Saudi Arabia Travel Guide: Travel tips for foreigners & backpackers, Riyadh tourist information, Saudi Arabia food average prices, eating on a budget, accommodation in Riyadh Find discount hotels, cheap accommodation, vacation deals, holiday packages.
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Saudi Arabia Travel Guide

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Full country name: Most Serene Republic of Saudi Arabia
Area: 2,149,690 sq km
Population: 28,69 million
Capital City: Riyadh
Language: Arabic
Religion: Muslim 100%
Government: Monarchy
Time Zone: UTC+3
Dialing Code: 966
Electricity: 127V 60 Hz
Weights & measures: Metric

Money & Costs:
Saudi riyal (SAR)
Average Yearly Salary: USD 20,600

Budget: USD8-25
Mid-range: USD25-60
High: USD100+
Budget: USD16-27
Mid-range: USD30-150
High: USD200+

Geography: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest Arab country in the middle east, located at the crossroads of the three continents: Asia, Europe, and Africa. The country extends from the Red Sea to the Arabian Gulf. It borders Jordan, Iraq, Qatar, the Sultanate of Oman, Yemen, UAE and Kuwait. Saudi Arabia's geography is varied; from the humid western coastal region on the Red Sea, the land rises from sea level to a mountain range. The southwestern Asir region is mountainous and well-known for having the greenest and freshest climate in the country. The east is composed of primarily rocky or sandy lowlands continuing to the shores of the Persian Gulf. The geographically hostile Rub' al Khali desert contains almost no life.

Climate: Most of Saudi Arabia has a desert climate, which is characterized as being hot and dry. The weather in summer is usually very hot and dry, whereas the winter nights are freezing and frosty. A famous tourist destination, the Red Sea coast, has high temperatures and humidity throughout the year. Rainfall is rare, but severe dust storms occur, because of the prevailing winds. The average temperature in summer is about 45 C, whereas in winter, the temperature seldom drops below 0 C. The spring and autumn temperatures average to about 29 C.

Recommended clothing: Saudi Arabians are quite conservative, therefore appropiate clothing is advised. Women should cover themselves from shoulders to ankles, a scarf is recommended to be carried at all times. Such clothing as shorts or tank tops must not be worn in Saudi Arabia. Loose clothing is recommended, because of the heat.

Social conventions: The Saudi Arabian culture is based on Islam. Women are only allowed to leave the home totally covered in black robes (abaya) and masks. You should respect their believes and cultural traditions.

Health: Medical facilities in Saudi Arabia are generally of a high quality, but health treatment is quite expensive, therefore health insurance is essential. Malaria risk exists throughout the year in most of the Saudi Arabia, except the mountainous areas of Asir Province, and the urban areas, such as Jeddah, Mecca, Medina and Taif.

Food & Drink: The local Saudi Arabian cuisine is characterized as powerfully flavored and spicy. Food staples include pitta bread (flat, unleavened bread) which complements every dish. Rice, chick peas (hummus) lentils, and cracked wheat (burghul) are also very popular and widely used for food preparation. The most common meat dishes are made from lamb and chicken, such dishes are the most popular: falafel (deep-fried chickpea balls), and shawarma (spit-cooked sliced lamb). Arabic cakes, cream desserts and rice pudding (muhalabia) are also a part of the traditional Saudi Arabian cuisine. International cuisine is on offer in larger towns. There are no bars in Saudi Arabia, since alcohol is forbidden by law, and severe penalties for infringement apply to all nationals, regardless of the religion. Arabic coffee, various fruit drinks, alcohol-free beers and cocktails are a popular alternative served in hotel bars. Tap water is not of the best quality, therefore you should stick to bottled water.

Public Holidays:
Varies Eid al-Fitr/ Djoulde Soumae (Ramadan ends)
Sep 23 Saudi National Day
Varies Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice)

Disclaimer: The above information is for reference purposes only. The content of this page is not intended to substitute for advice given by the user's own government travel departments or a licensed travel health advisor. The viewer/user of this web page should always contact the user's own government representatives in that area for the most up-to-date information at that time, before making a final decision to travel to that country or destination.

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