Jeddah welcomes visitors from 130 countries each year and many of them are in search of authentic Arabic souvenirs to remind them of their time in Jeddah, the fabulous Red Sea coastal city.
Jeddah offers a colorful spectrum of shopping opportunities ranging from souqs (souks) – the traditional markets – including Qabel Street Souq which is more than 80 years old and the larger Souq Al-Nada, that is situated within the walls of the old city. Souq Al-Nada is perfect for buying traditional Saudi clothing and has a great central food court for hungry shoppers!
At the other end of the shopping spectrum is the city’s ten stylish shopping malls. Le Chateau is probably the most attractive and The Boulevard is home to a galaxy of luxury shops. Jeddah really is a shopping haven because all the top international brands are available and most of them are very attractively priced.
1. Buy some lovely gift boxes of dates
Saudi Arabia is well known for its excellent dates, so what better gift to take back home? There are a number of different kinds to buy, but Ajwa is considered the best. As well as juicy dates in gift boxes, there is a wide selection of different dates filled with nuts and fruit and even dipped in chocolate – these ones are totally irresistible!
Date paste is also widely available and can be used to make the most delicious cookies.
2. Relish the gorgeous fragrance of Oud
This very special fragrance really captures the essence of Arabia. There are several different fragrances available, but none of them are cheap because this really is a top-quality product and is one of the most expensive perfumes in the world. Oud is made from the wood of the tropical agar tree and is worn by both men and women. In the souqs, you will find men with perfumery stalls making all types of fragrances
3. Choose some beautiful gold jewelry
There is such a selection of beautiful gold jewelry to choose from. Most of the gold in Jeddah is 21-carat gold. There are some very attractive western designs and traditional Arabic designs but choose carefully as there are a number of imported Indian designs on sale too.
4. Have your name written in Arabic
If you are looking for a very unusual necklace and one that will forever remind you of your time in Jeddah, why not have a very special necklace made with your name written in Arabic calligraphy? These pretty necklaces sit just at the base of the neck and are very attractive. The great news is that there are plenty of jewelers who can make the necklace for you in just a few hours.
5. Admire all the beautiful copper
Copperware has been made in Jeddah for centuries and was once very common in every household. It is fun to wander around Al Badu souq which has been in the city for more than 140 years. There are a number of copper stalls there and the souq is known for its excellent selection ranging from small pestle and mortars to large cooking pans.
6. Enjoy some camel milk chocolate
If you are looking for some fun gifts for your family and friends, you cannot get more authentic than some camels’ milk chocolate! Easy to pack, the chocolate is available either in whole milk or dark cocoa flavors and you can also get chocolate bars with dates and Arabic spices. Definitely, buy more than you think you will need because once you starting eating the chocolate…
7. Select a khanjar
This is definitely only an idea if you are traveling with a suitcase as it will be impossible to transport in a cabin bag on an aircraft. The Khanjar is an impressive dagger with a curved blade that has long been worn by leaders and is an important part of local heritage. Crafted in either silver or gold, the khanjar is often beautifully decorated with extra gold leaf, semi-precious stones, and pearls.
8. Have comfortable feet wearing Saudi sandals
These comfortable thonged leather sandals are instantly recognized and are worn by everyone because they are so comfortable. They are not only available in their natural brown color, often with colored designs, but also in a rainbow of bright fashion colors. There seem to be two very different price ranges for the same thing, but this is because most of them are made from cowhide, but those with the much higher price tag have been made from camel hide.
9. Choose some maamoul molds
These attractive carved wooden molds are used by local housewives for making a range of different cookies including ones made from date paste. Apart from having a practical use, the maamoul molds are very pretty and look great simply hung on a kitchen wall.
10. Make room for a dallah
These stylish and distinctively shaped Arabic coffee pots can be seen everywhere and there is a real art to making the perfect cup of Arabic coffee, so many come with instructions! Dallahs can be found on sale in all the souqs, but it is well worth looking out for an older one – especially a bronze one as these were considered the best of all. It is true that a dallah will take up some room in your case but it will look very stylish wherever you display it when you get home