Jeddah Blog

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TaskSpotting – Make Money While You Shop!

When the nice people at TaskSpotting contacting us at Jeddah Blog and asked us to take a look at their app, I was quite intrigued. The concept is so simple that I was surprised as to why no-one had come up with it before. Shop, complete missions and earn cash. Read on for details on how to sign up and how it works.

Task Spotting Jeddah BlogAlthough new to Saudi, TaskSpotting has been around for over a year, with thousands of app users cashing in and making money while shopping, eating out, and going about their usual errands, basically without having to go out of their way at all.

The concept is simple. Brands place ‘missions’ on the app, which app users can accept and complete. Missions could be as simple as taking a picture of a supermarket shelf or checking the price of an item at a store. Once completed, missions are submitted and approved and the cash appears in your e-wallet! One couple in Dubai made 1000 Dirhams in one weekend through the app.

Task Spotting app Jeddah BlogTaskSpotting has recently launched in Saudi with missions all over Riyadh, Dammam and Jeddah. The missions are simple; such as price checks for washing powder take literally 5 minutes per mission, and pay 50SAR each. App users are allowed to complete 10 missions each so they could earn up to 500SAR in a day. Hard to resist!

Download TaskSpotting now and start making money!

How to Shop for Video Games in Jeddah

Tamim Kashgari and Ahmed Jadaa are two people who take their gaming seriously. After spending a decade outside the Kingdom, Tamim returned to an unfamiliar gaming market. He tried asking around and searching online, but says that he found the information “superficial at best”.

To rectify this situation, Tamim and Ahmed began The Mouse and Controller, a blog dedicated to their love of gaming in 2012. The duo have teamed up to write this guest post, exclusively for Jeddah Blog, to give our readers the low-down on the gaming market in Jeddah. They answer crucial questions such as, who are the best and the worst retail outlets for video games? and are there any used games stores in Jeddah?

Read on to discover their top tips on how we can get the best deals on our games, and their secret to escaping the high prices and poor customer service so rampant in the Jeddah gaming market.

So you have your eye on the latest release and you’re wondering where to buy it from. Let’s take a close look at all the video game retailers in Jeddah and give them scores based on a tier system. The grid we have formulated scores the stores on a scale of 1 to 10 and is based on the following factors:

  • Convenience of store location (how many stores do they have and where are they located?)
  • Size of inventory (do they have a wide variety of games?)
  • Relevance of inventory (do they have the latest games?)
  • Customer service (attitude and knowledge of sales staff)
  • Prices (are they overly priced or reasonable?)

Screen Shot 2015-11-07 at 10.07.45 AM

Let’s discuss each of these stores in detail:

S-Tier: Tokyo Games alone at the top

With a total score of 36, Tokyo Games is pretty much sitting pretty with a fairly large gap.

Mediocre customer service and high pricing, with games at around SR 250 each, is pretty normal in Saudi Arabia as a whole and Tokyo Games is no exception. The sales representatives are a tad more informed at Tokyo Games, but they are by no means helpful. The big glaring flaw at Tokyo Games is the fact that they sell no PC games at all, or any accessories that a PC game can actually use. They are entirely a console-focused business. 

However, looking beyond those flaws, Tokyo Games is the most successful retail company that sells video games in Jeddah. The fact that they are the most widespread company in the city with almost a dozen outlets means that you are never that far away from a store. However, not all branches are created equal. There is a clear lack of quality maintenance across all stores with the ones in the more high profile locations having better maintained stock.

Tokyo Games focuses on the sale of video games which means that their inventory is usually fully stocked. You can be assured that when it comes to video game systems and their games, if an item isn’t at Tokyo Games it most probably won’t be found anywhere else. You can even order a specific game that may be out of stock via their website and pick it up at one of their outlets which is a unique feature among all retailers in Jeddah. They are also beginning to sell licensed collectibles and models, branching out into a more holistic geek store.

A-Tier: Jarir winning the battle for second place

Jarir is also a long-standing retailer in Saudi Arabia, much like Tokyo Games. The difference between them, however,  is that Jarir is more of a general store selling all manner of school supplies, books, board games, electronics and electronic accessories in addition to video games. Due to their longevity and success in the market, Jarir has many locations within Jeddah.

Due to Jarir’s nature as a general stationery store, they aren’t always up to date when it comes to getting hold of the latest games. The games do seep in eventually as they are one of the biggest retailers in the country, and no distributor will exclude them. They are better stocked when it comes to hardware. Controller accessories, extra wires, etc are easier to find in Jarir compared to other stores.

PC gaming isn’t ignored in Jarir as it is in Tokyo games, so it’s a more holistic experience when it comes to video game shopping.

Unfortunately, and quite typical in KSA, the sales experience and pricing is mediocre. Their sales representatives are neither interested in selling games, nor as informed as a Tokyo Games representative would be.

B-Tier: An Oldie, that is still something of a Goldie, Eagle Games

Now, while nostalgia might be a reason that Eagle Games ended up placing this high. There are some pretty factual realities that ensure the place it holds is deserved. Lets start off with the bad to get it out of the way.

Eagle games is the smallest of these retailers with just a single store in Rawdah, and its not very fancy. Its stock is also quite small. But, what it has going for it is that its stock is relevant even if it does take a little longer to restock if something sells out. Also they sell games at the lowest price of any video game retailer in Jeddah, averaging a price that is at least 40 riyals less on any game.

Eagle games is the only retailer that accepts used games and buys them back from the consumer for a trade in. This alone makes the store a really attractive place to visit if you’re looking to get rid of old games.

