Exposing “Haraj”

Are you a bargain hunter? Don’t mind the hand-me-downs? Or are you just plain thrifty when it comes to purchasing furniture, appliances and/or clothes? There is a worldwide recession so you should at least consider answering a ‘maybe’ to one of those questions. Either way, the Pink Tarha Ladies are going to show you where you can get a cheap yet good (and sometimes even great) finds.

Say hello to “HARAJ“. It’s Riyadh’s best-kept, open-secret for all things used and unused for a knockout price. It is the Ukay-Ukay Headquarters of Saudi Arabia. The mecca of Garage Sale aficionados. The melting pot of anything and everything you want thrown out and sold again. (Okay, I am running out of idioms). But you get the picture. Not yet? Well, S and I went on a mission to save you the fantasy trip of what this place we talk of looks like by going there ourselves and stealthily* taking photos just for you to ‘get-the-picture’.

Here’s some primary views of Haraj (click on the image to enlarge):

Ok, at first glance, it looks like a dump. BUT this place is like SM. They’ve got it all for you!

Streets are lined up with stalls filled with junkyard goodies. Don’t be misled because in this place, you have to keep in mind that one man’s trash, is another man’s treasure. And if you are patient enough (with a strong immune system), seeing beyond it’s apparent appearance may just bring you some good finds at an extremely affordable price.

A parking lot turned garage sale.

As you can see, most of the rummaging happens under the clear blue sky. It is often advised though, to visit Haraj on the early hours of the morning because when the sun hits high, you’re gonna sweat it out big time. It is also encouraged to visit during the pre-winter to winter seasons since it’s more convenient in terms of the weather and usually, it’s around the same time as the Eid holidays so a lot of “new” items arrive (because most Saudis get rid of their old stuff prior to Eid to have something new).

CLOTHES

Check out those racks!

There is a particular area in Haraj where all the used clothes’ stalls are stationed. When you get there, you will find almost any kind of clothing you could imagine. From baby’s clothes to old granny panties (Believe me, I’ve seen them hung out on hangers outside the stalls). Usually they’re segregated by kind: Children’s Apparel, Ladies and Men’s Clothing, Jackets/Coats, Shoes, Sleepwear and Underwear (sometimes!).Back in the day you can get clothing items for 1SR to 2SR each. When the sellers realized how much of a hit it was to the Filipinos, they started hiking up. Nowadays, it’s either a 3 items for 10SR or 3SR-5SR per item.

GOWNS

Who’s gonna know these came from a second-hand shop?

One profitable form of business that has spurted out from Haraj is the gown-rental business. A lot of Filipinos come to Haraj to scavenge for beautiful and/or presentable-enough gowns which they later on have dry cleaned and sent to the Philippines to be rented by paying customers (usually those who joins beauty pageants). As you can see from those above, you’d have to admit it’s an ingenious idea! I’m not part of such a business endeavor, I just like cheap finds. Gowns are priced between 10SR-50SR, depending on kind and style. See the first on the left? It’s a Zara, off-shoulder goddess-drape dress just for 10SR! It’s now hanging clean and fresh inside my closet. 😉

ACCESSORIES

Fancy jewelries and even a tiara!

You can glam up those gowns if you purchase these sets of fancy jewelry. And if you are going to use those gowns for entering a beauty pageant, then there’s also a studded-tiara for sale! FTW!

BAGS

Piles and piles of bags!

Everything may look a bit disconcerting, but like I mentioned, given that you are patient and with a strong immune system, you might as well find a barely used designer bag in there. I”ve had friends discover some chic bags at Haraj. Just look at what S picked up (last one on the right). Not too shabby, imho. Bag prices range from 3SR-10SR. Make sure to get a good bargain!

HOME NEEDS

Sofa Land.

This strip stretches out towards the whole block, filled with different kinds of sofas: from the retro style to the victorian touch. They got couches, loveseats, sofa-beds and even dining tables with chairs. One cool feature of this section in Haraj is that should you be interested in purchasing any set that you’d like to have in your house, the owners of the store can arrange for pick-up trucks for rent that can deliver the items to your home. Some Filipinos go as far as sending one whole set via cargo shipping to the Philippines. (So I heard).

Plug me in and I’m yours.

You will also find rows of appliances available in Haraj. Most of them are not even used, just liquidated items from factories. And they still work. Here you see a family of vacuum cleaners and a line-up of washing machines. They also have oven stoves, refrigerators, toasters, microwaves and other electronic gadgets. With a good haggle, you could get yourself a decent deal!

