Articles - April 2020

Adventure plan How to travel without leaving home? Part II July 08, 2020

Traveling is something we all love doing and has become the lifestyle of many. But because of the current situation, this is now a passion we all have to put aside for a while to make sure we can come back to it as soon as possible. But if we try to be a bit creative we can still enjoy being able to travel without leaving home. Here are our suggestions that will still make it possible to explore different cultures, meet international travel enthusiasts, try food from all around the world, learn languages and discover travel destinations from your home sweet home.     Travel virtually to a park, zoo or aquarium   Elephants, monkeys and penguins can be viewed through webcams, virtual tours and “home safaris.” Visit Georgia Aquarium to keep an eye on Sea-dwellers like African penguins and Beluga Whales which are the stars of this aquarium's live cam. The San Diego Zoo is live-streaming a number of animals on its website and lets you switch between koalas, polar bears, and tigers in one sitting. You can also bring exotic animals like snow leopards into your living room with a selection of live video streams from Australian zoos. Discover the beaches of Pacific Rim National Park and the magnificent peaks of Banff National Park via Google Earth, watch a live view of Algonquin Provincial Park and let a guide take you on a video tour of Gros Morne National Park.     Learn your favourite foreign language   We all have at least one language we've always wanted to learn but we keep procrastinating it anyway. But don't you see that it's the perfect time to start diving into this lovely language you admire? Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going. There are plenty of resources available such as language lessons on Udemy, books on Amazon, Youtube videos, language learning podcasts, and even practice groups on Facebook and Telegram in most large cities.     Read travel blogs   Some of the best travel stories and travel tips can be found on (no surprise!) travel blogs. Add in interesting writing, gorgeous photos, hilarious stories, and you’ve got hours of entertainment. You can find new blogs to read by scrolling through Pinterest, Instagram, or doing a good Google search for your next destination. Additionally, *cough cough* Ootlah's blog articles are a good place to start; it's just two steps far from here ;)     Dive deeply into Travelporn on Pinterest   If you are a visual person, you defiantly love Pinterest as it's the ultimate in inspiration. It also goes hand in hand with reading travel blogs. Follow all your favourite travel blogs on Pinterest and that way, you can see at a glance if there are any articles you just have to read and you can save anything interesting to your own boards. Follow as much as you like of travel blogs so you’ll never be lacking for visual goodness. You'll learn about so many new places this way. Sort all your boards by destination, so when you do have the opportunity to travel again you can go back to the board for the country you're heading to and read through all of the pins you’ve saved.     Listen to travel podcasts   Travel podcasts are one of the best ways to pass the time, especially if you are doing something monotonous like cleaning or exercising. Listen to your favourite travel podcasts to learn something new or just get inspired. Bonus points if the hosts are funny and interesting, which they all are in Amateur Traveler, Women Who Travel, Indie Travel and much more.     Watch movies that fuel your wanderlust   Watching movies is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to travel without leaving home . Just pop in a movie, grab some popcorn, and get your fill of wanderlust from the comfort of your own couch! Watching movies about travel or movies from different countries will put you in a better mood, give you so many new ideas for your next vacation, and shows how people live around the world. Pick a country or region and gather all of the movies or TV shows you could find either about or set in this place. If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are some of the all-time favorite travel movies: Hector and the Search for Happiness The trio: Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight The Secret Life of Water Mitty Midnight in Paris Eat, Pray, Love   Put on some foreign music   “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” Music is and has always been a great source of inspiration and entertainment for many. For a quick and easy mood booster, Put on songs from other countries you didn't listen to their music before. Open Spotify or Youtube and search for whatever strikes your fancy. Feeling tropical? Put on Caribbean steel drum music. Want to be the epitome of chic and classical? Put on some French Brigitte Bardot songs. Want to be transported to a cafe in Korea? They have that as well! Just search Youtube for “Korean Cafe Music”!     Plan your next trip   Just because you've had to stay home and shelve all your travel plans doesn't mean you can't look forward to a future trip. Often the happiest part of travel takes place before you ever pack your bag! Read about destinations, search for hotels and decide on what to do once you get there. If nothing else, it will tide you over during this lockdown period and give you something fun to look forward to when this is all over. Check out Ootlah's Instagram and Facebook feeds for some amazing ideas. You can also get inspired by our vacations and flexible trips— all designed to let you book with peace of mind.   Last things last, Remember that we are all in this together and we are not missing out on anything. Soon we will travel again and enjoy it even more because we will appreciate it more. Be creative and make the most out of your around the world from home trip! Don't miss reading part one here. Enjoy what travelling brings to our life without having to move from the couch!

