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“Fantastic both old and new”
Review of Balad

Ranked #2 of 52 things to do in Jeddah
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Reminiscent of the Arabian nights fairytales, this vibrant marketplace with multi-storied mud brick and stone buildings sells everything from textiles and sparkling silver and gold ornaments to spices and honey.
Rainford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
64 reviews
51 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
“Fantastic both old and new”
Reviewed May 18, 2011

Al Balad is the real Saudi. A little history first. This area is the original part of Jeddah, this is all there was in 1950 with its circa 30,000 people. The city now holds 3.5m folk.

As I say this is the real Jeddah, nice freindly people that will try to sell you anything but they are not as presistant as Turkey markets. I work in Jeddah and never tire of wandering round this area and I am a bloke and shouldnt like shopping!

If you get a taxi to the Cornice comercial centre the market is land side of this building. This is the new part of the souk. As you wander inland the market gets older and older. finally you go through an underpass and enter Al Balad proper. Look up and you will see the original coral and timber frame houses. the streets get narrower and the market gets more interesting.

Most of the shops are open all week but Friday is the day that everyone from hundereds of miles around come to shop. Dont bother going till after 5pm as the shops will close for prayer. Then they will close again a little later for sundown prayer, then everyone just sit around or even pray although most sit around and use it as an excuse for a break.

One word of warning is that the clerical/religious police (mutaween) are jumped up jobs worths. You can spot them as they carry an old school masters cane. They like to hit people because they are holier than thou. They are volunteers, lets just say keep away from them.

Back to the souk and Al Balad area. Currently there is a lot of work going on as the municipality wanted to demolish the area and rebuild anew, Pressure has meant that the old buildings are being rebuilt preserving a way of life.

You will think that you are getting a bargain but your not, You have to be local to get a real bargain. But thats all part of the fun.

Visited May 2011
5 Thank Dune_UK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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706 reviews from our community

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English first
Cairo, Egypt
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Very Very Nice”
Reviewed July 19, 2010

Really its a very nice place in jeddah you must visit it , i bought i lot of things from there , its also safe

1 Thank mostafa_elguindi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Harrogate, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Al-Balad - Safe for single woman”
Reviewed July 3, 2010

I wrote the tripadvisor article about al-Balad, so see that for practical traveller information. Al-Balad is a fascinating area, don't miss it! Walking around this area is absolutely fine for a single woman to go it alone. "Marhaba sister" was called out to me everywhere by friendly, smiling stall holders, one can almost forget that this is Saudi Arabia!

9 Thank JackieHughes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Level Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed July 9, 2008

the Balad is my favorite place in jeddah! it's such a colorful place...it fun! u never know wat 2 expect, or who ur going to see. it portrays Jeddah's history, from the old houses to the street sellers, who wear the traditonal Hijazi garb. And everything is cheap as long as u kw how to bargain from it. It reminds me of khan il-khalili in cairo. I would be careful for my bag, as there are purse snatchers in the area. But in general, this place is the best if u really want to see culture at its finest!

1 Thank JoharaM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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