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Saudi Arabia FAQs

  • An ancient Arabic oasis, AlUla is located in Medina Province

Is there a dress code in Saudi Arabia?

Yes, there are modesty laws in Saudi Arabia, so men need to ensure their shoulders and knees are covered, while women need to cover their legs and wear long-sleeved shirts. In the holy city of Madinah and at religious sites such as mosques, it’s necessary for women to cover their heads with a hijab or abaya as well. In the coastal city of Jeddah, dress codes may be more relaxed.

Can you wear a bathing suit in pools or at the beach in Saudi Arabia?

While Saudi Arabia has plans of emerging as a beach destination with the Red Sea Project, currently swimming is not common within Saudi culture. As such, rules around swimwear depend on the specific venue. For instance, you’ll never find Saudi citizens at the beach in western swimwear such as trunks or bikinis. If they’re in the water, they’ll be fully covered in swim clothes. However, some hotels and beach clubs catering to international visitors might have different rules, so it’s best to ask management about swimwear expectations at any given venue

Is it safe in Saudi Arabia for women?

Yes, Saudi Arabia is a safe country for female visitors. It has a very low crime rate and a culture of hospitality and public respect.

What is the work week in Saudi Arabia?

The work week in Saudi Arabia is from Sunday to Thursday instead of Monday to Friday like most Western countries.

Do people speak English in Saudi Arabia?

Yes, many people speak English in Saudi Arabia, especially in the cities. Most Saudi citizens learn English in school and it’s common for businesspeople to also speak English. It's less common in the countryside. However, signage through the country is in both Arabic and English.

Is Wi-Fi available in Saudi Arabia?

Yes, Wi-Fi is available at all hotels throughout Saudi Arabia.

Can non-Muslims go to Makkah (Mecca)?

No, only Muslim travellers are permitted in the holy city of Makkah.

Can non-Muslims go to Madinah?

Yes, non-Muslims can visit everywhere in Madinah, except the Prophet’s Mosque, where the Prophet Muhammad is buried.

Can you book a room together as an unmarried couple?

Yes, you can book a room as an unmarried couple in Saudi Arabia. While cultural expectation is for men and women travelling together to be married, hotels and tour operators do not ask whether that is the case, and understand that foreign visitors have different cultural customs than their own.

Can I use debit or credit cards in Saudi Arabia?

Yes, paying with debit and credit cards is available throughout Saudi Arabia, although it’s good to have cash for smaller shops or for any shopping outside of the major cities.

Can you visit Saudi Arabia during Ramadan?

Yes, but it’s much busier, prices will be higher, and the entire pattern of the month changes to focus on prayer and fasting. It’s typically wise for non-Muslim travellers to avoid visiting Saudi Arabia during Ramadan.

Can you visit during the hajj?

The hajj has its own visa and travel process for pilgrims, which are unavailable to non-Muslims. So if you are a Muslim visitor, you can arrange to travel during the hajj, but for non-Muslims, it’s best to avoid the pilgrimage season each year.

Are you supposed to tip in Saudi Arabia?

Tipping is common in Saudi Arabia, but not to the degree it is in the United States and Canada. It’s often expected to add on around 10% of a bill for any services in restaurants, hotels, and transportation. It’s also polite and expected to tip tour guides.

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