If you are not prepared to accept several limitations on your behaviour and freedom of expression, you should not travel to Saudi Arabia.See the Hajj article for details.Kuwait in 1990, Saudi Arabia accepted the Kuwaiti royal family and 400, 000 refugees while allowing Western and Arab troops to deploy on its sand for the liberation of Kuwait the following year.This applies to citizens of Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Many residents prefer to buy drinking water from purification stations.Muslims usually make the effort to go to the mosque.Anyone who brings pork or eats it in the kingdom will be punished with fines and a jail sentence.Similarly, promoting an interpretation of Islam other than Wahhabism is a crime in Saudi Arabia.Religious items for religions other than Islam, including Bibles, crucifixes and any religious literature, are forbidden, although these days items for personal use are generally ignored.There is also one secular holiday: Unification of the Kingdom Day, on 23 September.
These facilities range from fairly rudimentary to very advanced and very expensive.The National Museum in Riyadh issues these free of charge, but you should apply at least a week in advance.Once this invitation is secured and certified, the actual process of issuing the visa is relatively fast and painless, taking anything from one day to two weeks.Jeddah in particular has lots of carpets, many brought by pilgrims who sell them there to help finance their trip to Makkah.Shopping mallsAllow all visitors, but often with evenings and weekends reserved for families and single women only.
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Desert excursions are particularly popular with the native Arabs.In 1999 the government announced plans to begin privatizing the electricity companies, which follows the ongoing privatization of the telecommunications company.Getting a work visa is considerably more complex, but usually your employer will handle most of the paperwork.The riyal is divided into 100 halalas, which are used to mark some prices, but, in practice, all payments are rounded to the nearest riyal and odds are you probably will never see any halala coins.Quranic forms of scripture in public.However, it is relatively easy to obtain a transit visa to drive through Saudi if you are in an adjacent country legally, and demonstrate the need to drive through Saudi to another adjacent country.Nearly all road signs are in English as well as Arabic, although the vast majority of speed limit signs use only Arabian numerals.
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Saudi authorities practice zero tolerance and make no distinction between alcohol and soft or hard drugs.No vaccinations are required for general travel to the Kingdom, but for pilgrims joining the Hajj and its extraordinary concentrations of pilgrims from all corners of the globe, a comprehensive series of vaccinations is required as a condition for entry.The biggest danger a visitor to Saudi Arabia faces is dangerous driving.Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.Chicken or mutton cooked with rice in a pot suspended above a fire.Saudi Arabia has 4 international airports at Riyadh, Jeddah, Madinah, and Dammam.
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This is by far the most restricted group.An unofficial ban of Westerners may still apply.Psychoactive medications are tightly controlled and available only through government pharmacies.Visa restrictions:Entry will be refused to citizens of Israel.The really important rules to beware of are enshrined in written Saudi law, with criminals subject to the full strength of the infamous Saudi penal system.There are few activities for just couples or singles.This can lead to major problems.
Locally grown dates are of high quality, and religious paraphernalia is widely available, but almost exclusively imported.Prayer times change daily according to the seasons and your exact location in the Kingdom.VOX Cinemas and AMC Cinemas.Saudia has a reasonable safety record, but many of their planes are on the old side, and the quality of service, inflight entertainment, etc.Internet cafes abound in major Saudi cities, and many shopping malls feature a gaming parlor or two.
If you have an accident, or otherwise attract police attention, the consequences might be serious indeed.The family were sheikhs of Nejd, the area around Riyadh, but were driven out by a neighbouring dynasty, hiding with their relatives, the emirs of Kuwait.Its top layer is made of limestone and bottom layer of sandstone.The main topographical features are as follows:The Sarawat or Sarat mountain range runs parallel to the Red Sea coast beginning near the Jordanian border until the southern coast of Yemen, gradually increasing in height southwards.As one moves further south towards Yemen, the barren landscape gradually gives way to green mountains and even woodlands, the result of being in the range of the monsoons.
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Because Saudi Arabia is an Islamic country, pork is definitely taboo.Exact dates of Ramadan depend on local astronomical observations and may vary somewhat from country to country.Horseback riding, camel riding, etc.Virtually all Gulf airlines and most major European airlines fly into Saudi.Online tickets are available for all services.