C-Tier: Everyone Else

Extra, Computer House and Virgin Megastore occupy the third tier. Extra is primarily an electronics and appliance store with video games being a secondary priority. However, they do have dedicated sections for consoles. Virgin is more of a cultural store selling smaller electronics, novelty items, books and some clothes, along with video games. Computer House is the only store in this group which is a dedicated video game retailer. None of these stores stock new games and Virgin doesn’t stock gaming hardware.

All of them share the uniform subpar customer sales experience and pricing with games almost always being priced at SR 250 regardless of their release date. A game I recently saw at Virgin released back in 2013 was still retailing at full price.

D-Tier: Oh wait, we almost forgot one!

Bringing up the rear, we’ve got Sony World in a league of their own. While Sony World does have three stores in Jeddah, that is about all they have going for them.  Their sales experience and pricing like everyone else, is aggressively mediocre at best.

Sony World’s biggest disadvantage is that they sell only Sony products and goods. The Playstation consoles and games in the shop make it the most limited inventory in the entire market. Since they have no exclusive rights to selling Playstation goods, it makes it pretty meaningless to go here when you go video game shopping.

E-Tier: The jokes, hovels and places you really shouldn’t be going

This bunch of stores is really the bottom of the pile. Outlets such as Mickey Games and X Games have not only outdated designs, but also five year old games. These places can barely be considered real stores. The only reason they do exist is because there aren’t many copyright regulations here that are enforced, so they basically sell pirated material.

Retail can't compete with this.

Retail can’t compete with this.

Is this good news for the Consumer?

With a complete absence of marketing efforts, there are massive opportunities for video game retail stores to leverage their positions. Currently, both retailers and consumers are losing out.

For example, none of these stores make much of an effort to clear their inventory once new stock comes in. On the rare occasion when they do decide to hold a clearance sale, customers are the last to know. I once walked into Tokyo Games shop to be told that it was the final day of their summer sale with games selling at 75% discount. It’s good they are doing this, but with the lack of any kind of effective communication the consumer will only find out about the sale if they are lucky.

Sales are not only for the benefit of the consumer. It is important to move old stock as it gives a bad impression to see outdated games on the shelf at full price or even at a higher price than newly-released games.

Buyers can take advantage of these lazy marketers though. As there is no competitor monitoring between any of these companies you can see some hilarious price disparity regarding some games. When I went to buy Dead Rising 2 I found it retailing for around SR 200-250 at major stores. Walking into Sony World I found the same game being sold for SR 50!

Most games seem to be priced randomly, so for the more thrifty gamer with time on her hands this means that a substantial amount of money can be saved through scanning prices at the stores before buying.

Coming to some of the more underhand tactics of retail stores in Jeddah, price gouging is quite rampant as there is no real consumer protection in Saudi Arabia. The release of Metal Gear V: Phantom Pain is a great example with Tokyo Games selling copies for as much as SR 450 – nearly double the already high average price.

Used games are ignored by almost all retailers even though they can be a huge part of the business plan of any video game retailer as it is a revenue stream with almost no cost to them generating repeated profits as games can be bought and returned multiple times. GameStop in the US is a great example of this generating nearly 50% of its total revenue from used game sales.

Used games, trade ins and customer loyalty programs. Things that no retailer in Jeddah does.

Used games, trade ins and customer loyalty programs. Things that no retailer in Jeddah does.

The Best Option for Gamers

What with outdated stock, high pricing and poor customer service, is there no way out? What can enthusiastic gamers do to get their latest fix?

Gone are the days of Playstation 1 and 2 when there would be lines outside your local Tokyo Games and Computer House asking for the latest Final Fantasy or the newest Resident Evil. With increased internet speeds, acceptance of the use of credit cards and the wider availability of the cash cards that can be purchased and used in online stores, none of us are forced to have to deal with these substandard retailers.

For those who are willing to make the shift, online stores and services are the future, and they are run to a global standard by all major companies like Microsoft (Xbox Marketplace), Sony (PSN), Nintendo (eShop), Valve (Steam), EA (Origin), Ubisoft (Uplay). They offer regular and massive discounts and their customer service is significantly better and more informed than anything that is locally present in the market. It is ironic that not only are local stores being undercut by the very same people that supply their products, but they are sounding their own death knell by selling the same cash cards to be used in these online stores.

You can follow the authors on Twitter as follows:

Tamim Kashgari: @tamimlane

Ahmed Jadaa: @AhmedJadaa.

Umrah Trip and Qur’an Classes

Join the IEF’s umrah trip on Saturday, 14th November 2015 with Dr. Lamya Shahin, and below you will find details on the IEF’s weekly Qur’an sessions.

IEF Umrah 2015

Dr. Lamya Shaheen Classes

Join Technovation: Inspiring Girls in Science and Technology


Do you have an enduring passion for learning and technology and willing to share your knowledge with the younger generation? Do you want to see a world where more girls and women pursue a technology field? Do you want to help youth transform their societies through technology in KSA? Do you wish to give back to your community and help self-empower girls from disadvantaged backgrounds in KSA?

Join Technovation Challenge !

TechnovationKSA will be launched in January, 2016 and is currently open for school team registration and mentor/coach registration.

The Technovation Challenge is a global program for girls aged 10-18 providing girls with skills and confidence to engage in computer science and entrepreneurship to solve real world problems in their own communities.

The program is seeking female mentors and male/female coaches to mentor girls throughout 3 months (Feb-April) twice a week for 4 hours – a total of 50 hours.

Technovation Challenge is partnered with UN, UNICEF and Google.


How Does it Work?

This program aims to inspire and educate girls and women to solve real-world problems through technology.

Students work in teams to develop mobile app “startups” to solve real problems in their communities. Technovation Coaches (teachers, parents, or community members) and Mentors (women professionals in technology or business) lead the teams as they compete for a part of $20,000 in awards.

