4 Important Tips for Safe Living in Saudi Arabia

Like every other country in the world, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia also has its limitations. Not exactly limitations but yes things which an individual should keep in mind if he’s planning to stay here for a long time. They have certain rules which a person has to follow; there is nothing, one can do to escape them. They expect every individual coming from his or her homeland and settling here to follow their way of perceiving things and respect their culture and in fact, I think that it’s true that every person needs to respect cultures of others whether he likes it or not. As far as the onlookers are concerned they find laws in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as rules but for the believers, it is their norm and culture. Since living in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for quite a time now I believe that Saudi Arabia just doesn’t want its Muslim citizens to get offended by anyone be it even the littlest of things because this is the homeland of Muslims and they have all the right here to have their set of rules because this is what they think is best for them and their people. [irp]

Physical Contact with women: An aspect which is disliked by many expatriates here is the physical contact of women with friends or anyone on the street. If they find you, you’re in deep trouble. Once I saw this lady in a grocery store who met her woman friend with a hug and like the entire store was just staring at her and she got embarrassed. So yes fellows, if you want to save yourself from such incidents, make sure you know what you’re doing. Since now the ladies here know how to carry themselves, let’s talk about the men now, shall we?[irp]

Talking to a Stranger Woman: Another name for Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is ‘segregated society’. Norms over here differ from the norms of the world. Over here if you want to survive peacefully then one thing you need to realize is that never break their rules or go against their way of living. Over here women don’t really indulge in conversations with the men. If a woman ever questions you about some important asking something then yes you can obviously answer her but honestly even if you ever try to go and talk to women over here then get ready to get into serious trouble. Women over here don’t like men staring at them, it is considered a sin (wrong doing) in our religion so it’s best to mind your own business and carry on with whatever you’re doing and where ever you are, be it walking on the road or shopping in a mall.[irp]

Taking Pictures in Public: Both men and women over here like to enjoy their private life which means getting into their way is like making a black cat walk purposely in front of you because you like it. Taking pictures here at public places or on streets are considered unethical. So just in case, you’re planning to take the school kids out for a field trip, make sure that you have a signed consent slip by each parent (even if the child is what 20 years old) for even scenery photography. Once this friend of mine was at the Cornish beach taking pictures of the scenic beauty until she realized a couple of women screaming at her, telling her that taking pictures weren’t allowed. They just wouldn’t stop until she had to go up to them and show them that the pictures purely contained nothing except the waves.[irp]

The practice of other religions: One more main concern is accessories one wears. If you are not a Muslim then please refrain from wearing bibles or crosses or items that depict some other culture as if the Mutawa (HAIA or Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice) sees you wearing it then it will be taken off. Though you would never pass the custom with it in the first place but if by any chance you did, you won’t be able to get away with it.


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