Fitr, which may last several days, usually three in most countries.They are quite good value, if the sparse schedules match your plans.On trains between Riyadh and Damman, business class is slightly less extravagant as it has an extra class, delightfully named Rehab, which compares to business on other services.If you have a work visa, exit visas are required to leave the country.Asir region cooler yet.Confusingly, the exact rules and their enforcement vary greatly both with time and from region to region, with the Nejd region around Riyadh being the most strict, the Eastern Province being the least strict, and the Hejaz around Jeddah being somewhere in the middle.The vast majority will allow single women into the family section.
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There are branches of DHL, FedEx and UPS operating throughout the kingdom, so a good rule of thumb is to have anything important sent through those channels.Jeddah has a number of dive operators.As of 2021, there are signs that segregation is being phased out as part of the reforms being implemented by the government, as most restaurants nowadays are mixed and do not have separate seating areas for both sexes.However, anything that hints of proselytism is treated very harshly, and the muttawa often bust illicit church assemblies and the like.People tend to think of Saudi Arabia as an expanse of scorchingly hot desert punctuated with oil wells, and for most of the time in most of the country, they are right.Expect significant variations in the English spellings of place names in schedules and even road signs: Al Wajh and Wedjh are the same place.Only then can any damage to the car be repaired, as insurance companies will not pay for any body work without this report.
Photography is probably the easiest way for a visitor to inadvertently get into trouble.After dhuhr, people head for lunch, while many shops choose to stay closed and snooze away the heat of the day.While partly due to Saudi reluctance to take many types of work, it is also true that Saudi citizens are forced to compete with multitudes of imported labor, which is often much cheaper than that of the locals.The red sand dunes outside Riyadh.Smaller hotels will only accept cash, normally in advance.
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It is advisable to buy tickets in advance as the trains are often sold out.Saudi Arabia is one of three countries named after their royal families, along with the Principality of Liechtenstein and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.After a rainy season, these barren, rocky steppes can yield lush meadows and rich pastures.Prohibited sites of course include pornographic websites, and sites that contain homosexuality, illegal gambling, and criticisms against their religion and government.You cannot get an exit visa without a signature from your employer, and there have been cases of people unable to leave because of controversy with employers or even customers.
After fajr, some people eat breakfast and head to work, with shops opening up.First class on a Saudi trainThe railway network in Saudi Arabia used to be underdeveloped, but there has been a major push to expand rail coverage.The punishment will be worse for the man than for the woman.Also, it is expected to serve Qurayyat next to the Jordanian border on 2021.The best known sites in Saudi Arabia are likely the two holy cities of Islam; Mecca and Medina.Also exempt from visa requirements are foreigners transiting through airports for less than eighteen hours, but many other entry requirements, such as the dress code and restrictions on unaccompanied women, still apply.
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After evening prayer, though, all the restaurants in the bazaar open up and do a roaring trade until the small hours of the morning.Houthi rebels in Yemen, there are occasional ballistic missile attacks against major Saudi cities and infrastructure.Nationals of Israel will be denied visas, although merely being Jewish in and of itself is not a disqualifying factor.Stories abound of things arriving months after they were sent or never arriving at all.Dammam service, for example, costs SR60 and takes around 6 hours.In a government effort to minimize smoking in major cities like Jeddah and Riyadh, establishments that offer shisha are either banished to the outskirts of towns, or offer exclusive outdoor seating arrangements.
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Access to car rentals is limited to persons 21 and older.Saudi Arabia, made with basmati rice, meat, vegetables and spices.RestaurantsSeparate sections for families and men.The old town of Jeddah.There are few desert dune bashing tour operators, if any, but ATV rentals are often found along the roadside on the outskirts of major cities and expats often arrange convoy trips into the desert.
Although the niqab is the norm for Saudi women, women from outside the country are allowed to wear a hijab.However, the law changed in June 2018, and women are now allowed to drive in the kingdom, albeit only with permission from their male guardian.CoffeeshopsMostly men only, although a few have family sections.Money changers can be found in souks, but are rare elsewhere.Tuwaig escarpment, a narrow plateau running 800 km from north to south.So, should it be your fault the Police will ask you to pay an amount to the other party, but you are not obligated to do so.Larger businesses will accept all cards, however most smaller businesses accept debit and credit cards but some will refuse if the amount is little.
