SAUDI - USEFUL INFORMATION
Saudi Arabia’s rich heritage and traditions have been shaped by its position as a historic trade hub and the birthplace of Islam. In recent years, the Kingdom has undergone a significant cultural transformation, evolving century‐ old customs to fit the contemporary world we live in today. Visitors can now spend up to 90 days at a time in the Kingdom, but even shorter itineraries allow for tourists to discover Saudi Arabia’s rich culture heritage, hidden gems and breathtakingly diverse landscapes. A visit to the Kingdom is a fascinating experience, one very different from rest of the Middle East. Experiencing Saudi culture and traditions is just another part of the adventure!
Arabic is the official language of Saudi Arabia and the primary language used in all dealings and public transactions. English serves as an informal second language in the Kingdom and is spoken by a large section of its society. Most road signs are bilingual, showing information in both Arabic and English.
A few words
• Hello (Assalaam 'alaikum)
• Goodbye (ma'a as-salaama)
• Thank you (Shukran)
• Good morning (sabah alkhayr)
• How are you? (kayf haluk)
• Good (Tamam)
• No (la)
• Yes (Eawa or Naam)
Weekends In Saudi Arabia
Sunday is the first day of the work week, with Friday and Saturday as the weekend. Friday is considered a family day throughout the Kingdom. Most shops remain closed Friday mornings and only open for business between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Some Restaurants will open for lunch. Traffic tends to be heavier on a weekend in the larger cities.
Currency exchange and transactions are easy in Saudi Arabia. Visitors can exchange their national currency to Saudi Riyals at the airport or various exchange houses in the city. Whilst most international currencies are accepted for exchange, it is recommended to carry US Dollars or Euro. Saudi Arabia’s national currency is the Saudi Riyal (SAR), which is subdivided into 100 halala. You’ll receive notes in denominations of 5 riyals, 10 riyals, 50 riyals, 100 riyals and 500 riyals; and coins in 1 riyal, 2 riyals, 50 halala, 25 halala, 10 halala, 5 halala and 1 halala. Exchange Rate 1 USD is SAR 3.76 this is a fixed conversion.
Alcohol, Substances and Smoking in KSA
The import, sale, purchase and consumption of narcotics, recreational drugs, medical marijuana and alcohol is illegal in Saudi Arabian. Smoking tobacco and Shisha are legal and permissible in designated areas only. Both the inside and outsides of Malls, Restaurants, Educational and Sports facilities, and Mosques are designated no smoking zones.
Weather in Saudi Arabia
With its warm summers and temperate winters (cooler mountain areas with their alluring promise of snowfall withstanding), fascinating history, astonishing natural landscapes and staggering topography, Saudi Arabia is a fabulous year-round destination.
Spring: Mid-March to Mid-June
Spring in Saudi Arabia can be brisk, particularly in the north, where the temperature at night can drop below 15 degrees C. The central and southern regions are warmer, averaging around 20 degrees after nightfall. Rainfall is at its highest during spring, particularly in the central region and in the southwest over the Aseer mountains
Summer Mid-June to Mid-September
With the exception of the comparatively mild highlands in the southwest, summer signals the start of rising temperatures across most of the country, with the average hovering around 45 degrees C. The early mornings and long evenings are more temperate, so take advantage of the warm seas to explore Saudi's coastline or try sailing and snorkeling.
Autumn Mid-September to Mid-December
Autumn brings gentler weather and cool breezes in both Saudi Arabia’s northern regions and the southwestern highlands. While daytime temperatures remain warm and can reach the 30s in early fall, evenings are milder and fit for outdoor strolling, especially along Jeddah’s waterfront, indulging in al-fresco dining or visiting Al Ahsa’s cool desert spring.
Winter Mid-December to Mid-March
Take advantage of Saudi Arabia’s beautiful winter weather to explore the kingdom. The balmy days and cool nights are ideal for camping, rock climbing or exploring Saudi Arabia’s verdant highlands and bustling cities, from Riyadh to Jeddah.. Average winter temperatures are in the teens, but visitors might be lucky enough to see snowfall in the mountains of the northern regions blanketing the slopes and desert sands.
What to wear in KSA
• You will need shoes for walking in soft sand. Otherwise, casual desert attire.
• Swimsuit for pool
• Outfits on tours should cover knees and shoulders for both genders.
• T-shirts that cover shoulders are fine for both genders; shorts / skirts should ideally cover knees.
• No need to cover hair or wear Abaya in general except in places of worship
Photography in Saudi Arabia:
• Photography of security and police vehicles and staff is not allowed.
• Ask permission before taking someone’s picture.
• Do not photograph government buildings or airports