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6 Tips for Visiting Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is a country that's quite unique, vastly different from both its neighboring countries and countries in Europe and the rest of the world. Saudi Arabia has a unique culture, hot weather and customs that you are probably not familiar with. Whether you are traveling for business, light tourism or as a part of the Hajj, the holy pilgrimage to Mecca, there are several things you need to know before you embark on a journey to Saudi Arabia. While not all of Saudi Arabia’s strict rules are punishable by law, some of them might actually get you into trouble with the authorities. As such, we have gathered several tips for traveling to Saudi Arabia which will help you enjoy your visit without any problems.

Dress code and other customs

Saudi Arabia has very strict dress customs. Women are expected to dress modestly and wear an abaya, which is a full-length dress that covers you from head to toe. Moreover, women should also consider wearing scarves. While not strictly necessary, it would show respect for the Saudi Arabian culture. Moreover, men are also advised to wear long pants and long sleeves all the time, although they can wear short sleeved shirts.

In addition, men and women segregation is very common in Saudi Arabia. Many places will have separate entrances for men and women, for example, and you should pay attention not to break the rules and customs and show, albeit inadvertently, lack of respect for the cultural traditions. There are also places where women are not allowed to enter, and women also are not allowed to drive, even if they do have a valid driver license. Swimwear is permitted on private beaches, but women should still take care to remain covered.

Alcohol is strictly forbidden across the border. You are not allowed to bring alcohol into the country, and you should never attempt to order an alcoholic drink while in Saudi Arabia. It would be a sign of severe disrespect for the country and its culture, but it can also get you in trouble with the authorities.

Polite Interaction with Locals

Make sure that you are polite at all times during your interaction with your traveling party and with the locals. When you are greeting someone, make sure to shake their hand. Never offer a kiss in greeting – even if it is someone whom you are traveling with.

When interacting, men stand very near to each other, so when someone is communicating with you and coming closer to you, make sure to allow the closeness and not to pull back. Putting distance between yourself and the person who is speaking to you would be considered an insult.

Moreover, men and women never engage in physical interaction in public. If you are traveling with your significant other, do not show any public displays of affection, do not hold hands or link arms when you walk. You can walk side by side, especially since women are discouraged from going out in public without an appropriate male escort, however, you should not hold hands or engage in any kind of physical interaction, as that would be a sign of disrespect for the local culture.

When it comes to communication, the official language of Saudi Arabia is Arabic, but English is also widely spoken in the towns and cities. You should not have any trouble communicating with the locals in English. However, you should make an attempt to learn some phrases for hello, thank you, how are you (different for male and female), goodbye and others as a sign of respect.

Health tips

Before going to Saudi Arabia, you should get vaccinations for Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, typhoid, and rabies, and if you are going to embark on the Hajj, make sure that you get inoculated for added protection. The annual pilgrimage attracts people from all over the world, and recently, the number of pilgrims who take part has risen to 2 million people. Because of the large number of people, inoculation with the vaccination for meningitis is strongly advised, because meningitis often thrives in big crowds.

Moreover, do not forget about travel insurance. While healthcare in Saudi Arabia is excellent, you might spend a lot of money if you do not have proper travel insurance.


You might want to indulge in photography while in Saudi Arabia, even if you are only traveling for business. However, you need to know that you are not allowed to take photographs of the local people, especially not of local women. You are discouraged from taking photos of marketplaces or large crowds of people.

Moreover, photography is strictly forbidden in airports, mosques, government buildings, and palaces.

Weather and climate

Saudi Arabia, for the most part, has a desert climate. Those who are not familiar with desert climate might be surprised that the high heat of the day would be followed by a sudden drop in temperature at night. During the warm months from April to October, the daily temperature can reach over 40 degrees Celsius, while the period between November and March is considered cooler. For that reason, it is advisable that you visit Saudi Arabia during the cooler months if you can.

While Saudi Arabia does not get a lot of rain, recently, heavy rainfall and floods have been detected in the cooler months from November to February. Make sure that you are prepared for the possibility of heavy rain if you are visiting during this period.

Tips and services

Hotels in Saudi Arabia are modern and offer every possible service, so you do not need to worry about whether you will have access to the internet to browse or visit top betting sites. Tipping is vastly encouraged in Saudi Arabia, so be prepared to leave at least a 10% tip on every service, although, you should check whether the hotel has already added it to your bill. Moreover, you are expected to tip 10% to taxi drivers, waiters, or any other person who is servicing you in any way. Not leaving a tip might be considered an insult and a sign that you did not like the service.