Saudi Arabia has a rich cultural and social diversity, with a population of over 35 million citizens. To enjoy experiencing a unique and unforgettable visit to Saudi Arabia, you should prepare by learning more about its culture and diverse customs and traditions that differ from one region to the other.
Saudi Arabia ranks first among the G20 countries in the list of the safest countries in the world. Women of different nationalities can travel and live alone across Saudi Arabia. They can commute and move across the country without needing a permission or a permit from anyone or any entity. It is natural in Saudi Arabia to see men or women walking or cruising around alone late at night without the need of being within a group. It is safe for individuals to commute or engage in various activities all day long.
Saudi women have always been a constant factor in the formation and development of the Saudi society’s culture and the preservation of its rich heritage. Today, Saudi women proudly represent Saudi Arabia internationally in various fields. Saudi women constitute 51% of all university students, and they have equal rights in obtaining work and training opportunities, as well as having equal pay with their male counterparts. There is no segregation in Saudi when it comes to owning businesses or practicing any profession in any field.
The Saudi art scene is hardly devoid of the presence of Saudi women. Be it in fashion, music, cooking, or film-making, Saudi women have excelled in expressing their artistic abilities and have won international awards. Despite the fact that Saudi women have the right in how they present themselves and what they wear, as long as it does not conflict with the Public Decency Law, it is normal to see Saudi women practicing various daily activities in their traditional black Abayas, which they consider as part of their traditional and religious identities.
Saudis place great importance on preserving their authentic cultural aspects, such as hospitality, generosity, courage, and their interconnected social relationships. It is costumery for locals to insist on paying the bill for tourists as a way of welcoming them to Saudi. Most Saudis won’t hesitate to offer as a gift any item that you express admiration for. Visitors to Saudi Arabia usually make many friendships with the locals, who introduce themselves and start small talks with foreigners. It is acceptable to shake hands with those who reach out for a handshake.
Tipping in Saudi culture is accepted but not mandatory if the services provided are already paid for. Saudis follow flexible schedules for their informal occasions. It is normal for dinner to be served late, as locals usually have dinner at 9:00 pm, and many restaurants are open until 2:00 am.
There are various options for what to wear for both genders in Saudi Arabia, provided that they conform to the Public Decency Law, which is applicable to everyone in any public space. Women are not legally required to wear an Abaya, as long as they don’t wear tight or revealing clothes in public. Contrary to general belief, Saudi Arabia is not a hot desert all year long, it is advised to bring warm clothes and umbrellas when visiting during winter.