If you’re in Riyadh this Saturday, be part of history, join me and 10,000 other women gathering to celebrate health and raise awareness about breast cancer, and break a Guinness World Record in the process! How many people can say they’ve broken a Guinness World record? Now is your chance to do it, have some fun and also support a good cause in the process!


“10KSA invites women to come to Princess Nourah University in Riyadh to take part in an afternoon of awareness and education activities. The highlight will be the formation of the World’s Largest Human Awareness Ribbon. We need 10,000 women to take part in the Ribbon and would like more women than 10,000 to attend.”


When: 12 December 2015, 3 pm until 11pm. Guinness World record breaking human ribbon starts around 6-7 pm.

Location: Princess Nourah University, Riyadh, located near to the KKIA. Once inside the campus the event grounds are at the Sports Complex both indoors and outdoors.

Who can join: free event for all women of all nationalities over 14 years old, register at gate or register online.

Register online: www.10ksa.com/signup

Dress code: it’s outdoors so dress warmly, no high heels, the ribbon will be formed on a grass field. As it’s an female only event you can remove your abaya. If you plan on joining any of the fitness classes you might want to take a change of clothing and make sure you have the right shoes for it. A pink scarf will be given upon entry to all participants to wear when forming the ribbon.

What to bring:

-Comfortable clothing.

-Patience. As with any event of this caliber, it’s going to take a lot of co-operation from everyone to follow the rules and wait for their turn in order for everything to go as smoothly as possible.

-Bring cash; there will be food vendors and other stalls. (ATM also available onsite though)

Your ID for registering.

What happens there

Free fitness classes by Empowerment Hub, spinning, yoga, zumba, salsa. Physical activities training taekwondo, basketball, judo.

Food stalls, exhibitions, awareness campaigns, health screening, education. Stalls by different hospitals, charities, ministries, Saudi Olympic Committee.

Ministry of Tourism; Colors of Saudi, Leave no trace, Live Saudi arts exhibitions.

You will be given a tote bag at the entrance with 10KSA logo and inside the bag you will have a special designed pink scarf to wear when forming the ribbon.

How to get there: UBER is offering free rides to women going to this event! Enter the code #10KSA when ordering your car. Your ride will drop you off at the PNU University gate drop off points. After security checks. you’ll be taken to the event location with with shuttle bus (the PNU area is huuuge)

See you there!


Follow join 10ksa on Facebook for more updates




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This is the third and last part of the story of ‘Sinta’ and the friendship which grew between her and myself during the course of about four years. Read the first part of Sinta, the Indonesian Housemaid turned into a prisoner here. In the second part of her story there is a spark of hope for a better future. Unfortunately I cannot say the third part of the story has a happing ending. I wish that one day I would be able to write a happy ending, that is, if I ever find Sinta again.

Please note that this post is copyrighted material under KSA laws and should not be published elsewhere without permission, or legal action will be taken. (looking at you Lifeinsaudiarabia rip-off blog, who stole already the first two parts I wrote). That and more than 20 other articles from Blue Abaya and many other honest hardworking bloggers in KSA. It doesn’t look like they have original content at all, it’s just ripped off from others.

Sinta Part 3

The Saudi family of Sinta would not let go of their bitterness and anger toward the hospital for causing their mother’s paralysis at a routine procedure. This terrible medical error was to be the fate of Sinta too. To know exactly what happened you must read Part One and Two of her story. The family refused to take their mother back home for home-based nursing care, (which would’ve been possible from the medical pov) and instead insisted she be admitted to a ward. It was as if they wanted it to be a sort of “punishment” to the hospital for what they had done to their beloved mother. The hospital could do nothing but accept, perhaps because of strong wasta of this family, or they felt so guilty for the medical error, who knows.

(If you’re not familiar with the term wasta read this post: What is a Wasta

Looking at the patient’s condition from the medical and ethical point of view, having her laying in this small dark hospital room was the worst thing they could actually have done to their mother at that point. 

Sinta, one of the Indonesian housemaids who worked in the house of the spinster daughter and ‘Mama Ameenah*’, was appointed the sitter of the patient. A patient sitter means the person who sits in the room assisting the patient in everyday tasks. Usually these sitters would be family members, and they would rotate their duties and shifts. The duty of a sitter is normally seen as an important and honorable task, but for Mama Ameenah, nobody seemed to care just that much that they’d sit there for just one day. Not even half a day, or few hours, which would have allowed Sinta some free time. It was just too much to ask. (*all names have been changed)

Any pleads (which I directed toward the only people who came to visit the patient, the son and the spinster daughter) to find a substitute maid for Sinta were completely fruitless. Mostly my suggestions were met with the “inshallah attitude”.

Shockingly the family saw nothing wrong in this arrangement.

sinta part 3

In the second part Sinta had just suffered a minor stroke, leaving half of her face paralyzed. She was still able to muster a half smile which was equally heart warming than the full one had been. I became even more concerned for her health and future with the Saudi family she was working for. Their true concern seemed to be losing the caretaker of their paralyzed, brain dead mother, not so much the actual wellbeing of Sinta. Sinta continued to take care of Mama Ameenah with the same selfless devotion she always had. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. With no breaks, no holidays, no getting out of the hospital premises for many years. Her salary was 600 SAR per month. That’s about 120 euros.

Despite her failing health, Sinta would always be in high spirits and greeted me with that big smile whenever I would see her.

Something remarkable about Sinta’s character was that despite her miserable personal situation she was always able to be so upbeat and supportive of others. Being confined to that small dark hospital room for years, treated like dirt by her Saudi family, and not much better by the nursing staff or doctors, yet I can hardly remember her saying a bad thing about anyone.

One example of how this positive attitude manifested itself was in Sinta’s ability to offer me a listening ear and support even in the most difficult of situations. During the course of about four years that I was lucky to know Sinta, she was one of the only people in my life who 100% believed in and stood by my choice to marry a Saudi man. She knew our love story from the beginning, when I met my husband, at the very same ward. Waiting for his family to accept his choice of spouse was one of the most difficult times in my life, but Sinta supported my decision and never criticized or doubted us.

To most people around me at the time, marrying a Saudi guy was viewed as more or less an insane idea. People would tell me horror stories and all sorts of “expert opinions” about being married to a Saudi man. “He will lock you up” “he will marry other women” “his family will take your children”. And the legendary comment of “Haven’t you read ‘Not Without My Daughter’?”

Sinta on the other hand would always be supportive, positive and even encouraging, regardless of her own terrible experiences with Saudis. For that I will be forever grateful.

