Whereas Salafists are really, really conservative in nature, it is more socially accepted. It was the first time in the Netherlands someone asked me: “Do you have your headscarf and your male guidance with you?” Sure, all arranged… What did I get myself into?! I thought I included a link to the news, but I don’t know if it got posted with my previous post and I’ll try it again. These small earnings help me to improve and create more content for Against the Compass. Most women work in either education or the medical field. Women traveling alone are not allowed to enter the country unless they will be met at the airport by a husband, a sponsor or male relative. You will just have to secure a visit visa from saudi embassy in the country where you are in right now. I had some really good experiences but, at the same time, I had not so good experiences. You can also move by bus between cities. First, I met Abdullah, an English teacher from Kharj. The rest of the borders, however, are currently closed: Yemen, due to the ongoing conflict; Qatar, due to their current diplomatic issues; and Oman, due to it being under construction. Moreover, you came to Saudi to meet people and make local friends, so saying you are an atheist won’t help you at all. I respectfully disagree. Women in Saudi often wear open shoes while others are more comfortable in a set of trainers. Do not be fooled by the work of countless foreign consulting firms. in Riyadh. Heavily segregated by gender and (in)famous for its restrictions on women’s freedoms and rights, the country is not the easiest place to be a woman, let alone travel as one! Tourists will obtain a multiple-entry visa valid for a year that will allow them to stay in the country for up to 90 days. Hey Todd, are you asking whether wearing tattoos are illegal or not in KSA? Not walking friendly at all, meaning that once you reach the city, you will have to hitchhike again, or take a taxi, but the locals are generally helpful. The easiest way to travel to Saudi Arabia is by flying in. Unfortunately, they stopped issuing visas… Perhaps, they will renew the process in winter. I would love to travel to KSA and this makes it so much simpler. All EU countries within Schengen zone + Andorra, Monaco, United Kingdom and Ukraine, Brunei, China, Canada, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, United States. I shared many short moments with so many locals but there were two Saudis in particular who really changed the perspective of my trip. Thanks a lot , Hi Ani, in Saudi, the only compulsory thing is wearing an abaya to cover your body (not your head). There are no restrictions on what shoes you are or aren't allowed to wear in the Kingdom. Please come on, don’t compare wearing shorts with bullying people online. In many areas, particularly the capital, Riyadh, women are pressured to wear a full-length black covering called an abaya and to cover their heads. Saudi Arabia is a Muslim country in which Islamic law is strictly enforced. I’m assuming that I’d be expected to be covered while there? i mean, i am not against any family, nor I am talking about near past history, yet Saudi people really love others, they also deserve rightly representations one day. A Saudi woman pushes a stroller carrying her children in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia September 27, 2017. i need answer to make some business decisions. Seriously, don’t trust anyone who has just been to Jeddah or Riyadh for business. Like in any country, there are loads of awesome people and, like in any off the beaten track Muslim country, most of them are extra-nice with foreigners. Here we go… Schiphol Airport, checking in for my flight to Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Even though the country is quite strict, it is very easy to adhere to the dress code as a foreigner in Saudi Arabia. Hope to visit in 2020. Really love that one day, all those misconceptions about Saudi people also removed, and I wish they also get their true representatives one day. Hey Pedro, I seriously doubt they will ask you for this information but the best way to know find it to test it by yourself and see ! You could book your tickets through the website sharek.sa and, immediately after purchasing them, they would issue a legit and valid e-visa to travel to Saudi Arabia. To avoid problems, it is essential to know what to wear in Saudi Arabia and, more importantly, what not to wear.. © 2020 USATODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc. (Photo: Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images ), U.S. Department of State: Background Notes, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Department of State: Travel Warning in Saudi Arabia, U.S. Department of State: Standards of