Welcome to Arabia! On September 26, 2019, I made my way to Saudi Arabia for the first time. It was an invitational event for bloggers and Instagrammers to showcase what Saudi Arabia has to offer for the world. Happy to say that I may have been one of the first people to ever obtain a tourist visa from this country.
On our first day, we made our way to Sudus Ancient Village and explored an abandoned castle. It was a pleasant experience checking out the newly opened tourism spots of Riyadh!
We also made our way out to the desert and visited The Edge of The World. After 1.5 hours of driving down winding desert trails, we reached the famous spot which offers uninterrupted views of the horizon. It’s almost like you are looking into nothing, and that is how the place has earned its name. Click here to open Google Maps of the location.
Later that evening, we joined the gala evening hosted by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Heritage at Al Diriyah. This night was the official opening for tourism in Saudi Arabia, wherein they pledged e-visas and visas on arrival to visitors from 49 countries.
Prior to this day, Saudi Arabia has been restricted to expat workers who hold business visas. The only form of “tourism” was for the religious pilgrims who visited the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.
Saudi Arabia Tourist Visa
The eVisa will be a one-year, multiple-entry visa, allowing tourists to spend up to 90 days in the country. Please book your official tourist visa online through their official website here. The online application will only take a few minutes and will be sent to the traveler by e-mail. Once it has been approved, the copy of the Saudi eVisa along with your passport is all you will need to show to authorities during arrival.
If your passport is not eligible for eVisa, you can contact the nearest Saudi Arabia Embassy.
Dress Code for Saudi Arabia Tourists
With the country’s expectation of reaching 100 million foreign and domestic visitors by 2030, the Kingdom has relaxed some of its strict dress requirements, especially for female visitors. Here is a list of how to dress appropriately when visiting the country:
- Both men and women are asked to dress modestly.
- Women visitors are not required to wear an Abaya or a head-to-toe robe unless visiting the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.
- Women visitors are not required to wear a Hijab or head covering worn by Muslim women.
- Avoid tight-fitting clothes in public, such as activewear/ yoga pants.
- Avoid clothing with profane language or images.
- Women should cover the shoulders and knees in public.
- Swimwear can be worn at the discretion of the private entity you are in such as your hotel.
- LGBT are welcome in Saudi Arabia.
- When in the country, it is important to respect local culture and act in a sensitive manner.
- Unmarried couples are allowed to share the same accommodation.
- Public display of affection is not consistent with local culture, so avoid it when in public.
- Women are allowed to travel solo to Saudi Arabia.
- Women do not have to be accompanied by a male guide in public.
For other FAQ’s and clarifications, check out my vlog from my trip to Saudi Arabia here:
Check out our other travel inspirations from Africa and Middle East by clicking here.