Restaurants

10 Restaurants From Around The Gulf We Need In Saudi Like Right Now

Photo Credit: mybigfathalalblog.com

Among the many things that the Gulf Countries share is their love for food. And all have a good chunk of local restaurant chains that offer lip-smacking food that you’d want to fill your tummy and Instagram feed with.


Unfortunately, many of these homegrown chains hardly operate outside their countries, so we in Saudi Arabia are missing out on amazing offerings that these restaurants from our neighboring countries offer. So here are some of them that we definitely want to see right here.

BAHRAIN

Naseef Café

They have been around for 100 years now and were renowned for their mango ice cream. However, of late, the café is becoming a quintessential breakfast joint. We have a shortage of good breakfast joints, so one like Naseef Café will be warmly welcomed here.

Photo Credit: sliceofmylyfe.com

Photo Credit: sliceofmylyfe.com

Saffron By Jena Bakery

Offering an interesting mix of culinary and cultural experience, Saffron by Jena Bakery has won multiple awards and was rated three out of three on Time Out’s awards for Best Bahraini Restaurant. It is located in tourist hotspots, so with Saudi Arabia now opening its doors to tourists, there are plenty of places where they can set up shop.

Photo Credit: philweymouth.wordpress.com

Photo Credit: philweymouth.wordpress.com

OMAN

Hosni Omani Sweets

The recipes of the sweets offered here have been passed down from generation to generation. So if you are bored with chocolates and cakes and are craving for something sweet, then this is the place you’d want to head to. Hosni Omani offers traditional Omani sweets along with fusions of traditional and western delicacies, catering to a wide range of tastes.

Photo Credit: m.yebab.com

Photo Credit: m.yebab.com

Bin Ateeq

Traditional food around the Gulf is similar in many ways, though they do have slight variations. For those who haven’t been introduced to Khaleeji food yet, Bin Ateeq is the perfect place to delve into the regional specialties.

Photo Credit: cntraveler.com

Photo Credit: cntraveler.com

KUWAIT

Slider Station 

Photos of their burgers on any Instagram feed can immediately induce hunger pangs – that’s how beautiful their burgers look. Slider Station already has branches in Oman, the UAE and Kuwait, so why not Saudi as well?

Photo Credit: mybigfathalalblog.com

Photo Credit: mybigfathalalblog.com

Mais Alghanim 

If you’ve been to Kuwait and haven’t tried this, you’re seriously missing out on amazing Levantine food. It has been in business for over 60 years now, so it’s safe to say it has stood the test of time.mais-alghanim

Naif Chicken 

One of the first homegrown quick service restaurants in Gulf, Naif Chicken is to Kuwait almost like what Al Baik is to Saudi.naif-chicken

THE UAE

Tonic Juice Bar 

Photo Credit: bloominspiringwellness.com

Photo Credit: bloominspiringwellness.com

Their menu carries names of juices that will leave you wondering whether they really are juices and not fitness supplements. Nevertheless, they taste incredible and one can gulp them down without feeling guilty. Just seeing the riot of color at the place your body will be yearning for juice.

Coffee Planet 

Coffee originated in Arabia, so it is by means of a homegrown Arabian brand that one can get to taste authentic Coffee Arabica. And, it is about time that we have competition in our Saudi coffee market that is filled with western brands.

India Palace 

Calling all foodies; indulge in time-tested Indian favorites here while you experience Indian royalty. The palatial décor and Indian paintings around the restaurant will make you feel like you are truly in an Indian palace.

Photo Credit: myguide-dubai.com

Photo Credit: myguide-dubai.com

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Things To Do

Apparently This Is The Best Golf Course In The Kingdom.

Photo Credit: golf.turkishairlines.com

Sitting 45 kilometers from Riyadh in the Tawfiq Valley, the Dirab Country & Golf Course is widely considered to be the best in the country. We tell you why.


