Saudi Arabia Warnings and Dangers
Saudi Arabia, a beautiful and ancient country that has seen its share of history stretching back as far as anyone can remember. As a cultural center for Islam and a place of ancient relics and buildings, it can be an attractive place to visit, but care must be taken.
Preparing for your Journey
There are a few things that should be considered before embarking on a visit to Saudi Arabia. Unlike many western countries, they have a lot of rules and laws that may be strict if not Draconian by western standards. Saudi Arabia is a type of country that would punish a foreigner as quickly as it would one of its own. This is one of the countries where asking permission is much easier than forgiveness.
Men and women are segregated in Saudi society with women considered subservient to men. If you are a woman planning to travel, it is highly recommended not to do it alone. Some of the laws in place is that women may not be out and about without the escort of their husband. The Mutaween (Saudi Arabian religious police) are able to and have stopped foreigners demanding proof that they are married. It is always in your best interest to comply and remain peaceful and passive when dealing with them.
Starting out, it is better to purchase all clothing that will be worn in Saudi Arabia online so that visitors are able to step off the plane already dressed and inconspicuous.
Men should wear conservative clothes that are not compromised of any gold coloring or items made of silk. These things are considered not appropriate for a man. They should also never wear shorts that come above the knee unless at the beach. A simple shirt and long shorts with little to no jewelry would be the best choice.
Women have it a bit rougher as the Saudi government does not see foreign women as different as other Muslim countries might. Women should wear an abaya if outdoors at all times. She may wear whatever she wants under the robe, but the robe must be adorned while in the public view.
For the most part, the weather in Saudi Arabia is pretty much the same except for the beginning and end of the cold season. It can bring blinding sandstorms and torrents of rain that can wash out roads especially in the more rural parts of the country. Research what the weather is going to be like and pack appropriately.
Important Things to Remember While in the Country
Once in the country, you will have a few more things to make sure to consider while visiting ancient Saudi Arabia. First and foremost, it is important that photographs should not be taken unless explicit permission has been received by the subject or owner of what is being taken. The Saudi people are very private about their privacy and find taking pictures, even if not the subject, to be distressing. If people get upset, the police will tell you to put the camera away.
If a woman is walking about with her husband, there are public rules that should be followed to maintain discretion and to make sure not to stick out like a sore thumb. Women are required to walk a few feet behind her husband and remain quiet with eyes forward unless spoken to. It is expected that she not interrupted, especially if her husband is talking with another man.
As mentioned before, these rules might seem very harsh, but many tourists and citizens highly recommend these rules be followed.
Take care when speaking in public as many controversial subjects like Mohammad, Islam, and the ruling family, the Al-Saud, are never to be spoken of and never in a tone of disrespect as these are punishable under the law of the land.
If you are visiting Riyadh, stay away from the Deera Square on Friday afternoons as this is when most of the public executions take place. Foreigners are not welcome at these times.
There are a lot of beautiful things tourists can see in Saudi Arabia, and it can be uneventful if all safety and steps are taken to protect oneself and family while visiting the nation.
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about visiting Saudi Arabia.