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Saudi Arabia Holidays, Flights & Travel Guide

 

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Saudi Arabia travel guide - Saudi Arabia holidays, flights & hotels.

 

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Riyadh |
Jeddah |

 

Saudi Arabia Holidays,  Saudi Arabia Holiday Packages Overview

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia receives hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, but few enter as tourists. This conservative country connecting Africa and mainland Asia contains the spiritual centre of the Islamic world, Mecca, and the sacred city of Medina, so most of the visitors are pilgrims, permitted on special religious visas.

 

Others come to this oil-rich nation on sponsored business trips, generally finding little time or facility for leisure and pleasure. Saudi Arabia is intent on keeping its traditions, culture and religious heritage away from prying western eyes. Its cities, however, are not backwaters but modern, bustling commercial centres, like the Royal capital, Riyadh, offering excellent hotels and some breathtaking sights, like the Al Faisaliah golden geodesic dome, one of the tallest buildings in the region.

 

Amongst it all, the magic of Arabia shines through in the souks (markets) where vendors tout everything from carpets to camel milk. Rules and regulations make sightseeing difficult for foreigners except on a few approved and expensive tours, but sites like the ruins of 15th-century Dir'aiyah (the nation's first capital) and trips to the world's largest camel market make for interesting excursions. The preserved ancient city of Jeddah is also listed as a 'tourist site', as is that city's seafront corniche, a popular spot with the air of a British seaside resort that draws the country's own domestic holidaymakers.

 

Occupying most of the Arabian Peninsula, and bordered by no less than eight Middle-eastern states, many of them conflict-ridden, Saudi Arabia manages its highly controlled religious society alongside the onslaught of its progressive oil-boom industry. The kingdom's strategic position both geographically, culturally and spiritually at the centre of the Arab world has made it an unsafe place for westerners, and those who do visit are advised to plan well and be fully informed.

 

Tourist Offices - The Supreme Commission for Tourism, Riyadh: +966 (0)1 480 8855 or www.sct.gov.sa

 

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Entry Requirements

 

All visitors require a visa to enter Saudi Arabia, and visas are only granted to those with sponsorship in the country. Tourist visas are granted only to selected groups on a limited basis. Everyone who enters the Kingdom should have a valid passport with at least six months validity in addition to the appropriate visa and a return ticket. Women entering the Kingdom alone must be met by a sponsor or male relative and have confirmed accommodation for the duration of their stay. Entry may be refused to any visitor arriving in an intoxicated state, men wearing shorts, women in tight clothing or with legs and arms exposed, and to couples displaying affection in public. There are special requirements for pilgrims undertaking the Haj or visiting holy sites.


- For Australians - Sponsored visa required.


- Sponsored visa required.


- Sponsored visa required.


- Sponsored visa required.


- Sponsored visa required.

 

Saudi Arabia Holidays - Currency of Saudi Arabia

 

The Saudi currency is the Riyal (SAR), divided into 100 halala. Foreign currency can be changed at banks and exchange bureaux. Banking hours are generally Saturday to Wednesday from 8am to 12pm and 4pm to 8pm. All major credit cards are accepted at shops, hotels and restaurants in Saudi Arabia. Travellers cheques are also accepted and ATMs are widely available. There are no taxes in Saudi Arabia, so shopping is good value.

 

Saudi Arabia Telephone Access Codes and Communications

 

Saudi Arabia has a good telephone network. The country code is +966 and the outgoing international code 00, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0027 for South Africa). City/area codes are in use, e.g. (0)1 for Riyadh. Two mobile telephone service providers operate GSM 900 networks and there are Internet facilities in most cities. Email is accessible from hotels and Internet cafes.

 

Saudi Arabia Duty Free Allowances & Restrictions

 

Travellers to Saudi Arabia do not have to pay duty on 600 cigarettes or 100 cigars or 500g tobacco; or perfume or cultured pearls for personal use. Duty is payable on cameras and other electronic goods, and refunds on these are available if the articles are re-exported within 90 days. Strictly prohibited are food products and carbonated water, animals and birds and palm trees or derivatives thereof. Other prohibited items include alcohol, firearms, drugs, pork products and natural pearls.

 

Saudi Arabia Holidays & Packages- Tipping Information

 

Service charge is usually included in bills at hotels. Elsewhere a tip of 10% can be offered for services rendered. Taxi drivers can be given 10% of the fare.

 

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Holidays Travel Guide content from wordtravels.com, copyright Globe Media Ltd. By its very nature much of the information contained in the travel guide is subject to change at short notice. Travellers are urged to verify information on which they're relying with the relevent authorities. We cannot accept any responsibility for any loss or inconvenience to a person as result of information contained above.