ATMs are ubiquitous, although those of many smaller banks do not accept foreign cards; Samba, SABB and ANB are probably your best bets.LGBT activities are illegal in Saudi Arabia, and they are punishable by death.Saudi Arabia are often regaled with tales of beheadings, amputations and whippings, the full harshness of Saudi law is reserved for the likes of drug smugglers.All major languages are spoken in the markets of Makkah.My Kingdom will survive only insofar as it remains a country difficult to access, where the foreigner will have no other aim, with his task fulfilled, but to get out.Saudi Post has a good network of post offices around the country, but offices are closed Thursday and Friday.In July and August, in particular, all who can flee the country and work slows down to a crawl.
TerrainSaudi Arabia covers approximately four fifths of the area of the Arabian Peninsula, which can be described as a rectangular plateau gradually sloping eastwards till reaching sea level at the Persian Gulf.Women, be they local or foreign, are all required to wear an abaya, a long and loose black robe.However, if they catch people involved in smuggling or distilling booze in quantity, then expat or not, Saudi law applies.Unlike other businesses which kick out their customers at prayer time, most restaurants will let diners hang around and eat behind closed doors through the prayer period.Nejd The central highlands centered on Riyadh, the birthplace of the Saud family and the most conservative part of the country.
Your best bet is gift shops in major hotels.Aljouf with two trips a day.Muslims are exempt from this, but should still refrain from eating or drinking in public as this is considered very impolite.Works in Dammam, Jazan, Jeddah, Medina and Riyadh.Car rental is available and gasoline is some of the cheapest in the world.
Preference is usually given to male teachers, and previous ESL work experience may be required.Qatif in the eastern provinceexpat compounds generallyGenerally, the Mutawwa rarely enter hotels, if ever.It is largely made up of barren volcanic rock, especially in the south, and sandstone in the north, but it is also interspersed with ancient lava fields and fertile valleys.These events can be a bit rare, however, so plan in advance.Turaif District in Diriyah.
This is because social sites such as Facebook and Twitter are not banned in the country.HotelsSingle women no longer require written permission to be allowed to check in, provided they have their own ID cards.Saudi Arabia during Ramadan, consider reading Travelling during Ramadan.Islam is the state religion of Saudi Arabia.Saudi law prohibits women from mingling with unrelated men.Unemployment among young Saudis is a serious problem.There are several services daily at a cost of SR60 or 6 Bahraini dinars, and the trip across the King Fahd Causeway takes around 3 hours on a good day; see Bahrain for details.
Finding restaurants that serve actual Saudi cuisine is surprisingly difficult, although many larger hotels have Arabic restaurants.English is unlikely to be spoken by the police, even in big cities, so try to use the waiting time to arrange a translator.South services, private sleeper cabins are also available at a premium.The eastern province is largely barren except that it contains two oases resulting from springs of ancient fossil water.Saudis, and embassies can provide only limited help in these situations.The eastern crossings to Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE are heavily used, all others rather less so.Within cities, taxis are the only practical means of transportation.
Bills come in values of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 riyals, with two different series in circulation.Those not listed must apply at an embassy or consulate and provide additional documentation: proof of accommodation, proof of employment, proof of a return ticket, and a bank statement.Khobar and Manama, Bahrain.Degree and a TESOL certification.Western families driving through on a valid transit visa are generally waved through the customs inspection with a cursory glance.
Few local products are of interest to tourists.Saudi government through Saudi embassies around the world in cooperation with local mosques.The exclusion zone is well signposted.Satellite TV and downloading entertainment from the Internet is thus very popular.Single men are not allowed in family areas: family beaches are partitioned from the bachelor beaches, for example.The country has some of the highest accident rates in the world.
Hajjis and those on transit visas are prohibited from traveling freely throughout the kingdom, and during Hajj season getting a visa of any kind tends to be more difficult.Google, Skype, Wikipedia, and all major webmail providers are accessible.To get a working visa, you must have a Saudi sponsor.Eating is one of the few pleasures permitted in Saudi Arabia, and the obesity statistics show that most Saudis indulge as much as they can.ShopsUsually allow all visitors.
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Computers, VCR tapes and DVDs have all been seized from time to time for inspection by the authorities.Accidents are common, and if a visitor is involved in one, they would be exposed to the extremely punitive Saudi legal system; see elsewhere on this page for the warnings about that.Tuwaig range and its immediate vicinity are dotted with a constellation of towns and villages.There are five UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country.Airlines from Muslim countries are flying in many loads of pilgrims, and do not want to go back empty.