To learn more, watch the Technovation Challenge Mini Documentary: Entrepreneurs in the Making:

Be a Student

  • Are you a girl aged between 10-18?
  • Would you like to learn coding for free?
  • Would you like to develop a mobile app for a social cause?
  • Are you passionate about technology and social change?

Become a technology entrepreneur and develop a mobile app prototype that solves a real problem in your local community. Teams of up to 5 girls work together to research, design, and build a mobile app prototype, working with a female mentor in technology or engineering. Then they pitch their apps to prospective investors and receive feedback and ideas from technology industry professionals. Most teams use MIT’s App Inventor to build their prototypes.

No prior coding or app development experience is necessary. Register here.

·  Participants

Teams of up to 5 girls in middle school, high school, (up to age 18)

Middle school age : 14 and under

High school age : 18 and under

·  Commitment

40-60 hours: 4 guided hours per week from Feb through Apr 2016

Be a Coach

Coaches might be school teachers, after school program leaders, parents, or community leaders. They recruit teams of young women to participate in the program, provide a safe space with internet access where they can work, coordinate with the teams’ mentors, and supervise their teams throughout the 3-month program. Coaches who are also school teachers often supervise their teams in the classroom after school.

No prior coding or app development experience is necessary. Full training and support available

·  Participants

Teachers in any subject or other adult supervisors, both men and women

·  Commitment

60 hours: supervise students, coordinate mentors and meeting space, ensure internet and computer access, and oversee teams as they complete the curriculum

·  Responsibility

Recruit teams in local schools; 15-25 girls per school recommended in the first year

Be a Mentor

Mentors are professional and postgraduate women/men  who are passionate about helping younger women be successful as they work in teams and learn to become technology entrepreneurs, and who feel comfortable learning new technologies. 

Mentors act as guides and role models during the 12-lesson curriculum which runs from January through April. Participants look to their mentors for guidance on how to overcome obstacles and solve problems. Some mentors choose to work in teams of two and alternate attendance from one week to the next.

Mentors are not expected to know about mobile app development in advance of the program — instead, they learn together with their teams and help their teams to persevere when they encounter difficulties. Mentors might not know the answer to every question their teams will ask, but can guide the teams through the problem-solving process. After young women observe how their mentor works through challenges, they will be more confident overcoming similar challenges by themselves in the future.

No prior coding or app development experience is necessary. Training and support available

·  Participants

Professionals or postgraduates in the technology, engineering, or business fields – women only

·  Eligibility

Comfort and confidence in learning, especially for technology products

·  Commitment

25-50 hours: 2 hours per week for 12 weeks from Feb through Apr 2016; or co-mentor and share the commitment with another mentor.

For more information and registration visit the TechnovationKSA website or Facebook page.

Village Tots Mummy and Me Playgroup

Village Tots Mummy and Me Playgroup

Village Tots has resumed its weekly sessions at the British Consulate Jeddah. Village Tots are a mummy and me playgroup for ages 0-3, run by volunteer mums and they come together every Wednesday from 9:30-11:30 at the Village Hall in the British Consulate. They are open to all nationalities.

Village Tots offer free playtime in a big play area with lots of different activities that they like to change around. Some of these are big cars the kids can sit in, small cars, blocks, baby toys for a separate baby area, etc.

Every week they have a group activity (arts and crafts, fun with food, parachute fun), snacktime, reading and singsong time. They ask a very small fee of 20 SAR per family.

For more information kindly email them at

Rozabee – The Art of Being and Doing

Anousha Vakani, our wonderful contributor who has a way with words, has written some of my favourite articles on Jeddah Blog. For this latest blog post, she sits down with life coach Rozana Al-Banawi, to talk about her practice and her thoughts on art, beauty and humans.Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 1.13.35 PM

“I am Rozana Al-Banawi and life is only beginning. Growing up as a teenager, I was curious about ‘change’, and about how our relationship with it is a love/hate one. Life is about change and I assumed as a young girl that it is a given that we all want to improve ourselves for the better, that change is part of our DNA. Little did I know back then that I would be an expert in change and transformation. I like to see my work as an experience that you co-create what you want for yourself. The most fulfilling image is seeing my clients embarking on the first steps of change and transformation, like a caterpillar getting ready to become a cocoon and inevitably a butterfly. Once a client starts that process, there is no turning back.”

What is Rozabee?

Rozana’s practice is aptly named ‘Rozabee’ as a play on both her name and the beauty of being and doing at once. The connotations of her chosen name are more beautifully explained on the homepage of her website, with a note from her and a quoted poem by Khalil Gibran to sum it up. I decided to connect with Rozana and explore her thoughts on art, beauty and humans.

We talked about some important things: about art, beauty, relationships, books and life in general and I thought it would be best to quote her thoughts on each topic, as an insight into her as a person and her philosophy as a life coach.

Rozana’s take on art and beauty:

“God, Allah Almighty, has created a beautiful world for us; beautiful oceans with beautiful sea creatures, of all shapes and colors, of different kinds and species. We find all kinds of purposes within each of them. God created art from day one; we, human beings, are pieces of art, in our exterior and interior worlds. And by art I mean more than the tangible parts. I look at the synchronicity of our lives, the connections that take place and our relationships with almost everything around us (our homes, people, mother earth and our inner selves). It is so intricately simple and sophisticatedly multifaceted.”

On people, connections and relationships:

“With every human being I work with, I see a part of myself in them, whether it’s in the way of thinking, a specific phrase they use, a certain vulnerability they are choosing to show, or a dream that they strive to make happen. I always connect to that. No matter what it is, our inner worlds are very similar. It is like we are the same prototypes.

