Things You Need To Know Before Visiting Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has declared that it would open its doors to tourists for the first time in its history by providing an electronic visa to tourists from 49 nations, including the United States.

An eVisa can be applied for by anybody over the age of 18. It costs around $120 and is good for one year with the option of numerous entries. It also allows for a maximum stay of 90 days in the nation. Previously, the Kingdom solely provided religious pilgrimage and business visas to visitors.

This historic declaration is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 reform initiative, which intends to lessen Saudi Arabia’s dependency on oil and diversify the country’s economy through tourism and entertainment.

Saudi Arabia has eased some conservative restrictions to attract Western tourists and market itself as a tourist destination, on par with neighboring Gulf states, such as granting women the right to drive and travel without a guardian, limiting the powers of the moral police, allowing unmarried tourist couples to rent hotel rooms, and relaxing dress codes.

So if you want to explore the uncharted kingdom to tourists, use Saudi Airlines flight booking online with tajawal and go explore the kingdom. However, For first-time visitors to the Kingdom, here are some fundamental and cultural recommendations that you need to know before visiting Saudi Arabia.

Security

People are questioning, “Is Saudi Arabia Safe for Tourists?” as a result of this news. Yes, travelers are safe in Saudi Arabia. Respect local regulations and customs, be aware of your surroundings, and do due diligence before going, just as you would in any other nation.

Before going on a vacation, make sure to check the travel advisories.

Give yourself plenty of time to complete your visa application

Visas to Saudi Arabia are issued through a bureaucratic procedure that includes extensive background checks and an examination into the reason for your travel. As a result, unexpected or last-minute visits are nearly impossible.

Group travel is recommended

If you apply for a tourist visa, you must show that you are travelling with an organised tour group, in a party of three, four, five or more, due to strict government restrictions. It is not possible to go as a tourist on your own to Saudi Arabia.

Areas open to the public

Separate entrances or seating places for men and women are sometimes found in public locations. Keep public shows of affection to a minimum.

Before shooting locals, make sure you have their permission. It is a criminal infraction under the public code of conduct. Vandalism of public property, playing music during prayer hours, and dress code infractions are among the other infractions.

The abaya is not compulsory for female travelers (a cloak, previously mandated by the government). Both men and women, however, should dress modestly in public, avoiding tight-fitting and exposing clothing. More information is available on the official Visit Saudi tourist website.

Five times a day, stores and eateries shutter for prayer. Plan your itinerary around these hours to get the most out of your vacation.Saudi Arabia is a Muslim-majority nation.

Non-Muslims are welcome to practise their faith in private locations, but proselytising in public forums or on social media platforms is forbidden.

Propaganda that is hostile to the country, government, or religion is a serious violation. Alcohol and drug sales, purchases, and use are all prohibited in the country.

Social norms

Locals are kind and giving, and they are just as inquisitive about you as you are about them. It’s not unusual to be asked for dinner or a cup of gahwa (Arabic coffee) with dates. Your hosts — and even strangers — will want to convey a warm welcome and provide you with a symbol of their kindness, such as food or a modest gift.

It is considered impolite to deny such a gift. Just remember to use your right hand to receive and consume food and beverages.

If you are invited into a Saudi home, take off your shoes unless your host specifically requests that you do so. You are required to sit on the floor in a traditional Majlis (a sitting hall with floor cushions).

If the event is held somewhere else, anticipate a contemporary setting with armchairs and other furnishings. Saudis appreciate questions about their culture from outsiders. It’s better to avoid discussing political or religious issues in order to avoid hurting local sensibilities.

Getting to know Saudi customs like welcomes and handshakes will always create a good impression on your hosts. The greeting “Marhaban!” means “Welcome,” and you might react with “Marhabtain,” which means “I offer you two welcomes.”

A handshake should not be extended to a Saudi lady unless she initiates it. Place your palm over your heart and greet with a greeting to be on the safe side.

Photography is not permitted

If you’re the sort that takes pictures of everything, you could have some issues in Saudi Arabia. The government is still wary of tourists, particularly westerners, and photography might be misinterpreted as terrorist plotting or spying.

This is especially true in the vicinity of government buildings or other high-traffic areas like mosques and markets. Taking images of locals without their consent is also prohibited, particularly of ladies!

Items from non-Islamic religions are prohibited

If you have a crucifix, a Bible, or any other religious mementos, keep them at home since it is illegal to practise any religion other than Islam in public. It is ideal if you worship in secret if you follow a non-Islamic faith.

 If you’ve visited Saudi Arabia and have any tips that we haven’t covered, please let us know! Why not contact us to discover an Arabic course in your neighborhood while you’re absorbing all of this information? Whatever your motive for traveling, knowing a few phrases in the local language may save your life and shows tremendous respect, both of which are highly prized in Arabic society.

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