hope I win.ReplyCancel

  • SumeraJuly 6, 2015 - 2:10 am

    Luking fwd IA :)ReplyCancel

  • NabaaJuly 6, 2015 - 2:12 am

    Ramadan in Saudi is an absolute celebration !ReplyCancel

  • Huwaida ChematJuly 6, 2015 - 2:35 am

    One of your eldest followor.. Good luck all and ramadhan kareemReplyCancel

  • Um Abdulghaffar AlkaialyJuly 6, 2015 - 2:44 am

    i love the tent of iftar anywhere you can see itReplyCancel

  • SalehaJuly 6, 2015 - 3:52 am

    Ramadan has always been special here..iftar,suhoor,taraweeh everything Subhan Allah its so surreal hereReplyCancel

  • JuwairiyaJuly 6, 2015 - 4:36 am

    What I love about Ramadan is the peaceful atmosphere. It Brings families together. Mosques are full of families. MashAllahReplyCancel

  • Maryam AqeelJuly 6, 2015 - 4:43 am

    Feel blessed having Ramadan in Saudi Arabia…The special smell of the Gahwa and taraweeh every where! Simply amazing!ReplyCancel

  • madihaJuly 6, 2015 - 5:05 am

    have already decided my wedding anniversary iftar dinner in ritz carlton,will be delighted if i get a chance through blue abaya!ReplyCancel

  • Mariam LatifJuly 6, 2015 - 5:22 am

    the greastest thing about ramadan in saudi arabia is the large number of holidays that we get in the last ashrah till eid and after that ☺️ReplyCancel

  • Mariechris ReyesJuly 6, 2015 - 6:24 am

    I find your page interesting!ReplyCancel

  • shaheenJuly 6, 2015 - 7:05 am

    hope to win..inshaAllahReplyCancel

  • SaimaJuly 6, 2015 - 12:02 pm

    Ramadan in Saudi Arabia is unique. One cannot find this type of Ramadan spirit anywhere in the world except Saudia.I find myself lucky enough to spend Ramadan over here.ReplyCancel

  • Faiza ShamsJuly 6, 2015 - 12:58 pm

    Would love to visit RITZ-CARLTON :)ReplyCancel

  • walaa maamonJuly 6, 2015 - 1:36 pm

    I would like to win to celebrate with my husband our anniversaryReplyCancel

  • Ahlam Iqbal SheikhJuly 6, 2015 - 2:00 pm

    Ramadan makes me feel connected. There’s a network of us all across the globe; more than a billion of us, all doing the same thing at the same time. However disparate our lives, whatever freedoms we enjoy – or otherwise – however different our experiences, someone else is probably feeling exactly the same way I am. I find that incredibly moving and life-affirming. I know I love Ramadan. I fast because I want to, and because I can. I fast because it makes me feel good for myself and my lord!ReplyCancel

  • Hanish BittuJuly 6, 2015 - 4:54 pm

    Blessed Ramadan :)ReplyCancel

  • ruchiJuly 6, 2015 - 6:31 pm

    I love everything about Ramadan. The atmosphere the spirit the spirituality..The power of AllahReplyCancel

  • Aliya Al-QureshiJuly 6, 2015 - 7:50 pm

    Hope to win! Thanks for the chance at least’ReplyCancel

  • JawwadJuly 6, 2015 - 9:56 pm

    Ramadan in Saudi arabia is festive and religiousely rich.I feel like my body and mind is going through a cleansing process as the atmosphere in masjids and all over is so pure and relaxing.ReplyCancel

  • Hamza FarooqJuly 7, 2015 - 7:39 pm

    😀 feels good when there is no other Hamza F comments on page.ReplyCancel

We recently enjoyed a wonderful iftar buffet with family and friends at Riyadh’s Prestigious Ritz Carlton. A lavish buffet spread at the Ramadan Tent, set up in one of the hotel’s palatial ballrooms was truly an unforgettable experience. The food was absolutely perfect with a wide variety of options to choose from and to suit […]