A good example of Sinta’s character and her unwavering support of her friends was regarding my future in laws. We were facing lots of difficulties in getting the family accepting his decision to marry me, a foreigner. You can read more about these deeply rooted tribal attitudes on marriage in this post: A Saudi Male Perspective on Marriage, Love and Tribes in the Kingdom.

We had waited for over a year for his family to accept the idea, only to be met by a brick wall. My fiancee had pleaded and tried everything he possibly could think of. It felt like all roads were leading to dead ends and doors were slammed in the face. There were threats of disowning him and “over my dead body” talks. Things did not seem good at all. In fact it was a rather shitty situation to be in. People were telling me to stop wasting my time on him and to just move on. No one seemed to think it was going anywhere.

Except Sinta. She would just encourage me to keep trying and hoping. Sinta had noticed my stress levels were off the roof and tried to consolidate me, reassuring everything would be alright, that these things just take more time around here.

Sinta also gave me some practical advice in how to soften the inlaws in their stance. She told me to pray, (she always told me how she prayed everyday for things to get better for me), to bake something special from my country Finland and to buy his mother some jewelry as Eid holiday was approaching.

I took all her advice and put it into action. A lot of time and effort went into finding the perfect gift. I finally found it, a Tiffany’s charm bracelet with as many charms on it to match the number of her children. I gave the gifts to my fiancee so he could pass them on to his mother. However after hearing the gift was in fact from me, she had rejected it. I remember crying to Sinta about it one night shift, I didn’t even tell anyone else about it because it felt so devastating. Sinta hadn’t given up on us though, she told me to just keep trying and praying, never to lose hope.

Another year went by with the same persistent resistance and rejection from my husbands family. I began to feel like my life was on hold, my happiness was in the hands of others. It was as if my life was just sailing by as I waited on the dock of the bay for something that had become apparent, would never happen anyway.

Again, Sinta was able, despite her own suffering and painful situation, to see the pain caused by the hopeless situation I was in. Instead of telling me to dump my fiancee and forget the whole thing, she suggested I take a long break from work and distance myself from Saudi Arabia for a while. She suggested I travel to visit my family, who were at the time living in Spain. Sinta told me that leaving would have a positive effect and I would be able to see things with new eyes.

After some thinking and soul-searching, that’s exactly what I did. I took my distance from KSA a step further and went on an around-the-world trip, leaving work, my fiancee and my worries behind. I traveled for three months and went to the places I’d always dreamed of. I skydived in Fiji, climbed to Macchu Picchu in Peru and sailed around the Galapagos islands. All with my own hard earned money, which made it somehow feel even sweeter. And truly, Sinta was right. Things became crystal clear. Shortly after my return to KSA and back to work, things between my fiancee and I started to progress at new levels.

All this time poor Sinta was still stuck in her small room at the hospital, dutifully watching over mama Ameenah. Sadly both of their health began to deteriorate. Mama Ameenah, paralyzed, brain dead to an extent we never knew for sure, was in a ward that made her susceptible to all kinds of hospital acquired bacteria. These organisms can cause huge risks for immunocompromized patients like her.

These bacterias such as VRE, MRSA and other dangerous and even deadly “super bacterias” were actually quite commonly seen in other long term chronic patients on the ward. Poor hand hygiene practices and other factors contributed to the spread of these mega bacteria like wildfire on the ward. So it was just a matter of time that one of them would infect mama Ameenah too. Actually, it was a small miracle on its own (and only owed to Sinta’s dedication) that the patient had not gotten infected earlier in the many years she had been in the hospital.

The super-bacteria infection was probably what started the cycle of illness with Mama Ameenah. To make matters worse for Sinta, the room had to be turned into an isolation room, meaning she was not supposed to leave or even walk on the hallway anymore. This took the concept of prisoner to a new, more hardcore level than ever before.

The patient also began to have seizures, which seemed to be random. I didn’t think they were random though. Sinta told me how some of the nurses didn’t make sure all the medicine went through the feeding tube. Bits of crushed medicine, which included her anti-convulsion medicines, were sometimes left in the feeding tube. Some nurses failed to flush this tube properly or at all, or pieces of medicine were left in the bottom of the syringe. Of course nobody believed Sinta when she complained about it to the head nurse. They thought she was just an uneducated woman from Indonesia who knew nothing. But I knew she knew exactly how to administer that medicine herself. However, she didn’t do it, simply because she was just too honest. Sinta had been specifically instructed to leave the medicine administration “to the professionals” and that’s what she did.

One of these seizures was so severe they ended up having to resuscitate the patient. Things went downhill rapidly from there. At this point, I was already pregnant with our first baby and I was about to go on maternity leave. Sinta was devastated that I was leaving the ward. I promised to visit her and that our paths would not part.

She insisted on coming to work for me when the baby was born, but we both knew that was not going to happen. We cried and hugged a lot. I felt terrible for Sinta, I really did and couldn’t figure out how to help her any further.

After I left the ward I visited her a few times but unfortunately some of the staff at the ward had a bad attitude about it. I thought it’s for Sinta’s own good not to make anyone have any reason for envy over financial support given to Sinta so I decided to stop going in person and just called her on the phone. In the second part of Sinta’s story, I explained about the strange behavior of a few Asian nursing staff members, who became envious and began acting spiteful toward Sinta. This was most likely due the support, financial and other, given to Sinta by myself and some other nurses. If you want to know some of the causes for this behavior, read my post about bullying in the Saudi hospitals. and the Saudi Salary Racism.

But little did I know that the day I visited Sinta at the hospital would be the last day I ever saw her.

After a few months I heard the sad news about what had happened to Mama Ameenah. Another severe convulsion and transfer to the ICU. What exactly happened to Sinta at this point is unclear. Personal sitters are not allowed for patients in the ICU, so the family most likely would have sent her back home. The patient passed away in ICU shortly after being admitted there. That was the last I heard of any of them.

I had Sinta’s number of course. It was switched off. I kept sending her messages in hopes she would be able to turn the phone on and read them, but nothing happened. I asked the Malaysian staff who were her friends, nobody knew what had happened to her. I asked Sinta’s friend, a ward housekeeper, who helped transfer extra money through Western Union to Sinta’s family in Indonesia, but she also knew nothing. It was just heartbreaking, all of it.

So after the demise of Mama Ameenah, there was nothing else than radio silence. To this day I’ve kept trying to text and call her phone every once in a while. In fact I just did it again to no avail. A few times her number was actually switched back on but nobody picked up. It could be the number is now in someone else’s use.

