Bored at home? The pandemic has locked down most of the world. But it can never lock up your wanderlust. Visit the kingdom and virtually experience panoramic views of the Saudi world. Get ready for a unique adventure of travel from home to Saudi Arabia. So, let us take you on a resplendent visit to Saudi Arabia without leaving home.
Visit Saudi Arabia Without Leaving Home: Here’s How?
What to Read?
Inside The Kingdom by Robert Lacey
The novel is a powerful story of the country’s various wars. Readers get an excellent picture of a Saudi society that is between the worlds of modernity and medievalism. It talks about the seizure of the Grand Mosque in Mecca in 1979, the Persian Gulf War, and deals with the delicate US-Saudi relations post 9/11. Read about the kingdom with the richest oil deposit in the world.
Salman’s Legacy: The Dilemmas of a New Era in Saudi Arabia by Madawi al-Rasheed
The book is about the challenges faced by King Salman of Saudi Arabia. His rule began in 2015. He had to face many social, political, regional, and international challenges. From falling oil prices to significant leadership shuffles, Salman’s policies have been trying to save the kingdom from another upheaval. Read about insights into the history, culture, and contemporary politics of the kingdom.
The Hadj by Michael Wolfe
The American poet and author writes about a special religious journey with a lot of sensitivity. This is an insight into an American’s pilgrimage to Mecca of the author as he recounts his journey. He converts to Islam and writes about the religious journey that seems a mystery for many Westerners. Hadj is the world’s longest-lived religious rite, a pilgrimage to the house of God in Mecca. This is a great read to understand the experience of the pilgrimage as a sacred journey.
Saudi Arabia by Andrew Madden, Anthony Brekhus and Martha Brekhus Shams
The book helps you connect with Saudi Arabia’s history, culture, and way of life in the kingdom. It has chapters on Madain Saleh’s archaeological treasures, Empty Quarter, ultra-modern cities, souks, and more. The book has a chapter with practical information for expat travelers. Another chapter is devoted to the Hajj pilgrimage and what to expect. You could read about the various outdoor dining venues to choose from. This is definitely the right guide book to carry and an essential companion on your tour. Visit local Saudi Arabia without leaving home with this particular book.
What to Cook, Relish, and Savor?
Kabsa – Munch into a mouth-watering national dish
This tasty dish is easy to make. It is a traditional Saudi dish made of rice and chicken. You can also make an alternative called Kabsa Spice. Add into the chicken and rice mixture saffron, cardamom, cinnamon, black lime, nutmeg, and bay leaves. The sensuous aroma will fill your kitchen most definitely. Have a pleasant lunch accompanied by Saudi champagne or a glass of apple juice, sparkling water, and fresh mint. Visit the flavors of Saudi Arabia without leaving home with this delicate preparation.
Falafel – Relish a vegetarian treat
You would love the falafel, a dish made with spicy chickpeas. The tasty treat will keep the vegetarians at home happy. Bite into the warm pita sandwich made with tahini sauce or hummus to taste the authentic Saudi street food. You could have it with Mediterranean tomato and cucumber salad. That’s a great way to spend a lazy afternoon munching into falafels. The dish pairs well with a chilled Hamdiyat, a citrus drink.
Madfoon – Taste the flavors of sumptuous meat
The signature dish is unique because of its cooking style. The marinated meat is cooked in an underground hole placed in sand and surrounded by charcoal. The smoke makes the meat succulent. You could heat the meat slowly to get the right aroma and flavor. Eat the Arabian meat with rice to enjoy the dish. You could make it with chicken and lamb too. Add on spices such as cloves, pepper, cumin, coriander, and turmeric. Bon appétit! Serve the meat with saffron rice, yogurt, and chili sauce.
Martabak – Bite into the classic delicacy
The martabak is filled with minced meat, green onions, spices, leek, eggs, and white cheese. Beef or chicken can also replace the filling. The dough is a thick pancake-like batter that is cooked on one side. The top has layers of butter, peanuts, chocolate, condensed milk, and ghee. The pancake is then folded, cut, and served. Cook on both sides until light brown to vary the crispiness. The filling of the pancake will delight the kids in the family. Add in garlic, shallots, tomatoes, fresh herbs, and whisked eggs.
What to Listen to?
Barb by Majed El Issa
The talented Saudi producer has his songs streaming on YouTube. He has taken Saudi and Khaleeji music and modernised it. Hear the outstanding style of music that reflects the sounds of the Saudi Arabia music scene. Groove to the pioneering work of the artist, a sure way to spend your lockdown afternoon in cheer. Relax and listen to the wonders of Arabian music.
