Shopping is a good way to unwind and socialize in Saudi Arabia. Evening time (after the sunset prayers) is the preferred time to shop. Reforms decreed by the government now allow women to go shopping unchaperoned and a slew of shopping malls now have women-only sections for their convenience. There are a number of shopping malls and souks (traditional markets or bazaars) that offer great recreational activities to travelers and residents of Saudi Arabia.
Souks are traditional, open-air markets or bazaars that sell local goods and products, such as incense, incense holders, local spices and dried fruits, Arabian-style jewelry, bronze, silver and brassware, oriental carpets and rugs, kitsch, decorative daggers and swords, souvenirs and other creative artefacts – making It is a great place to get some good deals on your shopping. Most of the Saudi Arabian cities have an overabundance of souks where just about anything can be bought at a bargain.
Haggling is encouraged as traders and dealers usually quote a high selling price with the expectation of some bargaining from the buyers. For luxury goods, the gold and silver souks are great places to buy ornamental metals for a very good price.
There are plenty of malls to go to while you are in the country. The malls in the country are on par with those in any other country, with hundreds of popular international brands, several department stores, hypermarkets, kids learning and play centres and a good number of restaurants and cafés.
Some of the most popular malls in Saudi Arabia include The Red Sea Mall, Mall of Arabia, Aziz Mall, Riyadh Sahara Mall, Salaam Mall, etc. There are quite a lot of local boutiques that have recently sprung up that offer high-street fashion and exclusive designer brands.
As there are five different prayer timings throughout the day, all shops close a few minutes before the Azan (call to prayer).
What makes shopping in Saudi Arabia unique is the fact that there are plenty of deals and offers available all throughout the year. During major festivals, look out for pop up events and fairs that bring together a wide range of vendors offering fantastic items for you to buy and take home.
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