All I can hope is that the death of their mother somehow miraculously humbled the family to show some mercy on Sinta. I hope they let her go. I hope she’s in Indonesia away from this family and finally united with her own loved ones. I hope gratitude was shown to Sinta for all that she did. Was it in their hearts, to show an ounce of gratitude, I can only wonder. What did they give Sinta, for dedicating all these years of her life to taking care of a brain dead person, who she loved dearly but was not even her relative. I hope this cold family were able to show some warmth and appreciation to Sinta. I can only hope.

And maybe someday, I will meet her again. Until then, I can just close my eyes and remember her smile, and pray she’s doing just alright, wherever she is.

Feel free to share her story, maybe someone somewhere knows about her whereabouts, you never know.

DISCLAIMER: This story is a description of ONE family, not all Saudi families with maids. Don’t for a moment think that this is somehow the norm of how maids are treated by Saudi families in KSA, because it’s just not like that. No doubt abuse happens and the kafala system is what enables the bad people to treat the workers badly. This sponsorship system needs to fly out of the window in order to protect the employees and the employers too. Sinta’s story is here for you to read because it’s inspiring but yes, also very sad and infuriating how the family treated her, but it doesn’t mean that another family somewhere else in the world would not have done just the same. Just because it’s a Saudi family, it doesn’t mean they are all bad and abusive. People are just like that, in general, humans everywhere have always abused the weaker ones and misused their power. Its human nature all around the world. But what an extraordinary woman Sinta is to be able to keep her dignity, her positive outlook and honesty through it all. That’s the reason why Sinta’s story is so special. Never lose hope.

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  • Naved IkramDecember 3, 2015 - 9:45 am

    I was waiting for a long time for this part. I was working in Indonesia for some time and I know that indo people are very nice and honest. The story of Sinta proves this again. Very well written and expressed as usual. Hope and wish Sinta is doing good.ReplyCancel

    • Laura of ArabiaDecember 3, 2015 - 11:27 am

      Thank you Naved. I’m sorry it took so long to publish this. Yes this really proves the honesty, integrity and loyalty of the Indonesian people.ReplyCancel

  • Bushra Qamar AhmedDecember 3, 2015 - 9:53 am

    I wish it too..”death of their mother somehow miraculously humbled the family”ReplyCancel

    • Laura of ArabiaDecember 3, 2015 - 1:06 pm

      it would be the best reward for Sinta, for her hard work to be acknowledged, verbally an by actions and financially, of course which in her situation is very important. She was the sole provider of her family!ReplyCancel

  • Laura of ArabiaDecember 6, 2015 - 5:47 pm

    Thank you Jean, for these comforting words. I truly hope that’s how it was. Maybe she also wonders what happened to me, and is trying to contact me but does’t know how..ReplyCancel

  • […] Final Part of Sinta’s Story here. […]ReplyCancel

  • […] The story of Sinta, a remarkably strong and kind woman that had become a prisoner confined in a small hospital room somewhere in Saudi Arabia continues. For part one click here. Sinta’s story ends in the final part which can be read here.  […]ReplyCancel

  • SaraDecember 16, 2015 - 10:11 pm

    Everything you do gets back to you sooner or later. I hope both the mama’s family and Sinta got what their action earned them.ReplyCancel

  • eric mannyJanuary 6, 2016 - 7:47 pm

    Hello blue abaya. Please help me, i just want to know what date will start the janadriyah festival 2016. I am a bachelor and i want to know what is the schedule for bachelor. I really want to go to janadiryah festival. Thank you very much for your help. More power to your very good website.ReplyCancel

  • Endang PusphaningsihFebruary 18, 2016 - 7:35 am

    Hi Laura.
    I am an Indonesian and I reas the complete story of Shinta.
    if only you knew the part of Indonesia she came from, maybe I can do something for you, like tracing her for you.
    Feel free to write to meReplyCancel

  • MohammedAugust 13, 2016 - 3:33 am

    The guy who use to send sinta money back home to Indonesia must have her home country number,because without name address and contact number they cannot send money..
    ..hope this may work for youReplyCancel

  • Abu Yusuf al-JughjawiJanuary 21, 2018 - 12:59 am

    I read this story from (sadly) Life in Saudi Arabia blog/fanpage, but then I came to the original post (this post). I’m touched by her dedication. :(

    I hope she’s okay. I really hope she’s happy after all that years.

    If you know the bank account or address where she sent her money back to Indonesia (if you can ask to her agency there), you can try to contact her family. It’s okay even if you use English or Arabic, someone will translate it to them.

    Thanks for this touching story. Never lose hope.ReplyCancel

    • LauraJanuary 21, 2018 - 11:54 pm

      hi there, thanks for the message.. Can you tell me when did you see this on the life in saudi page, do you mean their fb? They’ve stolen over 30 blog posts from me.ReplyCancel

    • LauraJanuary 21, 2018 - 11:54 pm

      I’ve tried to find all means ot contact her and her number has been taken by someone else, so I’m guessing she has gone home.ReplyCancel

9:15pm. Kids finally asleep. Now my “real work” can begin. But all I can focus on after a VERY long and stressful day are the Fazer chocolate bars sent by my mom from Finland. (Love you mom). I’m homeschooling my kids now that we had to pull them out of their kindergarten. The environment became toxic and some of the teachers behaved more like bullies than actual teachers. But that’s another story for another time.

 These World’s Most Delicious Chocolate bars have just arrived safely to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, home of the infamous Saudi Post Chocolate Monster. 

Now you may think there’s nothing much to it.

Let me just say that this is in fact, monumental.

A day I would normally say “let’s draw a big X on the wall to mark the occasion”, but since my 3-year-old son already drew the walls full of different shapes with watercolors while I stepped out the room to make an important business phone call, I WON’T BE NEEDING TO. Those beautiful scribbles, which he also marked the white sofa with on his way, will now mark the first day we received an intact chocolate-containing package from Finland since the almost 8 years I’ve been in the ‘Magic Kingdom’.

It is indeed remarkable how none of the chocolates have been opened for “inspection”. There were a total of four bars in the package, the same amount as my mom had put in (had to check of course). Nothing has been nibbled on or half-eaten first, then left in the box. Which actually happened once, read about it here: Stuff That Annoys Me

Not even a single bite was taken this time around. Something must have gone seriously wrong.
This raises a few concerns regarding the whereabouts and the proficiency of the Choc Monster to detect any kind of chocolate-y substances or “suspicious” looking candy bars in the packages arriving to Saudi Arabia. What has happened to him?

