Saudi Arabia, Asia - Wontra Travels

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Welcome to Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia

Capital: Riyadh

Calling Code: +966

Currency: Saudi riyal (SR) (SAR)

Driving Side: Right

Official Language: Arabic

Official Religion: Sunni Islam

Population: 30,770,375 (2014)

Time Zone: AST (UTC+3)

Saudi Arabia, officially known as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), is geographically the fifth-largest state in Asia and second-largest state in the Arab world after Algeria. It is bordered by Jordan and Iraq to the north, Kuwait to the northeast, Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates to the east, Oman to the southeast, and Yemen to the south.

It is separated from Israel and Egypt by the Gulf of Aqaba. It is the only nation with both a Red Sea coast and a Persian Gulf coast, and most of its terrain consists of arid inhospitable desert or barren landforms.

Fascinating Riyadh, the capital, is a showpiece for modern Saudi Arabia, Jeddah blends ancient and modern and has an enchanting old city made of coral, while the Red Sea coast has world-class diving. And for Muslim travellers, Mecca and Medina represent the most sacred destination you can imagine.             

The vast majority of tourism in the Kingdom revolves around pilgrimages to Mecca, with more than 10 million travellers visiting Islam's holy city each year. Yet the world's largest exporter of oil and one of the richest countries on the planet is trying to change that fact and encourage travellers to stay for longer.

Most visitors will need to acquire a visa, although this requirement doesn't apply to citizens of certain countries including Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar.

Information & Facts

Attraction Overview

  • Climb the skyscraper Kingdom Centre in Riyadh, the nation’s capital, and cross the Skybridge for an incredible view of the city and surrounding area, particularly impressive after dark
  • Enjoy the massive National Museum, also in Riyadh, where thousands of years of history are displayed with the latest technology
  • Sightsee in Taif, filling your camera with beautiful mountain vistas from sunrise to sunset
  • Take a walk in the Empty Quarter, one of the largest sand deserts on earth, which acts as a border for four countries
  • Experience a football match with some of the most fervent fans that grace the globe

 

Business

Arabic is the only officially recognized language for business transactions.

Examine all conditions carefully and ensure that you fully understand them prior to accepting a job offer or signing a contract. Include oral understandings in the contract.

Obtain the services of an independent Saudi-based lawyer and ensure translation of all documents, especially the contract, in order to be fully aware of all conditions, limits and terms.

In case of a dispute, a Saudi complainant may prevent a foreigner from leaving the country until the dispute is settled.

Duty Free

The following items may be imported into Saudi Arabia without incurring customs duty:

  • 600 cigarettes or 100 cigars or 500g of tobacco.
  • Goods to the value of SAR3, 000.

Digital devices can be subject to inspection – and often by officials who may not know how to properly operate such devices. The result can occasionally involve wiped hard drives but is more often just a delay. With the country’s ban on pornography, it is wise to remove risqué images from your devices.

 

Electricity

127/220 volts AC (with plans to change completely to 220 volts), 60Hz. Two-pin plugs (flat and round pins) and British-style plugs with three square pins are used.

Getting Around

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is linked by modern highways and road networks, making it easy to get from one place to another. Companies such as Saudi Public Transport Company provide excellent public bus service, and several taxi companies operate in major cities, especially at airports and shopping malls.

Taxi fares are based on the distance driven and should be agreed upon prior to services. Many international car rental companies provide services at airports and hotels. Car rental procedures can be initiated and completed abroad.

A male visitor holding a valid driving license from another country, or possessing an international driving license, may rent and drive a car in the kingdom.

Language

Arabic is the official language of Saudi Arabia, but English is also widely spoken in business discussions and is the second language in schools. Within the non-Saudi population, languages such as Urdu, Farsi, and Turkish are also spoken.

Money

The Saudi Arabian Riyal (SAR) is the official currency in Saudi Arabia (SA, SAU). It is also known as the Saudi Arabian Rial and symbol can be written as SRls, and ﷼.

The abbreviation of the Saudi riyal is SAR and it is made up of 100 halala or 20 ghirsh, and is often presented with the symbol SR. The Saudi riyal is pegged to the U.S. dollar at about 3.75 SAR.

Time

AST (Arabia Standard Time)- UTC/GMT +3 hours
 

Tipping

In Saudi Arabia tipping is expected to be between 10% and 15% for good service, unless there is a service charge added to the bill. If there is a service charge there is no need to tip, unless the service was exceptional.

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