Wonderful article! Following the relaxation of the religious laws, women are no longer required to wear the abaya and hijab, they are however expected to wear decently in public. Avoid summer, late spring and early autumn, as during day time, temperatures average 40-45ºC. According to the Saudi Government, 100% of the Saudis are Muslim, the large majority being Sunni Wahabbis. It is slowly opening its door for the outside world for them to know more about saudi arabia and its rich cultural heritage and religion. Type here..Am so much happy for the wonderful information you give out about the culture and law operating in Saudi Arabia God bless, my dream is to be in Arabia one day not just for anything but to understand the language of Arabia to promote and advance the level of my education even if am to get someone who I will work with in any of his local company , May Allah help us all. Typically, Saudis are so easy to recognize because they wear the thawb, which is the white traditional dress. Couchsurfing in Jeddah and Riyadh is really easy, and I assume in other big cities as well but I couldn’t find a couch in Jizan and Abha. Saudi Arabia is a very religious country proud of its traditions. For centuries, Muslims from all over the world came to Saudi on their journey to Mecca and, at some point, decided to settle there. Something you should know is that, in Saudi, the internet is censored. Really. Here we go… Schiphol Airport, checking in for my flight to Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Whereas Salafists are really, really conservative in nature, it is more socially accepted. The news came as Saudi Arabia announced new tourism visas for the Kingdom. Hi. really love all your posts man. Yo estoy ahora por aquí y se niegan a servirmela porque dicen que necesitan mi huella dactilar, la cual no figura en el pasaporte. By the way, most rental companies won’t rent you a car if you don’t have an international driving license, so remember to convert it before leaving your country. Seriously, stay away from drugs – Drugs may lead to death sentence, so don’t play with them. Until recently, women visiting Saudi Arabia were expected to wear an abaya (an ankle length robe) and hijab (a headscarf). You can also move by bus between cities. In the West status is earned through achievement, however in the Arab world status is determined by class. Right before visiting Saudi Arabia, I was traveling in Oman, so my initial idea was to overland via UAE. It was a pleasure to meet you again and hang out with you for a couple of days. If you are a man, don’t try to shake hands and keep a reasonable distance with them but you can talk to them freely and you will see that they are as lovely women like any other. Men can wear shorts – Nobody will say anything to you. Visiting Saudi Arabia as a tourist. This means that their penal code includes some very hardcore punishments such as public beheading or getting flogged. I’ve worn a kandoora when visiting mosques. For example, allowing women and men to hang out together in public spaces was one of the most significant changes. They still don’t know that foreigners can now travel to Saudi Arabia. SIGN UP THROUGH THIS LINK TO GET YOUR 35€ OF FREE CREDIT. Every day more speed cameras and signalling on changing lanes has become much more of a thing. Tourists will obtain a multiple-entry visa valid for a year that will allow them to stay in the country for up to 90 days. Moreover, because of this censorship and, since there is no freedom of speech, the Government reserves the right to monitor your internet activity. Thank you. The reality is miles away from this stereotype. However, there is a relatively developed domestic tourism infrastructure, so you can find hotels pretty much everywhere, even though they tend to be expensive. Do you know whether you’ll be denied entry if, like Lebanon, one has an Israeli stamp/visa in your passport? Saudi people are extremely hospitable. I am actually left-handed and sometimes I forget about it and Saudi has been the only place where the locals got a bit upset when they saw me eating with my left hand. A few days after, I met Ibrahim, a real Saudi from Abha. Saudi Arabia is opening its doors to visitors from all over the world with a new entry visa regime in place from 27th September 2019. Obviously, there will be many cases of liberal Saudi women who will tell you a different story but I am just talking in generic terms. If you are short of time, a very good alternative is taking domestic flights. Questions about personal freedoms immediately come to mind, such as whether women drive, whether they have to 'cover up' and whether it's safe. I’m a filipino guy working here in Riyadh KSA. Cheers man! Saudi Arabia is the most religious country I have ever been to. There are limitations on the availability of the visa to women, for starters. and thanks for such great and informative