Conduct, U.S. Department of State: Entry/Exit Requirements, Immigration Traveling Requirements for U.S. For a more detailed analysis, read this article from Joao Leitao: Is Saudi Arabia a safe country to travel? As crazy as it may sound, I hitchhiked all across Saudi Arabia. During the last couple of years, a lot of their super strict Islamic laws have been softened or, at least, they have become more flexible. Everybody knows that. Wearing shorts doesn’t produce any harm to anyone. Women can drive, including renting a car – From June 2018, women can finally drive and, as a female tourist, you can also rent it. JEDDAH: When I first tried to rent a car in Saudi Arabia, in the morning women were allowed to drive for the first time, I was told I couldn’t without a Saudi license, but one day, “Insha’Allah.” Today, it was easy, and I became the first foreign woman to rent a car from Budget in the Kingdom. You can find plenty of hotels in Booking.com, CLICK HERE TO FIND THE BEST HOTELS DEALS ON BOOKING.COM, Remember to get your Saudi guidebook – CLICK HERE TO CHECK PRICES ON AMAZON. Some messages were from friendly, skeptical people who wanted a response, while others were from really extreme haters who I blocked right away. Women relocating to Saudi Arabia to marry, study or stay with a Saudi family need to be aware that leaving the country requires the permission of the Saudi male head of their household. Hi Jina, yes, the post contains the latest traveling information. Questions about visiting Saudi Arabia alone as a white American woman Hi all, so I understand that Saudi Arabia has recently opened up its borders to foreign tourists, so I'm planning on visiting at some point in the near future. Neighboring countries include Jordan to the northwest, Iraq and Kuwait to the northeast, Bahrain and Qatar to the east, the United Arab Emirates to the southeast, and Oman and Yemen to the south. They were as hospitable as any Muslim man I had met before and the only difference is that I didn’t see their faces. Is it possible? Women need to wear an abaya – The abaya is a local dress that covers your body (not your head). Same dress code applies inside the airport or covering my head would suffice? Yes, you can, as long as you are 25 years old or more. Hopefully this doesn’t sound like a silly question, but it is a concern for me. Reuters/Faisal Nasser In a famous September 2018 case, an Egyptian man was arrested in Saudi Arabia for having breakfast with an unmarried woman in the family section of a restaurant and posting a video of it to social media. Thank you for the clarification. I wore the veil and followed the customs completely. I have been living in this country for well over 10 years and I can attest with certainty that this is one of the most family friendly countries in the world. For example, it is the law in Saudi Arabia that women wear an abaya in public places. Travellinandi from Sudan and Iraq. They believe they need to wear it as much as men believe it. By the way, most rental companies won’t rent you a car if you don’t have an international driving license, so remember to convert it before leaving your country. There is a large Shia population, as well. thanks for your comment. She enjoys writing travel, medical, health and how-to articles for various publishers. I actually hitchhiked from Riyadh to Jizan, 1,300km. When I came back from Saudi Arabia, I received many, many messages from very upset people who claimed that traveling to Saudi Arabia implicated collaborating with a regime that doesn’t respect the basic human rights. Most women in Saudi wear the black niqab, which covers the whole face except the eyes. I mean, just check its size and you will see that it is bigger than any European country. A few days after, I met Ibrahim, a real Saudi from Abha. Thanks to Joan for an otherwise fun, informative article. Saudi Arabia is the most religious country I have ever been to. Asking people to cover up is not harming anyone, it is just asking that people remain respectful of their culture and the prevailing religion there. Note – Saudis prefer to be called Salafis, instead of Wahabis. And exploring the holy land, well you will definitely get the signs of greatness of ALLAH too, so i think that policy of current Saudi givernment is really worth appreciatable, though many of its policies still needs open arms and thinking. Hitchhiking to get out of Riyadh was tough but then it was so easy. Questions about visiting Saudi Arabia alone as a white American woman Hi all, so I understand that Saudi Arabia has recently opened up its borders to foreign tourists, so I'm planning on visiting at some point in the near future. We fly return with Pegasus from Brussels, Istanbul to Kuwait for 250 euro. In December 2018, the only way of