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  • attika qudus pirachaJuly 3, 2015 - 3:38 am
  • Siddiqa fazalJuly 3, 2015 - 4:18 am

    Hope to win and enjoy amazing IFTAR at Ritz Carlton. And take hime some lifetime memories with me.ReplyCancel

    • LaylaJuly 3, 2015 - 9:06 pm

      Inshallah, I wish you the best of luck!ReplyCancel

  • Kainat umerJuly 3, 2015 - 5:07 am

    Best website i ever came across. All the information you need from A-Z is present here. And Ritz Carlton all the way. Thumbs up ReplyCancel

    • LaylaJuly 3, 2015 - 9:06 pm

      Thank you for the great feedback! Best of luck to you in the giveaway!ReplyCancel

  • Muhammad Ali SohailJuly 3, 2015 - 8:32 am

    Done with the newsletter subscription & excited for the results.ReplyCancel

  • UmaraJuly 3, 2015 - 2:41 pm
    • LaylaJuly 3, 2015 - 9:05 pm

      thank you for subscribing and good luck!ReplyCancel

  • LaylaJuly 3, 2015 - 9:01 pm

    Giveaway is starting tonight!ReplyCancel

  • Philip DaviesJuly 3, 2015 - 9:37 pm

    We’d love to win the Iftar prize!ReplyCancel

  • Samia khan hyderJuly 3, 2015 - 9:46 pm

    We absolutely loved that place!!ReplyCancel

    • LaylaJuly 4, 2015 - 12:20 am

      It’s truly amazing! I’m glad you decided to go after seeing my post about it on Facebook ReplyCancel

  • A Muslim TravellerJuly 3, 2015 - 9:52 pm

    Subscribed. Looking forward for results and to see my name in winners list. :)ReplyCancel

  • mohammed AmeenuddinJuly 3, 2015 - 10:12 pm

    Very well done for updates.

    Hope to win this win.ReplyCancel

  • ammarahJuly 3, 2015 - 10:55 pm
  • GulaJuly 3, 2015 - 11:16 pm

    Comprehensively informative portal and active source of finding fun spots across kingdom.
    Hope to win this giveaway :)ReplyCancel

    • LaylaJuly 4, 2015 - 12:22 am

      Thank you Gula for the great feedback! Very much appreciated. I wish you luck in the giveaway!ReplyCancel

  • Mohammed AmeenuddinJuly 4, 2015 - 12:53 am

    Blue Abaya you are excellent source of informations,
    Virtual help for ppl coming to Riyadh from all nations.
    Hoping to win this ramadan blessing giveaway,
    N wishing that your lovely blog will always stay.ReplyCancel

  • TahaniJuly 4, 2015 - 3:12 pm

    One more thing added to the dua’a list..!!
    Hope i win.ReplyCancel

Riyadh Restaurant Review: GBK-The Gourmet Burger Kitchen If you’re obsessed with finding the perfect juicy burger, or on a mission to locate the best burger joint in Riyadh, you can now end that search by heading to the end of Tahlia street to Gourmet Burger Kitchen. The Gourmet Burger Kitchen, or GBK for short, is […]

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  • S SusanJune 12, 2015 - 9:41 am

    Dear Laya, I want hamburger now!! But what happend to Sinita???/ S SusanReplyCancel

    • LaylaJune 12, 2015 - 8:42 pm

      Dear Susan,
      I think I’ve been putting off finishing the third part because unconsciously I don’t want her story to end..and the reality that I most likely will never see her again. So I guess I’ve been in denial, or setting up false hopes for myself that I can somehow find her. I promise to try and finish it soon. I’m sorry it’s been dragging :(ReplyCancel

