You should follow these rules : * Banned items : Do not produce, consume or import alcohol, narcotics, pork. The U.S. Embassy can intercede to request permission for an adult American woman married to or daughter of a Saudi to leave, but there is no guarantee of success. Saudi Arabia announced new penalties for abuse against women on Wednesday that include imprisonment and hefty fines for any physical, psychological, or sex If you are a foreign woman, they will definitely be extra nice to you and, if you are on the countryside, expect them to invite you to their house. Industry-wise, the sole company that employs female engineers is Saudi Aramco, the largest oil company in the world. Good news: e-visa for Saudi Arabia is finally available. Arab Fashion Week was female-only by necessity, so the clothing could be freely modelled and the audience could remove their abayas. When I visited Al-Jawf, 1,000km north of Riyadh, I went there to work on an assignment for a local company and I was very lucky to be received by two super nice ladies wearing niqab. The easiest way to travel to Saudi Arabia is by flying in. , Your email address will not be published. However, going backwards refers to the fact that they force you wearing certain clothes. If you have a larger budget, all cities are filled with good accommodation options, especially in Jeddah and Riyadh, where you can find the most luxurious hotels. For the first time in its history, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced that will be opening its doors for tourism by issuing an electronic visa for visitors coming from 49 countries. It features 111 ancient monumental tombs Credit: get Your email address will not be published. They believe they need to wear it as much as men believe it. You can find hotels all over the country. Required fields are marked *. We had dinner, stayed at his friend’s house and showed me around on the day after. For years, many pro-feminist groups in Europe have been claiming that the use of niqab is sexist, against the women’s rights and they wear it against their will. Moreover, you came to Saudi to meet people and make local friends, so saying you are an atheist won’t help you at all. Women or men that go with women need to sit in the family section. Saudi Arabia is the most religious country I have ever been to. Before, the only way to travel to Saudi was on a business visa, via a strong local connection who could sponsor your visit or by getting a pilgrimage visa to visit Mecca and Medina (only for Muslims). The U.S. Department of State urges all potential visitors to carefully consider the risks of traveling to Saudi Arabia. It was the first time in the Netherlands someone asked me: “Do you have your headscarf and your male guidance with you?” Sure, all arranged… What did I get myself into?! Hola Joan! You check all bus schedules and buy tickets on this website. Women traveling alone are not allowed to enter the country unless they will be met at the airport by a husband, a sponsor or male relative. Until recently, women visiting Saudi Arabia were expected to wear an abaya (an ankle length robe) and hijab (a headscarf). Hi Nayef, I delete all links posted because many of them end up being 404, which is not good for my SEO. Seriously, it is not even close to what you may think. Though basically i belonged to Pakistan, yet I love your enlightened posts about Saudia. I lived in Saudi Arabia for almost 12 years as a Saudi wife. So I got my visa….yeah…note to appliers that when you load your foto, it doesn’t show up til the end!! However, at noon, during Dhuhr prayer, absolutely everything is closed. They are actually not allowed to go into a bank without a man accompanying them. My question is, can we sleep on a hotel together? I recommend you check on Saudia Airlines, as they have the largest number of domestic connections in the country. Therefore, the fact that, all of a sudden, Western tourists can visit Saudi Arabia on their own, with a backpack, both men and women, is a very radical change. For the first time in its history, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced that will be opening its doors for tourism by issuing an electronic visa for visitors coming from 49 countries. Positive and negative. 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. Cheers. To avoid problems, it is essential to know what to wear in Saudi Arabia and, more importantly, what not to wear.. It just took a little time, as a Canadian woman who lives in the UAE, to figure From a legal point of view, I doubt you need to be covered but yeah, if you do, you will definitely avoid continuous stares. As Saudi Arabia announced a new tourist visa regime, the country also revealed a more relaxed dress code for women visitors. Personally, this country has been the most surprising country I have ever been to, especially because nobody had ever told me the good things about it. Every day more speed cameras and signalling on changing lanes has become much more of a thing. Same with Al Ula. Man and woman in traditional Arab clothing in Riyadh. I’d wanted to visit Saudi Arabia after watching Wadjda (one of the best travel movies I’ve seen), the first movie produced by a female Saudi Arabian filmmaker. Women over 25 won’t need a guardian, but they will need to be part of a tour group. You can also move by bus between cities. https://againstthecompass.com/en/places-visit-saudi-arabia-itinerary/, There is no need women to cover their body with an abaya, any more… Moreover, many Saudis are crazy drivers, more than in any other country I have been to. With that announcement, adventure-seekers and