I also like to look at archetypes with clients, and explore inner energies. We have access to a huge reservoir inside of us, and we only know a little chunk of it. Once we are curious about that world of resources, we find whatever we need: certain energy, a unique vibe or a different voice – we will find it there. All we have to do is create a channel to access it, and by channel I mean the tools that enable us access: such as holding a beginner’s mind, a curious being and a loving graceful soul.

I asked for her favorite quote, and this is what she had to say:

‘I believe that in every stage in our lives, we connect with one quote more than another. For now, I love the quotes that my clients come up with in our sessions. Sometimes they blurt out the wisest things, and that inspires me. When that happens, I usually ask: “Did you hear what you just said?”

Rozana’s favourite books:

“Same with quotes, when I was a young girl, Anne Frank’s Diary was the ‘wow’ book. Then it was Malcolm X. When I started grad school, ‘Broken Open’ helped me grieve some heavy losses that I had to come to terms with. Later, reading Eckart Tolle’s ‘A New Earth’ made me aware of my ego for the first time in a very conscious way and that opened doors for my inner child healing. After that, Brene Brown’s ‘Daring Greatly’ started me off on the process of vulnerability and wholeheartedness, and led to my leadership work that I did last year. Now, I am in love with Reinventing Organization’s ‘human consciousness movement’ by Frederick Laloux. Next, I want to immerse myself in ‘Rising Strong’ by Brene Brown, I have a feeling it will create something new for me.”

I summed up with a time capsule question and asked her what she would tell herself ten years from now: “ten years from now?! Gosh, that is a stretch since I am working on living the present moment and being here now. So this is the first thing I would tell myself then. Also, to keep slowing down. If I haven’t had the guts to get that book published or that TV show aired, then I would tell myself: do it now – what have you got to lose? Nothing. My kids are old, I am happy with my life, so just do it for the fun of the process, and mostly for the long term impact that it will bring to the world.”

Rozana can be contacted through her website, email, Instagram or Twitter.

Girls Cake Decoration Course with Wilton Certified Decorator

Get your girls baking with this awesome course tailored for beginners and conducted by a Wilton Certified Decorator.


Course 1 ( Basic to Intermediate Level)

This course is to impart basic to intermediate level of baking to the participants. They get professional baking tips and techniques which are generally not available. Participants will get the basics of baking framework, recipes and that would lead them into unlimited option of combinations to get a variety of taste. These are covered in 4 sessions of 3 hours each. The contents will be as follows:

• Basics of baking

• Reading recipes,

• Measuring, scaling ingredients,

• Timing

• Pan Preparation

• Baking conversions

• Baking substitutions

• Other tips & techniques

• Four different types of cakes

• American Sponge Cake with whip cream icing

• Butter Cake/Cup cake with praline icing

• Chocolate Cake with chocolate icing

• Carrot muffins/cake with cream cheese

• Other Baking

• Basic Sugar Cookies with citrus icing

• Cinnamon rolls with a special icing

• Donuts

• OPTIONAL : (either one of the group may be selected)



Baked Pasta Garlic Bread


Ice cream Turtle Cake Nanaimo Bars

Peach Streusel Coffee Cake

Course 2 will be offered in October to all Course 1 graduates.

Dates: Sept 3,10,17, 21*

Time: 4:30-7:30pm

Venue: map will be mailed to all students

Cost for Course 1: SR 450

Contact Number: 0580318838

*Sept 21st -date subject to change

1001 Nights Persian Rug Educational Tour

Welcome back after a hot and humid summer! If you are new to the Kingdom, or simply settling back in after the holidays, make sure you visit the blog regularly and bookmark us for lots of local activities, workshops and tours.persian rug

Join this free guided tour in English shedding light on history, making and craftsmanship of Persian rugs. Learn how to identify an antique rug, quality and how to select the perfect rug for your space, care and the story behind the rug. Our exquisite spokesperson comes from a family with generational history in the art of trading rugs.

Date: September 3rd, 2015.

Time: 9:30am to 11:30am

Venue: Hindawiya District-Bukhari Street


For further details and registration, visit the event page on Facebook.

STARZ Play: Your New Online Movies & Series Platform

Honestly it’s time for TV fans to say goodbye to their cable subscriptions and hello to solely streaming their entertainment. With new streaming platforms and VOD (Video On Demand) services, television programs are going to be more available, simple and convenient. STARZ Play is one of the new and powerful subscription video on demand services in the market right now (they have over 57 Million subscribers in the U.S).

Starzplay logoTheir new platform called Starz Play Arabia has recently been launched across 17 territories in the Middle East, beating Netflix to the punch in an area with a population estimated at 370 million and a young, highly wired demographic. Now let’s see what Starz Play can provide to us.

“Starz is very pleased with the launch of the world-class Starz Play Arabia partnership in the Middle East and North Africa,” says Chris Albrecht, Starz CEO. “This is the first time a STARZ-branded service has been launched outside of the United States.”

As you have probably noticed, everything is going the way of streaming these days, so to be sure to have good service you need to choose the right Platform, and Starz Play can feed your starving hunger. It’s super-hard to choose what to watch, because their original content is so different and provides some of the best shows and movies on TV today. Some of their shows like Power, Penny Dreadful, Humans and a lot more have the latest episodes at the same time as the U.S. Their service also includes a wide selection of movie content, licensed from Hollywood, including content from leading pay TV networks.

STARZ Play gives you maximum user control by letting you play, pause and rewind. You can stop watching a movie or show and resume it later, right from where you left off, whenever and wherever you want. STARZ Play uses the most advanced technology to provide you with a superb HD viewing experience. You can enjoy STARZ Play on any device: your PC or Mac as well as on numerous iOS and Android devices. STARZ Play will also be available on the leading Smart TVs and game consoles in the near future.

