8 cultural differences between Saudi Arabia and Gulf countries

Even though when we refer to the Gulf countries, we have in our mind that the cultural differences among them would be few or none. Yet, Saudi Arabia is one of the most unique countries of the worlds and the cultural differences with other Gulf countries are evident.  Here are a few to mention;

  1. Dress Code

In Saudi Arabia the women, be it Muslims or non-Muslims, be it Expats or Saudi nationals, all wear an Abaya at the public places. However, this is not so in other Gulf countries. The women there are to wear modest clothes in public, there is no condition of Abaya. Recommended: Abaya is not necessary for women – Saudi Crown Prince

4202 Just wear a modest dress, you don’t need to wear an Abaya – Sheikh Mutlaq 02

  1. Alcohol

In Saudi Arabia alcoholic consumption, production and trade in completely forbidden. It is illegal to consume, produce or trade-in alcohol even if you are non-Muslim. This prohibition on Alcohol is found only in Saudi Arabia. In other Gulf countries, there are no such rules. Recommended: Punishment of Drinking Alcohol in Saudi Arabia

220 Punishment of Drinking Alcohol (Liquor) in Saudi Arabia

  1. Religious freedom

In Saudi Arabia, the law of Shariah is practiced and thereby the only religion that can be practiced openly is Islam. You would find beautiful mosques all around the country but no temple or churches. The non-Muslims are not allowed to preach or perform their religion in public.

This is not the case in other Gulf countries. The people there are free to perform their religious rites in public and preach their religion. Recommended: Can we practice religion in Saudi Arabia other than Islam?

678 Can we worship a religion in Saudi Arabia other than Islam

  1. Entertainment options

In Saudi Arabia, there are no clubs, party houses, or live concerts. The people are restricted from such entertainment. The people here enjoy malls, beaches, restaurants, etc. In other Gulf countries, you would find bars, night clubs and cinemas screening international films. Recommended: Authorities shut down the only nightclub in Jeddah

5180 Has a night club opened in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia 02

  1. Makkah and Madina

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques is the title given to the King. The two cities are the holiest and no other city of any country can be compared to it.

3239 Can I take a copy of the Quran from Makkah or Madina 01

  1. Cost of Living

Saudi Arabia is one of the cheapest countries in the Gulf as it is a low tax country. in the past it was a tax-free country. Recommended: What is the cost of living in Saudi Arabia?

  1. Legal System

Saudi Arabia implies complete shariah laws and there is no flexibility in them even for the non-Muslims. This is not the case in other Gulf countries. The laws there are not strict or completely Shariah-compliant.

  1. Prayer Time

No business or office can be run during prayer time. All businesses close down for Prayers. this is not so in other Gulf countries.

For the latest updates, you can join our WhatsApp group or Telegram channel.

Steve has been living in Saudi Arabia since 2013 and writing about Saudi rules, regulations, guides, and procedures since then.