When visiting Saudi Arabia, you might find it difficult to figure out what to do. Especially if you are coming from a western country like the U.S. or Canada.
After all, there are some cultural differences between Saudia Arabia and the western world that people tend to overlook before they come to visit.
This often leaves them lost and not knowing where to go or what to do. Well, to help you have fun and better explore this wondrous culture, we’ve come up with a list of things to do in Saudi Arabia.
Why western people have trouble finding something to do in Saudi Arabia
A big part of “having fun” as a western person is drinking alcoholic beverages and talking with members of the opposite sex. Well, as it turns out, both of these things are outright banned in Saudi Arabia.
You cannot simply head on to your neighborhood bar and chat up a local woman over a couple of drinks. Remember, once you come here, you are entering a new culture that is quite different from the one in the west.
So, even though traveling should be all about relaxation, you better familiarize yourself with what Saudi Arabia is like before you come here.
Among the more noticeable differences are:
- No alcohol or pork.
- Women must wear an abaya (a black silky cloak) and cover their heads.
- You should always carry an iqama with you (your personal identification).
- Avoid talking about religion, even if you are a Muslim. Some statements can get you in trouble.
- Avoid coming here during Ramadan, as shops and stores close at 1 P.M.
The best way to properly experience Saudi Arabia is to befriend a local. As it is with any country, experiencing it properly as a tourist can be hard.
So, if you want someone to show you truly fun and educational things to do in Saudi Arabia, find a local guide to help you out. Also, keep this in mind when moving.
If, for instance, you decide to move anywhere in Bahrain, your best course of action is to find local movers to help you out.
Learn as much as you can about Saudi Arabia and it’s people before you come here.
Things to do in Saudi Arabia
Unfortunately, finding guides in Saudi Arabia is not always possible. However, if you’ve found yourself in such a situation, don’t worry.
Here we are going to outline certain things to do in Saudi Arabia that should prove fun and memorable. We would again remind you to obey the local customs and laws, especially if you are going to places that have more people.
1. Visiting sand dunes
When people think of Saudi Arabia, sand dunes are the first thing that usually comes to mind. There is something truly awe-inspiring about these wonders of nature that tourists simply need to experience.
Luckily, there are multiple ways in which you can get to these dunes. Just remember to recharge your camera, as we are sure that you will take a ton of photos.
2. Riding a camel
One of the ways in which you can reach local sand dunes is by riding a camel. In fact, there isn’t a more authentic way to travel to them and experience the journey.
We have no doubt that you, and anyone traveling with you, will soon fall in love with these creatures. Ideally, you will make a whole day of it and have a picnic on these wondrous dunes.
3. Going to lunch
Speaking of eating, you can and should visit restaurants in Saudi Arabia. People are usually unaware of how delicious and healthy local food can be.
Especially if it is cooked by renowned local chefs. Kabsa is the must-try food for any tourist, and your local guide is bound to recommend it to you.
But, besides it, we also recommend trying Mutabbaq, Mabshoor, Harees and especially Moufataka since they make it with a lot of turmeric.
The local cuisine is mostly based around wheat, rice, lamb, chicken, yogurt and seafood. If you are vegan or vegetarian, we suggest trying Falafel, Mujadarra or Hunkar Begendi.
4. Visit museums
After a hearty lunch, you’ll probably be interested in visiting some cultural sights. So, one of the things to do in Saudi Arabia is to visit local museums.
The National Museum of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh, The Al-Madinah Museum in Al-Madinah, and the Al Tayebat International City in Jeddah. Visiting any of them is a great way to learn more about Saudia Arabia and to get a closer look into how they see themselves.
Keep in mind that their interpretation of history can be quite different from yours, so don’t try to correct them and be as respectful as possible.
5. Driving buggies in Al Aziziyah
Another way to enjoy a fun day in Saudi Arabia is to go out and drive buggies. This will be especially fun to do if you came here with your friends.
Renting buggies can be surprisingly cheap, and you can even make it a whole day excursion. The only advice we have is to choose cooler months for full-day excursions with buggies.
Summers in Saudi Arabia can be unbearably hot, and the last thing you want is for one of your buggies to break down due to the heat.
6. Visiting women’s only fashion shows
Once you come here as a westerner, you might think that there is only stuff for men to do. After all, there are certain areas of Saudi Arabia where women are outright banned.
But, as it turns out, traveling as a solo woman to Saudi Arabia can be fun as well. Numerous shopping malls have fashion events where only women are allowed.
Clothing in Saudi Arabia can be surprisingly cheap, which is why most women end up loving certain parts of it.