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Old 13th January 2015, 16:36   #1
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Default Life in the Kingdom - Riyadh

This is my first attempt to write a travelogue so pardon any of my error. Technically is not a travelogue, I have been living and working in Riyadh Saudi Arabia for past one year.

I am writing this to give people different point of view of Saudi compare to what is usually heard and seen in the media. As Saudi is very close society even my knowledge about Saudi Arabia/Riyadh was very limited before arriving here. Over the past one year the country is started to grow on me.
Riyadh is one of complex cities to sum up; it’s a conservative city, mainly family oriented. Compare to the wealth in Saudi Arabia, Riyadh is a slow developing city in contrast to its neighbouring Arab cities.

Being a single male it is very hard to survive. Most of malls and tourist attraction don’t entertain single males during the weekends. Personally I thinking female are treated much better than males. It takes a while to get used to the lifestyle; you just need to find a right group which will make your time pleasant.

I didn't feel comfortable to use my camera in public places due the society and culture. Compare the Jeddah you won’t find a lot of tourist in Riyadh. Most of the photos are clicked from mobile phone and some from my camera.

I think enough said lets the pics do the talking.

Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport centre of attraction
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Country’s National Airlines - Saudia and Flynas (lowcost)

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Wraped in Velvet
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Airport Road going towards the city
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Random Pics around the city
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King Fahd Library
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Al Faisaliah - 2nd Tallest building in Riyadh
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City's old Landmark now converted into restaurants
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Ministry of Interior aka UFO Building
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Kingdom Centre - Tallest Building in Riyadh
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Narcissus Hotel
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No thread is complete without any cars pics

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Wraped in Velvet
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Almighty G63 6x6 AMG x 2
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Hummer H1
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I will keep updating the thread.

Last edited by zibby : 13th January 2015 at 16:38.
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Old 13th January 2015, 16:53   #2
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Default re: Life in the Kingdom - Riyadh

very nice zibby, thanks for sharing. it is not everyday you see a post from the KSA, and the cars.. ooh la la!

btw, how tall is the Kingdom Centre? doesn't look very tall in the picture though
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Old 13th January 2015, 17:07   #3
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Werent the G63 6x6 to be in limited numbers? I think the Arabs bought all of them. There are 2 clicked here in KSA and there is one in London (the escort car of the white Huayra).
Also are the H1 a civilian version from the factory or just old discards from the American Army?
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Old 13th January 2015, 17:21   #4
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Default re: Life in the Kingdom - Riyadh

Nice pictures!
Man, when you said its a Slow growing city than others & when I saw the pictures, man I was awestruck. If such a city with this great infrastructure is a slow growing city, then I can imagine what the other cities in the Saudi can be.
Nice cars you clicked by the way.
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Old 13th January 2015, 19:38   #5
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Default re: Life in the Kingdom - Riyadh

Quote:
Originally Posted by IronH4WK View Post
very nice zibby, thanks for sharing. it is not everyday you see a post from the KSA, and the cars.. ooh la la!

btw, how tall is the Kingdom Centre? doesn't look very tall in the picture though
Compare to other buildings, its pretty short only 99 floors around 300m

Quote:
Originally Posted by KaandBaaz View Post
Werent the G63 6x6 to be in limited numbers? I think the Arabs bought all of them. There are 2 clicked here in KSA and there is one in London (the escort car of the white Huayra).
Also are the H1 a civilian version from the factory or just old discards from the American Army?
I thought the same as well but I don't think the production is limited, top of my head I can count about 6 G63 6x6 in KSA.
Not sure whether this a civilian or military version of H1, as per Saudi import rules you can't import ex army or police vehicles for personal use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GypsyKing_775 View Post
Nice pictures!
Man, when you said its a Slow growing city than others & when I saw the pictures, man I was awestruck. If such a city with this great infrastructure is a slow growing city, then I can imagine what the other cities in the Saudi can be.
Nice cars you clicked by the way.
What I meant by slow growing is compare to cities Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha etc and also to comparing wealth ratio of the country. Construction is recently booming the country; projects like metro, airport extension etc. Things here aren't as hi-tech/fast track compare to to UK or UAE, attitude here is more laid back.
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Old 14th January 2015, 11:49   #6
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Default re: Life in the Kingdom - Riyadh