vlog. Remember to always travel with the proper travel insurance, especially in countries like Saudi Arabia where, for foreigners, the Health Care System is crazy expensive. How to deal with women in Saudi – Now that every day you see more and more women working in public spaces, you are likely to talk to quite a few Saudi women who wear the niqab. READ THIS: I got a lot of reactions to this video. thanks. If you are sharing a meal with more traditional people, try to always eat with your right hand. Saudi Arabia has a different culture than the Western world and it sounds like they’ve been changing a lot of their rules to make it more liberal lately. But the kingdom's laws are complicated, and tourists can easily fall foul of them and receive a hefty fine, or worse. Different countries, different perspectives, different rules. Before visiting Saudi, I was traveling in Oman for 1 month. And does this visa have limit country? Prior to visiting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, I had a lot of questions about what it would be like to visit as a woman. On Friday, everything is closed until Asr prayer, which is around 4 or 5pm – Not everything will be closed but some restaurants may open in the morning. Sure, Saudi is an extremely patriarchal country, so this kind of reaction is perfectly understandable. Visiting Saudi Arabia also made me aware of my gender in a way I am utterly unaccustomed to. How is it to visit Saudi Arabia as a Western woman? You won’t find Wi-Fi in the cheap cafés but most malls or Western-Style cafés have public Wi-Fi. Read: Ultimate 7-day itinerary to Dubai and the UAE, Interested in off the beaten track countries? CLICK HERE TO FIND THE BEST CAR RENTAL DEALS IN SAUDI ARABIA. Saudi Arabia has not just suddenly transformed, no matter what the under-informed believe. If it doesn’t work, you can just Google “Saudi Arabia shorts stepfeed” and check the news on Stepfeed’s website. it is obvious that who wrote this article didn't visit Saudi Arabia ever. Travel to Saudi Arabia is about to become much easier with the introduction of the online Saudi Arabia visa.. Note – Saudis prefer to be called Salafis, instead of Wahabis. The comparison between the prerogative to wear shorts and the prerogative to bully people online is valid because both the judgment of either as right or wrong is rooted in changing cultural values. Women in Saudi often wear open shoes while others are more comfortable in a set of trainers. Women over 25 won’t need a guardian, but they will need to be part of a tour group. Like I said before, in the last couple of years, the laws of Saudi Arabia have become more flexible. If you’re accompanied by a male nobody will come talk to you, at most you’ll have people stating at you for being different. And when you do your bday, after clicking a few hundred times, hold the status bar and a decade year range will show up.. You can’t seriously walk. Hi! Very different Western cultural responses to the question of permissible freedom. Last year, I was one of the first very few tourists to ever travel to Saudi Arabia on a tourist visa. when in Saudi, women definately need to be covered up, it's nothing like Dubai in case you're wondering a few western women I've spoken to and who have had to do this whilst visiting Saudi have said that they found the experience of covering up to be very empowering, they felt they were longer the object of male attention (especially if they wore the face veil) Women or men that go with women need to sit in the family section. This was just a one-time event and, after that, they celebrated one or two more, the last one being in July 2019. For example, Jeddah to Jizan via Abha is around 900km and if you want to go to Al-Ula, then you have to go back to Jeddah and Al-Ula is another 670km (one way). From a legal point of view, I doubt you need to be covered but yeah, if you do, you will definitely avoid continuous stares. Saudi Arabia is finally open for mass tourism after the launch of a new tourist visa on September 27. Is tracing possible there? Hope this was useful. You check all bus schedules and buy tickets on this website. However, bring always some extra cash, as the Indian-run cafés and other more local places don’t accept cards. According to the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, it is not mandatory for women visiting the country to wear an abaya or hijab. Very nice article. Wi-Fi – It works pretty well all across the country, including in the budget hotels. Women over 25 won’t need a guardian, but they will need to be part of a tour group. Just keep in mind that you will be required to take them off when visiting a mosque. If you are self-driving for long distances, most small towns you pass by will also have budget apartment-hotels which are always clean, at least in my experience. I’ve been living in Saudi only since February 2019 (Eastern Province) but the drivers