What You Need to Know Before Going on a Vacation or for Work in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is a beautiful country through and through. It’s rich in culture, cuisine, traditions, and historical monuments that you can’t ever get tired of exploring. You can read as many valuable Islamic books to know about Islamic culture and traditions that Saudi Arabia is known for. However, there are a few things you can learn better by doing specific homework on the country. On that note, the following are a few things you need to keep in mind before you make plans:
1. Dressing Appropriately
Saudi Arabia, as you may already know, is a very conservative country. So, it’s important that you dress appropriately, especially if you are a woman. You should wear clothes in a way that your arms, legs, and chest are properly covered. In fact, the same goes for men as they need to cover themselves up as well. One thing to check about your dressing sense is that you aren’t supposed to wear red on Valentine’s day as that’s considered “haram”. You should also avoid wearing traditional Saudi dress when you are a non-Saudi as that can be easily taken as an insult to the Saudi culture.
2. Things that are Banned
Owing to the conservative culture that Saudi Arabia continues to cultivate to this day, there are a number of things that are highly prohibited in the country. For instance, porn is a strict no-no in the country. If anyone finds out that you have porn on your phone or laptop, then it can land you in jail. The same goes for alcohol which is also banned in the country.
There is extreme censorship in Internet access in Saudi Arabia too. For instance, most X-rated websites are banned here, but then there are also websites related to LGBT communities, news websites that the government doesn’t approve of, and chatting websites like Omegle, are banned here. The list is pretty long actually, but the good news is that almost every banned website can be accessed easily if you use a VPN that works in Saudi Arabia. This is because it allows you to access the banned websites through external servers that are located in a country other than Saudi Arabia.
3. No Night Life
If you are used to a certain lifestyle in which you party at nights, then you should be prepared for a different world in Saudi Arabia. This is because nightlife is essentially non-existent here. There are no night clubs, movie theaters, or bars here. You won’t even find people playing live music in public or busking around as that is also banned here. This is because, in Islamic culture, it’s believed that engagement in these activities distracts the people from Islam. In fact, you might find it interesting that WHITE, a Dubai-based nightclub brand, wanted to open a temporary branch in Jeddah but it was shut down because the people were unhappy that “White” was opening in their country.
4. Photography Restrictions
There are so many beautiful locations in Saudi Arabia, and if you are a traveller, then you might be inclined to take photos for memories. However, doing just that, you might face problems in the county as photography is not encouraged here, especially if you are a westerner. In fact, it’s one of the most common things that can have you arrested or fined here mainly because the government takes precautious measures against potential espionage and terrorist plotting. You shouldn’t try to take pictures of the locals here either, especially women.
Despite the conservative culture of Saudi Arabia and the various restrictions, the country has a lot to offer to the tourists. So, don’t let the impositions put a damper on your travel plans. Do your homework, and pay a visit. You are sure to create some beautiful memories here.