Was he replaced by technology? Perhaps they now have a machine to detect any traces of alcohol, pork or drugs inside the chocolate. Which in any other country would be called a dog, but I doubt they’d work in such close proximity with one over at the Saudi Post.
What a Historical Day in the grand history of the Saudi postal services. Lets give them a round of applause!

The main reason for my mom sending this package are the Christmas advent calendars she sent for the kids, which curiously have also been left untouched. Wow!

Have you had any encounters with the now elusive Chocolate Monster, or any of his colleagues at the Saudi postal services?

Please share your stories :)

P.S. The “real work” I mentioned about consists of (but is not limited to) running my home based business, managing the online stores for my Arabian Inspired Art & Design, designing and creating all those items, compiling next year’s Saudi Arabia themed Wall calendars using my own photography from around the Magic Kingdom, writing travel articles for Mommy’s Corner ME, designing colorful abayas made of cotton and linen, among few other things such as running the Blue Abaya website :)

P.P.S Sinta The Indonesian Housemaid Part 3 has been ready to be published for quite a while, just haven’t gotten myself to publish the last part of her sad story. Mainly because I don’t want her story to end, I’d rather have a good ending to it which I’ve been hoping to be able to add to her story. Another reason I’ve hesitated on publishing her story is that the thieves at life in saudi arabia blog are taking my (and many other Saudi bloggers) hard work and publishing it on their blog without permission, as their own material. They’ve stolen and plagiarized over 20 of my articles, including the Sinta series. So that has really put me off posting anything here anymore, because they will just rip it off again and make money off my hard work with the ads they infested their site with.

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  • Lize OdendalNovember 28, 2015 - 10:55 am

    Thanks for the “warning” about that other site. They will surely not get my patronage. Stealing other people’s work is simply not on! Ever@ReplyCancel

    • Laura of ArabiaNovember 28, 2015 - 2:22 pm

      thank you for your support..No one should be giving them their patronage their stealing is so blatant and he even admits to it not being ethical thing to do.ReplyCancel

  • Estelle VokraDecember 2, 2015 - 10:21 am

    Asalamu alaikum Layla, great new for the chocolate Mashallah. I’m happy for you and the kids. And I’m sorry about this other blog (blogs?) that steal your work. Is there any way we can help ? By signaling this to their plateform if they are on blogger or wordpress or alike maybe ? Wa salamReplyCancel

Saudi Arabia Celebrates its 85th National Day on Wednesday 23 rd September 2015. This year the National day happens to coincide with the beginning of Hajj, meaning there will be no official celebrations until later on in the week with the upcoming Eid Al Adha holiday. Fireworks and most larger festivities have been cancelled this year due to the current war in Yemen. To read more about the National Day celebrations and to find out about the events in Riyadh, check out these posts:

National Day celebrations in Riyadh

Happy Birthday Saudi Arabia!

The best place to be in Riyadh for National Day celebration : Bujairy Square festival area in Diriyah Historic District

Ideas on what to do during Eid holidays in Riyadh: Top Ten things to do during Eid holidays in Riyadh

KSA Travel Tips for Eid Al Adha holiday: Saudi Road Trip- Riyadh-Abha & Top Ten Things to Do in Abha

Riyadh Activities with Kids

Day Trip from Riyadh: Visit Ushaiger heritage Village or Red Sand Dunes 

Explore Saudi Arabia’s UNESCO Heritage Sites: Al Balad Historic District in Jeddah and Ad’ Diriyah in Riyadh

Stay tuned with Riyadh events by following us on Instagram,  Facebook and Google+.


Happy national day and Eid Mubarak!

saudi leather sandals on wall

Wordless Wednesday. Saudi Arabia’s famous leather sandals.

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  • AnuSeptember 26, 2015 - 2:10 pm

    Are there any fireworks shows this year? TYIAReplyCancel

  • Laura of ArabiaSeptember 26, 2015 - 5:28 pm

    Hi there. I’ve updated the post just now, to make clear there are no fireworks this year.

    The tragedy that happened in Mecca and also the ongoing war with Yemen are most likely the reasons for canceling this year.ReplyCancel

  • Robin BurgessSeptember 27, 2015 - 6:14 pm

    Hi, Layla! I found – actually, stumbled upon – these sandals in the rear of Souk Taiba AFTER I had drooled over the designer version on Instagram! I was so excited! Is that where you found these?ReplyCancel

    • Laura of ArabiaSeptember 28, 2015 - 1:30 am

      hi Robin!
      I’ve seen these in Tayba souk too, but this pic is actually from Janadriya marketplace :) Love those designer more “girly” versions too!ReplyCancel

  • AmeerFebruary 2, 2016 - 6:56 pm

    Hopely this year we will see good things, Last year we seen many bad incidents.ReplyCancel

The Souk Okaz festival in Taif is the re-birth of an ancient Arabian market dating back to Pre-Islamic times. The modern-day Souk Okaz was re-created on the exact same location in the Saudi Arabian desert where the ancient souk was historically held.

The Souk Okaz Festival was revived in 2006 by Prince Khalid al-Faisal, Emir of Makkah and it’s held every year in accordance to the Hijri calendar. The event goes on for 2 weeks and many tour companies from around the Kingdom arrange tours there but you can also easily visit Souk Okaz on your own. The festival is open to everyone and is free of charge.

The souk is located near the Saudi-Arabian city of Taif in the Western part of Saudi Arabia. The Ancient Souk Okaz was active at during 542-726 CE and it used to be the largest and most important event of its kind back then. Historically it was more than a marketplace, the souk served as a meeting place for tribal leaders and for people interested in poetry and literature.

Many poetry competitions were held at Okaz and this tradition has also been revived in the modern-day Souk. Learn more about the history of Okaz from their official website (Arabic only) and from the Saudi Commission for tourism page, which has this to say of the Souk:

The importance of the Souk lies in its historic symbolism as the original source of Arabic central culture as a destination for ancient Arab intellectuals and poets and people passionate about culture and literature.


Souk Okaz Ancient Souk in Modern Arabia

In ancient times, Arab traders and bedouins would bring their goods, including perfumes, spices, rugs and handicrafts to sell at the market. It was an ancient economic and cultural meeting hub for intellectuals and influencers.
People from all parts of the Arabian Peninsula would meet at Souk Okaz to compete and select the best poet.  The ancient Arab poet would deliver words of praise for his tribe and denigrate the other tribes. The poet represented the individual tribe’s prestige and importance. Zajal, a battle of the poets, would often take form of an actual battle. Early Arabic poetry offers the modern Arab a glimpse of life in Pre-Islamic times. Poetry is truly in the soul of the Arab.