traveling to Saudi Arabia on a tourist visa was by purchasing a ticket for a Formula-E event that would take place in Riyadh. How to deal with women in Saudi – Now that every day you see more and more women working in public spaces, you are likely to talk to quite a few Saudi women who wear the niqab. I think it would be cheaper if you take a flight to Abha and you rent the car at the airport and explore the Abha & Jizan for a few days. The populace of 28 million adheres to the strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islamic law, so cultural presentations, for example, must conform to a narrowly defined standard of ethics. However, there is a relatively developed domestic tourism infrastructure, so you can find hotels pretty much everywhere, even though they tend to be expensive. Disclosure: As a traveler, I use all the companies I recommend and you should know that, if you buy any service through any of these links, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Find what to do today, this weekend or in December. Thanks! There’s nothing objective to validate claims of moving forward or backward. Home to Mecca, this country draws millions of Muslim visitors every year. I really appreciate your support :), Use Booking.com for hotels and guesthouses, Check on Hostelworld for for backpacker hostels, 1 – IATI Insurance (5% discount) – Cheapest travel insurance and for travelers above 70, 2 – True Traveller – Best backpacking insurance (only Europeans), Trekking equipment, books, etc, check on Amazon, If you want to know all the companies I use to plan my trips, check my travel resources page. I’m a filipino guy working here in Riyadh KSA. stay bless people of whole Saudia Arabia (both Hijaz and Najd), amen! Saudi Arabia is opening up more to tourists. And when you do your bday, after clicking a few hundred times, hold the status bar and a decade year range will show up.. Over time, they became Saudi citizens and that is why, today, you find Saudis from all types of ethnicities. Unmarried women and children require the permission of their father or male guardian. Now, with the tourism boom that the country will suffer, let’s see how it goes, In the past for sure (even though they were be kind of flexible with resident expats). There, we met with one of his friends, we had lunch at his house and then we visited his camel farm. And it is going to be a positive change. In their eyes, Wahabism is a few steps ahead than Salafism when it comes to conservatism, meaning that it is really extreme, a term usually used to designate Islamic terrorists. The country is quiet, slow paced, and friendly. It was an enriching experience. In the beginning I hated it. Did you check my itinerary? Great introduction thanks, hope I can go in the not too distant future. On one occasion, I refused to continue with a man because I was seriously afraid of dying. Seriously, after all my years of travels, I can now confirm that Saudi people are the most insane people on wheels. Need to know about Israeli passport stamps in 2020, How to find the best VPN for Saudi Arabia in 2020, 25 Best places to visit in the Middle East in 2020, Places to visit in Saudi Arabia – 15-day itinerary, https://againstthecompass.com/es/viajar-a-arabia-saudita/, https://againstthecompass.com/en/places-visit-saudi-arabia-itinerary/, 50 Useful tips for traveling to Iraqi Kurdistan, A guide to the Karakoram Highway – From Pakistan to China, Tips and how to travel to Saudi Arabia in 2020, How to travel to Syria in 2020: Everything you must know, It is the only company that offers an unlimited budget policy, very useful for Saudi Arabia, It provides coverage for pretty much any nationality, It covers a wide range of adventure activities, Saudis are racist to anyone who is not from the Gulf, Budget Hotel – Double room from 100 to 150SR (26 to 40USD), Breakfast in Indian-run café – 5 to 10SR (1.30 to 2.60USD), Breakfast in local Saudi eatery – 10 to 15SR (2.60 to 4USD), Lunch in Indian-run restaurant – 10 to 15SR (2.60 to 4USD), Lunch in local Saudi eatery – 15 to 20SR (4USD to 5.30USD), Lunch in mid-range restaurant – From 30-35SR (8-9USD), Short taxi ride in Riyadh – 15 to 25SR (4 to 6.60USD). Hey Graham, for some reason I had missed this comment. The U.S. Embassy can intercede to request permission for an adult American woman married to or daughter of a Saudi to leave, but there is no guarantee of success. I have travelled to the UAE and to Lebanon, with no issues, other than lots of stares, but I pretty covered in tattoos. I just wondering if you’re still keeping updated about that e-visa. when in Saudi, women definately need to be covered up, it's nothing like Dubai in case you're wondering a few western women I've spoken to and who have had to do this