“STARZ PLAY Arabia has a unique opportunity to fill a market need and offer the growing Internet savvy population of the region the best in TV and movie content, at an affordable price point, and with high-value convenience and control,” explains President and Chief Operating Officer of Starz Play Arabia Maaz Sheikh. “We have aggregated a compelling collection of great original programming including STARZ Original series and movie content from around the world. Our content will be presented in a culturally sensitive way and will be a showcase technologically, with a strong consumer value proposition.”

Starz Play provides an immersive and unique viewing experience offering their subscribers the latest and most acclaimed movies and series as well as a wonderful selection of children’s and family programming exclusively for the Middle East and North Africa. It initially offers more than 3,000 movies and a wide selection of TV series that you can watch for $12.99/month (49SAR/Month). With a 30-day free trial and no monthly contractual obligations, viewers can enjoy watching their favorites programs without any commercial breaks or interruptions.

Now with Starz Play, you can watch fiercely entertaining originals as well as hit movies anywhere you go and anytime you want.

To know more about Starz Play you can visit their website.

– Sponsored article

Taking your Pet Abroad – the Complete Guide

Summer has already begun. Many people have left for vacation, and still more will be ready to head out to cooler pastures after Ramadan. If you would prefer your pet to stay in the Kingdom, then appropriate arrangements must be made. However, if you would like to take your pet along with you, then the idea of travelling abroad with your pet can be quite overwhelming. How much would it cost? How soon should I start processing the papers? Will my pet be onboard with me? What documents do I need?  With the long list of what might seem like a never-ending endeavour, Sonja Svensek sheds some light on what pet owners should do if they wish to take their pet abroad.

Check Whether your Pet will be Allowed to Fly with You

The first thing to bear in mind is that different countries have different rules and regulations regarding the import of a pet.  Check online what is required as rules do change. Note that some exotic animals will not be allowed into specific countries. Parrots for example cannot be brought into Saudi Arabia, and certain animals are prohibited into the EU. Once you have been informed of the countries’ regulations, check with the airline you are flying with to  enquire about cost and whether you can take your pet onboard with you. Generally pets (weighing no more than 6 kilos) can be taken on board with you on most airlines as long as its carrier meets the airlines standards and can be put under the seat in front of you. Some airlines will allow small dogs onboard with you too, but others will not. 

Import Permits

If you are travelling to Europe, countries will require a blood test which should be done at least 3 months before your departure. This is why planning ahead is key-which depends on the destination you are flying to. Some counties will not allow your pet entry unless you show proof of an Import permit which is obtained by a vet in the country you are going to. This means having to research a local vet to fill out forms and send you the original for you to sign via courier mail post. Alternatively you can have a friend or relative pick this up and meet you at the airport to present this import permit. If this is required by law, and you don’t have one, your pet will be held in quarantine until you can present one.

You will need to get your pet microchipped.

Health Certificates

For most countries, your pet needs to be micro chipped and a rabies shot needs to be recent usually within the last 6 months before departure.  A week before you travel, (and not before) you need to obtain a Health certificate from your vet which confirms your pet’s health and that it is fit for travel and that your pet doesn’t have any health issues which would stop it from being allowed into the country. A health certificate usually costs between SR 100-200 from your local vet.

Get the Go Ahead from the Ministry of Agriculture

Once you have the health certificate in hand, head to the Ministry of Agriculture with your pet. It is a new regulation where they require to see your pet. It is a relatively straight forward procedure where a MOA representative will stamp and issue you an Export permit. 24 hours before your flight, head to the customs department at the airport which will issue you with a final export approval. It is always a good idea to inform the airline you are flying with, that you are traveling with a pet, and on the day of your departure to head to the airport at least 3-4 hours prior to your flight to ensure that all goes smoothly.

Your pet may be allowed in the cabin with you.

Boarding the Plane

If flying with Saudi Airlines, the check-in counter will direct you to the appropriate counter to pay for your pet and obtain an additional form which they will help you fill it out. Saudia Airlines charges SR 480 for a cat which is their standard fee however this could be subject to change. Generally cats do not travel well. So it is advised not to feed your cat on the morning of your flight.  Regardless of whether your cat is in the cargo hold or with you in the cabin, have a cloth over the carrier so your cat doesn’t get even more stressed by seeing all the people and movements around. Also ensure your cat carrier has a label with your name and address on it.  If you know your cat will act very stressed and constantly meow and cause disturbances, you might want to consider a mild tranquilizer before travelling. Check with your vet first.


Once you arrive at your destination, no matter how tempting it is to let your pet our of its carrier, only do so in the safety of your home. Give them time to adjust.

Should I ask the Vet to take care of all the Paperwork?

Some vets offer the service of taking care of all the paper work for you at high cost between SR 1500-3000 when you can do so for free if you plan ahead and manage your time in advance. Do seek your vets advice to assist you whenever possible as they can talk you through what is required and when. Its also beneficial to join animal welfare organization groups online where you can network with people who have been through the experience and could give you first hand advice and tips on making it easier for you. Some say certain airlines are better at handling pets than others, so it’s suggested to get advice from those who have flown with their pets abroad.

Give yourself Time to Plan

You hear many stories of people happily travelling with their pet around the world on numerous occasions. The bottom line is you CAN travel with your pet, just do a little research beforehand to learn what is needed and plan ahead.  If time is not on your side, you can ask a veterinary clinic to assist you with boarding your pet and arranging the papers and flight arrangements to send you your pet via cargo hold. Some people have used a relocation agency to take care of all papers which can be helpful for those who don’t have time, but be warned that this service can be quite costly.

Though it might seem like a long process to get your pet’s travel documents sorted, if you plan ahead and make the necessary arrangements well in advance, you will lower any risk of having missed something important that is needed for your pet to travel.