1. Just look at the landscape.
Luxurious grass and bountiful palm trees – can it get any better than this?

Photo Credit: golf.turkishairlines.com

Photo Credit: golf.turkishairlines.com

2. It’s actually built in the desert.
Giving it more of an oasis feel.

3. It received the accolade for being Saudi Arabia’s Best Golf Course.
At the World Golf Awards in 2016.

Photo Credit: golf.turkishairlines.com

Photo Credit: golf.turkishairlines.com

4. Dirab is one of only three grassed championship courses in the country.
And is the first 18-holes championship grass golf course (par 72).

5. Some portions of it are floodlit.
Golfing at night, anyone?

Photo Credit: golf.turkishairlines.com

Photo Credit: golf.turkishairlines.com

6. Apart from seasoned golfers, Dirab offers lots for beginners as well.
Practice facilities such as driving ranges, putting greens, and a golf academy are available at Dirab.

7. It even has a polo club inside.
The equestrian sanctuary has developed quite a reputation among high-living Riyadhis.

Photo Credit: wsbksa.com

Photo Credit: wsbksa.com

8. And it is available all year round.
What more do you want?

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Offbeat, Travel Tips, Travel Trends

If You Wear The Niqab You Should Definitely Avoid These 9 Places

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The lands of freedom as they call the West, are probably not so free when it comes to religious freedom. Especially after seeing the one country after another banning the face veil (niqab). 


Just an FYI all countries on this list banned the niqab after 2011. So if you are one those women who wear the niqab then at these places you’ll probably have to pay huge fines and it may be accompanied with jail time.france

France

One of the first countries to kick off the Niqab ban ‘trend’, France has a hefty fine for women wearing the face veil. So seeing the Eiffel Tower will probably have to be given a miss if you wear the niqab, well at least until the ban is in place.When the ban came into effect, a French millionaire offered to pay all fines for women who wore the niqab.belgium

Belgium

The burka and niqab were outlawed in the country in 2011. Women who wear the niqab in public places can be fined and sentenced to up to seven days in jail; all that just for wearing a niqab.bulgaria

Bulgaria

Driven by the National Patriotic Front coalition, Bulgaria’s parliament banned the full face veil in September 2016. gabon

Gabon

Full face-veils are banned in public and places of work in the oil-rich country. congo

Congo

Just like its neighbor Gabon, the niqab is banned in public places. chad

Chad

The majority of Chad’s population is Muslim but that hasn’t stopped it from outlawing the niqab in 2015.latvia

Latvia

Latvia also joined the list of countries banning the niqab by outlawing it in 2016.austria

Austria

In a country where Muslims form almost 7% of the population, Austria is one of the latest countries to ban the niqab.quebec-canada

Quebec, Canada

The province of Quebec has banned people with face coverings from working in government jobs or using public services. This means that if you wear the niqab then you’ll be barred from using public transport or visiting the doctor at a government-run hospital.

Sources:

bbc.com
smh.com.au
sbs.com.au
nytimes.com
reuters.com

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Offbeat

5 Guinness World Records Saudi Arabia Set In 2017

Source

2017 hasn’t just been a defining year for Saudi, it has also been a year of world records for KSA. Here are the ones recognized by the Guinness!


Longest Line Of Photographs

Dubai was the holder of this record but just a month after they set the record, Saudi  topped with an additional 70 cms. The record was organized by HP Inc. in Riyadh and measured 1,726 meters. It was achieved on Saudi National Day.

Source: Guinness World Records

Source: Guinness World Records

Largest Simultaneous Car Tyre Burnout

Another record achieved on the Saudi National Day was for the largest simultaneous car tyre burnout. 119 participants took part in the attempt in Riyadh as thousands of attendees watched it happen live.

Source: Guinness World Records

Source: Guinness World Records

Largest Carpet Of Flowers/Plants

The Yanbu Flower Festival is one of the biggest festivals in Saudi Arabia. In the 2017 edition of it they managed to make the largest carpet of flowers/plants (they held the record previously in 2014 as well). It consisted of 1.8 million flowers of 14 different types. The carpet even carried a message that read “Saudi Vision 2030.”

