Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Riyadh's Secondhand Souk

So I finally made it out to the Secondhand Souk after more than a year in Saudi. I heard about women getting fantastic deals at this souk, finding clothes with the tags still on them, unworn ball gowns for 30 riyals, and I couldn't resist the lure any longer. Here is a pic I took on our bus pulling up to the souk:


In my head, I was picturing the Kuwaiti Souk, but in reality, it kind of turned out to be a really big garage sale. A paradise for some, and a junkyard for others.


There are lots of different parts of this souk - it's huge. They have a lot of furniture there, rugs and upholstery shops, tons of kitchenware, so if you're not looking for clothes, there are lots of other areas to explore. I was in the market for a ball gown. I searched high and low throughout the clothing section, but many of the selections looked like the following samples:


Apparently, many of the locals don't mind dressing up as christmas ornaments...I decided to buy a gown somewhere else. I'm told that you really have to hunt if you're looking for something more simple. I would definitely recommend the souk for cheap abayas and children's clothing, though. Some of the women pulled out gorgeous dresses for their daughters there.

As for safety, I felt a little bit more self conscious here than at other souks. All the women covered their hair on exiting the bus, and the souk was very quiet. It's a bit unnerving when you've lost track of all the other members of your group. We went in the morning, so perhaps it tends to be more on the quiet side in the day, but I felt much safer at the Kuwaiti souk in the evening when there were plenty of people bustling around.

Anyhow, for those of you who love garage sales, definitely check out this souk - you won't be disappointed.

11 comments:

♥ Arab Mania ♥ said...

Nice...here in uae we don't have second hand shops :P

Mike said...

Hello!

How I can find this place? What to tell a taxi driver? Or may be you can post google maps coordinates?

Thank you!

Mike

Orchidthief said...

All the limo drivers who drive expats around will know the second hand souk. I really don't know where it is, just that it's on the southern edge of the city. So you can tell the taxis either "second hand souk" or "Haraj bin Gassem" and they should know it. If they don't just find a taxi driver that is familiar with the place.

Mark said...

the market is near EXIT 21,
after that ask for "Haradsh"
anyone will point toward it.
From the center it ist Fahad road into Al Batha road.
Driving yourself is no fun, but
manageable. Someone at the web said it is after IKEA to the right,
but whatever he found there, it is not the Haradsh. I spent 16$ for
several dresses for my 2 ladies,
mainly for the 5 yr. old ;-)

Orchidthief said...

hey thanks for stopping in with the directions! I'm useless for such things...

Mubashhar said...

hi,Im from South Africa but I would love to visit Saudi ,as I dont have a clue about whats where in Arabia so please could I have directions how to get to the princess souk from the airport,will truly appreciate it

Mark said...

on google maps, the market is about HERE:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=de&geocode=&q=Riad+Saudi-Arabien&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=28.114729,72.158203&ie=UTF8&split=0&ei=yu_KTKOROtq7jAfburjuBg&hq=&hnear=Riad+Saudi-Arabien&ll=24.595695,46.734681&spn=0.007863,0.017617&t=h&z=16

where Al Bahta meets the southern ring road
VERY far from the airport, better fly to Tanzania for second hand clothes

toxicatedzombies said...

hey, i was wondering, does this place opening and closing time cuz as u know in saudi they ve to close cuz of the prayer time. please reply!!

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