Saudi Arabia Travel Tips
VisaVisitors possessing a passport with a validity of 6 months or longer are allowed to apply for a visa of Saudi Arabia.
Visa exemption policy applies to the citizens from the Gulf Cooperation members including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and United Arab Emirates as well as those who possess diplomatic and official passports of France.
Visa BanDue to the diplomatic severance between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Qataris are forbidden from entering in the country. Citizens of Israel are denied entrance into the country.
On the Hajj, pilgrims can apply for a special visa through travel agents to the Kingdom. It is noteworthy that Muslim female visitors can enter Saudi Arabia for Hajj or Umarh only when they are accompanied by a male family member aged 18 and above or travel with a group of all female visitors led by a leader.
CostRiyal, the currency of Saudi Arabia has a relatively fixed exchange rate with dollars for 1 dollar against 3.75 Riyal. There are a great number of foreign migrant workers in the country and the cost regarding food and clothes is relatively low. Small restaurants on the streets or major shopping malls sell food of various styles including sandwiches, bread, chicken rolls, and juice. The average cost for one meal is 40 to 50 Riyal.
Visa card can be used in big cities. Attention should be given to the security of paying by card.
BuyThanks to low tariffs, many products of well-known international brands are priced much lower than other countries such as watches, luxury goods and sports shoes. Besides, tourists can also purchase special local products. Dates are a very popular kind of sweets in the country. Broadsword is the representative symbol of the past nomadic lifestyle of the local people. As a Muslim country, Saudi Arabia has the world’s most complete collection of Quran which is the classic of Islam. Tourists can find Quran of almost any language here.
AccommodationTourists can choose to stay in small or starred hotels depending on personal interest. The price ranges from less than 30$ to over hundreds of dollars per night.
Do’s and Don t’sIn Saudi Arabia, trafficking drug is a capital crime. It is recommended that doctor’s prescription be offered to the custom if visitors need to bring a relatively large dose of medicine.
Alcohol and pork are prohibitedby the country. Anyone violating this rule will be subject to serious punishment including arrest, high fine and whipping.
Photographing is forbidden in places of sensitive implication. Do not take photos of the local people especially females without their permission.
Women, Muslim or not, are prohibited from driving and should go out accompanied by male family members and wear ABAYA and coif. Males cannot enter public places in shorts or bare-chested. Practicing rituals of religions other than Islam is prohibited in public places. During Ramadan, visitors, Muslim or not, cannot eat, drink or smoke in public places during daytime before nightfall.
Call & InternetThere are three telecommunication companies including Saudi Telecom, Mobily and Zain Saudi. All of them provide free incoming call, affordable domestic and international call service. Besides, they offer wireless rooters supported by SIM card.
For visitors planning to stay in the country for a short period, our suggestion is to buy a prepaid STC card in the airport. The number of customer service is 6060. One STC card valued 50 Riyal has 35 Riyal for calling with a validity of 6 months. It is also convenient to get access to the Internet via sending direction to the customer service to get data packages.
FestivalsEid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha are the most important festivals. Ed al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, which last for a whole month in September of the Islamic Calendar. Saudi workers will have seven days off work. On this day, people say special prayers and share lamb meat with each other.
Eid al-Adha falls on December 10th of the Islamic Calendar which is also the time for Hajj.
FoodSaudis have two meals a day. Pork and alcohol drinks are forbidden in local food. Saudis also like sweets as they tend to add sugar and honey in snacks and drinks.
ElectricityPlugs in the country are the same to those used in Britain in appearance, ie., Type G electrical plugs. The voltage is 220V.
Useful NumbersPolice: 999
Traffic Accident: 993