King Abdulaziz Camel Festival |An Incredibly Eye-Opening World Nomad Games in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

King Abdulaziz Camel Festival |An Incredibly Eye-Opening World Nomad Games in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Eye of Riyadh

Being able to participate in one of the world most prominent events – King Abdulaziz Camel Festival in Riyadh, was indeed a remarkable experience for me. This has been the second-best thing (First was definitely my work and travel experience in the USA ;P) that ever happened in my life.

love life - King Abdulaziz Camel Festival |An Incredibly Eye-Opening World Nomad Games in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

To begin with, I was introduced by a good friend of mine who represented Malaysia to compete in intellectual games in Italy. This time, I am lucky to represent Malaysia to compete against other 40 countries for the game “Oware” and “Toguz Korgool” in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

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Both Oware and Toguz Korgool are abstract strategy games among the Mancala family of board games (pit and pebble games) that played worldwide. For Oware, its origin is uncertain, but it is widely believed to be of Ashanti origin.

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  • oware - King Abdulaziz Camel Festival |An Incredibly Eye-Opening World Nomad Games in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

While Toguz Korgool is considered as a national sport in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, it is estimated that there are about 10,000 organized players and about 200 official trainers in Kazakhstan alone. 🙂

toguz korgool - King Abdulaziz Camel Festival |An Incredibly Eye-Opening World Nomad Games in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Nice Weather in Saudi Arabia

Teams from over 90 countries were competing in a wide range of events, including horse riding, hunting, archery, wrestling, intellectual games, and traditional dance. It is truly an eye-opening for me to experience this first hand. I believe that this is a platform for everyone to come together from different parts of the globe, with one message: P E A C E !

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The World Nomad Games took place over a 10-day-period (9th March until 20th March) at the Nomad Village, a heritage site built especially for the event. There were also marketplaces that offer famous local products from competing nations. All varieties from food and textiles to artworks and handicrafts from 90 different countries.

The festival site is divided into different sections, including a commercial area, a desert park, and a village center. If you think this is going to be a boring event, you will be amazed by the setup of “Cinemastan”, showing short films shortlisted from 79 countries. The movies depicted cultural legends and the stories of significant historical figures, which runs every day from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

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The games are dedicated to preserve the traditional nomadic culture and have become Central Asia’s biggest sporting event. The Nomad Games takes place biennially, with the next event to be held in Turkey in 2020.

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The best part of this festival is that entry was FREE! Open to the public and visitors all over the world from 10am-10pm with performances that will keep you entertained. 🙂

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The event focuses on Saudi cultural heritage, with camels having played an important role in the region. On the sidelines of the festival, the Camel Museum exhibited the animal’s history in Islamic and Arab countries which include an overview of camel breeds, camel models, types, and benefits, as well as paintings and drawings made of the camel’s hair, showing the beauty and detail of its craftsmanship.

Did I try Camel Meat and how does it taste? 😛

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The Winner of Camel Beauty Pageant worth USD 30 million.

They say if you never try camel meat, you have never been to Saudi Arabia. Hunting down camel meat is definitely in my top list. If you google the health of camel meat, you will find that it has more health benefits compared to red meat and of beef. It is a good source of protein and vitamin E and it contains less fat ratio than all other meats such as beef, lamb, and kangaroo.

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If you happen to travel in Riyadh, do not miss this awesome local restaurant called Nadj Village Restaurant. This is a traditional Saudi Arabian restaurant where EVERYTHING is traditional, from the food, decor, and the dinning style (especially the floor).

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Anti-clockwise: Tawa bread, Jareesh, Hashi Kabsa

This is a hidden gem I believe particularly western visitors and of course travelers like myself would truly enjoy an authentic experience. There are two types of sittings, mainly the room sitting (private) and open sitting (outside). I would prefer the open sitting because you get to see family and friends sitting together and share happiness. Not to forget, their dishes were all colored with rainbow colors and it immediately spikes up my appetite! 🙂

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We ordered 4 different types of dishes particularly the Jareesh, Hashi Kabsa, Sweet Sabeeb, and Tawa bread. Hashi Kabsah is a camel dish served with either red or white rice of your choice. The taste of camel meat is similar to lamb in the shape and smell, but richer in iron and vitamin C than beef and mutton alike.

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Jareesh is one of my favorite dishes. It crushed whole wheat and then cooked in milk garnished with onion and lime. It looks like our Asian porridge but is nothing similar. Sweet Sabeeb are small whole wheat pancakes dipped in butter and honey. However, I would not recommend you to try this as it was too sweet for me. Unlike the Tawa Bread, it is the traditional fried brown bread and is another favorite of mine! Must Try!

Fun Fact: Unlike pig meat being called pork and cow meat being called beef, camel meat is just called camel. ;D

Family Section: Married or Single Men and Women

Single Section: ONLY for Men

In fact, it was pretty tough for participants to travel to the event space and back because it was located far North East, 2 hours away from our accommodation. The good news is that we stayed in Holiday Inn, Riyadh which was pretty luxury for me. We had an awesome breakfast and supper every day (rice for both breakfast and supper ;P). People in Riyadh sleep late and wake up very late. This is the reason why they provide supper in hotels.

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We have buses that pick us up from our hotels!

My daily schedule was literally wake up for breakfast at 8am, depart from the hotel at 11am, reach at the venue at 1pm for lunch, and start our competition at 4pm and 6pm respectively. The event ends at 10pm, and it took us 2 hours to reach the hotel. This has been my routine for the past 10 days in Riyadh. In a nutshell, I get kind of tired towards the end of my trip.