whilst visiting Saudi have said that they found the experience of covering up to be very empowering, they felt they were longer the object of male attention (especially if they wore the face veil) So yeah, the idea of having international visitors who are not expats or workers is still a concept they aren’t familiar with. but the problem is I can not go back to Saudi. Required fields are marked *. I wanted to vist my friend in Saudi Arabia. Here you can check my complete Saudi itinerary. Applying for the e-visa is pretty straightforward and you can do it through this portal. On this particular issue they are going backwards unfortunately. Your email address will not be published. You can find hotels all over the country. Here's what to look out for. so are you saying they changed this law recently, so they are going backwards? Men and women who aren’t family related can hang out together, in public – Some years ago, you couldn’t go to a restaurant or a café with a friend from the opposite sex but now you can do it normally, like in any other country. Eat with your right hand, always – This is a generic Muslim rule but in Saudi is particularly strict. The tourists visiting the country will be obliged to follow the regulations that Saudi Arabia has mentioned on its travel website. Another very cool canyon outside of Riyadh – Can you travel to Saudi Arabia, A man reading the Quran is Jawtha Mosque, the second mosque the prophet Mohammed ever prayed at, in Hofuf, east of Saudi Arabia – C. A Saudi man – Can tourists visit Saudi Arabia? That means a loose fitting cloth that covers the shoulders and doesn’t show too much flesh. It’s generally easier to meet people in compounds, and it doesn't take expat wives long before they find themselves having made new friends and acquaintances. However, in the visa application, I had to specify my port of entry and they didn’t give you the choice of selecting a land border entry point, so I preferred to just book a flight because, in any case, going from Muscat to Riyadh was a very long way and I didn’t even know about public transportation options. Falconry is also a very big deal in Saudi – Travel Guide to Saud Arabia. And here you can find all my articles and guides to the Middle East. 24. Saudi Arabia e-visas are finally available again Read the visa section of this post! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a level 4 Travel Health Notice for Saudi Arabia due to COVID … Moreover, many Saudis are crazy drivers, more than in any other country I have been to. Residents, Prohibited Items for Business Travel in Saudi Arabia. Other countries limit harmful speech freedoms, something many US citizens find unforgivable. Saudi Arabia is home to five UNESCO World Heritage ... beheading vacation spot you'll never vacation in." Thank you for the tips. Azeez said 2 years ago. READ THIS: I got a lot of reactions to this video. By the way, traditionally, Saudis eat on the floor and use their right hand to eat. For business visas contact, better contact your embassy. We’ll just have to respectfully disagree. The pace of business is slower in Saudi Arabia than in … Hola Joan! Distances are huge. The following nine tips will help you have a successful visit. This means that some websites might be blocked and inaccessible for regular internet users. Saudi Arabia (officially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or KSA) is a Middle Eastern country that occupies most of the Arabian peninsula and has coastlines on the Persian Gulf and Red Sea. With that announcement, adventure-seekers and culture lovers had the opportunity to visit Saudi Arabia for up to 90 days at a time. Thanks a lot. Type here..Am so much happy for the wonderful information you give out about the culture and law operating in Saudi Arabia God bless, my dream is to be in Arabia one day not just for anything but to understand the language of Arabia to promote and advance the level of my education even if am to get someone who I will work with in any of his local company , May Allah help us all. Women are not allowed to do most of the jobs that men can do in Saudi Arabia. Check:Somaliland travel guideEritrea travel guide. I am living in Saudi Arabia and know most of the things you said, So, I know most of the information you expressed in your blog. This kind of segregation is slowly disappearing, especially in Jeddah and Riyadh. Seriously, stay away from drugs – Drugs may lead to death sentence, so don’t play with them. These resorts aren’t open yet - why else would I visit Saudi Arabia? From a crime perspective, Saudi Arabia is just another very safe place to visit in the Middle East. And does this visa have limit country? Visiting Saudi Arabia as a tourist. Different countries, different perspectives, different