For further information you might find the following articles helpful:

 General information and useful tips about travelling with your cat

 If taking a pet to the United Kingdom

 If travelling with your pet to the States 

Join PIN Care group to network with fellow pet travellers

Ride for Free with icflix and Uber

icflix and Uber promotionicflix and Uber have teamed up to offer their customers a great new promotion. icflix, the Middle East and North Africa’s leading Internet streaming service are rewarding first time subscribers by offering them a premium ride with Uber, the smartphone technology company that links riders to drivers within minutes, when they sign up to

The promotional offer launched just this week will entitle customers to 81.73 SAR off their first ride and will be valid until July 25th 2015.

If you are a new Uber customer ordering your first ride using the Uber app, don’t fret. You can get a one-month icflix subscription for free.

Speaking about this great promotional offer, Carlos Tibi, founder and CEO says, “We like to think outside the box, and are always thinking of innovative ways to reward our customers. New Uber customers will have the chance to experience the service with the added benefit of enjoying movies and TV shows whilst on the move.”

“Technology and innovation sit at the heart of what we do, and something we very much have in common with icflix, especially when it comes to enhancing customer experience,” said Jambu Palaniappan, Regional General Manager for Middle East & Africa.

How Can I Access This Offer?

In case you wish to access this offer the following code must be entered while ordering:

UBERUAE  for the UAE


UBERBAH for Bahrain

UBERLEB for Lebanon

UBERQAT for Qatar.

Enter this code when you sign up to icflix. If you are already a member, simply go to “Your account”, “Manage Subscription” and enter your promo code.

Sponsored article

Ramadan Recipe – Crispy Chicken

We wish Ramadan Kareem to all of our readers!

Ramadan is a blessed and holy month, a time of worship, contemplation, self-reflection and of submission. However, it is also a month of sharing and caring, community and festivity.

In addition to focusing on our fasts and our prayers, at the end of the day we look forward to breaking our fast. Jeddah Blog will be bringing you some exciting new recipes, and our first contribution is from Asma and Aisha, two sisters with a passion for food, who blog at Jet Set Eat. Their unique Crispy Chicken recipe uses traditional Ramadan ingredients of samosa leaves and kunafa dough, but in a very different way.

Do try the recipe and let us know how it turns out.

Crispy Chicken

Crispy Chicken Recipe for Jeddah Blog

Crispy Chicken


500g boneless chicken, cut into 2 inch long strips.

2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

2 tbsp garlic paste

2 eggs

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp tandoori masala powder

Chilli flakes (optional)

1 tbsp white pepper powder

1 pinch red edible food colour

Salt to taste

3 tbsp refined flour

2 tbsp cornflour

Thinly sliced samosa leaves or kunafah dough (hair)

Oil to deep fry



1. Marinate the chicken in sweet chilli sauce, garlic paste, eggs, soy sauce, tandoori masala, chilli flakes, white pepper, red colour and salt for 2 hours.

2. Mix refined flour and cornflour in the chicken marinade and leave for 15 mins.

3. Spread the samosa leaves or kunafa dough (hair) on a plate and roll the marinated chicken in it. Press well with hands so it sticks to the chicken.

4. Heat sufficient oil in a wok and deep fry the chicken until crisp and cooked from inside. Serve with your favourite sauce.

You can follow Jet Set Eat on Instagram:

Jeddah is Buzzing in the Lead Up to Ramadan

As Jeddah’s weather has begun to heat up with temperatures hovering around 36C or 97F, so has the atmosphere in Ramadan.  With Arab schools out for the year and most international schools wrapping up this week (Conti still has a week to go), Ramadan is about to go into full swing. Delina Partadiredja from writes today’s guest blog on the current excitement and anticipation of Ramadan, and gives us lots of practical tips on what to do if one is not fasting, what to be aware of especially during Ramadan and how to take advantage of certain goods available only in this festive month.

Ramadan in Jeddah 2015

A wide variety of dates become available during Ramadan.

The Islamic months are based on the Lunar calendar, so the time of year when Ramadan falls changes from year to year, moving back 11 days each year.  This year we are very thankful that although it will be a long and hot day, our children will be able to enjoy Ramadan without the burdens of school and the unbearable heat.

While around the city, several large supermarkets around Jeddah, in anticipation of Ramadan have already started the festivities.  Large signs greet shoppers with Ramadan Kareem and Ramadan Mubarak wishing customers a blessed fast. Colourful ornaments fill the stores and shopping areas.  You should take a moment to enjoy these beautiful decorations!

For those who are new to Jeddah, or are staying in Jeddah for the first time during Ramadan, you may be wondering what is different about this month in comparison to other months on the Islamic calendar. Ramadan (pronounced Ramzan in the Indian subcontinent) is the month where Muslims around the world abstain from food and water from dawn until dusk.  This is the time of abstinence, forgiveness, repentance and patience.  As this is a blessed time, many Muslims from around the world are interested to come for Umrah (the small pilgrimage) to enjoy fasting and praying in Makkah and Madinah.  You may find there is an influx in traffic and visitors from around the world so when venturing out be sure to wear cool clothes, pack water, ice, and wear comfortable shoes.  You may also want to check with the local mosques to find out when prayer starts and ends so that you may avoid traffic.

As a non-Muslim who is not fasting, what should I do?

  • As a mark of respect, please eat and drink indoors and in the confines of your home. Individual muslims usually do not mind if you eat or drink in front of them while they are fasting, but it is considered respectful not to do so.
  • You may want to shift shopping hours to after dhuhur time (around 1pm) mostly until 11 pm where you will find more people and shops open during this time
  • Some of the best dates and sweets are to be found during this time so stock up!
  • This is the time to shop for clothes and other cool things. — You may want to check out deals here
  • For those who are Muslim this is a great time to complete your Umrah.  You may want to check out this travel group.