Restaurants in Riyadh: Top nice and affordable restaurants for expats July 15, 2021

  Living in Saudi Arabia for expats Saudi Arabia is a country where Arab tradition meets imported western culture. It has more than 10 million expats working and living in it. You can afford to live in Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia remains one of the few places in the world that offer expat packages that include accommodation or an allowance in lieu, as well as transport and education payments. Expats there generally enjoy a lifestyle closer to their home countries. Life in Saudi Arabia is full of facilities, such as shopping malls, fitness centers, hospitals, schools, universities, hotels, cafes, and restaurants. If you live in Riyadh city, and looking for things to do there, find out restaurants in Riyadh at a reasonable price and good taste, especially for expats.   Foods & drinks in Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia is a large country with many locals and a lot of expats, it produces all of its own dairy products and most of its vegetables. However, due to the presence of many foreigners and expatriates in Saudi Arabia, it brings a cultural fusion that results in the most delectable cuisine and restaurants ever. However, it is mostly the foreigners who eat those foods; most Saudis prefer traditional fare.    Staple Foods Rice is the staple food of Saudi Arabia. It is the base dish for Saudis. Also wheat, yogurt, dates, and chicken are considered staple foods for all Saudis. Different types of bread are popular in the country, including sweet and spiced flavors. Kapsa is another national dish consisting of rice and chicken with vegetables. Traditional drinks in Saudi Arabia are tea and coffee, and both are frequently offered to guests. Coffee comes in various styles Arabian and Turkish. Due to that Saudi Arabia is an Islamic country, alcohol is illegal to drink.    Restaurants in Riyadh Riyadh city is home to a vibrant dining scene. There are many restaurants in Riyadh serving dishes from all over the world, this city boasts the best restaurants, international food chains, and startups inspired by global trends. Eating a delicious and affordable meal is something that everyone seeks, especially expatriates and travelers with a limited budget. Now you can enjoy your favorite meal without bankruptcy. If you are a food lover, here are the best restaurants in Riyadh with affordable prices that are well worth a visit:   - Mama Noura  “Fast Food, Mediterranean, Turkish, Middle Eastern” This restaurant specializes in fast food and fresh juices, it was established in 1991. You will find in Mama Noura the best Shawarma in the city. The food is delicious and priced very well. Definitely, a place you must hit for a quick lunch.   Features: Takeout, Seating, Accepts Credit Cards. Location: Abdul Aziz Bin Museod Bin Julowi Street | District Al-Rahmaniyah, Riyadh.   - Hummus House (Bayt Al Hummus) Hummus House is a family-owned and operated restaurant that specializes in Turkish-style kabobs, gourmet hummus, and freshly baked Baklava. The restaurant offers you the best and the most delicious types of Shami hummus. They focus on fresh tasty food and friendly service.   Location: Fahad Ibn Muammar, Al Muruj, Riyadh.      - Maestro Pizza “Italian, Pizza, Fast food” With the generous amount of toppings, the perfect mixture of mozzarella cheese, different sauces, and great appetizers, Maestro Pizza is considered one of the most high-grade restaurants in Riyadh and one of the great choices that brighten up our days when wanting a good pizza at reasonable prices. Maestro pizza serves all types of crusts, that suit every taste and the thin crust is one of the most delicious pizzas ever.    Features: Delivery, Takeout, Seating, Parking Available, Accepts Credit Cards Location: Abdullah Ibn al Hasan al Qurtubi Al Hamra, Riyadh   - Shawarma House “Fast food, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean” Shawarma House serves the best Shawarma in the city. It's delicious, clean at a reasonable price. Pay only 15 SR, and you can have a delicious juicy large shawarma sandwich with french fries and a soft drink. The place is always crowded but you'll not stay for more than 10 mins waiting. Shawarma House menu also offers salads, falafel, burgers, pizzas, and grilled sandwiches.  Just go for Shawarma, you will love it.    Features: Delivery, Takeout, Seating Location: Prince Mamduh Bin Abdulaziz St, As Sulimaniyah, Riyadh.   - La casa pasta “Italian” What would happen if there were no Pasta in the world? Don’t imagine, because you have La casa pasta, one of the best Italian restaurants in Riyadh with a menu that serves varieties of pasta, every single pasta dish boasts a combination of flavors that take your taste buds to another world. When the doors open to La Casa Pasta, your senses will be stimulated. You can smell the fresh pasta, the baked bread, and the finely crafted sauces that fill the air.     La casa pasta is budget-friendly, for 28SR you can order their Pasta with a sort of protein and veggies topped with a sauce of your choosing. It also has a family sitting area with children's play area.   Features: Delivery, seating, private events. Location: Prince Muhammad Bin Abdulaziz Rd, Riyadh.   - Fit Way “healthy food” Great news for health addicts and count calories lovers. Fit-way restaurant is served healthy food and the calories are listed under every item. They also care about vegetarian people, you can eat the best vegan burger in Fit way. They serve a delicious breakfast, launch, and dinner. It’s open every day from 12 pm until midnight, so if you are looking for healthy food at midnight, this is a great choice for you.    Features: Delivery, Takeout, Seating. Location: Al Malqa, Riyadh.   - Burgerizzr Burgerizzr has grown to be one of the best-loved ‘Fresh Burger Restaurant Chains’ in Saudi Arabia. They offer quality food at an affordable price. You can pay only 20SR for a delicious burger sandwich. You will find the burger fresh, juicy, and tasty.   Location: Othman Bin Affan Road, Riyadh. - The Najd village “Middle Eastern” If you are excited to taste Saudi traditional cuisine, this is the perfect place. Najd village is one of the most visited restaurants in Riyadh. It is a traditional Saudi Arabian restaurant where everything is traditional from the food, decor which goes back hundreds of years, and dining style. It offers the best popular meals in Riyadh city for both vegetarians and meat lovers. You can enjoy the warm atmosphere, friendly hospitality, and high-quality food. Take your time, sample the food, coffee, and relax.   Features: Takeout, Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Private Dining, Wheelchair Accessible, Accepts Credit Cards, Table Service, Parking Available. Location: King Abdul-Aziz Branch Road, Alyasmin Riyadh, Riyadh  - Zaatar W Zeit (Lebanese, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Vegetarian Friendly) It is a Lebanese restaurant. It serves authentic Lebanese foods. You will find a variety of fresh and healthy food on the menu which contains several salad dishes, wraps sandwiches, pizza, and manakish. The food is always prepared with care and attention, the staff is decent, the service is quick, and the price is very reasonable.   Features: Takeout, Seating, Highchairs Available, Table Service. Location: King Abdul Aziz Road Al Ghadeer, Riyadh.   Read More: Tourism in the Kingdom: Top things to do in Saudi Arabia Food in Dubai: Dine in the Fancy Restaurants in Dubai  

Adventure plan Coronavirus Quarantine: How to Travel without Leaving Home? April 01, 2020

In terms of entertainment, going into a home self-quarantine probably means you’re in for a lot of boredom, a lot of Netflix, and a lot of browsing the internet. While travel may be out of the question for the present, we're still dreaming of our next adventure and all the places we hope to get to soon. Until then, we've made a list of "Ways to travel without leaving home" so you can color the time during coronavirus quarantine. Discover museums around the world The digital age has made it easy to visit some of the world’s most famous museums from the comfort of your own couch. Google Arts & Culture brings you virtual tours in over 2500 museums and galleries around the world. The collection includes the British Museum in London, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Louvre in Paris, the Guggenheim in New York City, and literally hundreds of more places where you can gain knowledge about art, history, and science. Take a look at just some of Google’s top museums and galleries that are offering online tours and exhibits all for free. While it’s hard to beat the experience of seeing a seminal piece of fine art or important historical artifact with your own two eyes, you could easily spend a lifetime traveling the world in search of all of them. Cook meals from different countries What about a two-weeks challenge of cooking a new meal every one or two days that belongs to the list of your favourite world kitchens? Spice it up with an Instagram story for each meal and let your highlighted stories section welcomes a new member. You can take online cooking classes such as Nonna Live, where you'll learn to make classics from an Italian grandma. Free lessons have cropped up during this downtime, including daily cooking videos for parents and children, and Kitchen