Carpets are a favorite purchase, most of these coming from nearby Iran.There are numerous dialects spoken around the country, but the most important are Hejazi Arabic, originating from the Hejaz around Jeddah and the effective lingua franca, and Najdi Arabic, spoken in the Nejd around Riyadh.Men not accompanied by their families.Foreigners living in Saudi Arabia can often get sensational discounts on outbound flights during the Hajj.Internet censorship in Saudi Arabia might not be as strict as other countries in the Middle East.Women should keep in mind that under Saudi law, four independent male witnesses are required to testify in order for someone to be convicted of rape.
As strict Wahhabi belief prohibits making images of any living creature and Saudis place a high value on privacy, do not photograph any Saudi men without permission and do not even point your camera in the general direction of women, period.Four French tourists, part of a larger group that had been camping in the desert, were shot and killed by terrorists near Madain Saleh in early 2007.Zam zam water is available throughout the Western Region and at all airports.Slow, uncomfortable and not particularly cheap, these are of interest primarily if you need to take your car across.It is against the law to be accompanied anywhere by a woman who is not your wife or a family member, and religious police pay particular attention to interracial couples.Under the rules of segregation, all people are divided into three groups:Families.
Saudi Arabia is still largely a cash society.All restaurants in the Kingdom are closed during the day, and while some offices stay open with limited hours, the pace of business slows down to a torpor.Saudi Arabia has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, even though petty crimes like pickpocketing and purse snatching exist.Automobile crossings exist on nearly all the borders, although those into Iraq are closed.Saudi Arabia and the following are the most anticipated providers:Bolt.In fact, many local youths celebrate it more zealously than either Islamic Eid.
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Muslims to enter these cities.Like most of the Middle East, the weekend in Saudi Arabia is Friday and Saturday, with Sunday a normal working day.Foreigners should register their presence with their embassy or consulate.Standardized throughout the country, metered fares start at SR5 and tick up at SR1.Riyadh, Buraydah and Al Qurayyat near the Jordanian border.
Saudi sandwich chain, founded in 1988.Women not accompanied by their families.These are strictly a male domain.The only significant exception is citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council nations.Hotels of all types are available throughout the Kingdom.
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Most popular in the south near the Yemeni border.Public observance of religions other than Islam is a crime in Saudi Arabia.Arabian Desert makes up most of the country.Westerners in particular continues to simmer.Although Skype is also allowed, the Saudi government has banned smartphone app Viber.Local calls are under SR0.
Everything in Saudi Arabia is regulated by the five daily prayers.New customers are generally not allowed to enter until after prayer is over.The stuff is emphatically to be avoided.Video games are an eternal obsession of Saudi youth, and one which is capitalized upon rather well by local retailers.Saudi Arabia has some of the most restrictive travel policies in the world, and advance visas are required for all foreigners desiring to enter.
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Stamps for postcards to anywhere in the world cost SR4.Video game shops are ubiquitous in all of the major cities.Even government publications avoid pictures of people and often resort to mosaicing out faces if they have to use one!In the foothills of the Hejaz lies the holy city of Makkah, and approximately 400 km north of Makkah in an oasis between two large lava fields lies the other holy city of Madinah.The winter can also bring rains to all or most of the country, although in many years this is limited to one or two torrential outbursts.
Main article: Arabic phrasebookArabic is the official language of the Kingdom.Highway quality is highly variable, except highways that connect major cities, which are generally excellent.Islamic, assume that it is: it would probably be best not to bring it with you to the kingdom.Notoriously, Saudi Arabia used to ban women from driving on public roads.Visitors to Saudi Arabia are required to respect local conventions, in particular regarding Islam.
The Empty Quarter has the most stunning scenery, and requires the most preparation.There are no railways connecting Saudi Arabia with other countries, although in the North, you can still find bits and pieces of the Hejaz Railway that once led to Damascus.The second prayer is dhuhr, held after true noon in the middle of the day.GDP comes from the private sector.Saudi law, regardless of whose fault it actually is.
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Pharmacies are widely available and prescriptions are not required for most medications.Aziz Ibn Saud and a few dozen lads rode out to raid their home territory.There are quite a few jobs for expatriates in Saudi Arabia.WARNING: Drug trafficking is illegal in Saudi Arabia, and is punishable by death or whipping.Foreign currencies are generally not accepted by merchants.