Souk Okaz Saudi Arabia_

A Finnish friend of mine here in Riyadh who like myself, is an avid explorer of Saudi Arabia, showed me some images from her trip to the  Okaz festival. The images blew my mind! It’s as if  she visited the scene of an Arabian adventure film. The colorful costumes, the impressive parade and knights showing off their horsemanship skills. Even my half-Finnish half-Saudi kids (3 and 4 year olds) were amazed. They asked upon seeing the pics “mommy is that outer-space? Mom are they aliens, is that a knight?!” I laughed and replied, it’s what your Saudi ancestors and forefathers used to dress like. And the kids were, of course even more flabbergasted.

Both now want to become ‘Arabian knights’ when they grow up. I can totally see why they’d say that though, to me the images reminded me of an ancient Arabian adventure movie and the scenery surrounding the souk is other-worldly.

Funny enough when I asked my friend Raija to describe her experience at the Okaz festival, she said “it was like being in another world, almost like being on another planet!”

To fully grasp this other-worldly feeling you must watch the video clips attached on this post. The kids and I watched the clips over and over, mesmerized. So what is this Souk Okaz festival and where is it happening??

I thought this was all so interesting it should to be shared with a wider audience, so with the permission of my friend here are her Souk Okaz photos. Everyone should know what a glorious past this desert Kingdom has! It deserves to be showcased and the efforts of Prince Khalid bin Faisal to restore it are commendable. Next year I’m definitely going there, and taking my kids aka the mini Arabian Knights too!

Please let us know in the comments what you think. Would you like to visit the festival?

UPDATE: According to the official website, 261,00 people visited the Souk Okaz in 2015. The next festival will be held in August 2016!

**All images and video in this post were taken by © Raija Valimaki**

Souk Okaz Poet

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Souk Okaz Saudi Knight

Watch these clips to get a better idea of the what the performances at the souk are like.

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  • BarboraSeptember 12, 2015 - 7:57 pm

    Wow! I definitely would like to see it!!ReplyCancel

    • Laura of ArabiaSeptember 13, 2015 - 6:44 am

      There are tour groups which you can join to visit the festival, one is Haya tour.ReplyCancel

  • DinaSeptember 12, 2015 - 8:40 pm

    What are the timings and dates for this event please? I would like to visitReplyCancel

  • KristineSeptember 17, 2015 - 4:47 pm

    Wow- this looks amazing. I’m so bummed that it won’t take place until next summer as I likely won’t be in Saudi at that point, but it looks really cool. Wonderful photographs- I can totally see why your kids asked if they were aliens!!


    • Laura of ArabiaSeptember 18, 2015 - 8:36 am

      Thanks Kristine! Yeah I’m kinda bummed I missed it this year too, we might be in Finland still during early August. Would have to fly to Saudi early just to attend the festival :)ReplyCancel

  • farooqSeptember 17, 2015 - 6:26 pm

    Really informative.


  • farooqSeptember 17, 2015 - 6:32 pm

    a very nice post

    thank youReplyCancel

  • BeatriceSeptember 20, 2015 - 8:54 pm

    This very intriguing! for someone like myself as a history teacher I would like to witness this someday. It might remain just a wish as I’m in France! Thank you Layla as always for showing us these sides of Saudi Arabia we know nothing about.ReplyCancel

    • Laura of ArabiaSeptember 20, 2015 - 11:17 pm

      Thank you Beatrice. Saudi Arabia does not issue tourist visas, unfortunately!ReplyCancel

  • Helen BettsOctober 10, 2015 - 9:27 pm

    I can’t figure out how to sign up for your site (as I wanted to leave a comment on that Okaz festival. But I must go if I’m still here next August!ReplyCancel

    • Laura of ArabiaOctober 11, 2015 - 12:29 am

      Hi Helen!
      So glad to see you here, I love your beautiful image galleries on Pbase!

      Are you trying to sign up via email? By doing so you would get the latest Blue Abaya blog posts to your inbox. the form for that can be found at the end of the post.ReplyCancel

  • Helen BettsMay 12, 2016 - 7:50 pm

    Hi Laura, so sorry, I forgot to check back for a response from you! I have signed up, although we’re sadly leaving Saudi Arabia next month, but I’d still like to keep up with your blog and what you’re doing.



    • Arabian LauraMay 13, 2016 - 10:37 pm

      Thank you Helen, so glad to hear from you again!

      Sad to hear you’re leaving but it’s great to see from your beautiful photos how much you enjoyed your time here and made the most out of it.ReplyCancel

The Riyadh date and vegetable market, also known as the date souk or fruit souk, 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 definitely worth the visit just for the amazing experience. There’s also a large fruit and vegetable marketplace adjacent to the dates souk called souq ar Rabwa. The directions to the souk, GPS location and google map location can be found at the end of this post.

The best time of the year to visit the souk is during the late summer months when the dates have just ripened and there’s plenty of fresh produce.

Best time of the day to visit would be early mornings, the souk opens around 9 am until noon prayer and the fruit market is open even earlier. The souk opens again after Asr prayer.

Dates are extremely healthy in so many ways, they would deserve a post on their own just to explain all their amazing health benefits. The health benefits of dates are mentioned in the Quran and Hadith, and the most sought-after (and expensive) kind are called Ajwa which come from the Madinah area. Ajwa dates, which the Prophet Mohammed mentions by name in a Hadith, are thought to be the most “potent” of all the date fruits in preventing many diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. The fiber rich, soft Ajwa dates also aid in detoxing the body.

date souk riyadh
Most of the dates at the Riyadh market are sold either by the kilo or by the box but you can always request a small portion and the vendors are happy to let you sample all the different varieties available. For a first timer it can all be really confusing, there’s just so much variety. There are dates which are used for pure delicacy purposes, some are used to make juices, paste, flour or syrup. The possibilities are endless! There are dates available here all year round but the fresh dates begin to come into season in the summer around July-August when the dates ripen enough in the trees.
Dates ripen in four stages, which are known throughout the Arab world by their Arabic names kimri (unripe, green), khlal (full-size, crunchy, yellow), rutab (ripe, soft), tamr (ripe, sun-dried, dark).

The most sought-after and expensive dates come from Medinah, called Ajwa dates. Prophet Mohammed mentions these dates in particular as being especially beneficial for ones health.

Side entrance to Riyadh date souk.

When dates turn yellow from the original green color they are called rutab. That’s when they’re really crunchy and a bit sour. This is the favorite kind of date of many but personally I prefer the sweeter and softer ones called sukari. The darker color, dry and ripe dates are called tamr.