Kingdom Tower, Riyadh

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Beautiful night view from Kingdom Tower, Riyadh, KSA. ( photo taken from Pinterest)

Lucky enough, we are given a day for free and easy. I was so excited that I finally get the chance to explore the small city of Riyadh! We managed to visit Kingdom Tower, a 41-story, 302.3 m (992 ft) skyscraper in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It is also the fifth-tallest skyscraper in the country, whose tallest two buildings are Abraj Al Bait Towers and the Capital Market Authority Tower.

kingdom tower - King Abdulaziz Camel Festival |An Incredibly Eye-Opening World Nomad Games in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

When completed in 2002, Kingdom Tower (302 meters) overtook the Al Faisaliyah Tower, which – at 267 meters – was the tallest tower in Riyadh at that time. Besides the high-end shopping mall, Kingdom Tower contains Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh and apartments. The 65m sky bridge atop the skyscraper is a MUST if you appreciate night view. However, I do think that the admission fee is a little costly for what I get. It cost SAR60 just to walk on the sky bridge and that’s it.

King Fahad National Library and Al Faisaliah Tower

happy smile - King Abdulaziz Camel Festival |An Incredibly Eye-Opening World Nomad Games in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Life is too short to stay in one place and never explore the world.

Al Faisaliah was the first of Riyadh’s major skyscrapers. It is the sixth tallest building in Saudi Arabia after the Kingdom Centre. The other name for it is called the Star Dome. You can never miss this unique looking pyramid-shaped building with a gigantic round metal ball in the middle. The round portion at the top of Al Faisaliah Center is a restaurant called “The Globe”. It is one of the premier restaurants in Saudi Arabia and has 360-degree views that make it unique. If you happen to be there, give it a try and let me know in the comment box! 😛

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The unique look of the Library 🙂

On the other hand, the King Fahad National library offers more than 8,600 books written in Arabic and other languages and includes the national archive of historical photos, (more than 70,000 photos of kings, princes, and regions), as well as 390 paintings by Saudis and 100 rare maps of the Kingdom. The stunning architecture will leave you amazed! However, there is nothing much to do inside the library unless you are there for research. Furthermore, photographing inside the library is prohibited.

Riyadh Park Mall

Riyadh Park is one of the contemporary shopping malls in Riyadh. It is located in the heart of Saudi Arabia’s Capital Riyadh, at the intersection of Northern Ring Road and Prince Mohammed bin Saad bin Abdulaziz Road. Riyadh Park Mall has won itself the ​‘Retail Project Award’ at the Cityscape Awards 2019. Introducing a new concept of an external shopping street, the design brings a new and varied shopping experience to Riyadh. The main inspiration for the architecture and interior design was to reflect the dunes, an environment which is dynamic and environment which is always changing throughout the time and space.

Salters - King Abdulaziz Camel Festival |An Incredibly Eye-Opening World Nomad Games in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Hello Salters!


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VOX cinema and theme park!

Riyadh Park stands well above the competition, offering the world’s most famous brands with a variety of lovely coffee shops in a new modern mall. Whether you visit for shopping, family entertainment or restaurants and cafés, you will find this shopping mall full of fun. One of the main attractions of this shopping mall is none other than their VOX cinema. The interior is amazing but is always fully booked. In Riyadh, a movie ticket can cost minimum SAR60 each. I am thankful that Malaysia is still the cheapest among all countries! 😀

dumbo movie - King Abdulaziz Camel Festival |An Incredibly Eye-Opening World Nomad Games in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Be aware of “Families Only” and “Male Only” sections when you purchase your tickets! 😛

Met a local girl who bought me a souvenir 😀

riyadh - King Abdulaziz Camel Festival |An Incredibly Eye-Opening World Nomad Games in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

You will be surprised at how friendly the locals in Riyadh are. They are not shy to walk up to greet you or compliment your dress. For example, there is this moment where two ladies came running over me and shouted at me to stop. I was shocked and was wondering if I did something wrong? To my surprise, they were so friendly and nice to say how much they like my dress and how pretty I look in this dress. I never get this overwhelming response back in Malaysia, especially from the ladies! 😛 I am flattered now!

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A Once in a Lifetime Experience

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A Once in a Lifetime Experience

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Gosh, I need a man like this to protect me 😛

 

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Met my fellow Malaysian performers from Sabah 🙂
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One of the judges who tried his very best to communicate with us using Google translate 😀 That effort!
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Finally, got my certificate! 😀
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Honestly, I left my heart in Riyadh after I got back to Malaysia. The people I met there were so much friendlier than I thought, especially the organizers and judges of the World Nomad competition.

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It wasn’t much of a “I need to WIN this” but more of a “I love you guys so much!” memory. Even up till today, we keep in touch as one big family on our WhatsApp group. Thank you for the great opportunity given to me! I will make use of this and share the greatness of people around the world.

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Amigos, Goodbye. Till we meet again. XOXO

it is time to fly - King Abdulaziz Camel Festival |An Incredibly Eye-Opening World Nomad Games in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

It’s time to say GOODBYEEE. Till we meet again~

3 comments on “King Abdulaziz Camel Festival |An Incredibly Eye-Opening World Nomad Games in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  1. Wh says:

    Well done!

  2. Ahlim says:

    So nice !!!

  3. Plat says:

    Nicely written! Thanks for bringing Malaysia to the eye of the world! And you have a great wardrobe choice, I would do the same as the 2 ladies!
    Kudos!

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