If you are planning to travel to Saudi Arabia, make sure you are aware of things you should and should not do in the Kingdom.
Before you travel to any of the cities in KSA, be aware of their rules and culture in order not to do something that might inadvertently offend or be illegal.
However, there is no need to worry too much about this, as you can still enjoy your trip even with your family and friends if you keep a few things in mind. In this article, we will talk about some do’s and don’ts you should be aware of when in Saudi Arabia.
What You Should Do When in Saudi Arabia
Before we talk about what you should not do in Saudi Arabia, let’s learn about do’s and travel like an experienced tourist.
Always Carry Proof of Identity
It does not matter whether you are visiting the country on a tourist or work visa, you need to carry proof of identity. People of Saudi Arabia or migrants who reside in the country as workers always carry the “Iqama”, the residential ID card of Saudi Arabia.
If you are traveling across the country, never forget to carry your passport. You will frequently encounter checkpoints, where security officials will ask you to show your identity proof.
Be Careful About the Dress Code
In Saudi Arabia, you just cannot wear anything you like. As you know, Saudi Arabia is an Islamic country and people here are very strict about the dress code and the modesty of their attire. Thus, you need to follow their customs.
It does not matter whether you are a male or female, your dress should be modest. If you are a female, make sure the length of your dress is long enough to cover your knee.
Saudi Arabia welcomes tourists from all over the world and if you respect their culture and traditions, they will respect you as well.
Greet Someone Properly and Learn Other Customs
When you meet someone who is a resident of Saudi Arabia, greet the person by saying Asalam-O-Alaikum. If someone says the same words to you, then you need to reply as saying Walikum-Asalam. This is the right way to greet people in Saudi Arabia. It does not matter where you have come from; following their customs puts you at ease.
Likewise, if you are about to enter a holy place or someone’s living room, make sure you have removed your shoes. You may not see signage everywhere, but taking off the shoes is mandatory in certain places.
When meeting a person, adopt a modest and humble demeanor. If you have been invited for programs known as Qahwa, try to drink two cups.
If you are going to address someone in Saudi Arabia, address the person by calling Mr. or Mrs. followed by the surname. It is better to learn some common gestures and phrases before you visit, as this will make your trip easy and convenient.
What You Should Not Do in Saudi Arabia
Now we come to the don’ts part. Here you will learn about the things you should not do or practice when in Saudi Arabia.
Do Not Ask for Pork or Alcohol
There are certain restrictions on foods and beverages in Saudi Arabia for which visitors should be aware. Pork and alcohol are both strictly prohibited in the country and you should not ask for it. Don’t bring these items in and do not order them when eating in restaurants or hotels.
Never Show Affection to the Opposite Sex in Public
If you are visiting the country with your family, spouse, friends or any other, never show your affection to the opposite sex in the public. This is a punishable offense in this country, and you need to restrain yourself from this to avoid punishment.
If you have a female companion, never walk around the public places holding hands or touching each other. If you are a male, never make any eye contact with a female you do not know. Serious penalties for infractions of this nature can occur.
Be Careful When Extending Helping Hand
People of Saudi Arabia have certain cultural beliefs and practices concerning helping others. Never extend your helping hand unless the person has requested you to do so. It is better to dial the help desk number if you see someone in need. If you respect the laws and customs of Saudi Arabia, you should not have any problem as a tourist or resident.
Look and Think Before You Click
If you are traveling to Saudi Arabia as a tourist, you would definitely want to capture some of the great moments in your phone or camera. However, you have to follow some guidelines when taking pictures in Saudi Arabia. You cannot take pictures of a person without permission. Never try to take photos of military installations, airports and important administrative buildings. Do not carry or display indecent photographs when traveling around.
Consider Hiring a Driver and Don’t Be Aggressive
If you are a woman, you may have heard that it is now possible for women to drive in Saudi Arabia. That said, the number of women drivers is still quite low. You may feel more comfortable with someone else behind the wheel.
It is better not to travel alone, if you are a woman. Also, women should not talk loudly with their husband or male companion in public. Women are not allowed to hold hands or hug their male companion in public. These are some of the common dos and don’ts people should be aware of when in Saudi Arabia.
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