Is it challenging to visit Saudi Arabia?

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a reputation for being an extremely conservative and challenging destination. Most visitors the nation accepts come for either religious or professional reasons, and tourists are not issued visas. But things are changing, and Saudi Arabia is preparing to unveil its cultural riches.

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Here are some cultural and practical pointers for first-time visitors to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia if you find yourself in an undiscovered area.

Public Spaces

Separate entrances or sections of a public facility may be reserved for male and female patrons. Avoid showing your devotion in front of others. Be respectful of the people and ask for their permission before taking their pictures. The law makes it clear that this behavior is unacceptable in public. Other charges include destruction of public property, disruption of religious services, and inappropriate clothing.

Tourists are exempt from the abaya dress code (a cloak previously mandated by the government). However, all sexes should dress respectfully in public by avoiding skintight or exposing garments.

Restaurants and stores close for five daily prayers since a majority of the population in Saudi Arabia are Muslims. To maximize your vacation, plan around these times. Non-Muslims can preach in private but not in public or on social media. Deliberately defaming the nation, government, and religion is a crime. Also, Drugs and alcohol are forbidden in the country.


In light of this news, people wonder whether or not it is safe to travel to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is indeed a secure destination for travelers. It is essential to remember while going to any place in the globe to show respect for the local laws and traditions, to be conscious of your surroundings, and to conduct research and preparation before leaving. Before you go, you should definitely check for any relevant travel warnings.

Traditions in society

The natives are friendly and welcoming, and they want to learn as much as you do about their culture. Meals and drinks, such as gahwa (Arabic coffee) with dates, are often shared amongst guests. Your hosts, and even random strangers, would likely wish to show their appreciation for your visit by providing a memento of their hospitality, like food or presents. Refusing such an offer is deemed impolite. Bear in mind that the right hand is the one to use while accepting and using food and drink.

It would be best to take shoes off before entering a Saudi home unless guests are specifically told to leave them on. You are asked to sit on the floor with the cushions provided in a traditional Majlis. Should the event be held elsewhere, guests may anticipate a contemporary space with comfortable seating options.

Saudis appreciate Westerners’ cultural inquiries. Avoid political and religious themes to avoid alienating locals. You’ll amaze your guests by learning Saudi pleasantries and handshakes. You can reply to “Marhaban!” with “Marhabtain” (I give you two welcomes). Saudi women should shake hands before men do. To be safe, put your palm over your heart and say hello.

Is it safe to travel to Saudi Arabia?

As Saudi Arabia opens its doors to tourists in a way it never has, you may find yourself in a new Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government is attempting to modernize and become more accessible to the world, which is a positive development. However, some of their regulations, limitations, and behaviors may appear unpleasant and disturbing to those of us living in a much more liberal and feminist country.

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Steve has vast experience in writing about Saudi rules, regulations, guides, and procedures.