Eye of Riyadh
Being able to participate in one of the world most prominent events – King Abdulaziz Camel Festival in Riyadh, was indeed
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.
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. 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. 🙂
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
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 offers famous local products from the 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 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.
The games are dedicated to preserv 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. The best part of this festival is that entry was FREE! Open to public and visitors all over the world from 10am-10pm with performances that will keep you entertained. 🙂
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? 😛
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.
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). 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 the happiness. Not to forget, their dishes were all colored with rainbow colors and it immediately spikes up my appetite! 🙂
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. 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
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
My daily schedule was literally wake up for breakfast at
Kingdom Tower, Riyadh
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.
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
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! 😛
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.
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! 😀
Met a local girl who bought me a souvenir 😀
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!
A Once in a Lifetime Experience
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. 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.
Amigos, Goodbye. Till we meet again. XOXO