Source

Source

Largest Aluminum Sculpture

During a summit organized by Novartis Oncology, the world’s largest aluminum sculpture was presented. The sculpture was made in the shape of a jackhammer symbolizing “the powerful tool breaking through cancer.” The sculpture was 7.71 m tall, 5.03 m long and 3.95 m wide.

Source: arabnews.com

Source: arabnews.com

Largest Picture Mosaic Formed By People

Students of the International Indian School of Jeddah formed the largest human mosaic on World’s Diabetes Day. The attempt was organized by the Abeer Medical Group to raise diabetes awareness. The picture mosaics the students made included large-scale logos of the World Diabetes Day, Abeer Medical Group, the world map and Vision 2030.

Source: Guinness World Records

Source: Guinness World Records

Largest Marble Cake

Marking the Saudi National Day and Betty Crocker’s 50th anniversary in the region, the world’s largest marble cake was put up on display at Andalus Mall in Jeddah. The cake weighed a whopping 733 kgs and took a team of 22 bakers two days to make it. And, once the feat was achieved the cake was distributed to the visitors at the mall and the Saudi Food Bank.

betty-cocker-cakeSource: http://www.an7a.com/312442/

A correction has been made and the article has been updated.

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Offbeat

Madinah Is About To Change – Here’s Proof

Photo Credit: Abdulaziz Alhjory

Knowledge Economic City (KEC) is one of the biggest projects that the holy city of Madinah has seen in decades. With some portions of the city to be complete by 2020, here’s what it will look like.


The Project Was Announced Way Back In 2006.
It now stands closer than ever to its completion, in turn bringing huge economic prospects to the holy city.

The New ‘City’ Will Spread Over An Area Of 51.6 Million Square Feet.
Which will include retail, office space, and over 1 million square feet of housing.

Photo Credit: Bandar Alsousi

Photo Credit: Bandar Alsousi

And It Comes With A Total Cost Of A Whopping US$ 7 Billion.
Making it one of the largest projects that the region has ever seen.

It Will Be Located Just 5 KM From The Holy Mosque.
Right on the main axis that connects the airport and railway station.

Photo Credit: Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage

Photo Credit: Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage

This Makes It Within The Confines Of The Haram Boundary.
Sitting a total of 60 miles from the Red Sea coast.

The Housing Of The City Will Be Spread Over Four Residential Neighborhoods.
They will feature parks, playgrounds, shops, swimming pools, and mosques.

Photo Credit: Abdullh Alobadh

Photo Credit: Abdullh Alobadh

KEC Will Be Designed In A Classical Islamic Style.
Serving as a cultural destination that will be a draw for tourists who will enjoy a range of facilities including a theme park, world-class hospitality, and outstanding retail.

The City’s Masterplan Centers Around Knowledge-Based Industries.
Such as technological and administrative colleges, an Islamic Civilization Studies Centre, a campus for medical studies, biological sciences and health services and lots of other investor-friendly business opportunities.

Photo Credit: rnldesign.com

Photo Credit: rnldesign.com

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Offbeat

5 Places In Saudi Arabia Where It Snows

Photo Credit: by asd99826

While snowfall is a rare thing in Saudi when news of a snowstorm comes, these are the places that you should head to as it is normally in these places that one can get to see snow. Some of these places even get multiple inches of snowfall. So if you’ve never seen snow and don’t want to travel outside Saudi to see it then keep this list handy as you might want to consider going here.


Turaif

Photo Credit: plus.google.com

Photo Credit: plus.google.com

The city on the northern border of the country holds the record for recording the coldest temperature ever in Saudi Arabia, that being when the mercury dipped to -12°C. This made it one of the coldest temperatures to be ever recorded in the Arabian Peninsula as well.

