In 2018, Saudi Arabia made an unprecedented decision to open its borders to visitors. With the recent issuing of tourist visas, there has never been a better time to visit this beguiling desert kingdom. This fascinating Middle Easter country is set to become the next holiday hotspot and here’s why…
What sparked the tourism drive?
In a bid to steer the nation’s economy away from a dependence on oil, Crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman is the driving force behind this new change of pace within the countries leisure and tourism industry. Many attribute this change of pace to Bahrain and Dubai’s continual economic success within the tourism sector.
What should tourists expect to see?
With Saudi Arabia a staggering nine times larger than the UK, there is plenty of diversity on offer. Jeddah is the biggest city with a rich past. This cosmopolitan port offers much for the discerning traveller and the capital Riyadh is a must-visit destination. Once an isolated oasis, this city is now home to soaring skyscrapers. It’s here where modern and ancient cultures meet. When travelling to Riyadh, it’s important that travellers come with an open mind and a desire to explore.
Enjoy the best Riyadh has to offer
You will be pleased to hear that air links from the UK are great, with both Saudi and British Airways offering flights from Heathrow to Riyadh. Any first-time visitors must take a trip to the Najd Village restaurant. This restaurant is built in the traditional mud house style, which is typical of the Najd region. You can expect delicious Saudi delicacies including camel served with lime, cardamom and tomato sauce.
A trip to Riyadh would not be complete without visiting the National Museum. Here, visitors are given an excellent introduction into the history, geography, culture and religion of the Arabian Peninsula. The surrounding area includes the King Abdulaziz Historical Center, which boasts a plethora of attractions that will easily keep you busy for the whole day.
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The perfect trip for scuba divers
Saudi Arabia offers endless beaches on the Red Sea and many of them still remain untouched. A number of vendors now offer thrilling boat trips from cities including Al-lith, Jeddah and Yanbu.
The Red Sea offers unforgettable diving experiences, great water visibility and warm temperatures. During your dive, you can come across rays, sharks, turtles, barracudas, reef fish and morays. Dolphins are also regularly spotted as well. As you can see, these glorious waters are teaming with life and are just waiting to be explored.
What to wear in Saudi Arabia?
It’s important that tourists remember to dress conservatively whilst in Saudi Arabia. Men should remember to wear long trousers with sleeved shirts. Women should also wear long sleeved shirts with loose trousers or skirts. A good rule of thumb to follow is to remain as covered as possible.
Will Saudi Arabia make it to the top of your travel list in 2019?