Heads up!

  • There are many cool items that are for sale only during the time of Ramadan.  These include beautiful lanterns from Egypt.  The cost will vary but averaging around SR 200 + per piece.  Why not join in on the festivities and get one for your own home!
  • As Ramadan is a fasting month, the demand for food actually increases exponentially which in turns drives up the cost of food.  Prices are expected to increase by 30% for typical groceries. For example: SR 5.95/kg is already SR 7.95/kg, lemons were SR 5/kg but now are SR 11/kg, potatoes were SR 3.95/kg and have now become SR 4.95/kg. Meat will see a price hike of about 15%.  You may want to hold off on buying Camel meat as there has been a recent outbreak of MERS affecting camel meat.  The Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) is working hard to put a cap on rising food prices. You can check out prices here

Finally, we at wish you and your family a blessed, safe and relaxed Ramadan.

An Evening in the Company of Nouman Ali Khan

Well-known and loved Islamic speaker Nouman Ali Khan was in Jeddah last week and spoke to a select audience at a local mosque in the run up to Ramadan. JB reader Zainab binte Shahid and Jeddah Blog writer Haris Ali were lucky to be present among the listeners, and they sent us their reviews of the event.

Eloquent and charismatic, Nouman Ali Khan.

Haris Ali

Being Nouman Ali Khan’s biggest fan (I graciously share this position with a several hundred million or so other Muslims), it felt surreal to walk into the lecture hall of the Islamic Education Foundation, and to see the Islamic Speaker in the flesh – in front of my eyes. It is difficult to explain; he surpassed my expectation in terms of his personality, sense of humour and warmth. Witnessing the Ustadh standing at the Mimbar, ready to deliver his speech on the topic of Ramadan, in my heart indeed, I felt I knew him personally.

His judiciously crafted words and the trustworthiness and sincerity in his voice was just the same as I had heard in his YouTube videos in my free time. After listening to his lectures online, I was so keen to understand and apply the concepts in my life, and to strengthen my Ibadah and Yaqeen.  I felt a greater insight into comprehending the meaningfulness of Allah Almighty’s words in the Qur’an, and the explanations of the Qur’anic stories were given so clearly and authentically, that any person would be keen to listen. These are the attributes that have lead a great many hearts young and old – to their settlement, in a world filled with so many unsettling questions.

Nouman Ali Khan speaking about Islam

Nouman Ali Khan speaking to the gathering at the IEF Centre.

Soon into the talk I realized that throughout my run of listening to the Ustadh speak, I had always been so moved by his knowledge and eloquence in Islamic Principles, true Muslim character, and how the Muslim community in particular must act with each other and with those outside it.

He spoke particularly on the occasion, about giving proper Da’wah to non-Muslims, inviting them to Islam through justice and reason, as Islam was a gift to us by our Lord, the Creator, and so it is our duty to respectfully and honestly propagate the True Word of the Merciful Creator, the Eternal to those who are but lost and in a deep abyss of darkness. The Ustadh conveyed, that we need not have endless resources, but only the assurance in our hearts from the Lord, Most Merciful to truly convey the message. As he quoted the Prophet Moses in the Quran, faced with the difficult task of confronting the cruel and self-important tyrant, the Pharaoh:

رَبِّ اشْرَحْ لِي صَدْرِي وَيَسِّرْ لِي أَمْرِي وَاحْلُلْ عُقْدَةً مِنْ لِسَانِي يَفْقَهُوا قَوْلِي

Rabb-ishrah li sadri, wa yassir li ‘amri, Wah-lul ‘uqdatam-min-li-saani, Yaf-qahuu qawlii

O my Lord! Open for me my chest (grant me self-confidence, contentment, and boldness); Ease my task for me; And remove the impediment from my speech, so they may understand what I say
[Surah Ta-Ha; 20:25-28]

It was indeed a wonderful speech Mashaa’Allah, from Nouman Ali Khan (may Allah grant him and his family Paradise), telling us not to solely focus on ourselves this coming Ramadan the most blessed month of the Qur’an’s revelation, but to spread the brilliant message of Islam, and that is not difficult to do so, as we are in desperate need to ask Allah to ‘open our chests’ and so our task shall be made easy for us Inshaa Allah.

Nouman Ali Khan, inspiring generations.

Zainab binte Shahid

Assalam O Alaikum. My dream, no our dream just came true!! Our Beloved Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan aka NAK was here in Jeddah, and by the grace of Allah I got a chance to visit one of his lectures. Approximately one thousand people attended the event and the whole crowd was excited; I even felt butterflies.

As for those who aren’t familiar with Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan’s work, he is the founder, CEO And lead instructor at Bayyinah Institute, in Dallas.

He discussed topics regarding Ramadan, Dawah and our relationship with the Qur’an with the reference of Surah Taha and Surah Al-Kahf and their linguistic miracles.

He first told the story of Musa (a.s.) which is in Surah Taha. When Musa (a.s.) was sent to the Pharaoh to deliver the message of Allah (swt), Musa (a.s.) was worried that he would be unsuccessful due to the weight of the duty, but he took refuge in the vast grace of his Lord.

“(Moses) said: O my Lord! Expand me my breast;

   Ease my task for me;

   And remove the impediment from my speech.

   So they may understand what I say:” Surah Taha(25-28)

We learn from his story that we should always seek help from Allah in any difficult situation rather than seeking it from the people.

