Read 10 Misconceptions Before You Travel to Saudi Arabia
Last Updated on by Admin
Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the Middle East and the 5th largest in Asia. The holiest country in the Islam religion, with a diverse culture and varying landscapes yet people from other countries have misconceptions about Saudi Arabia.
Such assumptions are based on biased media and the specific portrayal of the country in films and stories. The preconceived notions can be debunked only when you visit the place and try to learn more about it.
Read these 8 Misconceptions before you travel to Saudi Arabia
1. Saudi Arabia is full of Deserts
Saudi Arabia’s geographical diversity encompasses not just deserts, but also lowland areas, grassland, and forest areas along its western highlands and mountains near the Red Sea.
Visit Rubʿ al-Khali, also known as the Empty Quarter. It is the largest sand desert on earth spreading continuously through the country.
For greenery and mountainous adventure, travel to Al-Baha, Abha city, and the Fifa mountains.
2. Saudi Arabia is Dry throughout the year
Saudi Arabia has 4 seasons in a year. They are – Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.
The Spring season starts from mid-March and continues till mid-June. During this period, the central region and the Aseer mountains receive the highest rainfall. In the north of the country, the temperature comes down to 15 degrees Celsius and less at night.
Summers, starting from mid-June to mid-September, are hot and the temperature rises to 45 degrees Celsius. This season is best for scuba diving, snorkeling, and sailing in the Red Sea.
Autumn in Saudi Arabia begins from mid-June till mid-December. Though the weather remains warmer during the day, the evenings are soothing and perfect for a leisurely walk. Visit the Jeddah Waterfront and for an offbeat experience explore the green Al Ahsa Oasis.
Winters in Saudi Arabia can be fascinating. It starts from mid-December to mid-March. The most alluring thing about this Arabian Winter is the snow. Head to Tabuk in the north of the country to experience snow. Hiking, camel rides, and snow sledding can be done during this season.
3. Language is a Barrier for Tourists
The official and primary language of Saudi Arabia is Arabic. However, English is the informal secondary language spoken around the country. The signs on boards, roads, and other establishments are written both in Arabic and English.
Learning a local language gives an insight into the culture of the place and helps build rapport with them. Hiring a local guide is the best way to learn a few words in Arabic.
4. Women Can’t Travel Solo
As a female tourist, you don’t need to travel with a male guardian. You can walk around the city, explore places, visit museums and stay in a hotel. While there are public places where man and woman segregation is done. As a tourist, we must always respect the local culture and not judge it based on our cultural aspects.
5. Women Have to Cover themselves fully and all the time
It is not mandatory to wear the full Abaya – the traditional long robe dress for women, or the headscarf all the time for tourists. However, your dress should be modest enough and not disrespect the local culture.
6. As tourists, you are not allowed to book a hotel together with a travel partner
Emphasizing the tourism sector, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has changed such prohibitive laws. You can book hotels and stay together with your travel partner irrespective of gender.
7. Photography is prohibited
In Saudi Arabia, be sure to ask for consent before taking a photograph of an individual. Considering security reasons, certain places like government offices, military, religious places, and palaces might not be allowed to be photographed.
Always ask for permission from the respective authorities to do so. Make sure you check the “No Photographs” zone or signboard while visiting such places.
8. Saudi Arabia is Unsafe
Saudi Arabia is safe and has one of the lowest crime rates. The authorities are strict and focus on the protection of the travelers as well as the locals. According to Numbeo, Saudi Arabia was named the 12th safest country in the world in 2023 with a safety index of 75.4.
Unlike the United States, people here are not allowed to buy or keep firearms, it is illegal to do so.
9. Saudi Arabia is visited for Pilgrimage Only
Saudi Arabia is home to the holiest cities of Islam. People from the religion of Islam visit the country for Hajj and Umrah as a part of their pilgrimage every year.
The fact that Saudi Arabia is relatively less explored compared to other countries in the Middle East, there are some exotic destinations that can provide you with an enriching experience. The places such as the Al Ula, heritage villages, Al Habal Village, Harrat Khaybar volcanic field, prehistoric sites, the lakes in Empty Quarter, the Abha and the Fifa Mountains, and the snowy Tabuk Region are offbeat and worth the visit.
10. Getting a Saudi Visa is difficult
Previously, the entry requirements laid down by the Saudi Arabian Authorities were strict. Now you can apply for tourist visas easily in the form of eVisas online. There are no visa requirements for people travelling to Saudi Arabia from the countries like Oman, UAE, Bahrain, and Kuwait.
According to the provision given by the Saudi Ministry, since September 2019, around 40 countries around the world can apply for the Tourist visa.
It is important to note that, during your visit, you must respect the local culture and not break any Saudi law or attract any travel bans. Only Saudi Arabian authorities can remove the ban if applied.
Now that we have debunked all the misconceptions about the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, we hope to see you there. If you need help with planning your Saudi Arabia trip, write to us at email@example.com and our representative will be happy to help.