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Share Your Holiday with Your Friends and Family with These Saudi Souvenirs

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The saddest part of any vacation is when it is time to return home after days of new discoveries, fascinating explorations, and captivating experiences. Getting souvenirs for yourself and your loved ones is the best way to extend and celebrate your holiday. And Saudi has a wealth of traditional knick-knacks that have a quintessential Saudi soul. From dates and perfumes to spices and gold, you can choose from a vast repertoire of mementos and keepsakes. Every region of Saudi has its specialty in collectibles. Here are our choices of top 10 Saudi souvenirs for your friends and family back home.

1. Saudi Dates

From a Bedouin’s tent to the poshest home, guests are welcomed with an offering of dates. They are more than just food and represent the ethos of warm Saudi hospitality. Saudi dates may be available all over the world but buying them in Saudi is a very special experience. Look for Ajwa dates, which are cultivated in Medina and are beleived to have healing properties.

2. Oud Perfume

Like dates, Oud is a symbol of Saudi hospitality. Derived from the resin of the Aquilaria tree, its essence is captured in oils and perfumes. The warm and woody fragrance of Oud will be highly evocative of your time spent in Saudi, long after you have returned home. The best place to buy Oud perfume is where the locals get theirs, the old souks, and markets.

3. Rugs/Carpets

Saudi rugs are indeed magical, but their magic is of a different kind. Made from wool, Saudi rugs offer an overwhelming variety of sizes, designs, and colours. While they are sold all over Saudi, the Dirah Souq in Riyadh and Souq Al Zal in Old Riyadh are the recommended places to get your rugs. Look for muted colours and geometric designs for authentic Saudi sensibilities.

4. Saudi Spices

As evident in our cuisine, we love our spices. Saudi has a unique flavour palate that’s seasoned with a variety of spices. Carry the complex flavours home with you and let your friends and family get a taste of what you enjoyed on your holiday. Search for the Kabsa spice which flavours the Saudi national dish, Kabsa. You’ll find the freshest spices in local markets.

5. Gold

Saudi has a wealth of intricately designed gold jewellery, and you will find them at gold shops that dot every corner of every market in the cities. A gold souk is a fascinating place to be. The merchants are happy to indulge your fancies even if you aren’t buying anything. If you have a special friend or family member back at home, express your affection with gold.

6. Camel Milk Soaps

A camel is a revered beast in Saudi culture, and camel milk is a staple in the desert. It is known for its restorative properties and provides a hardy sustenance in the vast nothingness. A camel milk soap is the best way to incorporate its goodness into a rejuvenating skin-care routine. Hunt the weekend markets for it for a quirky souvenir to carry back home.

7. Camel Milk Chocolates

Though they are not a traditional Saudi creation, camel milk chocolates are the latest entrants in exotic chocolates. While it is ubiquitous in Saudi, camel milk is a rarity back at home. You will find a variety of camel milk chocolates in malls and supermarkets in Riyadh. They make for interesting conversations starters, passionate culinary debates, and unique souvenirs that offer a taste of Saudi.

8. Dallah

Dallah is the iconic Arabic coffee pot that you might have seen in several pictures. It is made of copper, which is said to play an important role in building the distinctive flavour profile of the Arabic coffee. If you want to go all in, you can also pick up the copper mortar and pestle that are used for grinding the coffee beans and spices.

9. Perfume/Ittar

The heady fragrance of ittar is interwoven in Saudi’s culture and daily life. The ittars of Saudi are made using traditional methods that have remained unchanged for centuries. While you can find ittars in malls all over the country, you must go local for the real fragrance of Saudi. The old souks offer an array of choices, so take your time to choose your scent.

10. Traditional Flip Flops

The traditional flip flops of Saudi will remind you of Rajasthan’s ‘Mojaris’. But their traditional motifs and detailed embroidery makes them quintessentially Saudi. Available in a wide range of colours and prices, they are ideal souvenirs for your loved ones back home. You will find a good collection of Saudi flip flops in the old souks, rather than malls, which will also be reasonably priced.

Souvenirs are an integral part of any holiday. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Even a refrigerator magnet is enough to get the memories flowing. But Saudi has a rich collection of souvenirs that make great presents for loved ones at home. Here’s a tip. Go shopping on weekdays and stay away from tourist haunts for the best bargains.

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