Saudi Arabia: Panorama Mall – A Place to Avoid?


I am beginning to think that Panorama Mall is a place to avoid.  It is among one of the oldest malls in Riyadh and that is emphasized by attitudes and incidents.

I’d been to Panorama Mall several times while I lived in Riyadh as it was not too far from my house.  However, my husband and I went there more to just walk around.  I don’t recall having ever bought anything from that mall.  We did enjoy watching the children having a good time with its amusement center which was one of the nicer features of the mall.

However, after hearing how a dear friend of mine and her husband were physically hassled when leaving the mall helped me make up my mind that this was not a mall I’d recommended to others.

That opinion has now been further reaffirmed by the latest incident which has occurred at Panorama Mall.  I mentioned that its saving grace was the amusement center for children?  The amusement center was so well-known it was not unusual for some schools to make a special trip there.



Sadly, 12 children from the Manaret school for  boys were taken to the hospital in late February after one of the rides inside the amusement center at Panorama mall malfunctioned.  The incident happened so quickly that all bystanders were taken by surprise and in shock.  To further compound matters, the staff were not trained on how to respond to such an incident either.

The ride malfunctioned and the young boys were thrown from their seats.  Two of the boys were seriously injured.

Young Muhammad was one of the boys from Manaret school and present when the accident occurred.  “It was field trip to Panorama mall.  My friends went in to the ride that vertically goes up and down and something was loose from inside so from up the ride came crashing down. I know this because they are my class fellows and ,i was also in that trip.”

Panorama Mall has closed down the ride and an investigation into the incident is still pending.  However, this begs the question, are the rides within Panorama Mall and other amusement facilities in the Kingdom safe?  What kind of inspections and maintenance work are done?  How well qualified are the staff operating these rides and what training, if any, do they receive in basic or advanced first aid?


7 Responses

  1. First of all the mall has been opened for three years, it’s one of the newest malls in KSA. It was an unfortunate and disgusting act by those teenagers who harassed your friends, but I personally think because of two unfortunate incidents, it may be a little harsh to say one would not recommend the mall to friends. I personally shop at Danube in Panorama Mall at least once a week, and have coffee with my expat friends at Wayne’s Coffee, and feel quite safe.

    When my husband and I lived in the states back in 2004, my husband was assaulted by two marines who were intoxicated outside a grocery store,Ralphs. It was said to be a hate crime. I was back at Ralphs that same week doing my usuall shopping. I never once thought to boycott or let alone tell my muslim friends not to shop at Ralphs because fearing a hate crime against muslims. It was an unfortunate event, but life goes on.

  2. Accidents like this happen at amusement parks even in the US at well known places like Disneyland/world. Deaths have happened on rides, it is rare but it happens. People are also attached at differing places based on a number of reasons mostly it is based upon upbringing (such as hatred of women, gays or the other based upon discriminatory and superstitious religions/culture), opportunity and reaction. So I don’t know if what has been discribed here is enough to circumvent the mall for those in SA but for those outside SA is it just best to circumvent SA as it is a nation that believes in killing based on a backward tribal made up belief hate system in fairytales, hatred/fear/belittlement of women, hatred/killing of gays, hatred/discrimination of others (racism, fear of critical thinking, and other religions) and killing for apostate, blasphemy, witchcraft (I would laugh at this if it wasn’t so true), torture for fairytale beliefs, etc.

  3. I am not surprised that the mall staff was not trained well enough to deal with such situations. Most of the time the staff in the Gulf are useless because they don’t receive any appropriate training because of management’s fatalistic attitude to everything. There is a laissez-faire approach to everything. “If something is to happen, it will happen because God wished so. And as for this poor guy or woman who suffered an accident or died, they were so unlucky.” That’s it.

    I heard the word “unlucky” so many times in the Gulf that if I put aside a riyal for every time I heard it, I wouldn’t have to work for the rest of my life. Whenever somebody suffered an accident or an unpleasant situation due to poor management (and most of the time the management was extremely poor), nobody ever said “It’s the management’s fault. Somebody has to pay for his irresponsibility.” Everybody waved a hand saying “This person was so unlucky” as if the victims had nothing but their fate to blame.

    This lack of moral outrage is one of Gulf’s main specialties. Total lack of anger, complete indifference, resignation, you name it. Most people feel that way and you don’t feel that way unless you are aware that the place is beyond salvation. While in other countries there are real sanctions, there is nothing of this kind in the Gulf. If there was, I would have heard about it. Instead, I only heard about the philosophical attitude of the employers and onlookers to what had happened. You would see the same attitude if a citizen of the country killed an innocent driver with his reckless driving – it was never his fault, it was the victim’s general bad luck in life. Inshallah!

    This is the precise reason I dislike religion of any kind. It makes people confident that whatever they do (or don’t do), there’s always a higher force watching over them. Face it: nothing is watching over us. If it did, there wouldn’t be so much misfortune around the world. The truth is that everything is in our hands. It is left with us to take care of safety – ours and that of others – but some people are so hopeless they count on a higher force to take care of their sloppiness like God (if any) doesn’t have more important things to do.

  4. Yes, Panorama is definitely not one of the oldest malls, it is quite new.
    I would also agree with Norma Ortiz that personally I had never had a problem there. It has good shops, Danube supermarket and it is quite peaceful inside.

  5. I voted “no” I do not think the amusement parks here are safe. Are they properly installed and regularly maintained? I have looked for the electrical check that should be marked with an annual sticker and never observed it. My husband and I noticed over one year ago that the pillars holding the roller coaster at Panorama Mall had bolt holes, but no bolts securing it to the ground!
    I allow my toddler to be supervised on the “baby” rides, but anything else no way!

  6. Amusement parks in Bahrain were very substandard in the past…no idea about new parks and rides. I never felt confident about safety on anything beyond kiddie rides.

  7. It was in existence before I left Saudi and I would go to Panorama mainly because of Danube.

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