rules. Obviously, there will be many cases of liberal Saudi women who will tell you a different story but I am just talking in generic terms. If you are planning to visit or go and live in Saudi Arabia, don't stress too much about what to wear while in KSA. Sure, Saudi is an extremely patriarchal country, so this kind of reaction is perfectly understandable. The truth is that there were some rumors saying that the Saudi Government would introduce a regular e-visa system somewhere in 2019, so those events were just a test aimed at seeing how would the country handle independent Western tourists for the first time in their history. When to travel to Saudi – Winter is, definitely, the best time. Hola, really love all your posts man. For the first time in its history, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced that will be opening its doors for tourism by issuing an electronic visa for visitors coming from 49 countries. If so, can you go in from one country and then out to another country? If you travel to Iran, you will see that the clothing rules are even more strict. It features 111 ancient monumental tombs Credit: get Our media doesn’t really do justice to Saudi people, as they portray them as religious fanatics who force women to submit to their Sharia rules. Apparently, their results and experience were rather satisfactory and, along with the fact that Saudi is trying to find alternative ways of not being so dependant on oil revenue, they finally announced the introduction of an e-visa system, starting from September 2019. I was one of the first Americans to visit under the Electronic Visa program, and as a woman traveling alone, I was curious but also cautious about visiting this country. But the kingdom's laws are complicated, and tourists can easily fall foul of them and receive a hefty fine, or worse. Don’t travel to Saudi during the holy month of Ramadan – During Ramadan, the law is really extreme in Saudi, so all business will be closed during day time. i am saudi girl, i don't know some answers from some people sound like ages ago, what i am trying to say there are some things a woman should do and expect but come on it is not a jungle or something people are quit open than before. Women don’t need to wear hijab – You don’t need to cover your head but, like I just said, you must cover your body with an abaya. Is tracing possible there? Outside of Riyadh, on the way to the Edge of the World – T. Get this epic travel guide to Saudi Arabia! How can a Nigeria woman who went to Saudi Arabia to work for just five months … A woman traveling with a man who is not her husband, sponsor or a male relative can be arrested. I have added a note in the respective section with a link to your blog. For example, allowing women and men to hang out together in public spaces was one of the most significant changes. Women are separated from men from the moment they arrive, queueing in a separate – and usefully much shorter – line for passport control. All air and sea points of entry between Saudi Arabia and Qatar were cut on 6 June 2017. Seriously, it is not even close to what you may think. Big hug all the way from Ouarzazate. Please note that I am not trying to justify the use of the niqab but I just wanted you to know that many Saudi women actually choose to wear it. Me pregunto como la obtuviste. Moving to a Middle Eastern country will certainly be a culture shock for someone from a Western society, especially with the gender segregation and traditional culture. Women should cover shoulders and knees in public, but do not need to wear traditional clothing. You don’t mention it in visa info section and couldn’t find it online. Moreover, as per things to do, you should know that there are loads, loads of things to do in this country. They choose to wear it because they think that this is the right thing to do because the Quran says so. As you may imagine, tourism in Saudi Arabia is in a very embryonic stage. Remember to always travel with the proper travel insurance, especially in countries like Saudi Arabia where, for foreigners, the Health Care System is crazy expensive. I mean, you should always be aware of your belongings but pickpocketing or being robbed is quite unheard of. Thanks for the polite exchange and the fun read on Saudi Arabia. Mann is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and English. All that says is that a majority of people in a culture feel some way. Until recently, women visiting Saudi Arabia were expected to wear an abaya (an ankle length robe) and hijab (a headscarf). The U.S. Department of State urges all potential visitors to carefully consider the risks of traveling to Saudi Arabia. In Saudi Arabia, accommodation is quite expensive, especially for solo travelers. Nada