The Blue Abaya website was founded by a Finnish adventure traveler Laura Alho in 2010. Blue Abaya started as a personal blog describing expat life and Laura’s travels and adventures in the ‘Magic Kingdom’ of Saudi Arabia. The aim of Blue Abaya is to showcase the true beauty of the Kingdom as well as to encourage people to get out and explore by letting them know about travel and tourism locations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


 The spirit of Blue Abaya is to bridge cultural gaps between the East and the West, to keep an open mind, to see the humor in difficult situations and “thinking outside of the box”.


To find out more about the author Laura, and her journey in the ‘Magic Kingdom’ read this post: A Finnish Expat Blogging in Saudi Arabia.

For more detailed information about life in Saudi Arabia from the point of view of a Finnish nurse go here: Blue Abaya interviewed what is life in Saudi Arabia really like?

The woman behind the Blue Abaya, Laura, is a medical professional by degree, an adventurer, photographer and artist by passion. 

Laura is currently residing in Riyadh with her Saudi husband and their two children. You can read how their love story began here: How I met my Saudi Prince.

Blue Abaya has been very successful as an expat blog, it has been chosen as top recommended Saudi Arabia blogs at forums such as ExpatWoman.com, Expats-Blog, InterNations and others. Blue Abaya has won several blog awards including Best Saudi Arabia Expat Blog 2012, Best Asian & Middle Eastern Weblog 2013 at the Bloggies, the biggest annual international Weblog Awards. Blue Abaya finished as a finalist at the Saudi Excellence in Tourism Awards (SETA’s) (2013 & 2014) in the category Best Website Promoting Tourism.

In addition to running this website and being a hands-on mom to two preschoolers, Laura works as a freelance writer and is an influencer at Mommy’s Corner ME. She also runs a home-based business for Saudi Arabia inspired gifts and souvenirs: Inspired By Arabia

Laura’s work (including articles and photography) has been featured in National Geographic publications, Saudi Voyager Magazine,  At Tamween Magazine, CreateTrips, Saudi Aramco World Journal, Saudi Gazette, Arab News, Destination Riyadh magazine, My Destination website, RiyadhEats, Women’s Skills Bureau, IP Wirtshaft and many others.

Laura has been interviewed and featured by several international and local media publications such as Arab News, JeddahBlog, France24, Onaonaona, WSJ, Radisson Blu, Cafe au lait -kahviketkia maailmalla, Saudi Voyager magazine, Amazing Saudia, MBC channel, HBL (Huvudstadsbladet), StepFeed, GlobeHunters, MeNaiset, YLE.

The National UAE, Woman This Month Magazine in Bahrain, Good News Finland, Helsingin Sanomat 

Laura has a passion for travel and having visited 171 places, she’s currently ranked a Senior Ambassador at MostTraveledPeople.com. You can read about her travels beyond the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia here. 

Follow Laura on social media: Facebook page for the blog: Blue Abaya Blog and Inspired By Arabia

Instagram: @blueabaya and @inspiredbyarabia

Facebook Group about Saudi Arabia: Susie of Arabia & Blue Abaya 

Twitter: @blueabaya 

Snapchat username: blueabaya

Pinterest: @blueabaya 

Blog Awards and Mentions:

Best 100 Expat Blogs on the Planet: Blue Abaya #21

Stepfeed Top 10 Foreigners Living in the Arab World: Laura Alho #10

Globe Hunters: 30 Best Expat Blogs in 2017: Blue Abaya # 2

Top 100 Middle Eastern Blogs of 2017: Blue Abaya # 27

The 12th Annual Weblog Awards,  “The Bloggies”: 2012 Finalist in the category Best Asian (including Middle-Eastern) Weblog.

The 13th Annual Weblog Awards,  “The Bloggies”: Winner Best Asian(including Middle-Eastern) Weblog 2013.

Expats Blog:  Saudi-Arabia’s Best Expat Blog of 2012.

Saudi Excellence in Tourism Awards 2013 & 2014 : Best Website promoting Tourism-Finalist

InterNations recommended Expat Blog Saudi Arabia

Expat Woman: Favorite Saudi Arabia Blog


About the blog name ‘Blue Abaya’

“The blue of ‘Blue Abaya’ is a shade apart, merging a spirit of deep inner freedom and an infectiously positive attitude. 

The blue abaya is both a symbol and an attitude for Laura’s blog. It’s a posture of being respectful to local traditions while setting oneself apart from the crowd through personal taste.

..blue is the colour of the Finnish sky, and the abaya is a cultural norm of Saudi Arabia. In its name and its nature, the blog is defined by the richly opposed but co-existing worlds that the author is part of, and the best and worst of which peppers her real and virtual space.

Laura’s writing has a distinct character to it,  detailed and diary-like. She has a very strong personality that comes across quite forcefully in her writings – witty, unforgiving in her sarcasm, sharp in her observations but aggressively positive in her conclusions. Between her spirit of forward motion, and her signature bite is the spice that marks her writing. Reading her blog, one traverses two regions equally mysterious to many – Finland and Saudi Arabia, and her blog pierces the mystery of both lands to offer us a window into both cultures through the eyes of somebody who embodies them both to some extent.” 