Private hospitals are often run with the participation of foreign partners.The country strongly enforces a very strict interpretation of Islamic law, even though minor relaxations have been adopted in the last few years, the most notable one being allowing women to drive.Business, tourism, transit, or Hajj visas do not require exit permits.Some remote areas, notably around the Iraqi and Yemeni borders, are restricted military zones.Raising a ruckus or simply loudly asking the harasser anta Muslim?
Muslims fast every day for its duration and most restaurants will be closed until the fast breaks at dusk.Muslim pilgrims throng during the Hajj.Drivers typically tend to attack their art with an equal mix of aggressiveness and incompetence.However, there are important reasons to think twice about car rental.Many large cities have public parks and small zoos.Riyadh, but much of the surrounding territory.
The service to Eritrea has stopped running.Jeddah affected by major flooding in January 2011 and some cases of dysentery reported.Haramain Highspeed Railway operates its own website.Saudi Arabia for the nightlife.It is not uncommon for the traffic police to resolve the incident there and then by determining the guilty party and deciding compensation.Saudi Arabia is served by the national airline Saudia.
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The heavy presence of iron oxides gives the sand its distinctive red appearance.During Ramadan, visitors are required to abide by the restrictions of the fasting month, at least in public: no eating, drinking or smoking during the daylight hours.Larger, more expensive hotels are abundant in all major cities.There are no official churches in Saudi Arabia of any kind.Working hours are decreased as well in the corporate world.
Maghrib prayers are held at sunset and mark the end of the work day in much of the private sector.The small number of Saudi Arabian Christians meet in Internet chat rooms, and foreign Christians may meet at church meetings held at one of several embassies after registering and showing their passport, to prove foreign nationality, or by private assemblies in school gyms in gated communities on Aramco grounds.Although, in theory, the muttawa must hand a detainee over to the police before interrogation, and cannot implement judicial punishments like whipping without a trial, reports of abuse and even deaths in muttawa custody are still alarmingly common.Many people understand and speak some English, although markedly less well than in, say, the UAE or Qatar.Asir Southwestern highlands with a temperate climate and strong Yemeni influence.Contracts will usually include accommodations, airfare, and health care.
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As it turned out, the invaders had been ruling badly, so many locals joined them.Passenger ferries run once a week or less from Egypt and Sudan to ports in western Saudi Arabia.There are no major health risks for traveling in Saudi Arabia: water is generally drinkable and food is usually, but not always, hygienic.Large gold and jewelry markets are prominent in all major cities.During the Hajj, numerous charter flights supplement the scheduled airlines.Confusingly, each railway is operated by a different company.
Most of the shops are open as well, and the cool of the evening makes it a pleasant time to shop.Do not drink and drive is good advice anywhere, but especially in Saudi Arabia.Mail coming in to the country from overseas is notoriously unreliable.If you are considering travelling to Bahrain, virtually all businesses in Bahrain will accept riyals, but the dinar is not as easily convertible in Saudi Arabia.Day, Christmas or even birthdays, causing all cards of any sort to disappear from bookstores.
While all this legally applies to foreign women as well, in practice foreign women are not restrained by their families in the way that Saudi women are, and can have considerable leeway if they choose to take it.However, some Filipino workers report the presence of churches inside some gated communities.Western visitors to Saudi arrive on business visas, which require an invitation from a local sponsor which has been approved by the Saudi Chamber of Commerce.Saudi security forces and there have been no major attacks in the cities for several years, security remains tight and it is prudent not to draw too much attention to yourself.In addition to the obvious legal risk, there is a risk of inexpert distilling making it downright poisonous.The area united under him became known as Saudi Arabia.
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Saudi Arabia by car.Gyms, pools and spas are generally restricted to men only, but some female facilities are available.East of the Hejaz lies the elevated plateau known as Najd, a sparsely populated area of desert steppe dotted with small volcanic mountains.Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi community, which serve up large thali platters of subcontinental fare for under SR10.Middle East in 1933.Women are expected to be accompanied by a male relative in public, although single women may be admitted into family areas.
Saudi Arabia, the country is your oyster.Madain Saleh, require permits.Abha, Najran and Madain Saleh.