  • PenelopeJune 12, 2015 - 12:01 pm

    This industrial styled decorating theme reminds me of the Fire Grill restaurant further down Tahlia Street, just beside the Saudi Holandi Bank. Great food and service but the same kind of minimalist landscape with lots of hard surfaces that create nose and echo. As you say it’s not warm or enticing, but perhaps we’re seeing a trend here….ReplyCancel

    • LaylaJune 12, 2015 - 8:46 pm

      Hi Penelope,
      Thanks for the comment! I feel the same about FireGrill! Love the food but..I don’t want to stay in the the restaurant, just take out because the place is so off putting.
      You’re right it might be a trend now to use those natural materials like stone and wood mixed with leather. And I do like this style, but for a restaurant not sure if it works. I hope the management sees it before it’s too late!
      Trends come and go :)ReplyCancel

  • Asim AltuwaijriJune 13, 2015 - 2:57 pm

    I’ve been an addicted to their mouthwatering juicy burgers and their garlic sauce when I lived in the UK, but in Riyadh I got disappointed when I stayed for 20 min waiting for someone to serve us!
    When you pass through it, notice the weird lack of customers situation!ReplyCancel

  • danJune 24, 2015 - 9:35 am

    Hi, I like what you feature in your blog. As an expat living in your country, by reading your blog, you are guiding as where to go and eat.

    keep it up.ReplyCancel

    • LaylaJune 26, 2015 - 11:28 am

      hey there dan,
      I’m an expat myself, form Finland originally, living in Riyadh for 7 years now :)ReplyCancel

      • danJune 26, 2015 - 1:21 pm

        Hi Layla,

        Keep posting about wonderful places about Saudi. You are doing great job. Me and my wife will try to visit this resto you feature. It’s just near our place.



        • LaylaJune 27, 2015 - 9:52 pm

          hey there dan,
          thanks for the comment and the kind words! I would love to hear how you liked GBK once you’ve visited please update us too!ReplyCancel

  • ThaheerJune 29, 2015 - 8:19 am

    hI Layla,
    You are doing a great job. We visited this place two days back. The food was good and nothing to complain about. We infact got a coupon of buy one get one free for our next visit :)ReplyCancel

The following is a guide to the restored Saudi Arabian heritage village of Ushaiger (the town also called “The Little Blonde”) located outside Riyadh. The beautiful town of Ushaiger is the perfect destination for taking a day trip out from Riyadh, just an hour and a half drive away. Visiting this architectural treasure of the […]

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  • NaifMay 21, 2013 - 6:44 am

    Ushaiger is a small village next to Shaqra/Shagra. why didn’t you go to Shaqra there are a lot of fast food joints there like pizza hut,kudu,kfc,herfy…
    we have a farm there I’m from Shaqra.
    & there’s a place that is so nice in Ushaiger called Ushaiger Mountain it’s really nice it has a park on it with playing areas for kids & the views is very nice.ReplyCancel

  • Jerry Mc KennaMay 22, 2013 - 1:09 am

    Lovely photographs. It sounds like a wonderful place to visit.ReplyCancel

  • Omani Princess (not Omani...yet)May 22, 2013 - 6:44 am

    Beautiful. Another place on my list of things to see in Saudi.ReplyCancel

  • Jerry Mc KennaMay 22, 2013 - 3:51 pm

    Nice photos. It looks like a great place to visit.ReplyCancel

  • LaylaMay 23, 2013 - 11:03 pm

    Niaf- I’ve been to Shagra too, very nice little mud village there as well.ReplyCancel

  • LaylaMay 23, 2013 - 11:04 pm

    Thank you Jerry and Omani Princess :)ReplyCancel

  • BigstickMay 24, 2013 - 7:01 am

    Very nice.ReplyCancel

  • Hyderabadi UstadMay 26, 2013 - 6:45 pm

    I only have one question:

    How in the name of Allah do you find these places? (Spoken in a very thick Yindian accent)

    I have been in Saudi for a long time and have never even heard of them. Maybe a job in SCTA beckons? :-)ReplyCancel