have definitely gotten better over that time. These resorts aren’t open yet - why else would I visit Saudi Arabia? Most women in Saudi wear the black niqab, which covers the whole face except the eyes. For a more detailed analysis, read this article from Joao Leitao: Is Saudi Arabia a safe country to travel? Hi. The Saudi eVisa allows eligible citizens to obtain a tourist visa for Saudi Arabia exclusively online, eliminating the need to apply for a visa from a Saudi embassy or consulate.. Women don’t need to wear hijab – You don’t need to cover your head but, like I just said, you must cover your body with an abaya. I agree with what you wrote above in your blog, “This is their country and we are not here to judge.” So I was disappointed to read the judgment of the Saudi culture as (moving) “backwards” because it has different dress code rules than our cultures do. Saudis who follow the state approved version of Islam will probably call themselves Salafis, although this term can have a broader meaning elsewhere it is always conservative in nature. , Your email address will not be published. This guide contains all the practical information. Apparently, their results and experience were rather satisfactory and, along with the fact that Saudi is trying to find alternative ways of not being so dependant on oil revenue, they finally announced the introduction of an e-visa system, starting from September 2019. All EU countries within Schengen zone + Andorra, Monaco, United Kingdom and Ukraine, Brunei, China, Canada, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, United States. At first, some women may find the thought of moving to Saudi Arabia daunting. I have updated the article accordingly. Because there are fewer than 100,000 Westerners thought to be living in Saudi Arabia, most Western women who travel there have been sponsored by their workplace for a specific period of time. Azeez said 2 years ago. Saudi Arabia is a wealthy country with a well-developed infrastructure. Moreover, many Saudis are crazy drivers, more than in any other country I have been to. When I finally reached Jizan, I decided not to hitchhike anymore. Cheers. However, all companies offer limited daily mileage, around 250-300km a day I think, so if you drive to faraway places like Al-Ula or Jizan, you may end up paying quite a lot. Industry-wise, the sole company that employs female engineers is Saudi Aramco, the largest oil company in the world. With that announcement, adventure-seekers and culture lovers had the opportunity to visit Saudi Arabia for up to 90 days at a time. Women can't open bank accounts on behalf of their kids without their husband's permission. Every government forces citizens to do many things. For Kuwait we got a single visa only, I called their embassy in Brussels and they told us that we can cross land border in either direction and we can apply our second Kuwait visa at the border coming back from KSA. The system still has a few bugs and I was not able to apply, but they just launched a few days ago, so we will have to wait. Everybody knows that. We’ll just have to respectfully disagree. In December 2018, the only way of traveling to Saudi Arabia on a tourist visa was by purchasing a ticket for a Formula-E event that would take place in Riyadh. I just wondering if you’re still keeping updated about that e-visa. stay bless people of whole Saudia Arabia (both Hijaz and Najd), amen! It just took a little time, as a Canadian woman who lives in the UAE, to figure She enjoys writing travel, medical, health and how-to articles for various publishers. However for acquiring a visa, the procedure seems fairly easy. The Saudi Embassy advises women to dress conservatively in public; that means wearing ankle-length dresses with long sleeves and not pants. Living in large company-sponsored compounds can make life much easier and more enjoyable for expat women than staying in an individual apartment or villa. The country is quiet, slow paced, and friendly. but the problem is I can not go back to Saudi. in Riyadh. If you travel to Iran, you will see that the clothing rules are even more strict. More information is available at: Public decorum. However, going backwards refers to the fact that they force you wearing certain clothes. Your experiences are very welcome . Moreover, you should also know that, despite everything that you may have read in the media, Saudi Arabia is an incredible country which is filled with loads of stunning sites, both natural and archaeological, hugely contrasting landscapes and some extremely hospitable people that could easily rival my beloved friends from Pakistan and Iran. Reuters/Faisal Nasser In a famous September 2018 case, an Egyptian man was arrested in Saudi Arabia for having breakfast with an unmarried woman in the family section of a restaurant and posting a video of it to social media.
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