culture lovers had the opportunity to visit Saudi Arabia for up to 90 days at a time. Places to Visit in Saudi Arabia, Middle East: See Tripadvisor's 34,872 traveller reviews and photos of Saudi Arabia tourist attractions. This means that some websites might be blocked and inaccessible for regular internet users. That being said, here is what you need to know regarding moving around the Kingdom: Public transportation in Saudi cities is awful and, except in some parts of Jeddah, you must drive with your own car or by taxi. Visit top-rated & must-see attractions. Here's your guide on how to visit: visa rules, where to go, alcohol and more. For example, allowing women and men to hang out together in public spaces was one of the most significant changes. In October 2019, Saudi Arabia modified its policy for the tourists, and announced that it will allow foreign men and women to share hotel rooms without proving they are related. thanks for your comment. Do not be fooled by the work of countless foreign consulting firms. Sure, Saudi is an extremely patriarchal country, so this kind of reaction is perfectly understandable. 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. This guide contains all the practical information. Our media doesn’t really do justice to Saudi people, as they portray them as religious fanatics who force women to submit to their Sharia rules. With that announcement, adventure-seekers and culture lovers had the opportunity to visit Saudi Arabia for up to 90 days at a time. I just wondering if you’re still keeping updated about that e-visa. This a very long and controversial topic, so I recommend you read my article: Is it ethical to travel to Saudi Arabia as a tourist? My point is that this topic is way more complicated than we think and, as tourists, we shouldn’t be talking or trying to change it because you are traveling to Saudi Arabia to learn about their culture and visit beautiful places. 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. Please note that I am not trying to justify the use of the niqab but I just wanted you to know that many Saudi women actually choose to wear it. If they forced you wearing a bikini at the office, it would also be going backwards. On the other hand, most places in Saudi are connected with highways where people drive extremely fast and, sometimes, they overtake cars by the shoulder of the road, which is extremely dangerous if you are waiting there. Really. 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) Don’t say you are an atheist – Even if you were, say you are a Christian or any major religion in your home country. Recently, women are able to drive, cafes can have live performances in the form of bands or theatre. First of all, you can’t judge a country by the inhabitants of a several-million people city. English can be a sometimes problem when you travel in Saudi Arabia, as most people don’t speak it but you will always find someone who does. i am saudi girl, i don't know some answers from some people sound like ages ago, what i am trying to say there are some things a woman should do and expect but come on it is not a jungle or something people are quit open than before. Gas is cheap, so are the daily rental rates. Questions about visiting Saudi Arabia alone as a white American woman Hi all, so I understand that Saudi Arabia has recently opened up its borders to foreign tourists, so I'm planning on visiting at some point in the near future. In the beginning I hated it. However, let me tell you that, as a woman, Saudi Arabia is much safer than you could ever think. Moreover, because of this censorship and, since there is no freedom of speech, the Government reserves the right to monitor your internet activity. They still don’t know that foreigners can now travel to Saudi Arabia. However, since Saudi is known for being an extremely patriarchal country, I received more questions than I had ever received before, some of them asking about safety, while others if it was even possible to go travel to Saudi Arabia as a woman alone. Mann is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and English. We have reviews of the best places to see in Saudi Arabia. i mean, i am not against any family, nor I am talking about near past history, yet Saudi people really love others, they also deserve rightly representations one day. Moreover, as per things to do, you should know that there are loads, loads of things to do in this country. Here you can check my complete Saudi itinerary. Thanks a lot. Jean Mann has been a writer and editor for more than 30 years. Any sites for 4*4 rental….cheaper to book in country r out of country.. Is a 4*4 needed to go into AL ulra…. I would love to travel to KSA and this makes it so much simpler. The issue here is that Vision 2030 and all of their current projects are taking place while there is a law that allows the government to declare just about anything a threat to its existence and allows them to whisk you off the street and keep for as long as they want. Since tourism only opened on September 27, 2019 and I was visiting in mid-October 2019, there was a limited amount of information on the internet about … These resorts aren’t open yet - why else would I visit Saudi Arabia? He leído que obtuviste una sim Card en KSA. Women visiting Saudi Arabia should cover their shoulders and knees in public. So yeah, the idea of having international visitors who are not expats or workers is still a concept they aren’t familiar with. CLICK HERE TO FIND THE BEST CAR RENTAL DEALS IN SAUDI ARABIA. Other companies would not be allowed to hire women as engineers. There, we met with one