The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a rich culture shaped by the diversity of its people, which has formed the basis of the cultural identity of the Kingdom. With over 34 million inhabitants, the Kingdom has 13 regions all united by the Arabic language, but each with a unique dialect, traditions, heritage, and culinary identity.
The Kingdom has five official yearly celebrations; two Islamic celebrations, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, Founding Day (February 22), the Flag Day (March 11) and Saudi National Day (September 23).
The people of Saudi Arabia embrace many social values influenced by the Kingdom’s ancient customs and traditions, including generosity, courage, hospitality, and maintaining strong family relationships, as well as values that reflect the society’s culture and Islamic values.
Each region in the Kingdom has its own cultural identity. Therefore, each region has its own musical style and traditional tales that are reimagined in the stories told in movies and at the theater.
Saudi artists express their creativity through artwork that they aspire to share with the world. Many Saudi writers admire the rich heritage across the Kingdom’s regions describing them in their poetry and novels, while historians contribute to preserving each region’s heritage and artifacts in museums. Each region’s architecture and design are characterized by its environment, climate and topography, and similarly each region has its own culinary identity and local costumes.
In the ever-growing and flourishing city of Riyadh, you will discover the birthplace of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, along with its historical treasures hidden in the old palaces that witnessed the founding of the kingdom. It is a destination for tourists from all over the globe who wish to discover a world of shopping, entertainment and business.
The malls offer the most exciting shopping experience, and the sand dunes combined with the brightest stars in the sky present the most magical experience in nature. It is an environment full of a natural variety and unique characteristics that are intriguing for explorers.
On the other side of the bustling city, you can enjoy a variety of experiences in luxurious restaurants that offer their special services, and their elaborate international dishes. Simultaneously, the local Riyadh restaurants will tempt you with their authentic flavors and blend of spices originating from Saudi culture. Everyone is happy in the city of Riyadh where the biggest cultural events are always celebrated. Endless entertainment destinations are always emerging, for the city’s visitors to have intriguing and renewing experiences.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not always hot in Saudi Arabia. The kingdom experiences four distinct seasons — from chilly winter breezes in January to peak desert heat in August...
Riyadh is 3 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT +3, Arabia Standard Time AST).
Saudi’s culinary scene is diverse, delicious and booming, especially in the capital city...
Currency exchange and transactions are easy in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia’s national...
While coffee is now enjoyed in almost every part of the world, the beverage first...
Traditional Saudi clothing is worn out of love and pride by locals. Traditionally...
At restaurants where a service charge isn’t included, 10% is the acceptable gratuity...
The voltage is 230 V. and plugs are of type G, which is the plug that has three...
It is against the law to smoke in public transportation and in most indoor...
It is not recommended to drink tap water. Bottles of mineral water are...
Contrary to popular belief, it is not always hot in Saudi Arabia. The kingdom experiences four distinct seasons —from chilly winter breezes in January to peak desert heat in August —and a climate that varies between regions.
Spring in Saudi Arabia can be brisk, particularly in the north, where the temperature at night can drop below 15 degrees C. The central and southern regions are warmer, averaging around 20 degrees after nightfall. Rainfall is at its highest during spring, particularly in the central region and in the southwest over the Aseer Mountains.
With the exception of the comparatively mild highlands in the southwest, summer signals the start of rising temperatures across most of the country, with the average hovering around 45 degrees C. The early mornings and long evenings are more temperate.
Autumn brings gentler weather and cool breezes in both Saudi Arabia’s northern regions and the southwestern highlands. While daytime temperatures remain warm and can reach the 30s in early fall, evenings are milder and fit for outdoor strolling.
During the month of September, temperature in Riyadh ranges between 38 and 42 degrees C during the day and from 24 to 29 degrees C during the night.
Saudi’s culinary scene is diverse, delicious and booming, especially in the capital city, where there’s no shortage of fine dining, street food and cuisines from around the world. There’s something to suit every appetite during your visit, whether you crave traditional Saudi kabsa or international dishes like Indian curry, American burgers, Mediterranean spreads and Chinese fried rice.
Dates are an iconic symbol of Arabian hospitality. The nutritious fruit has been a staple of the Saudi diet since ancient times. You can find them stuffed with nuts or candied fruits, mashed and baked into pastries and cookies, and even incorporated into savory rice dishes; however, many Saudis say that eating dates unadorned remains the best way to appreciate them. Find them in markets and on menus across the capital city.
Currency exchange and transactions are easy in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia’s national currency is the Saudi riyal (ر.س SAR), which is subdivided into 100 halala. Banknotes are in denominations of five riyals, ten riyals, 50 riyals, 100 riyals and 500 riyals; and coins in one riyal, two riyals, 50 halala, 25 halala, 10 halala, 5 halala and 1 halala.
All banks in the kingdom offer currency exchange services. Exchange bureaus are located at airports, some shopping centers and various other locations throughout the country. Credit cards, such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted throughout the Kingdom. ATMs are also widely available.
The participants are recommended to check the currency rate at https://www.sama.gov.sa/.
While coffee is now enjoyed in almost every part of the world, the beverage first gained popularity in the Middle East. Some food historians trace its origins back more than 1,000 years, when legend has it that a ninth-century Ethiopian goat herder noticed the energizing effect that the bright red berries of a certain bush had on his flock. (What we call a coffee bean is actually the seed of a cherry-like fruit.) Coffee eventually made its way to Makkah in the mid-16th century. Perhaps because of its long history in the region, coffee is a symbol of hospitality throughout the Middle East. It is the first beverage offered to any Saudi guest, and it is served at events, social gatherings and weddings, as well as in private homes, offices and, of course, cafés.×
Traditional Saudi clothing is worn out of love and pride by locals. Traditionally, women wear an abaya (a long robe or cloak that covers the whole body) over their everyday clothing, and men wear a thobe (a long-sleeved, gownlike garment); however, not all Saudis wear traditional clothing all the time. As a visitor, you are not expected to wear the same attire as locals, or cover to the same extent, but it’s highly recommended that you dress modestly. For example, loose-fitting clothing that covers the elbows and ankles is recommended for both men and women in public.×
At restaurants where a service charge isn’t included, 10% is the acceptable gratuity. Although tipping at other places isn’t mandatory it will be well received.×
The voltage is 230 V. and plugs are of type G, which is the plug that has three rectangular pins in a triangular pattern. If your appliance’s plug does not match the shape of these sockets, you will need a travel plug adapter in order to safely plug it in. Hotels will have a limited number of adapters for guest use, so it is recommended that you obtain your own if you think you will need them during your stay.×
It is against the law to smoke in public transportation and in most indoor facilities. Restaurants, usually, offer smoking and non-smoking sections.×