wrote an article about this topic on my site, so if you want to know more, read: 9 misconceptions about traveling to Saudi Arabia as a woman. The continued presence of terrorist groups, some of which have been affiliated with al Qaeda, have posed an ongoing security threat to all Westerners since 2001. Cheers. Airbnb – The cheapest option would be finding a room on Airbnb and remember that, if you create an account through my link, you will get up to 35€ of FREE credit on your next booking. Though basically i belonged to Pakistan, yet I love your enlightened posts about Saudia. Foreign women can travel around the country independently, and alone – I have already lost count of all the women who asked me if they can go there by themselves. In the US, the cultural perception of freedom of speech takes priority over the documented harms of verbal (and online) bullying. Really. The reality is miles away from this stereotype. Thank you, Graham, from Inside Other Places for the clarification. Whereas I fully understand their point, I think that their argument is quite simplistic and it just lets you see one tiny side of the whole picture. They are actually not allowed to go into a bank without a man accompanying them. A 4×4 is not needed but the problem with car rental is that you are only allowed to drive X km a day, and then they charge you per km, so doing a loop around the country can turn expensive. There are loads of international flights, especially to Jeddah and Riyadh. Is it ethical to visit Saudi as a tourist? I was totally unaware that Saudi Arabia has so much To offer the adventure crazy traveler. We fly soon. I am not certainly sure. Expat Exchange: Women in the Kingdom: Life as an Expat Woman in Saudi Arabia Any woman considering a move to Saudi Arabia, should really do her research, talk with other expat women in the cities where she may be living in Saudi Arabia, and, if married, discuss the positives and negatives at length with your husband. Weekend falls on Friday and Saturday – This is not different than many Muslim countries. A Woman's Take on Visiting Saudi Arabia By We_Did_That | Sep 1, 2019 Middle East > Saudi Arabia My husband, Tristan, and I recently spent two months helping run a startup accelerator program in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Since it borders with so many Arabic countries, its huge dimensions with many different geographical areas and its multi-ethnic population, the food in Saudi Arabia is a real blend of all the Arabic food you can think of. thanks, Hi Malik, this is a tourism-related blog. Therefore, the fact that, all of a sudden, Western tourists can visit Saudi Arabia on their own, with a backpack, both men and women, is a very radical change. Women visiting Saudi Arabia will no longer need to wear an abaya. Saudi Arabia has suspended diplomatic relations with Qatar. However, since Saudi is known for being an extremely patriarchal country, I received more questions than I had ever received before, some of them asking about safety, while others if it was even possible to go travel to Saudi Arabia as a woman alone. Single foreign women can also visit Saudi on a tourist visa – You can travel to Saudi with your unmarried boyfriend and even if you are single, no problem. Arabic is the official language. Just keep in mind that you will be required to take them off when visiting a mosque. Any comments or suggestions about the airports? The comparison between the prerogative to wear shorts and the prerogative to bully people online is valid because both the judgment of either as right or wrong is rooted in changing cultural values. We had dinner, stayed at his friend’s house and showed me around on the day after. However, going backwards refers to the fact that they force you wearing certain clothes. Abdullah taught me many interesting things about Saudi culture, especially their interpretation of Islam. Question.. How much time does one need I. SAYDI.. Jeddah, AL ulra, abha and mountains.. .. As a budget backpacker, seems a bit expensive to hang around.. Cross my finger, in a few years time we will be seeing hundreds of thousands of tourists to experience Saudi Arabia…and we will be glad to welcome you all. With a couple of extra pieces, you will fit right in without any problems. As Saudi Arabia announced a new tourist visa regime, the country also revealed a more relaxed dress code for women visitors. He is also the author of Against the Compass, an alternative travel blog, quite different from the rest, which aims at HELPING and INSPIRING you to do the same, always in a responsible way, with no rush, showing you the human side of the story and, above all, in a safe manner.
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visiting saudi arabia as a woman 2020