Dates come not only in a rainbow of different colors, but they also vary in size, moistness, texture, ripeness and sweetness.

Visitors at Riyadh’s date souk are welcome to sample the different varieties and some vendors will offer some Arabic coffee to go with it. Don’t forget to haggle!

It’s always a good idea to haggle at the souks. The vendors even expect to haggle a little bit over some Arabic coffee and dates, of course.

These bright red dates look very pretty and inviting, but be warned they also taste extremely sour!

The date season is best during the late summer months when the fruits start to ripen and they get their signature sweetness.

I must admit that before coming to Saudi Arabia, I had no clue how delicious dates could be. In my home country Finland we hardly ever get the chance to taste really good or fresh dates so I never imagined these tiny wrinkly things would turn out to be the most mouth-watering super fruits! Now my freezer is full of date fruits (the rutab kind) all year round.

Here’s some information how to freeze your date fruits:

how to freeze fresh dates infographic

Directions: Heading North on the Eastern ring road, take exit 14 to the your right. Then take a right from the lights and continue on the service road until you get to the main entrance of the marketplace area. There is a huge vegetable and fruit market next to the date souk. The entrance to the date souk is on the left hand side, you can enter from any of the many gates on the side or the main entrance where the guards are sitting. This is where you can stop for some complimentary Arabic gahwa and of course, dates!!

GPS co-ordinates: 24.695271, 46.779406 that is the North entrance to a long building which runs North/South.

Google Maps:

سوق الخضار والفاكهة
Ar Rabwah, Riyadh 14215, Arabia Saudí

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Pin this guide with the below image to save it to your Pinterest for later use!

You can find more Riyadh city guides on Blue Abaya’s Pinterest board here!

Interested in finding more Riyadh souks? Check out this post: Bisht Souk 

the date market in Riyadh, Saudi-Arabia

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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!


  • Animé P. CapeñaMarch 29, 2014 - 2:49 am

    Yummy datesReplyCancel

  • 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

    • LaylaAugust 19, 2014 - 12:37 pm

      Thanks Allan!ReplyCancel

  • Ignacio JaureguizarAugust 30, 2014 - 1:11 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!

    • Laura of ArabiaAugust 31, 2015 - 5:04 pm

      hi there it’s open everyday but friday mornings closed!ReplyCancel

      • LizzieSeptember 29, 2015 - 11:18 pm

        Thank you Laura! Do you know what time the markets open?ReplyCancel

        • Laura of ArabiaSeptember 30, 2015 - 9:03 pm

          They open in the mornings around 8 until noon, then reopen in the afternoons after asr prayer until maghreb.ReplyCancel

  • John GarrowaySeptember 6, 2015 - 5:39 pm

    Greetings to all readers.
    My wife and I went to the date market yesterday with a couple of friends. We had a very enjoyable morning. Lots of interesting and friendly people there, and excellent dates of course.
    I just want to advise that the directions listed are not quite right. Where is published “Directions: Heading South on the Eastern ring road, take exit 14 to the your right. ” that is incorrect and would send you in the wrong direction. A change to “Directions: Heading NORTH on the Eastern ring road, take exit 14 to the your right.” will make it correct.
    Best Regards

    • Laura of ArabiaSeptember 8, 2015 - 2:31 pm

      thank you John for eltitng me know I really appreciate the feedback. I need to double check this as also readers are telling me they found it with these exact directions :)ReplyCancel

  • PamplonicosOctober 30, 2015 - 10:07 am

    We were past Friday October 23th at 16:30 and was open.
    We buy a delicious 4 kg Sukari dates box for 70 Riyals and the experiece of a caddy following you all time with a trolley is incredible.ReplyCancel

  • Maurits Van Der VlugtMarch 5, 2016 - 12:00 pm

    We went there today by Taxi. Bit confused as to where the dates were (the building actully runs EW) but got there in the end. Note the market closes around lunchtime, but there’s a few date shops open and guys selling dates from the back of their truck. You can find a more precise location at http://w3w.co/underway.lawful.select (three word address)ReplyCancel

  • Syed SharfuddinDecember 7, 2016 - 1:40 pm

    I am one great fan of dates and the best dates in the world in my opinion grow in Saudi Arabia.ReplyCancel

  • […] VISIT RIYADH’S DATE SOUK at blueabaya.com […]ReplyCancel

Eid Mubarak to all Blue Abaya readers! We wish you and your loved ones a blessed Eid al Fitr. 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 year 2015 in over 43 locations around Riyadh. There’s plenty of different events for families, singles, women only and children. I have found it difficult as an English speaking expatriate to know where the festivities are located and the exact timings of the fireworks for example. Nevertheless I always went each year to several different locations and very much enjoyed the festivities. Most expatriates don’t seem to be clued in to all the fun they’re missing out on, so I thought I’d share my experiences to benefit others. What a better chance for some bridging some cultural gaps and mingling with Saudis :)

I have gathered some of my favorite activities here for you and your family to enjoy this Eid in Riyadh! Most of the activities listed here are organized every year and the timings are very much the same year to year. To keep up to date with celebration schedules, activities and events, make sure you’ve liked us on Facebook to get updates and subscribed by email with the form at the end of this post.

For Blue Abaya’s Top Ten List of Things To Do During Eid holidays in Riyadh, click here!

Eid al Fitr in Riyadh

My favorite places to go for the celebrations, which include traditional dances, folklore tents, delicious traditional foods, bazaars, poetry and plays, children’s activities and lots more are:

King AbdulAziz Historical Center

National Museum

Deerah (area surrounding Musmak fort)

Historical Diriyah al Bujairy District (new location for this year!)

King Fahad Cultural center

(click on the location to find out more details)

fireworks riyadh eid
Fireworks will go off at the same time every night at 7 different locations around Riyadh. This year the Municipality have changed the timing to very late, 11:15 pm. Unfortunately this does not seem to cater to families with small children who might find this very inconvenient and impossible to enjoy because of it.
Eid Fireworks Locations:
Historical Ad Diriyah
King Fahad Football Stadium
Suspension Bridge
King Abdullah International Gardens Park
Al Nakheel Mall
Prince Sultan Uni
Al Ha’ir King Abdulaziz weather park


National Museum gardens are a wonderful area to walk around and enjoy the joyous Eid spirit. The garden landscape and architecture of the Museum make for the perfect place to enjoy a family picnic.

