Saudi Arabia Travel Advice

Terror Threats

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia remains under a general threat of terrorist activities. Although the country is one of the safer nations in the Middle East, attacks have been carried out. Terrorists like to target crowded areas and places frequented by foreign travellers. Therefore, as with all travel, maintaining awareness of surroundings and refraining from crowds and demonstrations are the best self-protection.

Saudi security forces are aware of the constant threats from terrorists, and have done a remarkable job in combating attacks from becoming tragedies. Terrorist cells are frequently disrupted by the specially trained security detail. Although security forces are a success, it should not be taken lightly that terror can still strike at anytime, anywhere.

Hajj/Pilgrimage

Every year, nearly 4 million Muslim pilgrims participate in the Hajj, a spiritual journey that all able bodies Muslim men must make once in their lifetime, if they can afford the trip. The Hajj includes a walk from the city of Medina to Mecca, the spiritual capital of Islam. This walk through the western Saudi desert resulted in death in years prior, but organizers have improved communication for those who need medical assistance and the help that is available.

Although the hajj is a time of spiritual cleansing and praise, there have been reports of pick pocketing and various other thefts during the pilgrimage. It is advised to make duplicate copies of all travel documents, including your passport. These copies should be stored in a safe place separate from your original documents.

Ramadan in Saudi Arabia

Another time of religious significance to Muslim is the holy month of Ramadan. During this time, fasting from food, beverage, and smoking from sunrise to sunset is considered to be a cleansing of souls and making sacrifices to receive spiritual fulfilment. While a time of peace, Saudis are very respectful of their culture and can be easily offended when the practice of fasting is disrespected.

Saudi Arabia is a Muslim nation, and Islamic law is enforced. Adapting to local customs to not offend may also prevent criminal action taken against you. Eating in your room, out of sight of Muslims, would be recommended. This may be necessary, as most local restaurants are closed during daylight hours in Saudi Arabia. For more information about customs during Ramadan, click here.

Travelling in Saudi Arabia

With the wide, straight roads that connect cities, sports cars hire in Saudi Arabia may make for a fun driving experience. However, other drivers will drive equally fast, and caution must be taken when driving anywhere in the kingdom.

Boating along the seas that border Saudi Arabia can be fun, but maintain vigilance as oil installations in the seas off the coast have the potential to be terrorist targets. Maintain the same high level of vigilance on the water as you do on land in Saudi Arabia.

Comments are closed.