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Welcome to Saudi Arabia

A guide to middle east arab countries

Introduction

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the Arabian Peninsula. Located in the Middle East, southwestern Asia, Saudi Arabia occupies four-fifths of Arabian Peninsula bounded by the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. About nine-tenths of the country is a desert as it is an upland with bands of highlands rising from the Red Sea Coast.Saudi Arabia’s geography is diverse, with forests, grasslands, mountain ranges and deserts.

The Prophets Mosque Medina Saudi Arabia

The Prophets Mosque Medina Saudi Arabia

Competitors in the King’s Camel Race, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Competitors in the King’s Camel Race, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Asir region, Saudi Arabia

Asir region, Saudi Arabia

Fast Facts

Official name: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or Al-Mamlaka al-Arabiya as-Saudiya

Capital: Riyadh

Population: 24 million, including about 6.5 million expatriates.

Location: southwest Asia, at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa; extending from the Red Sea in the west to the Arabian Gulf in the east; bordered on the north by Jordan, Iraq and Kuwait, on the south, by Yemen and Oman, and on the east by the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain.

Monetary Unit: Saudi Riyal (SR) pegged to U.S. dollar

Language: Arabic; English widely spoken in urban areas.

Religion: Islam, which is the basis of the legal system and of government

Time difference: GMT+3

Telephone: 00966

Electricity: 127/220 volts AC, 60Hz.

Tipping: Follow standard tipping rules for an additional 10% to 15% on top of taxi fares and restaurant bills for good service.

Clothing: Before you start your exploring in this beautiful country, you must bear in mind that Saudi is very strict when it comes to clothing. Here are a few things to remember to avoid commotion and trouble: Women must wear an "abaya", an all-black dress that covers your neck down to your ankles. Shorts are prohibited for both men and women. Skimpy outfits like tank tops and mini skirts are not allowed in Saudi. In some parts of the country, tourists can be seen wearing jeans and t-shirts, but it is better to follow their custom to avoid being stared at. Moreover, clothing policies must be followed at all times especially when you are out on the streets otherwise Muttawas or the religious police will arrest you.

Opening hours: Government offices Saturday through Wednesday from 7:30 am to 2:30 pm; private businesses from 8:00 am to noon and 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; general banking from 8:00 am until noon and from 5:00 pm until 8:00 pm and markets and shops from 8:00 am until 10:00 pm.

Climate: June through August, over 110 degrees Fahrenheit midday in the desert; humidity in coastal regions up to 100 percent; elsewhere, mild; possible winter temperatures in the northern and central regions dropping below freezing; rainfall, from none at all for up to 10 years in the Rub Al-Khali, to 20 inches a year in the mountains of Asir Province.

Driving: It's not advisable to drive in Saudi Arabia.

Taxis: Taxis and limousines are ordinarily available in major cities, particularly at airports and shopping malls.

Buses: There are public buses but these are used primarily by local commuters.

The Kingdom Tower in central Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The Kingdom Tower in central Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Places to visit

Capital of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh city is the seat of government; ministries, embassies, diplomatic missions, as well as It contains educational, financial, agricultural,cultural, technical, commercial and social organizations.

The National Museum ,located in the beautiful city of Riyadh,gives an insight into the history of Saudi Arabia.There are different types of antiques, manuscripts, documents and display boards that showcase an erstwhile era.

Jeddah is the second largest city after Riyadh, it is the main port of the Kingdom on the Red Sea and main gate through which most of the pilgrims arrive by air and sea to perform Umrah, Haj or to visit the two holy mosques.

Islam’s two holiest cities, Makkah and Madinah, are located in Saudi Arabia. Makkah is the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad, the location of the Holy Kaaba, and the focal point of the Islamic Pilgrimage (Hajj). Madinah is the city to which the Prophet Muhammad emigrated, and where he lived. About two million Muslims from Saudi Arabia and around the world come to Makkah each year in observance of the Hajj.

Taif stands 1,800 meters above sea-level on the eastern slopes of the Al-Sarawat mountains. Its cooler temperatures have made it a traditional summer resort for both these cities and, in the summer months, the seat of government is moved from the dry heat of Riyadh to the more equable climate of Taif.

Things to do

This page is under construction.

Visa Requirements

Everyone who enters the Kingdom should have a valid passport with at least 6 months validity and the appropriate visa.Unless you are a visitor from a GCC country or in transit, all other nationalities require a visa to enter the Kingdom. Visas can be for business, tourist,transit, residency, family, Hajj, or conference attendance.

Visas can be obtained from the visa department in the Saudi Embassy of the visitor's home country or from Saudi Consulates available in all main cities around the world.

If a woman is arriving in the Kingdom alone, the sponsor or her husband must receive her at the airport.Every woman must have confirmed accommodation for the duration of her stay in the Kingdom. A woman is not allowed to drive a car and can therefore travel by car only if she is accompanied by her husband, a male relative, or a driver.

All visitors to the Kingdom must have a return ticket. Pilgrims must also have all valid documentation and a passport that is valid for 6 months.

Where to Stay

This page is under construction.

Events

This page is under construction.

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