Nearby is the King Abdulaziz Historical Center folklore tent where traditional music, dances, poetry recital are performed. There’s also a small amusement park and water tower nearby.
What would Eid celebrations be without some traditional sword dances? The Eid festival at has traditional Saudi Arabian sword dances called “ardha’. For all the things you can do at Diriyah, check out this post: 10 Things do do in Historic Ad Diriyah
traditional Saudi Arabian sword dances

At the King AbdulaAziz Historical Center, the dance groups come from all over the Saudi Kingdom; Eastern Province, Jizan, Makkah and of course, the Najd Ardha dances! The dance performances are shown at the folklore tent on the first three days of Eid and start up around 5:30 pm continuing until after midnight.

The folklore tents also has poetry recital and it’s a great chance to listen to old Bedouin love songs played with the ‘Desert Violin’, the Rababah.
For a bird’s eye view of the King Abdulaziz Historical center festival area (and the best place to view the Eid fireworks show from), go up the water tower located inside the amusement park next to the National Museum!
king fahad cultural center

The King Fahad Cultural Center is set on a beautiful location on the edge of Wadi Hanifa. The center offers various activities for women and children only. You can have beautiful henna done, taste delicious foods, watch traditional dances other shows.

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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!



  • ArshafSeptember 2, 2016 - 2:24 pm

    Does anyone know what events/entertainment is on during eid al adha in Riyadh? ThanksReplyCancel

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 Ramadan with beautiful design in the immaculate Ritz Carlton style.

The giveaway graphic should appear at the end of this post, it might take some time to load depending on your internet speed, if it doesn’t open, try refreshing your browser. Once the graphic opens you have two options to log in, either with your facebook or your email. Next all you need to do is click on the action(s) you want to participate with, and the program will automatically direct you to the right place and then count your vote. So easy and simple! Feel free to use as many of the options as you like.

A quick rundown on rules of entering the giveaway: Each participant can enter the contest in several different ways, you can use as many of the options as you want to gain more entries. For example, by subscribing to the Ritz Carlton Newsletter, the participant gains five entries. Tweeting about the giveaway equals three more entries and by following @blueabaya on Twitter or Pinterest participants gain one more entry for each action.

Total prize value is 2100 Saudi riyal. Everyone is free to enter the giveaway, as long as you are able to collect your prize in Riyadh in person during Ramadan.  The rafflecopter program automatically counts your entries and draws the three winners at the end of the giveaway which will be Sunday, 5th July midnight.

EDIT: We have extended the giveaway with an additional 24 hours. Ending is 6th July midnight.

The winners will be announced the following day.

Wishing everyone a blessed Ramadan and the best of luck in the giveaway!

ramadan tent giveaway


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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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 :DReplyCancel

  • 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 ..you 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

  • Javaria FatimaJuly 5, 2015 - 12:52 am

    Love blue abaya posts and articles hope to win In sha Allah.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 http://www.blueabaya.com/2015/07/ramadan-giveaway-win-iftar-at-ritz-carlton-riyadh.htmlReplyCancel

  • 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 :DReplyCancel

  • 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 fasting..in 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

  • 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

    :D 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 many different tastes. I had the honor to meet the Executive chef in charge of this amazing iftar buffet.What makes visiting the Ritz so special is the outstanding service and staff who will always go out of their way to make every guest feel special and looked after. From the very moment you step in, you will be welcomed with genuine smiles, warm gestures and world-class hospitality.

To celebrate Ramadan 2015 and express our gratitude to our readers 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 newsletter with the form at the end of this post.  The giveaway with prizes for three winners worth a total of SAR 2100!  

The best thing about the Ritz iftar buffet for my husband and I (after the mouth-watering food of course) was definitely the kids very own play area. The children have their separate space where they can run and play under the supervision of the nannies that are working there. Kids also have their very own buffet!  I’m sure all parents with small children can relate to this. If you’re going to go all out and want to enjoy your evening (and you don’t have a nanny like us) then the chance of having that rare moment of peace to actually enjoy your food, while knowing your kids are also enjoying and safe, is really the best feeling.

The exquisite Chandeliers and ceiling decorations of the Ritz Carlton Riyadh never seize to amaze.

Ritz Carlton Ramadan tent ballroom

Ritz ramadanArabic sweets

RCR Kids Play Area

Ritz pastries


Ritz carlton hilal

Here’s the official press release from Ritz Carlton Riyadh, explaining in more detail about this years Ramadan Tent:

“During this Holy month, The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh ballrooms will feature lavish designs and decorations that present a traditional Arabian ambience. Centered in the middle of the ballroom, the Iftar buffet will be surrounded by a variety of seating options for visitors, as well as a private Majlis located in each of the ballroom’s corners. We were inspired to portray this spirit through the use of symbols of islamic architecture, specifically from the era of Al Andalus. The cozy aura the lanterns provide coupled with mighty wooden entrances and decorative spears will reflect this spirit and provide a great experience to the visitors of The Ritz-Carlton.”

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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

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 Najd region is an ideal way to experience how the everyday life was in Saudi Arabia few hundred years ago and a great chance learn about the Kingdom’s history. 

The Ushaiger mud village offers plenty of sightseeing opportunities and activities for the whole family. There’s a museum, a visitor’s center with opportunity to hire a tourist guide, a marketplace, mosques, and a restaurant. You will find the directions, GPS co-ordinates and location of Ushaiger village added at the end of the article. Check out Blue abaya’s guide to Raghbah mud village located closeby to Ushaiger, it’s possible to visit both these villages on the same trip!

Ushaiger village is located approximately 180km NW out of Riyadh and is one of the oldest mud villages in the Najd region. What makes Ushaiger special is the fact that some of the local families treasured their heritage so much they decided to renovate some buildings and parts of the town back to its old glory. And all this from their own pockets! Ushaiger, which means “the little blonde”, was named after the red mountain that stands next to it.  The first inhabitants settled here around 1500 years ago and the village served as a common stopping point for pilgrims going for Hajj.

guide ushaiger heritage village riyadh

ushaiger mosque courtyard wm

 Visiting Ushaiger is well worth the approximately one and a half hour drive from Riyadh. The entire day can easily surpass by wandering around the narrow streets and seemingly endless alleyways.  In addition to the myriad of different types of mud houses, the village has two schools, a marketplace, a museum, a heritage house and many picturesque mosques, some of which are still in use. Ushaiger is surrounded by an oasis and ancient farmlands which the inhabitants utilized by creating a complex irrigation and water collection system. The aim was to preserve and distribute the precious water derived from one of the many interconnected wells around the village.
ushaiger water collection gutter
ushaiger old mosque entranceushaiger mosque door detail
ushaiger village city market door

The people of Ushaiger are known to be very friendly and here you can experience the famous Saudi hospitality at its best. The locals can regularly be seen sitting on benches chatting and reading newspapers. The villagers are always willing to help visitors and show them around their much adored little town. Visitors will often be invited into one of the renovated mud houses for Arabic coffee and dates or if you’re lucky and they have time, guests are welcomed to join in on the family dinner.