PHEW! What you saw is probably just a third of the whole Haraj area. There are still a lot to see in there. We were just too tired already from the 3-hour hustle and bustle amidst the madding crowd. Just remember these few tips should you decide to visit:

1. Mind your health. When in Haraj, keep in mind that you will be going through a lot of used and stocked items as well as rubbing shoulders with a whole lot of people (especially during peak seasons). It will be dusty, dirty and a melting pot for you to catch some form of virus. If necessary, bring latex gloves and a face mask (some people really do this) since you’re going to be rummaging through items that have come from who knows where. Bring your own water too; it’s good for dehydration and washing your hands.

2. Keep your valuables safe. Unfortunately, Riyadh is not safe from petty thieves and with an overcrowded area, you can expect that a lil’ devil is lurking somewhere, scouting for an unguarded purse or mobile phone. They are usually referred to as “Ali Baba“. Also, beware of perverts. They are also lurking around for weak targets. So be street-smart and better yet, have a male relative to accompany you.

3. Bring an extra BIG bag. If you’re hitting Haraj on a mission to get a whole lotta’ stuff, I suggest you bring one big mommy bag, or a giant paper bag to put all your purchases in. A bayong of-sorts, if you may. Vendors just give out their items in little plastic bags and if you plan to buy lots, it can be a hassle for you carrying several little plastic bags. With an extra big bag, you can just throw in your purchases in them and carry on with your ‘second-hand’ shopping spree. 😉

I hope you learned a thing or two from our “expedition” to Haraj. We will feature our purchases one of these days, we just have to arrange a photoshoot for that. Meanwhile, if any of of you have experienced going through this junkyard-jungle, let us know about your cheap yet great finds. It’s not everyday that someone finds treasure from another one’s ‘trash’. 😉

Happy weekend everyone!

Cheers!
-ec-

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About Author

Janelle

The Editor-in-Chief speaks 7 languages: Filipino, English, Wit, Sarcasm, Truth, Creativity, and The Pink Tarha.

12 Comments

  1. Been a while since I last visited a Haraj. Yes, you&#39;re right. It is SM (&#39;they&#39;ve got it all&#39; really!). Pero nakabili ka talaga ng bag huh? When I was new in Saudi, I bought a sturdy single bed (wooden, with a very nice headboard) for SAR100. After using it for around 5 years, I gave it away to someone in need. Pero sa totoo lang, there&#39;s so much one can buy sa Haraj.<br />

  2. We used to have a Souk Haraj here in Doha, but not until in 2006 the Municipal Government has issued laws governing the selling of used items, and limited to used furniture and used home appliances only are allowed to be sold on authorized shops.

  3. Meron din niyan dito sa Jeddah. Libang ang misis ko pag nasa haraj kami. Dami naming nabibiling signature pants for our Baby Ize and ang misis ko ay marami ding nakukuhang mga branded na mga damit. <br /><br />Ang mahirap lang hanapin dito ay para sa mga lalaki. Di tulad ng dati na nakakabili pa ako ng Levis na orig pero ngayon napagpiliin na ng husto. Pero sa babae sobra talagang dami. When ever

  4. Wow. It would be nice to see what your versions of &quot;Haraj&quot; look like. I didn&#39;t know they had one in AlKhobar and Jeddah. <br /><br />@ Nebz: Agreed! there is just SO much more to find and buy in Haraj. But I wonder how long that post is gonna be? tee hee. ^^<br /><br />@ The Pope: Hmmm, well, it&#39;s interesting how involved Qatar&#39;s government is when it comes to re-selling.

  5. Oo nga pala, okay lang bang makipag-exchange link. Your blog really looks interesting. Prof. Photographer ka ba? Nakita ko kasi yung mga kuha mo sa Jeddah. Ang gaganda.

  6. @ Noel: Link exchanged! 🙂 The recent Jeddah post was a feature by our guest blogger, Nikoll Long, who happens to be a photojournalist. You can see her portfolio at hhttp://www.nikolllong.com As for me, I am still a budding photographer at best. Thank you for reading our blog. ^_^

  7. Wow I love Haraj. We might be bumping shoulders and we never knew hee! I am in awe when I go there. When I was in Jeddah I used to go to Haraj very seldom as it is far from the city. But I am one who started the gown business back home, and whereelse do I get the stuff? Haraj… I am almost weekly visiting Haraj in Riyadh. Thursday dawn. And I am a scavenger for designer bags. I get it for 30 –

  8. This is nice. I think you mentioned this to me before. ^^

  9. Anonymous Reply

    Anyone knows the direction going to Haraj jeddah, my place is in al rawdah district.

  10. Anonymous Reply

    San Po ba exact location ng haraj, ano exact location nya dito sa jeddah? please send me email: alex_jan24@yahoo.com

  11. Hello Alex, the Haraj we&#39;re talking about in this entry is in Riyadh. We don&#39;t know about a haraj in Jeddah. Sorry!

  12. Anonymous Reply

    where is hiraj in Riyadh. Can you give us direction please ?

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