Ustadh Nouman also gave an example from our Prophet’s (saw) life. Princes used to come from Egypt to learn from the Prophet (saw). So when one came in to the Prophet’s congregation wearing those expensive clothing and jewels, seeing the poor people with torn clothes, he refused to sit with them, so Allah (swt) revealed to the Prophet (saw):

“And keep yourself patient [by being] with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His countenance. And let not your eyes pass beyond them, desiring adornments of the worldly life, and do not obey one whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance and who follows his desire and whose affair is ever [in] neglect” Surah Al Kahf:28

He (swt) tells the Prophet (saw) not to even look at him and not to even turn his eyes and be with those who call upon their Lord.

Suppose if a man comes to your charity and gives you a big cheque to donate for a masjid, but says I don’t believe in zakat. You may think to yourself that if you engage in discussion with him to teach him about zakat, you won’t get the cheque. You might decide to set religion aside for ten minutes and and take the cheque and teach him later. But no, you can’t do that, not even temporarily. We should not choose the world over Allah. The lesson we learn from this is that we should not prefer worldly resources, rather use the Book of Allah as a resource and seek the company of the believers. Never to compromise Allah when it comes to worldly desires.

His suggestion on making Ramadan productive: choose a surah (chapter) of about 2-3 pages. Find a lecture on it online and recite it day by day and eventually you will start understanding it. By the end of Ramadan you will be one surah closer to Allah.

Everyone was given a free book “Basic Dawah 101” courtesy of the organisers, written by Ryan Fawzi Arab.

Final Exit? Leaving for Vacation this Summer? Have you Made Arrangements for Your Pet Yet?

The summer months usually mean that vacations are being planned, trips aboard being booked and ACs put on full blast. Though it’s a season generally spent relaxing with family and friends, for the expat community it can also be that time of year when people decide to leave and not come back. Work contracts come to an end and tickets are booked one way. On a positive note, it is also a time of blessings through the holy month of Ramadan, where families get together and extend their hearts towards helping communities and those in need. Though summer represents many beautiful aspects, sadly it’s also the time of year where we see an increase in pets being left behind and desperately seeking new homes.

In our latest blog post Sonja Svensek, Jeddah Blog columnist and guardian angel to Jeddah’s pet community, discusses the problem of pets being left behind during the summer, and gives us plenty of practical alternatives to ensure our furry friends stay happy and well-looked after.

dont leave me beind 4

Pets are for life.

Plan in Advance

Currently, at PIN (Pets in Need) we get at least one message per day from someone who wants to give their pet away because the family has decided to leave for the summer and their plans did not include their four-legged friend. Reasons such as ‘we don’t have the time to process Fido’s travel documents’ to ‘we are leaving on final exit’ are quite common during the summer months because people cannot deal with the sudden situation they find themselves in.

There are also cases where the pet is just left behind to fend for themselves because people think there are no other alternatives. One young pup was tied to a dumpster when the individual packed up and left for his vacation last summer. Veterinary clinics usually have a high number of cats at their boarding facilities which never get picked up again because their owners don’t claim them back. What does this mean for your pet?


Don’t leave me behind. When You Move Away…I Won’t ‘be Alright’!

The sad truth is that your pets are not thought of as a priority and don’t always get another chance of finding a loving home again after you leave. The lucky ones who find another home might take time to readjust, but the others who are not so lucky will either end up at being sold at pet stores, the animal souk or end up being used for breeding and business purposes or simply abandoned where they are at risk of being run over, abused or killed.

We also hear that Pest control carry out more visits during the summer months on compounds where more cats are found left outdoors roaming around because the owners have moved. The only way you can guarantee your pet’s safety and well-being, is to ensure your pet stays with you, or to make well-planned prior arrangements.


A large number of pets will end up being sold at pet stores, the animal souk or end up being used for breeding.

Boarding Facilities

Many schools have already closed for the summer vacation, and we have consequently seen a huge number of animals being posted looking for new homes. Those working for privately owned and run animal rescue organizations in the Kingdom, are bursting at the seams trying to help every pet they get notified about, but the reality is there simply aren’t enough homes for the animals being left behind. Boarding facilities are limited in their capacity of offering pets a temporary place to stay, and adopters cannot guarantee that the pet will be wanted after they are taken in.

Pet-sitting to Buy Time

I urge pet owners to be responsible in making arrangements for their pet before they travel. Animal welfare groups can encourage you to connect with like minded individuals who might be willing to pet-sit whilst you are away, which you could then return the favour at a later stage. Arrangements with family members, close relatives or friends you trust might be able to assist with travel documents if more time is needed to fly your pet out to you.


If you know you are leaving the country for good, please take your pet with you.

It’s important to know that domesticated pets will not survive on the streets – regardless of the animal instincts they have. Having experienced a certain routine and been part of family life will not guarantee the same lifestyle in someone else’s home. The simple fact is that owning a pet is a huge lifetime reasonability, meaning that planning ahead is key, and your pet needs to be included in your plans.

If you are in fact spending the summer months in the Kingdom, please take note of the hot weather. Pets left in a hot car or out in the sun can die of heat exhaustion within minutes.

How Can I Help?

For those who are not travelling during the summer, perhaps you can get in touch with PIN and its members to look after someone’s pet? There are people who are in desperate situations, and time is not on their side if they have been informed of a final exit. They may not have the privilege of arranging papers in time, and they can be assisted by people who could help in the meantime.

Be Responsible

If you know you are leaving the country for good, please take your pet with you. If for whatever reason you know you cannot, make the necessary arrangements beforehand, bearing in mind that there are already hundreds of unwanted pets still looking for homes. Summer is supposed to be a season of joyous experiences filled with opportunities of creating good memories, and as a responsible pet owner, you can ensure the same opportunity is offered to your pet.

Useful Links

For more information about Animal up for adoption, please visit PIN on Facebook.

To know more about dogs being rescued and up for adoption, visit Open Paws Jeddah.

For cat rescues and cat adoptions, visit Gus’s Hope.


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