of his friends, we had lunch at his house and then we visited his camel farm. My friends Sian & Bob have recently published a full guidebook to Saudi Arabia, containing loads of actionable advice and a great overview of each one of their regions. Please update your information given. The country is quiet, slow paced, and friendly. Very different Western cultural responses to the question of permissible freedom. With my Spanish passport, the visa was valid for 30 days and it allowed me to travel anywhere but Medina and Mecca. It is best to study Saudi customs and appropriate behavior before beginning your trip. However, bring always some extra cash, as the Indian-run cafés and other more local places don’t accept cards. However, ... let me tell you that, as a woman, Saudi Arabia is much safer than you could ever think. I was one of the first Americans to visit under the Electronic Visa program, and as a woman traveling alone, I was curious but also cautious about visiting this country. Really love that one day, all those misconceptions about Saudi people also removed, and I wish they also get their true representatives one day. Don’t forget to read my 2-week itinerary in Saudi Arabia. For places to visit read my Saudi Arabia itinerary, VisaTravel InsuranceGetting to SaudiTourism in Saudi ArabiaIs it ethical?Blocked websitesHow to behaveThe people – The SaudisThe foodSolo female travelSafetyMoneyMoving around SaudiInternet and SIM CardAccommodationMore information, Amazing News October 2019 – E-visa finally available through visitsaudi.com – Continue reading to know more about it. It even happened that a complete stranger started kissing me. According to the Saudi Government, 100% of the Saudis are Muslim, the large majority being Sunni Wahabbis. It just took a little time, as a Canadian woman who lives in the UAE, to figure thanks, Hi Malik, this is a tourism-related blog. I thought I included a link to the news, but I don’t know if it got posted with my previous post and I’ll try it again. It was a pleasure to meet you again and hang out with you for a couple of days. Women visiting Saudi Arabia will no longer need to wear an abaya. Women should cover shoulders and knees in public, but do not need to wear traditional clothing. Great introduction thanks, hope I can go in the not too distant future. In many areas, particularly the capital, Riyadh, women are pressured to wear a full-length black covering called an abaya and to cover their heads. img6.mynet.com.tr. I am third-generation Arab (my grandfather was born in Lebanon but moved to the United States at the age of five.) I paid 395SR (105USD) for the Formula-E ticket and 640SR (170USD) for the e-visa. Visiting Saudi Arabia as a tourist. I think it would be cheaper if you take a flight to Abha and you rent the car at the airport and explore the Abha & Jizan for a few days. Note – Saudis prefer to be called Salafis, instead of Wahabis. I lost a friend there. Big hug all the way from Ouarzazate. Hola Lara, si es una pregunta sobre viajar a Arabia Saudita, mejor si lo preguntas aquí mismo, en comentarios. Jeddah, definitely, and then Riyadh, where you can do a a few day trips t natorual places nearby. Men can wear shorts – Nobody will say anything to you. For business visas contact, better contact your embassy. Eating like them is a sign of respect but if you are struggling, you can always help yourself with a spoon. This incredibly big change, however, didn’t come alone. 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. When I came back from Saudi Arabia, I received many, many messages from very upset people who claimed that traveling to Saudi Arabia implicated collaborating with a regime that doesn’t respect the basic human rights. I wanted to vist my friend in Saudi Arabia. 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. When we apply for the VISA, do we have to tell them where we are going to sleep or can we couchsurf ior choose a place as soon as we arrive? Saudi people are extremely hospitable. To avoid problems, it is essential to know what to wear in Saudi Arabia and, more importantly, what not to wear.. Right before visiting Saudi Arabia, I was traveling in Oman, so my initial idea was to overland via UAE. 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. Please come on, don’t compare wearing shorts with bullying people online. There is not a single city in Saudi which is walking friendly. Hola Joan. We fly soon. Saudi Arabia e-visas are finally available again Read the visa section of this post! Some public spaces are segregated by sex – You will figure it out by yourself but some restaurants or cafés are still composed of two areas: men and family section. But the kingdom's laws are complicated, and tourists can easily fall foul of them and receive a hefty fine, or worse. As crazy as it may sound, I hitchhiked all across Saudi Arabia. That being said, after visiting all around the country for a little bit more than two weeks, I have compiled this comprehensive guide that contains plenty of tips and everything you need to know to travel to Saudi Arabia, one of the least visited destinations in the world. Privacy Notice/Your California Privacy Rights. The country's facilities for travelers can be quite lavish, but women planning to travel in Saudi Arabia need to be aware that social practices and customs here are conservative and based on Islamic law. Something you should know is that, in Saudi, the internet is censored. If you travel to Iran, you will see that the clothing rules are even more strict. Airbnb – The cheapest option would be finding a room on Airbnb and remember that, if you