Quote:
Originally Posted by KaandBaaz View Post
Werent the G63 6x6 to be in limited numbers? I think the Arabs bought all of them. There are 2 clicked here in KSA and there is one in London (the escort car of the white Huayra).
It was supposed to be a limited production of around 20-30 each year. Remember reading so somewhere. Like you said, Arabs only could have bought most of it. I wouldn't be surprised if Merc produced this model itself having 'em in mind!

Quote:
Originally Posted by zibby View Post
top of my head I can count about 6 G63 6x6 in KSA
Wow! If you could spot 6 of 'em there, I guess most of those produced went to the Kingdom only.
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Old 14th January 2015, 13:02   #7
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Default re: Life in the Kingdom - Riyadh

Lovely to see and read stuff on KSA. I do know of several of my ex-colleagues and friends who moved there by the dozens and continue to be living there, spread between Riyadh and Jeddah. Good to see what I have heard from those guys.

And I am hoping you will also cover the great KSA weekend destination - Bahrain during the course of your thread.

And the Hummer - Wonder how he will take it out. Perhaps, he moves out the big stone there and drives off..
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Old 14th January 2015, 18:28   #8
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Default Re: Life in the Kingdom - Riyadh

Well said @zibby. Riyadh IS a laid back city and not all glamorous as he other gulf cities.
And the city has been growing into a a big sprawl without any sky scrapers to speak of.

Its only recently that the Financial district and the metro works has started and looking at the cash the city sits on, wonder what took them so long.

Like you said as a bachelor the place is a bit dry, but as a family or even better for kids the place is just awesome. Even in the late 90s it was awesome for me as a child, so now kids should have even better choice. Like the elders in my extended family says, as a bachelor go and work in Dubai, as a family go to Riyadh.

Here is my tavelogue thread on a short visit in 2011.
Riyadh: Ferrari showroom, Drift event and generally fooling around

Last edited by aah78 : 17th February 2015 at 21:22. Reason: Link fixed.
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Old 14th January 2015, 19:18   #9
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Default Re: Life in the Kingdom - Riyadh

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkrishnakj View Post
And I am hoping you will also cover the great KSA weekend destination - Bahrain during the course of your thread.
Definitely will try to cover Bahrain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajaypjayaraj View Post
Wow! If you could spot 6 of 'em there, I guess most of those produced went to the Kingdom only.
I don't think the production is still limited.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DicKy View Post
Here is my travelogue thread on a short visit in 2011.
I have read you travelogue, after reading your thread I decided to write this. As I couldn't find more threads about Riyadh or KSA.
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Old 14th January 2015, 19:31   #10
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Driving Around the Kingdom

Driving License can be easily acquired in the Kingdom, not much of hassles just need an Arabic speaker to communicate. In my case I just needed translation of my license, blood group report and Saudi ID card thatís it; within one hour I received my KSA driving license.

Car is compulsory in the Riyadh as there is hardly any public transportation, except taxi.

Driving in Saudi can be a lot dangerous, chaos is same as India but at greater speed (100km/h +). Best part about Saudi is the fuel prices, 0.45 riyals per litre . Conditions of the roads in Riyadh arenít the best comparing to UAE and UK, there are quite bit of patch work and potholes. Traffic is bad around the city; it has got more worst since the Riyadh Metro project has started.

I rent a car here, I find it hassle free and you can drive a different every month. As you donít have to do the maintenance, vehicle test etc. just fuel up and drive. Rent a cars are reasonable; you can get a decent small sedan (Accent, Yaris, Aveo or MG) for 50 to 65 riyals per day.

Past time hobby for most young Saudi male is just cruising around. I have seen kidís young as 10/11 behind a GMC driving around. During the weekend you see youth drifting, performing wheelies on the street.