-Naima Rashid




Please respect that all the articles and images on Blue Abaya are protected under KSA copyright laws. All content on Blue Abaya (images, text and graphics) is prohibited from publishing elsewhere without prior permission. If you would like to purchase some images or articles for commercial use, please email us: contact (at) blueabaya.com

***BLUE ABAYA is now a REGISTERED TRADEMARK under Saudi Arabian laws!***

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  • HaiderNovember 24, 2013 - 8:30 pm

    Can u guide me what may be the tourist attractions in Haql and hail ?ReplyCancel

    • LaylaNovember 26, 2013 - 2:34 pm

      Haql, I hear from a friend there’s an amazing beach, practically nobody there, one resort only, don’t know the name. That’s all I know about it sorry! On my bucket list though!
      Hail, you could check Hayatours they do trips there from Riyadh!ReplyCancel

  • FahadJanuary 22, 2014 - 12:08 pm

    Hello Layla,
    I was looking expats experience about Janadriah and found your blog! I’ve never been to this blog before, and surprisingly, I finally find someone who talks about the KSA with true and fair stories.
    I am really proud of you and people like you..!ReplyCancel

    • LaylaApril 2, 2014 - 2:40 am

      Thank you so much Fahad! I’m very happy to hear that :)ReplyCancel

  • RineMay 6, 2014 - 3:06 pm

    Hi, Laylah.
    Your blog is very informative and witty, too.
    I am also, a nurse and my first job was in Tabuk in 2008.
    But now, I’m on a dependent visa, hence not allowed to work in the kingdom.
    Anyways, I really enjoyed your “courageous” blog.
    Keep writing.ReplyCancel

    • LaylaMay 6, 2014 - 5:31 pm

      hey there Rine! Thanks for your message and kind words :) Are you still in Tabuk?ReplyCancel

      • RineMay 8, 2014 - 12:18 am

        Hi, Laylah.
        You replied, surreal moment..ReplyCancel

        • LaylaMay 12, 2014 - 11:23 am

          :) Rine why lol am I that bad at replying nowadays?ReplyCancel

  • Xiaohong JiangOctober 13, 2014 - 5:12 pm

    we support you and be pride to you what you did all with this blog …please going on it…ReplyCancel

  • JoyceOctober 31, 2014 - 5:30 pm

    Dear Layla,

    My name is Joyce and I work for ExpatFinder.com.
    ExpatFinder.com is a free one stop website for people preparing to move or working and living overseas. We provide a myriad of services for expatriates and we have over 2,000 articles to help and support the people moving around the world and we are now creating an interview section to help the expats with real life experiences!
    We quite enjoy your blog about living in Saudi Arabia, it is very interesting and informative. Would it be possible to interview you to further share some of your tips and feature some of your first hand experience as an Expat and your interview will be published on our Expat Interview section as a guide for our expat readers. The questions are mainly about the day to day lifestyle of an expat. If it would be possible, could you also send some photographs that we can use?
    Of course, if you accept, we can add a link to your blog or some of your website.
    The questions are enclosed, feel free to respond freely. You can return the doc with your answers if you accept this invitation.
    Thanks in advance and do let me know if you prefer other means to conduct this interview and we would be happy to accommodate your terms.

    Best regards,

  • Giovanna FolettiNovember 14, 2014 - 4:28 pm

    Thanks for your information, I’m new in Riyadh and in your site I find a lot of idea for nice trip!

  • AnnaJune 30, 2015 - 2:47 pm

    Dear Layla,

    I’m a fellow Scandinavian, a Swede, moving from London to Riyadh this summer with my husband and our cat.

    I enjoy your blog and follow you on FB, but would it be possible to get in touch with you via e-mail, as I have some questions about moving to Riyadh? Please send me an e-mail if you approve.

    Kind regards,

    • LaylaJuly 1, 2015 - 5:13 pm

      hey there,
      sure you can use blueabaya at gmail.comReplyCancel

  • YvetteAugust 19, 2015 - 8:56 pm

    im engaged to an Arab guy but would love to read about your obstacles before and after marriage please pleaseReplyCancel

    • Laura of ArabiaAugust 26, 2015 - 11:46 pm

      hi Yvette,
      although I believe there might be some cultural similarities, it boils down to what your guy is like..what his background is like, and yours, and the parents.. so what I mean here is that one persons experiences and obstacles might not be the same to someone else.
      I can say that the obstacles have been many and they will never stop, new ones will come along. but I guess any relationship has them right?ReplyCancel

  • Outi SuomelaJune 27, 2016 - 2:13 pm

    Kiitos Laura todella tyylikkaista sivuista ! Syyrialainen ystavani on laakarina Riadissa ..ReplyCancel

  • HalaaaNovember 12, 2016 - 6:47 am

    That’s great to see a lovely lady as u highlighted the Beautiful things in my home .I am so thankful to u for the great work and great ideas .supprting other is such as something people must be proud of it and we are proud of you as well .

    Many Thanks,

  • LameesApril 18, 2017 - 5:02 am

    I did choose this blog to be my reference in my presentation tomorrow.
    I recommend it to many of my friends to check it out.
    Wish you all the best.

    xx all the way from Toronto.ReplyCancel

  • Roque C. AlcarazSeptember 17, 2017 - 8:26 am

    Kudos! Nice website! I am interested to learn Arabic language, can you refer any NGO or person who is willing to teach me.ReplyCancel

  • Mohammed S ShariffApril 11, 2018 - 5:08 pm

    How to get the Riyadh Secret lake booklet?ReplyCancel

    • LauraApril 18, 2018 - 2:18 pm

      I have taken it offline because the lake has been ruined by vandals lately and I can’t recommend anyone to go there.ReplyCancel

  • Joie HannanSeptember 30, 2020 - 7:57 pm

    Fascinating reading thus far. I lived in KSA for close to 20 years. The only pleasures and treasures of my entire life were lived there. Although I would give all I have to return, Inshallah, I now find myself living vicariously through “New age” women who have only begun to blaze trails I have an ancient history of exploring.

  • LorenzoFebruary 9, 2021 - 9:25 pm

    Your email isn’t working. Mailbox is full!
    it’s been like that since a few daysReplyCancel

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