  • drtaherMay 26, 2013 - 6:58 pm

    I wish I had read about Ushaiger a few weeks earlier. I was in Riyadh in the second week of May and missed going there … anyways, there is always another time. Thanks for sharing about this lovely location, Layla.ReplyCancel

  • LaylaJune 3, 2013 - 11:48 am

    Hyberabadi- I guess just by reading other blogs, from guide books, and then just through the grapevine :)

    Thanks for the comment, I would love to work for SCTA! Would be an honor! But I think they only hire Saudis..ReplyCancel

  • LaylaJune 3, 2013 - 11:50 am


  • […] Plus check out the Blue Abaya Post on Ushaiger for more pictures and info as well! […]ReplyCancel

  • Sony FugabanNovember 4, 2013 - 8:51 pm

    Hi. Been frequenting your blog since I came across it while searching for some information about Al Heet Cave. I’m just happy to share a similar story on the Ushaiger heritage village.

    I want you to know I admire your braveness to write some sensitive topics that are, to a degree, against the locals here.ReplyCancel

    • LaylaNovember 5, 2013 - 12:53 am

      Hi Sony and thanks for the comments! Have you been to Heet cave? I haven’t yet but it’s on my agenda :)ReplyCancel

  • RahizDecember 3, 2013 - 1:17 pm

    Masha Allah. High quality and great pictures. but was expecting more detailed information. Thank you anyways!ReplyCancel

  • […] different historical mud villages that can be found around Riyadh. Some of my favorites include Ushaiger Heritage Village, Shagrah and Raghba village. Update: This was post originally published in 2010, then edited and […]ReplyCancel

  • W skansenie [A. Saudyjska]April 16, 2015 - 6:06 pm

    […] Własnie przeglądając Blue Abayę natknąłem się na informacji o ciekawej wiosce/skansenie Ushaiger – położonej jedyne 1,5 godziny od Riyadhu. Wycieczka okazała się strzałem w […]ReplyCancel

  • Mohammed Naved IkramMay 30, 2015 - 9:16 am

    Masha’Allah. This is beautiful and indeed one of the must go places.

    Layla, you have been my travel guide for some time now. Thanks for that. I am looking for some details about Hail for a trip of 3-4 days. Can you help with some places in and around Hail.


  • […] Ushaiger Heritage Village ( […]ReplyCancel

The historic city of Ad’Diriyah, where the first Saudi State was was established in 1745 (1158H) has been undergoing a huge restoration project since 2011. I for one have been anxiously awaiting for it to finish because I simply love all this place has to offer. Every time I go to Diriyah, there’s something new […]

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  • […] this week we’re doing a joint blog—10 Things to Do at Historic Diriyah. You can get five at, and five […]ReplyCancel

  • Susie Johnson KhalilMay 15, 2015 - 8:49 pm

    I want to go! Those doors are really amazing! Next time I am in Riyadh, we must go there!!!ReplyCancel

  • MiinaMay 22, 2015 - 4:32 pm

    Thank you for the visual tour! it looks stunning I wish I can visit!ReplyCancel

    • LaylaMay 23, 2015 - 3:08 pm

      Welcome! Don’t forget to continue the “tour” at Margo’s page :)ReplyCancel

  • mehwishMay 22, 2015 - 6:11 pm

    any contact numbers for the restaurant would be appreciated tyReplyCancel

  • KristineMay 29, 2015 - 8:05 am

    This has been on my Saudi list for a while! Your photos are beautiful, and I’m going to try and get there in the next couple weeks…..before it gets much hotter!!ReplyCancel

    • LaylaMay 29, 2015 - 3:32 pm

      Thank you Kristine for the comment! try to visit in the afternoon when the shop will be open, or then very very early in the morning if just for photo ops :)ReplyCancel

  • […] Historical Ad Diriyah King Fahad Football Stadium Suspension Bridge King Abdullah International Gardens Park Al Nakheel Mall East of King Abdulaziz Manakh Park Al Ha’ir King Abdulaziz weather park Manakh […]ReplyCancel

