By: Fatima Salahuddin
The Middle East offers a wide range of culture, history, food, and pretty much any other type of adventure for travelers visiting the region for the very first time. From its soaring futuristic skylines, the seemingly limitless and vast desert landscapes, some of the biggest shopping malls and exhibitions in the world, to the most delightful cuisines to taste, the Middle East has it all – and in spades!
When visiting the land of ‘A Thousand and One Arabian Nights,’ you might get overwhelmed by the near-endless amount of goods and souvenirs that you’re dying to bring back home and show off to your friends and family.
Here are some of the best souvenirs you can pick out during your maiden trip to the Middle East!
Instead of going on a date, you should try eating a few for a change (pun intended). You should know that dates from the sun-kissed palm trees of Dubai are unquestionably some of the best natural sweets you can find in the Middle East. Even the simple common dates taste fabulous, but designer dates, such as the ones covered in chocolate and/or with nuts are truly phenomenal!
Sand bottles from the Kingdom of Jordan
When you’re out and about in the tree-lined streets of Amman, Jordan, you’ll almost certainly find plenty of these iconic souvenirs. These pretty glass bottles have been delicately painted on the inside by talented artists, who then fill them to the top with various types of colored sand. Definitely a treat for the eyes!
The khanjar is a type of dagger that has been commonly available throughout the Middle East for thousands of years. There are many variations of this iconic dagger available in different shops all over the Middle East. You can get a blunt decorative piece that’s meant to be worn in a waist belt, and it’ll definitely be a hit to your friends and neighbors.
A widely revered good luck charm all over the Arab world, usually known as the hand of Fatima, the hamsa is said to serve as a form of protection from the evil eye, as well as warding off jealousy and envy.
Who amongst hasn’t heard the story of Aladdin and his treasured lamp? This is one souvenir you’ll be able to find in just about every store as you walk past it, forever reminding you of your trip to the Arab world, the many exotic places you explored, and as a bonus, serves as a real-life Aladdin souvenir! In addition, they’re also available in a wide variety of sizes and colors.
A trip into the heart of the desert is incomplete without a decorative camel to remind you of all the royal times you experienced. Just like many other mementos available in the Middle East, these small brass, wooden, and plastic camels are available in many different colors, styles, and sizes.
Prayer beads (tasbeehs) are roughly akin to rosaries carried by Catholic nuns and priests. These beads are used to recite prayers so that people always have God close to their hearts.
Honey and olives
The Middle East is known for the variety and flavor of its honey and olives. Olives in the Middle East are served as a side dish in breakfast, lunch and dinner, and are cooked in dishes as well, giving the meals a unique and aromatic taste! The Middle East has also been referred to as the “the land of the honey,” as honey has played a pivotal role for its medical benefits throughout Ancient Egypt. Make sure to get a jar of Arabian mountain and raw honey to take back home!
- Make sure that you have all of the required documents
In order to truly enjoy your trip, it’s necessary that you go about getting all the required documents that you need for a road trip in the Middle East. However, obtaining an international driving permit will be of use if you wish to embark on a road trip adventure in the region at your own pace.
- How about settling in the Middle East?
If you find the place truly enchanting, you might consider moving to Abu Dhabi, or perhaps to Cairo to name a few. Such cities are modern vibrant cities that have plenty to offer everyone in regards to adventure and work, in addition to being able to enjoy all the comforts of home whilst living in a region with its own unique and vibrant culture.
No trip to the Middle East can ever be complete until you bring back the mementos that remind you of your trip, long after it’s over. From fresh dates to Aladdin’s lamp, these items will take you back to a time of pure bliss!