Tabuk

Photo Credit: reuters.com

Photo Credit: reuters.com

The most viral videos and photos of snow in Saudi originate here. As it is in a place called Jabal Al Lawz that sits near populated Tabuk, where layers of snow carpet the sand.

Arar

Photo Credit: by asd99826

Photo Credit: by asd99826

The city of Arar has fertile pasture lands and sits amidst the heart of a vast rocky limestone plain, with temperatures rarely crossing the psychological zero mark. But it still snows albeit rarely.

Shaqraa

Photo Credit: via.alarabiya

Photo Credit: via.alarabiya

One thing common to this list of places is that they all are in the north of the country. Shaqraa, however, is closer to the central part of the country and sits 190 kilometers from Riyadh.

Rafha

Photo Credit: strangesounds.org

Photo Credit: strangesounds.org

Rafha lies close to the Iraq border and has recorded temperatures as high as 49°C. Despite its hot desert climate, the city has witnessed deep snowfalls.

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Explore KSA, Historic Saudi, Online Magazine

Walking Through The Ruins of Khaybar

Old house in Khaybar.

A journey through time.


There’s so much to see in Saudi Arabia – for instance, after spending a night in Madinah and two hours of driving north out of the city, its famed date farms blurred in the distance to give way to the arid desert and eventually the town of Khaybar.khaybar-landscapeKhaybar is like any other Saudi town, but its older areas are the main attraction. It was in this city that the famous Battle of Khaybar took place, which was a major victory for the Muslim forces. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself participated
in the battle.

Old town with oasis in the background.

Old town with oasis in the background.

Taking a by-lane off the highway, we reached the old part of the city – a bewildering sight as the road snakes through dark ruins that have bountiful palm trees growing amongst them. The city used to be a major food basket for neighboring regions.restored-house-and-windowThe ruins are preserved well, despite some of them being almost 1,500 years old. Khaybar once housed fortresses, with powerful families controlling each one. Today, it is hard to identify the fortresses, but seeing the sturdy construction of the remains, we can only imagine their impregnability.

Palm trees near the city.

Palm trees near the city.

The town didn’t seem to have a proper layout – the roads were just wide enough for cars to pass through and the dwellings were built in random clusters. These clusters were, at times, adjoined with storehouses and stables. Numerous dwellings consisted only of a single room. The entrances and windows were blocked, so we couldn’t see what they were like inside.restoration-projects-underwayThe dark basalt rocks – likely sourced from the volcanic fields of Harrat Al Khaybar nearby – that the houses are made of give the town a distinctive and somewhat eerie look. The whole town can be explored on foot in an hour. Some even explore it whilst sitting comfortably in their air-conditioned cars, but to get a real feel of the place, an on-foot experience is required.

the-city-from-a-higher-ground

The city from a higher ground.

Easily accessible by a major highway that connects Madinah with Tabuk and being a sight of much historical importance, a visit to Khaybar should definitely be on a Saudi bucket list. The place is resplendent with history, the kind that somehow stays with you for long.

road-passing-through-palm-treesJust when we were about to leave, we saw a tourist bus stopping by, and as they stepped out of their buses their faces had much the same bewildered look that we had when we first entered the city.

Coordinates
25.728189, 39.272035

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Explore KSA, Historic Saudi, Online Magazine

History Meets the Scenic Seaside

dsc_0663

King Abdulaziz Fort – one of Saudi Arabia’s youngest forts.