Arabian Nights by Brandon Fiechter
Desert Caravans is a wonderful Arabic song in the album Magical Creatures. You could listen to high-quality music streaming free in MP3, FLAC, and more. The album’s video clips are available online that feature nine tracks. Sway to the melody of ancient Arabic music and watch the magical video on YouTube.
Al Mafrood by Aseel Hameem
Enjoy the latest hit, the top streamed song in the kingdom in 2019. Aseel Hammem is an Iraqi singing sensation whose songs are released in Spotify’s most-streamed artist list. The four-minute tune will mesmerize you with its Arabian musical flair. Aseel Hameem is a singing sensation who made her debut at the age of 22.
C’est la vie by Khaled
This popular pop song is sung both in Arabic and French. Khalid is a famous Algerian singer, whose song is well known in the Middle East, North Africa, and France. Released in 2012, listen to the song that was nominated for the World’s Best Song in the World’s Music Award. C’est la vie is an expression that means ‘such is life’ or ‘that’s life’. Khaled, crowned as the ‘King of Rai’, is a best known Arab singer. Listen to his other popular songs ‘Didi’ and ‘El Arbi’.
What to Watch?
Barakah Meets Barakah
Watch the comedy-drama released in 2016 about a lazy civil servant and a wealthy video blogger. The movie is about the struggle of the couple amid Saudi social rules and conventions. The movie directed by Mahmoud Sabbagh was awarded the Horizons of New Arab Cinema Certificate of Appreciation. Enjoy the humor in the candid Saudi Arabia love story, a film selected for the Best Foreign Language Film in the 89th Academy Awards.
The Perfect Candidate
The 44-minute drama about a Saudi woman was released in 2019. The movie is directed by Haifaa al-Mansour. Watch the movie selected for the Golden Lion in the 76th Venice International Film Festival. The story is about a young Saudi’s attempt for office as a female candidate. The movie stars Mila Al Zahrani as Maryam and Nora Al Awadh as Sara.
The story is about a Saudi girl who takes part in a Quran recitation competition. She hopes to win the school event to get enough money to buy herself a bicycle. Released in 2012, the Arabic movie won the TIFF Award. Watch the 1-hour 38-minute drama from the comforts of your home. The spirited 10-year-old, however, discovers the difficulty and limitation a woman faces in the name of custom and religion.
A Hologram for the King
The 2016 released comedy-drama is about a beautiful doctor and a clever taxi driver. They work together to help an American businessman played by Tom Hanks to close a deal successfully in Saudi Arabia. Directed by Tom Tykwer, it also stars Sarita Choudhury. The movie is set in Saudi Arabia where Hanks is a salesperson for an IT company. The movie is an adaption of Dave Eggers’s novel of the same name.
Virtually Explore the Top Attractions in Saudi Arabia
Dancing Fountain in King Abdullah Park
Take a 360-degree virtual tour of the beautiful water fountain. The colorful dancing fountain displays are a popular attraction in Riyadh. Enjoy the musical fountain from the comforts of your home. The largest park in Riyadh is with beautiful gardens and vibrant greenery, a popular attraction south of the city center.
Hajj Pilgrimage Tour
The Al Jazeera interactive tour is a virtual experience of the annual Islamic pilgrimage. Tilt your phone to see 360 degrees views of the major landmarks, such as Basma Atassi that take you to the religious site of Mecca. Millions of Muslims visit the holy kaaba and offer prayers.
Medina Cemetery of Martyrs
Take a virtual tour of the cemetery in Madinah, a virtual reality show. This is an Islamic historic site where the graves of 85 soldiers lie. The brave soldiers were martyred in the Battle of Uhud. A huge mosque and a small market are also part of the historic site. This is a war lost by the Muslims because a group of archers did not follow the Prophet’s orders.
Take a 3D virtual tour of the Al-Masjid al-Nabawi Mosque, also called the Prophet’s Mosque. The huge mosque is in al-Madinah and is the last resting place of the Prophet Muhammed. It is the second holiest mosque in the world after al-Haram in Mecca. It is a major pilgrimage site for Muslims.
Visit the Seven Masjids and get a full 360-degree panoramic view with pictures taken at different angles. The Seven Mosques comprise six mosques. Although the name sub means seven. The mosques are in the city of Medina. The seventh masjid that the complex included was the Masjid al-Qiblatayn originally.
Travel Like A Local With These Popular Saudi Phrases
Asalam a- lay-kum – Hello
Ah Wa – Yes
Meesh moosh-kilah – No Problem
Yallah – Let’s Go
Hah-bibi – My Love
Shookran – Thank You
Inshallah – God Willing