Yes, the Janadriyah Festival 2018 is here and we are absolutely excited! For those of you who haven’t had your first visit yet, Janadriyah is a Saudi culture and heritage event and our favorite time of the year in Riyadh.
What’s not to love? You get to see the best of what each region has to offer, you get to learn history, soak in the wonders of the Kingdom, discover traditions and EAT! Yes, we won’t deny it, we empty our stomachs just to make sure we’ll have enough space for all the wonderful dishes and delicacies the festival has to offer.
Enough chit-chat, here’s your guide to getting the most out of your field trip to Janadriyah:
1. Know the timings, it’s an hour drive from the city center so before you head on out, make sure to double check the schedule:
Dates: 7-11 February
Timings: 11 AM – 11 PM
Who: Men Only
Dates: 12-24 February
Timings: 11 AM – 11 PM
2. Go Early. Better photos, lesser crowds, the maps (at the information desks by the gates) would be freshly stocked and you’ll just have more time to enjoy.
3. Be prepared to walk a lot. The Janadriyah Festival is held at the Janadriyah village, which is divided into different sections. Each of the Kingdom’s provinces, as well as the various government institutions, is represented through pavilions.
Download the Janadriyah App to guide you to the gates, through the crowd, the desired wings, pavilions or any required function and performance or even the car park.
4. What you should bring: Backpack/bag (it’s hard not to go on a shopping spree here), cash (there are ATMs in the vicinity but best to dodge the queues), hand sanitizer and tissues (because you’ll want to be able to pick and eat on the go).
5. Note down the important exhibitions you’d like to visit and plan your route especially if you only have a day (we say, a day isn’t enough). Prioritize; the traffic police exhibition may be fun but if it’s going to make miss out the Ardhah dance you’ve been waiting for since last Janadriyah, it’s not worth it.
6. FOOD is a mission on its own and Destination’s favorite is the Hijaz section: Makkah and Madinah, they have the only live cooking stalls, as far as we know. P.S. Be prepared for long lines and the possible need to shove your way to the front. We long for the day we start lining up properly but until then…
This year you will be able to relish authentic Indian cuisine since India is the guest of honor.
7. Don’t miss the live shows. From Saudi games, wedding re-enactments, folk dancing, and camel riding; take in as much of it as you can.
8. Bargain. Bargain. Bargain. Because you can. But also have a budget, this is once a year so don’t miss the chance to have a sampling of specialties each region has to offer.
9. We recommend carpooling with your family or friends. It will lessen the traffic and that way you can turn it into a mini road trip. Woohoo. Just a reminder, there’s no public transportation on site so if you’ll arranging for a driver or taxi negotiate a round trip arrangement.
10. Visit this year’s guest country: India! Their pavilion is at the center of Janadriyah. Our friends are hinting on a time travel experience through their rich history and culture. Can’t wait to see it!