  • IndrajitAugust 15, 2015 - 2:12 pm

    Is there a visiting time restriction for singles? we are group of four who like to visit on a Friday evening.ReplyCancel

    • LaylaAugust 21, 2015 - 12:04 am

      it’s a public area open to all, so there’s no problem visiting, however Friday evening will be very crowded with families having picnics :)ReplyCancel

  • Riyadh To Do Guide » Blue AbayaAugust 24, 2015 - 5:06 am

    […] The Red Sands area west of Riyadh along the Mecca highway is a beautiful place to go just for the scenery. Also possible to rent quad bikes there. There are numerous other desert treks and picnicking spots around Riyadh, but again I will only mention my favourite Rawdhat Khuraim. Once you get there you will not believe you’re in Saudi-Arabia, it’s so green! Then there’s a lot of historical sites to explore around Riyadh, like the ancient  City of Old Diriyah. It’s a historically interesting site to visit including the famous Salwa palace. During 1745, a strong Islamic reform movement took place over here. Besides this in the past the old city of Diriyah was also considered to be the largest in Arabian Peninsula. However, in the first part of 19th century Turks destroyed this city and afterwards Riyadh captured it. Walk amongst the ruins of mud and brick built houses, palaces bath houses and mosques. Best visited in cooler months. For more info on Historical Diriyah check this post: Ten Things to do at historic Ad’Diriyah […]ReplyCancel

If you live in Saudi Arabia chances are you’ve heard the word ‘wasta’ mentioned before. A wasta is a widely used term for a well connected individual in the Arab world. It refers to using one’s influence or connections to getting things done, cutting through bureaucratic red tape, having exceptions made to the rules, or assisting with employment or […]

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  • KrisJanuary 12, 2012 - 11:36 pm

    LOL! I loved your wasta link! My husband has access to some good wasta, but has too much honor to use it for his benefit. I love his honor more than his wasta! lol!ReplyCancel

  • NoorJanuary 13, 2012 - 12:36 am

    Wasta is a funny thing here I did a post about it to awhile ago lol Saudis are something else :pReplyCancel

  • AnonymousJanuary 13, 2012 - 1:56 am

    Definitely a corruptive tool..ReplyCancel

  • MAHARUKHJanuary 13, 2012 - 7:27 am

    in love with dis… do drop time on my blog too…ReplyCancel

  • AngelJanuary 13, 2012 - 7:56 am

    LMAO It is unfortunate that this is what people need to get what they want, whether it be marriage, a job, getting land etc it is very sad indeedReplyCancel

  • LaylahJanuary 13, 2012 - 3:59 pm

    Kris-you’ve got one honorable man! Would he use it in emergency cases though?ReplyCancel

  • LaylahJanuary 13, 2012 - 4:00 pm

    Noor-yes, they are 😀ReplyCancel

  • LaylahJanuary 13, 2012 - 4:01 pm

    Maharukh-thanks for stopping by, nice blog you have :)ReplyCancel

  • LaylahJanuary 13, 2012 - 4:03 pm

    Angel-true, it’s sad and it corrupts society, and it’s also unfair to people who try to do things on their own, have someone with wasta come and take that from you.ReplyCancel

  • KristineJanuary 13, 2012 - 8:15 pm

    I sure do Laylah! He does use it to help other people though.ReplyCancel

    • caroJuly 6, 2015 - 7:31 pm

      hi kristine. i dont know if i’m contacting the right person but ppl told me this blog is for foreign women who married with a saudi boy. i’m myself trying to get married with a saudi man but we are facing some difficulties. do u know if it is possible to marry with my saudi fiancé and make it accepted by saudi arabia in some months ? because some ppl told me if my fiancé is under then its not possible for him to marry a foreigner woman as a first wife. do u know about this ? at least do u mind answering me my questions ? i’m rly lost and i dont find that much information on internet. thanks for reading and i hope u can answer and help me !ReplyCancel

  • Abdullah of ArabiaJanuary 17, 2012 - 12:21 am

    I use to think arabia have monopoly over WASTA but in fact recently I found an interesting example of WASTA in the EU.