Quarantine, Instagram lessons from Michelin-starred chef Massimo Bottura to help you cook during coronavirus quarantine. Try to make yourself that Italian pasta dough, the Indian curry or the Mexican fajitas. And remember that the harder the recipe, the better.. We have a lot of time in this coronavirus quarantine! Explore UNESCO World Heritage Sites There is a list of 1,121 locations on the prestigious list of UNESCO World Heritage sites, a collection of places considered to be of “outstanding universal value”, whether for cultural, historical or natural reasons. The list includes everything from European towns to tropical islands, American national parks to African churches, and endangered wonders at risk of disappearing. And obviously there has never been a better time to explore the greatest sites on the planet like these days. It’s not quite the same as being there, but it's still cool being able to visit some of the world’s most celebrated heritage sites without leaving home. Many of these cultural sites, such as India's Taj Mahal, England's Stonehenge and Peru's Machu Picchu, have their own virtual tours that enable you to see detailed panoramic images while reading all about these fascinating places to appreciate why they are so important. Watch travel vlogs Travel videos have gained a lot of popularity in recent years and they are a wonderful diversion during a boring coronavirus quarantine time at home. Forget the typical stuff you always find on TV and tune regularly to watch some funny & inspiring YouTube travel channels! YouTube is full of passionate travellers that share their adventures in entertainment videos that make you feel like you joined them on that trip. This is also a great way to make a list of places you want to actually visit once that is again safe and possible. By watching these videos you get to know what to do, what to expect, and everything else you need to know while traveling. Make photo books out of your old vacation photos Whether traveling alone or with a group of friends, we all want those memories to last forever. Digital photography means no long waits to have your film developed, and you don’t pay for wasted frames on those lousy images. However, it also often means that your precious travel pictures get stuck on SD cards, hard drives and computers, and not out in the world where you or anyone else can enjoy them. A travel book is an easy way to keep all of your favorite travel photos in one place. Just pick it up and flip through the pages. No need to turn anything on or wait for it to load, it’s a more intimate, tactile experience than looking at photos on a screen. Photo books can be more than just pictures. You can include notes, scanned ticket stubs, and excerpts from your travel journal to accompany your images. They also make a beautiful addition to a coffee table, and visitors love to look through them. Read travel books This coronavirus quarantine has made us all run back to pick some books and start reading even more. You can read books about travel or books from another country depending on your interests. It’s especially interesting to see how writing is different across cultures and how writers build up their story using visuals, symbols, words, and so on. There are so many options for books that narrate a story through traveling or tell you about a country, its culture and history in many different ways just like travelling itself. Check out the travel genre list of recommended books by the Goodreads to get inspired and pick a favourite for you. There are also a few excellent travel magazines, but even fiction can offer a look at a completely different way of life in another part of the world. List all of your favourite travel-related books so you will just keep it to the books you read at the end of the year. Follow travel influencers on Instagram There are thousands of travel influencers on Instagram so it’s easy to travel vicariously anywhere in the world, with any age, gender, and style of travel. It not only gives you inspiration but also motivation to continue to save and practical tips for what to do once you got on the road. You will have the opportunity to walk through the life of genuine, passionate people who simply love to share the world with others. Pick a few favourites and travel vicariously while you can’t travel yourself. There are indeed several travel influencers you admire for their amazing creativity, talent, and sense of adventure. Cyber-stalk your favourite travel influencers as they will influence you to start planning for your next go. Whether it was through their writing or creative media, they'll inspire you to travel the world. Also Read: Food adventure: a tour around the world kitchens