Random Pics of Roads
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Traffic View from my Office
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Any fans for MK2 Nissan Patrol
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Camels on the Move
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My Previous Rent a Cars
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Old 17th January 2015, 12:50   #11
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Trip to Outskirts of Riyadh

On Friday morning went on drive with a work colleague to the outskirt of Riyadh, location known between expats as Red Dune Sand and Hidden Valley. It was a beautiful sunny morning and scenery looked like out of a Hollywood Movie. Both these locations are abaya free which means women are not restricted to wear abaya unlike in the city.

Map
Life in the Kingdom - Riyadh-map.jpg
Coordinates: 24į25'6"N 46į22'36"E

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Red Dune Sand
This location is around 40 mins drive from the centre of Riyadh nearby city of Al Muzahmiyya City. Stunning view of dessert and dry rocks, you can rent quad bikes for around 50 SR per hour and bash through the dunes. Best time to visit this place in winter or early morning or just before sunset in summer.

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Hidden Valley
Known among the expats has hidden valley due to the spot hidden between the mountains. Itís a short drive from Red Sand Dune, picnic spot famous between Pilipino community.
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Back to the City
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Old 20th January 2015, 14:02   #12
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Default Re: Life in the Kingdom - Riyadh

Quote:
Originally Posted by zibby View Post
Driving Around the Kingdom

Driving License can be easily acquired in the Kingdom, not much of hassles just need an Arabic speaker to communicate. In my case I just needed translation of my license, blood group report and Saudi ID card thatís it; within one hour I received my KSA driving license.

Car is compulsory in the Riyadh as there is hardly any public transportation, except taxi.
Surprising to know that getting DL in KSA is hassle free. Is it because you already had a UK/US/GCC DL with you or you applied for a new DL.

Here in Oman, getting DL is a task in itself and takes anywhere between 3-6 months generally. This includes "Drum tests" for parking and "road test" and take minimum 3-4 attempts to clear. I have heard its similar in other GCC countries also.
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Old 21st January 2015, 12:55   #13
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Surprising to know that getting DL in KSA is hassle free. Is it because you already had a UK/US/GCC DL with you or you applied for a new DL.

Here in Oman, getting DL is a task in itself and takes anywhere between 3-6 months generally. This includes "Drum tests" for parking and "road test" and take minimum 3-4 attempts to clear. I have heard its similar in other GCC countries also.
I got it hassle free because I have a UK Driving License. But compare to other GCC countries its much easy to obtain DL here from new. There are no major manoeuver ie 3 point turn, parallel parking etc, driving test takes place in closed area not on public roads like UK or UAE. From what I heard you can even pay someone to do your theory test. That's the main reason there is no road discipline in KSA, hardly anyone follows the rules.
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Old 21st January 2015, 14:34   #14
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I grew up in Al-Khobar and Jeddah from 1985 till 1991. Even back then it was car heaven. I don't have pics unfortunately, but some of the more notable cars I spotted during that time were : this and one or two of these. One of these lived quite close to our apartment. For some reason all the police cars were either Caprice Classics or Volvos.

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Old 24th January 2015, 13:56   #15
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Equestrian Club of Riyadh

The King Abdullah race track isn't far out of town, located off Janadriyah road.
Life in the Kingdom - Riyadh-map.jpg

Horse racing only takes place during most weekends in winter.
Open to general public on weekends (Fri/Sat), weekdays are restricted for trainers and owners. There are around 10 to 12 races on each day, starting around 2 pm to 7 pm.
Equestrian Club Website: www.frusiya.com

Grand Stand
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As betting is illegal in KSA, there is a raffle system. Near the track there are are numbered boxes for a small fee you can put a token into the box that corresponds to the number of your chosen horse.The tokens of the winning horse are taken out after each race and put into a big lottery type barrel. At the end of the night, three tokens are drawn from the barrel. I think all other money is given to charity.
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Last edited by zibby : 24th January 2015 at 13:59.
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