    In the Wikileaks Wasta said to be wide spread in Greece. Wasta there called (MESON) and this quote from Wikileaks from US embassy in Athens:

    ”Using one’s friends in high places to get something done that otherwise would be impossible — a practice called “meson” — is such a standard practice that it is sometimes difficult for even the most forthright Greek to know where the corruption line exists”

    So Wasta may be had been transmitted to Arabia through the translated Greeks books centuries ago.ReplyCancel

  • LaylahJanuary 18, 2012 - 12:02 pm

    Abdullah of Arabia-thanks for sharing the interesting example, I was not aware of this.ReplyCancel

  • […] than snails in terms of progress of the application. Permissions are given out for those with wasta, money to bribe employees or what it seems just randomly. They have a website with the list of […]ReplyCancel

    • sandraJuly 2, 2015 - 8:08 pm

      do you know the website or where can i find wasta to get the saudi marriage permission success?
      i will appreciate your help

  • JeanMay 7, 2015 - 1:14 am

    Wasta happens in North America AFTER one has passed the rigorous university exams, multiple job interviews and landed a job.. But wasta or favouritism happens in any culture. In some cultures though it is sadly too embedded and holds back many local people who have struck out courageously and diligently to become better educated, skilled and articulate.

    In my opinion, this will be KSA’s long-term barrier to prevent its own people en masse from evolving to the next level. And those who have immigrated to KSA..

    There are reasons why some immigrants want to live and work in North America forever: get away from widespread wasta that becomes institutionalized. It’s not healthy when it prevents whole groups of talented people from contributing their strongest skills to society.ReplyCancel

  • DeeMay 11, 2015 - 11:15 am

    From Large Scale to Small Scale organizations, there’s always a wasta. It’s quite frustrating that a good and outstanding person gets left behind because of some people who have wasta.

    Even back in the Philippines, wasta’s are mostly the politicians. In the societal view, we call them “Kumpare”ReplyCancel

  • Kati Abi KhaledMay 25, 2015 - 3:21 pm

    Laitoin sinulle Liebster Awards haasteen blogissani. Tama siita huolimatta etta, aavistan blogisi rikkovan helposti parin sadan kavijan rajan. Voit loytaa haasteen taalta:

    • LaylaMay 28, 2015 - 4:55 pm

      Kiitos Kati haasteesta!
      Yritan tehda aikaa vastata niihin kysmyksiin pain :)ReplyCancel

  • Loola LoolJuly 7, 2015 - 12:44 am

    I am American and married to a tribal Saudi, although he views wasta as highly unethical.ReplyCancel

It’s time for Riyadh’s annual International Book Fair! A grand international book fair will be inaugurated by the Saudi minister of Culture and Information, on Wednesday March 4th 2015. Read on to find out more about the venue, location info, timings and what this exhibition is all about! “The book fair will feature a bulk […]

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  • J.MohsenMarch 19, 2014 - 11:14 am

    Wish I would have known about this, would have loved to go!ReplyCancel

  • Mohamed Al Saadoon (@burning_phoneix)April 3, 2014 - 2:00 am

    I was surprised Author Services Inc. managed to get a booth. For reference, Author Services is the publishing arm for L Ron Hubbard, the founder of scientology.ReplyCancel

  • KysyyApril 18, 2014 - 12:26 pm

    You wrote about culture shock in one article and how you finally saw that some things are actually in better way in SA compared to Finland. It would be very interesting to read such an article. What is better in/about Saudi society and customs compared to Finland and the other way around?

