Ever heard of the phrase “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”? Well, nearly the same could be said of this outstanding and fascinating sand dune territory, Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia sits between the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. Alone, she occupies a vast part of the Arabian peninsula. Muslims heavily dominate it. Hence other religions are barred from entering most cities in the kingdom, especially Mecca and Medina, where Muslims worldwide gather for a yearly pilgrimage (Hajj).
Being highly dominated by Muslims, visitors are often subjected to strict local Sharia laws. Flouters seen to break any of these laws are made to face severe penalties and executed in some cases.
These rules include; foreigners are not to travel in with pork, alcohol, drugs, and no use nor promotion of pornography, in tapes or print.
Also, premarital and extramarital affairs between both locals and (or) visitors remain highly frowned at, and offenders are made to face severe punishments. Any young lady below 30 who intends to leave home must have a registered male guardian by the Riyadh law. Single men are restricted from entering places like a particular part of a mall, restaurant, or other buildings, except they do so with their families. Hence, there’s a need to always watch out for notices that say “family only.”
As it’s often called, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a very historic country with
charming terrains, breathtaking topography, nice mountain views, especially in the summer resorts of Jeddah city and Al-ula. However, as foreigners, errors to be avoided at all cost are; not to criticize or speaking ill of the Saudi royal family. Not to abuse the national flag, as it bears the Islamic faith declaration. Avoid photographing or pointing cameras on people, official or military buildings, which is considered an act of espionage. Visitors are not to import other religious items or attempt to proselytize other religions outside Islam.
There are many items to buy for visitors on a shopping spree, domestically grown dates, religious articles, and high-quality carpets. Gold and jewelry are very cheap in Saudi Arabia, especially in Jeddah, Mecca, and Medina. Bargaining is also a norm here. The Markets here also have varieties of luggage, clothing, and souvenirs.
Interesting facts why you should pay a visit to Saudi Arabia
- Work: Though there are not many local jobs for foreigners, take-home pay for even simple jobs is somewhat attractive.
- Security: Saudi Arabia is easily observed to be one of the places with the lowest crime rate in the world due to regular police patrols in public areas.
- It is interesting to note that some of the rigidregulations have been laid off. For example, citizens from Israel and Qatar were formally denied a visa into Saudi Arabia, but as of 2019, such restrictions were waived off. Visitors around the world can now visit for diverse reasons.
- Saudi Arabia was named after her first monarch, King Ibin Saud, in the 1930s. It’s the world center of Islamic religion, hosting the holy Muslim cities of Mecca and Medina where prophet Mohammed and his family are buried.
- The capital city, Riyadh, is known to be the most crowded in the kingdom. Next to it is Jeddah, also known as Bride of the Red Sea, and a historicgateway to the Holy city.
- Ahba, is a southwest city that serves as a summer tourist mountain resort. A wonderful stone village crafted with tall buildings and gleaming white quartz. Close to Ahba is Taif, a town with rich soils known for its abundance of fruits like prickly pears. This historic town is the summer residence of King AbdulAziz.
- Visa on arrival and e-visas are now available. This means, just like in other tourist-oriented countries, visitors now gain access more easily by applying online and picking up visas on arrival at airports.
- Saudi Arabia has four major airports in Riyadh, Jeddah, Medina, and Dammam, which makes traveling-in a lot easier. Interestingly, foreigners in the country are sure to be given sensational discounts on outbound flights during the holidays of Hajj, as flights carrying pilgrims into the kingdom don’t intend to go back empty.
- Restaurants here are service charge-free. For instance, it’s illegal to impose a 15% servicecharge on bills. This means here, customers only pay for their meals, with no service fees. There are a number of hospitable hotels too that offer good catering services with doses of local and international dishes and cuisines.
- Prostitution: This, and a number of other vices, is illegal and highly punitive with respect to Islamic laws. This gives a sense of morality and cadence among the locals.
- Other tourist sites are the city of Al-Ula, a small town between mountains, situated in palmtrees Vally. It is known for its numerous sandstone houses.
With these, I hope you consider Saudi Arabia as your next tourist destination.
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