Traveling around the country in the summer was a novel experience for us, as we normally limited our travels to the winter season. This time around, we had our holidays during peak summer, and we didn’t want to waste them sitting in front of the TV.

dsc_0659We traveled to the coastal city of Duba, where the weather was extremely hot and the air humid. Even after spending much of our lives in the Kingdom, our bodies had not become acclimatized to the non-AC desert weather. It was so hot that the car’s AC also gave up on us; no matter how high we turned the AC, it just wasn’t enough – the air somehow warmed before it reached us.dsc_06383

The city of Duba is famous for two things, its beaches, and the King Abdulaziz Fort. With the weather being absolutely not ideal for beaches, we went to the fort right away. The fort sits right by the sea overlooking a small seaport that looks much the same as it probably once did during the fort’s heydays.dsc_0693

The seaport has much the same commotion and traditional boats, too, except that they are now motor-powered. We realized later that the part of the sea the fort sits by is actually a creek called the Duba Gulf. The city of Duba extends further South even beyond the creek, and the city’s famous fish market sits right opposite it.dsc_0660

We reached the fort following the coastal road and it turned out to be larger than our expectations. The surreal fort felt like it would be an ideal site for a heritage hotel – a concept that hasn’t gained a foothold in the country yet. dsc_0698

There were multiple entrances to the fort; all were locked. We roamed around the fort, admiring its walls, which looked like they had been restored in recent years. It felt a bit like it lost some of its history, as it no longer carries all its “scars” from the past – the battles it has seen, and its rise and fall from prominence.dsc_0671

Built in 1933 CE during the reign of King Abdulaziz, it acted as the ruling center of the city. Most of Saudi Arabia’s forts are centuries old, but this one was constructed after the formation of the kingdom.

In the decades to follow after its construction, the fort was home to various governmental bodies including the defense and police departments. The different administrations made their slight modifications to the fort, some of which can be seen today.dsc_0672

Spread over an area of around 1,000 square meters, the King Abdulaziz Fort has a pretty simple layout. It carries a rectangular shape with all four sides having small, round towers. Inside, there is a large courtyard and a few rooms that are largely made adjoining the outer walls.  Limestone sourced from nearby areas is the main construction material used in the building, characteristic to other fortifications in the region. dsc_0676

As the fort is located in the older part of town, there were historic buildings of a bygone time nearby that were crumbling their way to the future. We didn’t get a chance to explore the neighborhood more but it is definitely something that we’d want to revisit!dsc_0667

Coordinates
27.348507, 35.694912

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Offbeat

10 Useful Google Products You Can Start Using Today

google-2356343_960_720

There are tons of Google products out there. Some of them like Google Maps, Google Glass, and other upcoming projects like internet-beaming balloons and smart contact lenses have managed to gain a lot of limelight. Most of the other products and services that Google offers, however, get overshadowed by its search engine.


Here are some useful Google products that you can start using today.

  • Trendalyzer

Instead of the regular boring stats and graphs, with this tool by Google, you’ll be able to create interactive bubble charts that are easy and fun to use.  nationswealthhealth2009

  • Google Keep

The note-taking app that works on iOS and Android allows you to take notes in the form of text, lists, images and even audio. It comes with a reminder service and works on desktops as well.google-keep

  • Google Scholar

In simple terms, it is scholarly literature right at your fingertips.google_scholar_logo-svg

  • Google nGram Viewer

Ideal for armchair historians, the nGram Viewer displays how many times a particular word or phrase has been used between 1500 and 2008 on books that are available on Google’s vast database.screen-shot-2010-12-15-at-10-30-57-pm

  • Google News 

The platform aggregates headlines from news sources around the world and groups them together according to each user’s interests.google-news-updated-with-new-features

  • Google Art Project

It allows one to access high-res images of artworks housed in p1200px-screenshot_google_art_project_manet_wintergartenartner museums of the project. It provides a virtual tour like experience through some of the biggest museums in the art world.

