If you are trying to decide on where to go on your next vacation, Saudi Arabia might be a good choice for you. It is probably not on top of your list, and it probably didn’t even scratch your mind—but Saudi Arabia has excellent sights that some tourists might enjoy.
Saudi Arabia is a very conservative Islamic Kingdom. And if you are looking for a place where you can party and drink alcohol—you might as well go someplace else like the Island of Bali or Dubai. But if you are looking for a place where you can take stunning photographs, see enchanting infrastructures and ruins that date back to over 2000 years ago—Saudi Arabia is the place to be!
Before Going to Saudi Arabia: What you should know
Visa- Make sure you have all the necessary travel requirements before visiting Saudi Arabia. Flynas Flight Booking and other booking services and travel agencies should tell you all the travel requirements upon booking a flight, so you shouldn’t have to worry. If you are a US citizen, you must have a Tourist Visa to enter the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Proper Clothing- Both men and women should dress appropriately and modestly. Tourists are not required to wear the Abaya or cloak, but you need to follow the public code of conduct.
Do not take pictures of locals without permission- It is impolite to snapshots of people or places without asking for permission, so make sure you do so.
Other Social Customs- Here are some social customs you should know if you ever travel to Saudi Arabia:
- Men should not extend a handshake with local women unless they initiate it first.
- It is rude to refuse a token of welcome from locals, whether it is food or a small gift. The food must be consumed with the right hand.
- Avoid talking about religion and politics with locals.
- Remove your shoes when you are invited to a local’s house unless they insist that you keep them on.
Here are the top 5 sights to see in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia:
The Canyon of Wadi Tayyib Al-Ism: Soon to be “Neom”
The canyon of Wadi Tayyib Al-Ism and other areas in the northwestern corner of the Kingdom will soon take a turn for the future. The Crown Prince of the land is planning a $500 Billion project to create a futuristic area for adventure lovers. But before they alter the valley into something unrecognizable, make sure you visit this historic place. It is known for being the place where Moses landed upon crossing the sea from Egypt. Aside from its historical significance, tourists will be amazed by the scenery.
The Al Ula Ruins
Al Ula is one of the most common and well-known destinations for tourists visiting Saudi Arabia. It features stunning golden rock formations and ancient architecture. It also has lush citrus farms, and it is home to ancient kingdoms. You can tell that even before the people you knew came into existence, this place was home to rich culture and heritage. It is truly an exciting place to visit, especially if you are a history buff!
The Southern Mountains of Asir
When you think of Saudi Arabia, the first thing that will come to your mind is desert, sand, and heat. However, Saudi Arabia is not all sand—the southern area is filled with picturesque mountains, landscapes, and stunning views. Asir is quite the opposite of Riyadh. This region is all green, and you can enjoy fun activities like hiking, touring historic villages, and more. If you plan on going to Asir, you need to make sure you have all your essential hiking gear.
Al Ahsa Oasis
If there is a desert, there is an oasis. The Al Ahsa Oasis is an excellent and mysterious place to explore. You can reach the oasis via a quick train ride from Riyadh. You can also visit different sights such as caves and more.
The Edge of the World
Once you finish exploring Riyadh and after shopping and dining in the congested city, you might want to see the edge of the world. Local residents love to visit this place during the weekends for hiking, relaxing, and unwinding. Why is it called the edge of the earth? Well, the sight is clear as day, and it is an endless view of nothing in almost any direction. It is a unique attraction that is really mind-blowing.
If you are from western countries like the United States, Canada, Australia, or the United Kingdom, and if it is your first time traveling to an unknown country like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia—you might need additional information about the destination. Here are a couple more things you should know before traveling:
The safety is pretty much the same as any other country, and the locals are very respectful to tourists. Just make sure you also respect the locals and conform to their customs, especially during times like Ramadan.
Locals are very hospitable and generous. They are curious just about as curious as tourists when they see foreign people—although, they are still very respectful and polite. Do not be surprised if a local offers you a meal or a cup of Gahwa, (Arabian Coffee) the best way to approach situations like this is to accept whatever they are offering. It is very rude to refuse, and it will hurt their feelings.
This phrase is a greeting that the locals use that means “welcome”, and they appreciate tourists who make their way to learn these common greetings. You can also say “Marhabtain,” which means “I give you two welcomes.”
If you want an in-depth cultural experience, maybe Saudi Arabia is the perfect destination for you. It is a very conservative country, and alcohol is banned in this Kingdom. You can party, and part take in any other country, but people come to Saudi Arabia for a different kind of vacation—one the is spiritual and more meaningful.