Saudi Arabia Travel Guide

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Saudi Arabia Information

Population: 18 million

Time Zone: GMT +3

Driving side: Right hand side of the road

Languages: Arabic is the national language, English and Fr

Religion: Muslim

Emergency #: Fire Service 998
Ambulance 997
Police 999

Saudi Arabia Local Customs

Saudi Arabian family ties are very close, often extended families share dwellings within a common compound. The elderly are treated with great respect and the eldest male is deemed head of the family. Women traditionally wear a long black gown and veil (a

Saudi Arabia Popular Destinations

Rijal Almaa - This popular tourist destination is located in Tehama, part of the Aseer Province and is 45km west of the tourist city of Abha. The village was the capital of Hala during the reign of Mossa al Kenani in 732 H and is popular because of the Assouda Tourist Cable Car that descends from the heights of the stunning Assouda Mountains to an area near the village. The village architecture is unique, with 7 story high stone buildings and fascinating remnants of the ancient cultures of this area.

Al Madinah - The city of date palms. Looking for a date? Hundreds of date palms and flowering shrubs line Madinah's streets in an abundance of green. Palms love the soil in this area, and the Saudis love their palm trees, which have provided mankind with food, rope and building materials since the planting of Eden. The palm tree has been cultivated for around 8 thousand years for a variety of uses, the date itself is highly nutritious with about 80% sugar content and a blend of protein, fat and minerals. So for a quick snack you could do a lot worse than the humble date.

Palace of Ibn Madi - Najran.This magnificent 17th century palace has been retored to pristine condition. You can easily picture bygone traders stopping here with their camel trains loaded with parcels of frankincense and myrrh or priceless persian carpets and silk.

Cave tombs of Madian Saleh - 22 km northeast of Al Ola in Madinah Province, these tombs carved from the rockface have seen the comings and goings of the last 2 000 years. Built by the Nabataeans who carved cities out of cliffs in the areas and exacted toll fares from traders passing by. It is suggested that the most convenient way to see this area is by booking a tour through the Madinah Sheraton.

Najran Popular Market - Situated near the Old Royal Palace this market consists of multiple single storey buildings and is one of the most popular traditional markets in the Kingdom. Visit the craftsmen's stalls and rummage around until you find Aladins lamp, its got to be there somewhere..

Moving Around Saudi Arabia

The country has made great strides in providing good transport and a modern network of roads in view of the great number of pilgrims that travel here annually. The country also has arround 875 km of railway line with the main line track being between Riyadh and Ad Dammam. Government-run Saudia, the Kingdom's national airline, has modern custom-built air transport facilities such as the Hajj Terminal at Jiddah, which provide domestic and international flights. Other major airports are at Dhahran, Jiddah, and Riyadh.

There are well run port facilities at port towns Jiddah and Yanbu al Bahr on the Red Sea. Al Jubayl, Ad Dammam, and Ras Tanura are major oil-exporting ports on the Persian Gulf. The country has arround 875 km of railway line, the main line track being between Riyadh and Ad Dammam.

National festival and holidays

Eid Al-Adha - Celebrated by Muslims all over the world, this holiday marks the beginning of the holy pilgrimage to Mecca, the Hajj. The celebration starts on the tenth day of Zul Hijjah on the Islamic calendar.

Eid Al-Fitr - This holiday is celebrated as a breaking of the fast of Ramadan and takes place from the first day of the Islamic month of Shawal. There is much feasting and sharing of gifts and the event usually lasts for three days.

The only non-religious festival is the Jinadriyah National Festival of folklore and culture which is held annually in February.

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