The interiors of these mud and straw houses are astonishing in detail and architecture; here one truly gets the feel of stepping back in time.  Natural light enters the houses from the open air roofs and the many triangular windows distinctive to the Najdi style. Antique lanterns and traditional fireplaces further create a mysterious atmosphere inside the humble homes of the Ushaiger people.
Take time to browse the museum which the villagers have set up from various artifacts and old relics collected from the inhabitants. The museum keepers will be more than happy to guide you around and explain in detail the history of each item. They have a superb collection of traditional clothing including old abayas which are surprisingly colorful and intricate in detail.
There’s a small outdoor restaurant near the entrance overlooking the palm tree oasis which makes for a nice ending to the day. It’s recommended to drive up the nearby mountain for magnificent views down to the village. Ushaiger village is peaceful, beautiful and serene and makes for a humbling and enlightening experience.
ushaiger wooden gate detail
 Share the love for Saudi Arabian culture and heritage by sharing this post with your friends!
Ushaiger Heritage village guide by Blue Abaya
Here are the coordinates 25°20′33″N 45°11′0″E. Enter into Google maps: Ushaiger Heritage Village
From Riyadh, Take Mekkah Road (route 40) out of Riyadh, pass the first checkpoint, go down the escarpment and turn right at the first exit, direction Shaqra (Highway 505). Drive on that highway for a some while, passing by Dhurma, Marat and Tharmda. When you reach the city of Shagra, continue on the route 505 passing by the city until you get to the turn signposted Ushaiger, turn right on this road. At the end of the road turn left and a sign for Ushaiger Heritage village will soon appear on the right side of the road.
You can drive inside the village and park on the roads there, or leave the car outside of the main large gates and walk in. The village is always open to walk around and free to enter.
The main museum is open from daily from 8 am. On Fridays they close for Dhuhr prayer and open again right after at around 1 pm depending on the time of prayer. It closes for the day at Ishaa prayer. Museum ticket 10 sar.
The other heritage house museums are mostly open by request only, call the numbers on the signs you see on the houses and someone should come come to let you in.
The restaurant opens for lunch at 1 pm on Fridays. They offer traditional Saudi foods cooked by local villagers. Everything we tried was very good. You pay by the weight of your plate which can make the end price a bit high.
The village is getting very popular now with visitors and tourists on weekends. From when I first visited in 2012, and before I wrote this guide, the village was a sleepy and quite one, villagers would sit and drink coffee and freely invite people to their houses ( because there was a very rarely a foreign visitor there). I found on my last visit in April 2018 the village to be bustling with visitors and large tour buses were there as well. So it has lost some of that original charm, but still worth a visit.


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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


  • 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

      • OzyMarch 31, 2016 - 5:32 pm

        Hi. I love you Layla. Your articles is so trueReplyCancel

  • Ten Beautiful Places to Discover in the Desert » Blue AbayaJanuary 26, 2015 - 12:36 am

    […] 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 (blueabaya.com) […]ReplyCancel

  • SuzanneSeptember 10, 2015 - 12:56 pm

    Do you know if the ushaiger village will be open over eid ?ReplyCancel

    • Laura of ArabiaSeptember 12, 2015 - 8:37 pm

      I’m sure it will be , I can double check with a friend who lives there.ReplyCancel

  • BarboraSeptember 11, 2015 - 1:34 pm

    Hello! It looks great! Is it possible to get there by public transport (bus)? Or do I have to také a taxi?
    Your blog is great, very helpful :-)ReplyCancel

    • Laura of ArabiaSeptember 12, 2015 - 8:36 pm

      Hi Barbora! You can visit by hiring a private driver or taxi. There are no bus connections that I know of.ReplyCancel

  • Sonyboy FugabanOctober 16, 2015 - 9:46 am

    What I like about your stories is the details of every place you feature. Any reader will see the place you feature the way you exactly want him to see it.ReplyCancel

  • 12 Things To Do In Riyadh During Spring » Blue AbayaMarch 1, 2016 - 8:32 pm

    […] now. Find the lake with Blue Abaya’s Guide book here.    12. Visit a heritage village. The Ushaiger Heritage village is a lovely place to visit for a half day trip, about 1,5h drive from Riyadh. Close by the Raghbah […]ReplyCancel

  • […] now. Find the lake with Blue Abaya’s Guide book here.  12. Visit a heritage village. The Ushaiger Heritage village is a lovely place to visit for a half day trip, about 1,5h drive from Riyadh. Close by the Raghbah […]ReplyCancel

  • Ten Beautiful Places to Discover in Riyadh’s Desert » Blue AbayaSeptember 13, 2016 - 3:46 am

    […] the desert of Riyadh. From the famous Red Sands, the majestic Tuwaiq escarpment, desert lakes and heritage villages, there’s always something new and exciting to discover outside of the […]ReplyCancel

  • […] to Ushaiger here and Raghbah […]ReplyCancel

  • Kurt DabsFebruary 24, 2018 - 9:53 am

    Thanks Laura. More power!ReplyCancel

  • Elyse GuarinApril 24, 2018 - 2:45 pm

    We plan on going to Ushaiger Heritage Village this weekend, is it open every Friday and Saturday and what time the place closes?ReplyCancel

  • AngelaAugust 18, 2018 - 6:34 pm

    Hi. Is Ushaiger Village will be open this coming eid? ThanksReplyCancel

    • LauraAugust 23, 2018 - 10:16 am

      Yes it should be open in afternoon at least. Maybe not Eid morning because everyone is at mosque or their relatives houses.ReplyCancel

  • SarfaraazFebruary 3, 2019 - 12:53 am

    Can Ushaiger be reached by public transportation?ReplyCancel

  • Eric De GuzmanMay 19, 2019 - 11:57 am

    Is the village opennon Fridays during ramadan?ReplyCancel

  • Eric De GuzmanMay 19, 2019 - 11:58 am

    Is the village opennon Fridays during ramadan?ReplyCancel

  • Renates ReiserDecember 3, 2019 - 3:30 pm

    Wow! This place looks amazing. Like something out of a fairytale, kind of like gingerbread houses. :) I would love to visit from Riyadh. Do you know of any tours going here? Private or group tours?ReplyCancel