    Olisi todella kiva, jos kirjoittaisit tuota asiaa koskevan jutun :)ReplyCancel

    • LaylaApril 22, 2014 - 5:22 pm

      Moikka! kiitos ehdotuksesta! Yes time willing, I would be glad to write such an article :)ReplyCancel

  • […] What is the job description of a muttawa? Muttawas don’t actually have an official job description. There has recently been talk in the media about the importance of having one following some very unpleasant and even violent actions taken by religious policemen. On their official website it is stated their duty is to “preserve Muslim society by guidance and good example”. Muttawa seem to improvise as they go, acting as sort of  performance artists sometimes. Most common duty of a muttawa is telling (sometimes shouting) women to cover their heads or hair. If the women under scrutiny are Saudi they will be asked to cover their faces or eyes depending on how much the woman is already covered. If a muttawa squad encounters a woman and a man together under suspicious conditions, such as riding in the same car or shopping together, they will request to see a marriage license. If the couple does not have it, they will be taken to the station for questioning and interrogation. The police must be present in order for the Hai’a to actually arrest anyone. Their duties also include blacking out haram figures from women’s magazines (cleavage, legs, arms)blacking out women from inflatable swimming pool packages and basically wherever they find pictures of uncovered women. Hai’a might raid stores for haram goods such as music CDs, stuff that resembles crosses or other religious symbols, Barbies without abayas and forbidden books like Harry Potter and Winnie the Pooh which features a piglet! The Horror! The confiscated items are brought on display at the yearly Riyadh International Book Fair. […]ReplyCancel

  • 10 Things To Do In Riyadh During SpringDecember 3, 2014 - 12:52 am

    […] 1. Visit the International Riyadh Book Fair. The fair starts 6th March 2012 and runs through the 16th, open daily from 10 am to 10 pm at the Riyadh International Exhibition Center. There is an English books section, a female only area and an excellent children’s book and activity area. Guide to the Book Fair found here: Riyadh International Book Fair. […]ReplyCancel

  • Terri PlezMarch 12, 2015 - 5:29 am

    Do I need to bring cash or do most vendors take ATM/credit cards?ReplyCancel

    • LaylaMarch 16, 2015 - 4:48 pm

      Sorry Terri didn’t see your reply on time. They do have an ATM there, but there’s long lines! Better take cash.ReplyCancel

Excited to announce Blue Abaya’s recent interview and collaboration with Riyadh’s Radisson Blu Hotel!  The following is my interview with Radisson Blu hotel in Riyadh which contains some sightseeing & activity tips for newcomers and business travellers to Saudi Arabia’s capital. Read the article based on the interview “An Expat’s Guide to Riyadh by Blue […]

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  • Margaretha Beverloo SmithFebruary 19, 2015 - 4:21 am

    If you did this interview for the Radisson Blu, I am surprised you didn’t mention their own excellent Japanese Shogun, among the restaurants you recommend. That is one of my favorites! Located on one of their top floors. There is also a very good Italian restaurant up there. Just saying…. :)ReplyCancel

    • LaylaFebruary 19, 2015 - 11:11 am

      haha well, like I said it’s a difficult question as there are way too many favorites, depending on what you’re looking for. I don’t have personal experience from the Shogun yet (not a huge fan of Japanese food) so I don’t feel comfortable endorsing it.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousFebruary 19, 2015 - 8:35 am

    Congratulations ! Always a big fan and keen follower of your blog .ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousFebruary 19, 2015 - 8:37 am

    Would like to know if any tour / travel agency has any scheduled outing to “Edge of the World”ReplyCancel

  • NasserApril 8, 2015 - 11:54 am

    Great blog thanks for the post :)ReplyCancel

  • Vaibhav JainJuly 4, 2015 - 5:10 pm

    Hello Layla,

    I have some questions regarding working and living in Riyadh, could you please provide your Email ID so that I can have a conversation with you.

    Thanks in advanceReplyCancel

  • Yanneth Liliana RojasAugust 11, 2015 - 12:04 am

    Congratulations great blog!ReplyCancel