The life of Saudis always seems to be fascinating the world and I still have to tell everyone that Saudi life was/is normal.
I did not feel like I missed out as a child in Saudi and now the level of fun is increasing!
With the recent announcement of the Saudi tourist visa people are still in two minds about Saudi and some say that it is dull, but I think it is better than people think!
After my post on everything you need to know before visiting Saudi, I wanted to write another about how Saudis actually have fun and enjoy the life they have!
I am writing this from a Saudi city point of view and I am speaking about the three main cities: Khobar, Riyadh and Jeddah. No idea how life is in Saudi villages though, but I imagine it as quiet as any village in England.
What do Saudis do for fun in Saudi?
This is the main thing every Saudi does at least once a week. Saudis are very family oriented and big weekly family gatherings are normal. They are also so much fun and I used to look forward to the weekend so much just so I can hangout with my cousins, who are very much like my siblings.
My family is also why I go to Saudi once or twice a year!
Dinning our and going to restaurants is a huge part of the Saudi culture. Food is very important to cultures worldwide. Saudi has most of the famous American and British restaurant chains a long with Arab and Asian foods too.
There are food courts in every mall/shopping centre you go to and there are so many options in one place.
There are few Instagram accounts reviewing restaurants and cafes depending on cities as well like best restaurants in Khobar, Riyadh and Jeddah!
There are so many choice of food hence why I gain weight after every visit! Oops
Ordering in is also very common especially for a family or close friends gathering. The main food apps used in East Saudi are:
They are different based on the city you are in.
Cafes with friends
There is also a big cafe culture since people do not drink alcohol, so a lot of meetings, catch ups and hangouts happen in cafes.
There are also so many cafes for every kind of tea and coffee style you would ever want.
Earlier this year, I went to a new tea cafe that did the three-tier afternoon tea. Not like I have enough of that already! I really enjoyed it though.
There are a few “shisha” cafes for smokers that are available to both men and women, but I don’t love them and completely avoid them.
Craft Activities in Cafes
This is still a new thing, but it is becoming more of a thing!
Sometimes chatting endlessly with family and friend gets boring, so doing an activity is a plus!
The thing I personally tried was the ceramics cafe, where you choose an object and you get all the supplies to paint it! It was a lot of fun to sit with my aunt and paint. I painted a plate and she painted a turtle!
Since ceramic is a process, we gave them the objects to fire for us and we picked them a week later.
My cousin has also been to a painting session in a cafe and she also enjoyed it!
Both of which are in Khobar.
Art and Language courses and workshops
As a teenager (before proper internet was a thing! Think dial-up and MSN), my fun summer activities were art and language courses.
My mother signed me up in English improvers courses, drawing, painting and sewing. I really liked all things girly so it was good for me.
There are so many more options now with more art and languages courses. Japanese and Korean are kind of popular to learn amongst teenagers these days.
Beach and water sports
I grew up in a beach town in East Saudi, where the summers are humid and where fish is one of the main things to eat. The beach kept getting further and further with every new “beach front” buildings, but we went to the Corniche a lot.
The Corniche is basically to walk along side the sea or have a picnic while looking at the waves, but there are no swimming or touching the water. For the proper beach, it is now a whole hour drive away to be able to swim. Though, I am not sure I want to swim there after the oil spills….
When the weather is good this is what most Saudis in beach accessible cities do and on school holidays we get visitors from all over Saudi.
There are few beach resorts with annual or daily memberships like the very famous Sunset Resort in East Saudi.
Depending on what beach you visit, you are able to do water sports and the most popular one is jet skiing. Jeddah and the West side of Saudi is known for diving, which is something on my wish-list!
Working out and yoga
I know Saudis don’t really make the headlines in sports and for a long time public girl schools never paid attention to any sport even had space for it in the little cramped buildings.
This has been changing the past ten years especially with all the weight and other health issues that Saudis suffer from.
When I was growing up, the only gyms available for women were a room in a hospital or within a resort spa, but thankfully that changed and there are a few fully equipped gyms with fitness classes to choose from.
I am also happy to report that yoga is also becoming more popular in Saudi and you can check the yoga places near you through this app:
Generally, gyms and fitness classes are not that cheap!
A lot of cities in Saudi do weekly neighbourhood markets on the weekend and they sell all kinds of things.
It is basically a mini open-air shopping with stalls selling all kinds of things.
They used to be very busy, but now they are becoming less popular because of the malls and the online shopping, but that’s a worldwide problem.
Theatre and entertainment
This is a new addition to Saudi started last year and now there more entertainment activities like plays, musicals and so on.
There has always been Arabic plays and festivities during Eid holidays and they were held in the main city’s local park or main city building.
They are increasing now because of the demands and tickets are getting sold out quickly!!
Winter is the best time to visit Saudi and most cities and regions in Saudi would have something organised outdoors such as shows, performances, men traditional dances and lots of food!
They are usually promoted only few weeks in advance and they differ so I can’t tell you about a specific one. They are adding more as of late.
Spring time is very popular for camping especially with all the nature that blooms in the dessert side of Saudi. A lot of families go campaign for few days. There are campsites and sometimes the option to even go wild campaigning.
My family was never keen on it hence that the first time I went camping was near London and I really enjoyed myself and would love to plan a camp trip with the family when I am back in Saudi!
I hope you enjoyed this post and gave you an idea of how life is in Saudi and how fun it could be!