Practical Information in Saudi Arabia

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Basic Information about Traveling to Saudi Arabia

This Saudi Arabia practical information guide provides you the basic facts about traveling to this premier Middle Eastern country. These are vital facts that you should know if you plan to travel to this exotic and remarkable desert country.

Visa and Passport

You need a tourist visa and passport to enter Saudi Arabia. However, the government only grants this when you know someone in the country who can sponsor your stay. You should also stay in groups of four or travel as a couple as wife and husband. Couples cannot travel unless they are legally married to each other, and should have some legal papers to confirm their status. Your passport should be valid within 6 months. If you are woman under 30 years old, then you have to travel with your husband, a male parent or your brother. You should arrive and leave the country together. They are very strict in issuing VISA to foreigners.

Languages Spoken

The national language is Arabic, but sufficient English is spoken anywhere in the country especially in business centers.

Local Currency

The national currency is Saudi Riyal (SAR). Banks and other important offices are closed during prayer meetings and in the month of Ramadan. That is why tourists are discouraged to visit during Ramadan (the month of Moslem fasting). There are several ATM machines and banks where visitors can transact business. Major establishments also accept Visa and MasterCard cards. You can have your money converted to Saudi riyal in reliable money-changer establishments. One US dollar is equivalent to 3.75 Saudi riyals.  

Climate and Clothing

It is a country of desert and sand and has high humidity during months of April to October with temperatures reaching as high as 40 degrees Celsius or 104 degrees Fahrenheit. You could visit from November to February when the temperatures would be lower. Bring summer clothes during these months, and light sweaters in case it becomes windy in the evenings.

Safety Concerns

Islam prohibits alcohol, so you should not bring this with you or attempt to look for them. You should also drink bottled water, as most water sources may not be potable. Never agree to carry passengers or baggage for anyone across borders. Border police may charge you with human trafficking. The baggage may also contain contraband materials, which can cause you, trouble. You should carry a letter of permission from the owner if you borrowed the car. If you want to go to the west part of Saudi, then you have to take anti-malarial drugs as prevention.

The local currency is the Saudi Riyal (SAR)

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