To many people, the Batha Market in Riyadh is just another large market where they can find lots of Asian stores.
But for Filipino workers and ex-pats in Saudi Arabia, it represents a home away from home. The market is full of Filipino workers, Filipino stores, restaurants where people can try Pinoy food, and stores for genuine spices and ingredients. The area around the market is a popular place for living for ex-pats and Filipino workers. There are likewise concentrated in villas and flats in the Northern area, and the place is convenient for a living since even though the rents are expensive, OFWs share the cost. At present, thousands of Filipinos work in areas near Batha, and they can get there easily by public transport.
Batha Market Location
Batha Market is a market (some call it bazaar) for all from India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the Philippines, and other countries in Asia. The market is a sprawling collection of shops and markets. Once inside, it is very easy to get lost because of the sizeable area. The place is very crowded to boot, and visitors are recommended to watch for their items, as there are muggers. Batha is a large bazaar, and visiting it requires several hours.
Batha Market in Riyadh is located in the center of the city (map). This part is also known as the old city and it is easily accessible from different areas.
How to Get to Batha Market
The best way to get to Batha Market is from the Kingdom center. From there, visitors need to go south on Olaya street and past the Interior Ministry. From there, the next point is down King Faisal Street and pass Abdul Aziz center in Murabba Park. Once at the next traffic light, turn left. Everything that lies ahead is the Batha market.
What to Find at Batha Market
In Batha, there are several sets of stores where people can find everything, from food, fabrics, electronics, gold, spices to barbershops. Shopping areas are divided into two categories: open-air blocks and closed buildings. Different areas in Batha sell different things; for example, there is a tailor’s block, where more than 20 tailors make custom shirts. At the tailors’ block, visitors can also find tons of fabrics and uniforms for their job (depending on the service industry).
On the other hand, the food section is crowded with stores for vegetables, fruits, spices, and supermarkets. Visitors can find food from almost any Asian country. The fish market is suited in the food section, and it can be smelt from a mile away. Meanwhile, the electronics section in Batha is full of computers, DVD players, TV, and other goods. Barbershops are also conveniently placed in the area with electronics.
It is also where you can find Saudi gold as jewelry, investment, or for both purposes. This market is composed of three souks: Dirah Gold Market, Hilla Gold Market, and Gold Souk. There are hundreds of shops selling gold at Batha Gold Market.
You can find most Filipino items, Filipino food, and novelty items there. You can explore the “ukay ukay” shops, and if you wish to get good deals, explore deep into the maze of shops and don’t get tempted to buy at the first shop you stop by.
After a day’s worth of exploration, you’ll be able to find great choices of Filipino food or head to Jollibee or Chowking for that unmistakable taste that reminds you of home.
Things to be aware of
Be aware of scammers and even snatchers who prey on unsuspecting visitors. Be mindful of your valuables and always stay on the safe side.