create an account through my link, you will get up to 35€ of FREE credit on your next booking. I strongly recommend World Nomads for the following reasons: CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR FREE QUOTE FROM WORLD NOMADS, If you want to know more options, read how to find the best backpacking insurance. Before traveling to Saudi Arabia, I knew a lot of people who had been there on a business visa and the truth is that I am extremely disappointed with all of them because they had told me: Seriously, I don’t know where they have been but, from the moment I met the immigration officer who stamped my passport with a big smile while he tried to improve his Spanish, I have just had positive experiences with Saudi people. From endless coffee and meal invitations to random people who insisted on showing me around the city, I seriously met some incredible locals, some of whom I can call now friends. Saudi Arabia has suspended diplomatic relations with Qatar. Ibrahim comes from a very traditional Saudi family (his father was actually a famous Imam from the region) but he married a Filipina girl, something quite unheard of from Saudis with a similar background. Saudi Arabia is a very religious country proud of its traditions. Everybody knows that. There are all sorts of opportunity costs to apparently free choices. For me, this was one of the most surprising things about the country. in Riyadh. Female tourists in Saudi Arabia no longer need to wear an abaya. I am living in Saudi Arabia and know most of the things you said, So, I know most of the information you expressed in your blog. If you are sharing a meal with more traditional people, try to always eat with your right hand. You can find plenty of hotels in Booking.com, CLICK HERE TO FIND THE BEST HOTELS DEALS ON BOOKING.COM, Remember to get your Saudi guidebook – CLICK HERE TO CHECK PRICES ON AMAZON. You can’t seriously walk. Hola, Like I said before, in the last couple of years, the laws of Saudi Arabia have become more flexible. For centuries, Muslims from all over the world came to Saudi on their journey to Mecca and, at some point, decided to settle there. I spent the whole day with them. Not being free to choose whether wether shorts or not is dictatorial, Joan, thanks for being polite in your reply. Is tracing possible there? Men will come up to you and see you as a free ticket to sex. Women can drive, including renting a car – From June 2018, women can finally drive and, as a female tourist, you can also rent it. I have the utmost respect for the culture and faith of Muslim people. If you are planning to visit or go and live in Saudi Arabia, don't stress too much about what to wear while in KSA. I love the way you describe everything to know before going to saudi arabia. They were as hospitable as any Muslim man I had met before and the only difference is that I didn’t see their faces. Either way, I’d hate for a would-be tourist to read your post and think it’s all right to wear shorts only to go there and get fined the equivalent of $1,500. Hi! On the one hand, it is relatively easy to get a ride and, normally, Saudis will be extremely helpful and, if you are lucky, they will invite you to their house. Like in any country, there are loads of awesome people and, like in any off the beaten track Muslim country, most of them are extra-nice with foreigners. Questions about visiting Saudi Arabia alone as a white American woman Hi all, so I understand that Saudi Arabia has recently opened up its borders to foreign tourists, so I'm planning on visiting at some point in the near future. One of my biggest issues as a female living for two years now in Saudi Arabia is that it is practically impossible as a western woman to go outside alone. Religion pervades everything including the business culture and commercial environment. Wonderful article! And exploring the holy land, well you will definitely get the signs of greatness of ALLAH too, so i think that policy of current Saudi givernment is really worth appreciatable, though many of its policies still needs open arms and thinking. Do you like extreme destinations? Well, this is not entirely right. Expat Exchange: Women in the Kingdom: Life as an Expat Woman in Saudi Arabia Any woman considering a move to Saudi Arabia, should really do her research, talk with other expat women in the cities where she may be living in Saudi Arabia, and, if married, discuss the positives and negatives at length with your husband. You could book your tickets through the website sharek.sa and, immediately after purchasing them, they would issue a legit and valid e-visa to travel to Saudi Arabia. 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. Women over 25 won’t need a guardian, but they will need to be part of a tour group. Another problem of Saudi Arabia is that distances are ridiculously huge and the nice places to visit in Saudi are scattered all around the country. They choose to wear it because they think that this is the right thing to do because the Quran says so. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a level 4 Travel Health Notice for Saudi Arabia due to COVID … Residents, Prohibited Items for Business Travel in Saudi Arabia. With this visa, you can travel in Saudi Arabia for 90 days. Travellinandi from Sudan and Iraq. I’ve been living in Saudi only since February 2019 (Eastern Province) but the drivers have definitely gotten better over that time. Avoid summer, late spring and early autumn, as during day time, temperatures average 40-45ºC. 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.
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