Is it safe to travel to Saudi Arabia as a woman? What are Saudi Arabia’s rules for travel? We answer the many questions for you that will facilitate a wonderful trip for a female Saudi tourist. Remember, Saudi Arabia travel is opening up like never before. Strict Islamic laws have softened and gender segregation isn’t a major issue anymore. Excited? We list for you the top 10 guidelines for women travelling to Saudi Arabia in 2023. From social customs and etiquette, Saudi tourist visa requirements to safety, we cover it all. Read on!
Top 10 Tips For Women Travelling To Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia Visa Requirements – The New Saudi Welcomes!
Saudi Arabia extends electronic visas for visitors coming from 49 countries. Anyone above the age of 18 can apply for an e-visa that costs approximately $120. (Those below 18 years of age need to travel with a guardian.) The tourist visa in Saudi Arabia is now independent of work, Saudi visit visa, Hajj and Umrah visas. It is a tourist visa, applicable to women travelling to Saudi Arabia and men equally. Visitors can also acquire a multiple-entry visa valid for a year that will allow them to stay in the country for up to 90 days. This monumental change was announced as part of the Vision 2030 program by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Safety & Self Care Aspects – For Women
Yes, women travelling to Saudi Arabia is a safe bet like any other country in the world. However, you need to be respectful of local customs and traditions. Skip the crowds by exploring some of the fantastic outdoor adventures Saudi has to offer. Pick from picnicking in the mountains, exploring the Red Sea coast or visiting the kingdom’s vast national parks. KSA welcomes you to safe Saudi Arabia travel, either solo or in a group of female travellers. It’s super safe to wander around at night, even as a woman in a Saudi Arabia that never sleeps.
Dress Code For Women Travellers – Social Freedom
While wearing the abaya or headscarf is not mandatory anymore, modest clothing that covers the knees and shoulders is recommended. With the ascent of Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, Saudi Arabia has witnessed a surge in individual social freedom, especially for women. You can now wear more colourful embroidered and designer abayas in stark contrast with the traditional black or modern but decent clothes. The only thing asked from visitors is to dress modestly, but if you don’t want to feel out of place, we recommend you buy an abaya before your visit.
Social Customs & Etiquette – Warm Hospitality
Saudi Arabia travel website issues travel advisories that you should research and take due diligence of. Saudis value their privacy a lot, especially females. Not so long ago, women and men had to use separate entrances and weren’t allowed to hang out or dine. Even standing in line together in a food court was separated. This is no longer true for women travelling to Saudi Arabia and you can visit Saudi as a female traveller with fewer social restrictions. Saudi Arabia is a very religious Islamic nation and therefore most people you’ll meet will be religious. Be respectful of their religion and culture while at the same time, enjoy being a Saudi tourist.
Choose Accommodation Wisely – All Inclusive Deals & More
You could do your search for accommodation based on particular standards before your Saudi visit. There are regulations to follow depending on the property. For example, some hotels require men and women to use separate gyms, swimming pools etc. There are certain hours set aside for women only to enjoy the gym in certain hotels. Choose your accommodation wisely, as there are some hotels that do allow the use of the swimming pool only for men. Make sure you look into these aspects before booking your accommodation.
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Food & Dining Revelations – Beyond Hummus and Qahwa
It’s a welcome gesture for women travelling to Saudi Arabia, as there is no longer gender segregation at dining venues. Everywhere, mostly you will now find only one entrance, used by both men and women to restaurants and cafes. Incredible, isn’t it? It is no longer a law and you can focus on the fabulous flavours of the local cuisine. From hummus to Arabian coffee or Qahwa, relish the freedom that makes a visit to Saudi Arabia all the more desirable. Food plays an important role in the culture, as you savour massive platters capable of feeding an entire family!
Beautiful Landscapes To Explore – Endless Adventure
This vast country offers a variety of landscapes from mountain ranges, white sandy beaches and untouched islands. So stop thinking of Saudi Arabia as an arid sand desert. KSA has incredible coastlines and historic towns and lies along both the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. Visit Saudi to witness the beauty of national parks, historical towns and much more. The perfect time to experience this country is from mid-September to mid-December when temperatures are pleasant. With a size of 2.15 million square kilometres, Saudi Arabia has it all. So, Yalla (let’s go)!
Solo vs Group Tour – Take Your Pick
The biggest advantage of travelling to Saudi Arabia in 2023 is the added safety and the peace of mind from knowing that things have changed. Choose a wonderful tour guide to help you get the best customized holiday. As the tour guides are familiar with the places and provide expert knowledge, it will make you feel relaxed and safe. Saudi tourist destinations either solo or as a group will let you indulge in the local groups and culture. Strong friendships happen in a blink of an eye, as Saudi locals are very hospitable and friendly. So, pick the travel style that suits you and visit Saudi with a smile.
Greetings & Local Behaviour – ‘Marhaba’ To Saudi Arabia
It is good to know the greetings of the destination in your Saudi Arabia travels. Greetings between Saudi women tend to be very affectionate, involving hugs and two or three kisses on each cheek. However, women tend to be less physically affectionate if they are greeting in public. It is best to follow the greeting customs as a Saudi Arabia tourist. A common way to greet someone is As-salaam ‘Alaikum. It means, “peace be upon you”. To which the reply is “Wa ‘Alaikum Assalam” which transaltes to “peace be upon you”. Remember, men and women do not greet each other in public from outside the family.
Prayer Timings & Weekends – Relaxing The Rules
Saudi Arabia travel comes with a bit of planning and awareness of prayer timings. Shops in Saudi Arabia may now stay open during prayer times, as relaxing the kingdom’s strict rules on closing shops and businesses for prayer five times a day is a welcome change. The decision, taken by the Council of Saudi Chambers, will end decades of custom where all shops had to shut for at least half an hour during daily Muslim prayers. Prayers are held at dawn, midday, mid-afternoon, sunset and before supper. Also, Saudi weekends being on Friday and Saturday, it is good to plan your tour itinerary accordingly.
“Rihla Mowaffawa!” – Have a safe and pleasant journey!