Riyadh Warnings or Dangers
Riyadh is the capital of Saudi Arabia and is home to millions of people. During your stay, know the laws, the customs, and beware of the warnings and dangers.
Alcohol and drugs are illegal in Riyadh. Possession is a serious crime, so don’t take any chances. Drug dealers will try to sell you alcohol and drugs on the black market, but this is very dangerous. Not only will you face prosecution, but the alcohol is of poor quality and can be dangerous to your health. Western countries with embassies in the region often circumvent this rule and drink on their country’s property.
Treatment of Women
Unfortunately, women aren’t treated with respect in Riyadh. Women who travel to Saudi Arabia must wear an Abaya; a traditional garment that covers their clothes. They must also wear a scarf, or a hijab. If they don’t, they may be stopped by police. Before you leave, visit an Islamic clothing store and purchase the appropriate clothing. Also, while it’s difficult to understand, Saudi Arabia restricts women from certain places. When visiting a restaurant or movie theatre, women may be asked to sit in a designated area. Pay attention to the signs and beware of the local police.
Driving, Traffic, and Cameras
For religious reasons, women aren’t allowed to drive in Riyadh. When traveling in Saudi Arabia, use local cab drivers and public transportation to navigate the city. If you must drive, keep in mind that traffic is aggressive, so drive defensively, especially during rush hour. The roads are often filled with underaged drivers, reckless speedsters, and accidents are common. The police in Riyadh can also be a danger if you’re not careful. If you are caught speeding or committing a traffic violation, don’t challenge their authority. The police won’t listen to your complaints and they may arrest you and put you in jail if you resist. Know your rights, which is to say that if you’re a foreigner, or a women, or especially if you’re both, you don’t have many.
Off the road, be careful when using a camera. The police don’t like when tourists take pictures of government buildings or religious sites. If you’re caught, they may confiscate your camera and film. Be careful, don’t stand out from the crowd, and know the local laws and customs before you travel to Riyadh.
Editor’s Note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about the warnings and dangers in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.