  • Google Fonts

You get to choose from hundreds of free fonts through this service allowing you to use beautiful typography in the virtual world.  google-fonts-redesign

  • Google Sky

Enjoyed Google Earth? If yes, then you’ll love Google Sky. The application allows you to view the stars and galaxies by images sourced from NASA, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the Hubble Telescope.unnamed

  • Google Sites

An easy way to build a website from scratch or by using pre-existing templates. Just spend a few hours on this and you’ll have a website that is good to go.new-sites-postpic

  • Google Goggles 

Just snap a picture and Google will handle the rest. If it finds anything related to what you’ve just shot you’ll end up with all the info related to it that Google’s complex algorithms can find for you on the internet. So next time you’re standing in front of a landmark and have no clue about it, just take a photo of it through the app.google-goggles

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Offbeat

Top 6 Ambitious Vision 2030 Construction Projects

Photo Credit: rcrwireless.com

Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 has got the world’s eyes on it. The Vision has a lot of stated goals, one of the principal ones being the reduction of the country’s dependency on oil revenues.


Massive infrastructure projects play a huge part in achieving these goals. We take a look at some of the most ambitious infrastructure projects announced so far under it.

Red Sea Project

Photo Credit: Public Investment Fund

Photo Credit: Public Investment Fund

The project plans to transform hundreds of kilometers of the Kingdom’s Red Sea coastline stretching from the cities of Umluj and Wajh into a global tourism destination. The area that the project will cover will be around 34,000 square kilometers spread over 50 islands.

Leading names in tourism and hospitality sectors are expected to set a foothold here and create a total of 35,000 jobs. Revenues from the project are anticipated to generate SR 15 billion annually.

Al Faisaliah City

Al Faisaliah project is planned to give the city of Makkah a huge extension. The project will span an area of 2,450 square kilometers along the southwestern side of Makkah.

The project will see the development of a new airport, seaport, and an Islamic research center. This is in addition to the industrial, agricultural, and educational facilities that will be provided. 995,000 housing units accommodating up to 6.5 million people are planned to be constructed by the year 2050.

The geographical boundary of the new city will start from the edge of the Makkah Haram and extend up to the Red Sea coast of Al Shuaiba. It is expected to draw 10 million visitors annually including Hajj and Umrah pilgrims.

Abraj Kudai

Photo Credit: time.com

Photo Credit: time.com

Since revenues from pilgrimage play a huge role in Vision 2030, the construction of building the largest hotel in the world has resumed. Situated at a distance of two kilometers from the Grand Mosque, the mammoth hotel project comes with a cost of US$ 3.5 billion.

The planned construction includes a ring of 12 towers spanning a total area of 1.4 million square meters. When completed, Abraj Kudai will consist of 10,000 rooms and 70 restaurants.

Fadhili Gas Plant

Photo Credit: utilities-me.com

Photo Credit: utilities-me.com

The gas plant will supply energy through the clean-burning of natural gas and help lower the country’s reliance on oil as a fuel for generating power. Boasting of a processing capacity of 2.5bcf/d, the gas plant will process gas from both onshore and offshore fields.

The project is currently under construction 30 kilometers to the west of Jubail. The facility is being built by Saudi Aramco with an estimated investment of a staggering SR 50 billion.

Entertainment City

rides-2613956_960_720Spread over an area of 334 square kilometers, the entertainment and cultural city will be bigger than the Maldives. The new city will be built to the southwest of Riyadh in an area called Al Qidiya.

The foundation stones are expected to be laid in 2018 and the opening of the first phase is scheduled for 2022. Major attractions in the new city will include a safari and a theme park by American giant Six Flags.

Neom

Photo Credit: veja.abril.com.br

Photo Credit: veja.abril.com.br

Sitting close to the borders of Egypt and Jordan, NEOM is one of the biggest – if not the biggest – infrastructure projects to be announced in the Middle East. Being built on a colossal scale, measuring almost 25,900 square kilometers, it will be 33 times bigger than New York City.

The headline-grabbing US$ 500 billion investment in the city will be funded majorly by the Saudi government, Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund and other local and foreign investors.The NEOM project will be run by Klaus Kleinfeld, a former CEO of Alcoa Inc and Siemens AG. The expected completion of the first phase of the city is set at 2025 and we can’t wait for 2025 already.

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