Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is the biggest country in the Middle East. It is the birthplace and home of Islam. Saudi Arabia has one the richest legacy in the region, however, it is all one of the most difficult places to visit. Having the second largest reserves of petroleum in the world it has an oil-based economy, where government strictly controls all primary economic activities. Nevertheless, the unemployment rate among the Saudi is high, first of all, because of the reluctance to take many types of job. Another important activity is tourism, it brings a significant contribution to the budget as well, Saudi Arabia supposed to be 17th the most visited country on earth with a tourist influx of more than 15 million people per year. Of course, the primary part of the tourists is religious pilgrims. As the rest of its neighbors, Saudi Arabia has a fantastic architecture with enormous skyscrapers and very developed infrastructure inner the cities. Consists of a group of marine beaches, there is more than 1150 islands in the Red Sea and around 150 islands in the Arabian Gulf, what makes the country is an ideal resort. In addition to the sun and white sandy beaches, Saudi Arabia can offer a wide variety of Saudi Arabia of things to do and to see. Main among them is an ancient tomb called “Madain Saleh” of the Nabatean people, Farasan Islands, that an undoubtedly a diving paradise, Al Soudah area, that is full of silence, wildlife and tranquility. Don’t miss also Al Balad Historical site in Jeddah, that was included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. Another type of experience that’s worth is Desert Safari adventure on 4x4 jeeps or on a camel, that will definitely impress you deeply! SafeAround analyzed numerous data and did a meticulous research, in order to compile all the information concerning possible risks and dangers in Saudi Arabia, to make sure you have a smooth voyage!

SAFETY INDEX

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Is Saudi Arabia a safe or dangerous country?

Saudi Arabia is the 108th safest country in the world, based on the safest and most dangerous countries ranking. Violent crime is very low and most tourists will never face any safety concern inner the cities. Most common is pickpocketing, particularly while the pilgrimage. There is a larger presence of the police throughout the country. Scams with credit cards are common We advise to use the ATM’s only inside the bank facilities and look promptly for your card while paying in shops or bars. Regular checks of the bank statement will prevent further losses. Female travelers should be cautious of how they behave and dress in public in order to prevent violating local rules, which are much stricter than in UAE or Qatar. Avoid walking alone after the sunset and in remote places, because unaccompanied women can be vulnerable to harassments. Another area of concern is constantly growing slums around the city. The level of poverty in Saudi Arabia is very high, and that state hides it very well. As a result, a constant growth of slums around the main urban areas, despite the fact, that for recent years, billions of dollars have been spent on social activity and education. Anyway, you are not likely to turn out accidentally at any kind of this area, we advise to avoid visiting it during dusk due to the safety concerns.

Border with Yemen

All travel to within 10km of the border with Yemen is not recommended, due to the occasional Ballistic missiles fire and constant clashes along the Saudi-Yemeni border. Airports near the border are temporarily closed.

Border with Iraq

High cautious is needed while visiting this area. There is known a recent incident near the “Arar” crossing point when Saudi Arabians guards were killed.  

Warnings & Dangers

Mid Priority-96 OVERALL RISK : HIGH

Inner main urban areas of Mecca and Riyard there are no safety concerns, except pickpocketing. However, in the remote and rural areas, there are plenty of safety issues particularly near the border with Iraq and Yemen. Saudi Arabia is ranked 108th on the ranking of the safest and most dangerous countries.

Mid Priority-96 PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH

As a frequently visited tourist destination with more than 15 million visits yearly, it is not surprising that pick-pocketing is common in Saudi Arabia. Particularly pickpocketing has its peak during a pilgrimage. There’s been an increase in the number cases of pick pocketing in the area of grand Mosque and in Medina. Excessive vigilance in all public place is recommended.  

Mid Priority-96 MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM

Saudi Arabia is a place where an occurrence of kidnapping and mugging is low, although, near the border of restrict areas, it might be a concern.

Mid Priority-96 SCAMS RISK : LOW

There are almost no scams known in its territory, except the card frauds. We advise to check your bank statement regularly.

Mid Priority-96 TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW

  • Accidents while traveling on the road occur frequently. There is a threat while off-road driving. Ensure cars are well equipped and you carry enough water.
  • Outside of the main cities, the roadways vary from very good to poor condition. Many are not properly illuminated during hours of darkness.
  • Driving can be dangerous. Drivers displaying varying degrees of skill, aggressiveness, and attentiveness often maneuver erratically and at high speed, demonstrating little road discipline or courtesy
  • Vessels operating in the Northern Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden and Gulf of Oman are at the increased risk of pirates’ attack.
  • During the pilgrimage be ready to the overcrowded public transport, traffic jams.

Mid Priority-96 NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM

Saudi Arabia experiences extremely high temperatures, which can exceed 50C. Sandstorms occur on a regular basis. Sometimes, severe thunderstorms may occur. Information on natural disasters can be obtained from the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System.  

Mid Priority-96 TERRORISM RISK : HIGH

The likelihood of carrying out the attacks is high. The main threat is form Daesh, that were formerly referred to ISIL. Qatif in the Eastern Province encountered 10 attacks since May 2017. We advise to be vigilant all the time.

Mid Priority-96 WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM

Overall, female travellers risk in Saudi Arabia seems to be on par with main European countries, Australia, Canada or USA. SafeAround recommends taking normal safety precautious and trying to avoid visiting remote neighbourhoods late at night.

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Useful Information

Visa is required for all tourists visits. Make sure your passport has at least a six-month validity from your planned date of return to the country you’re visiting. Saudi visa rules require women below the age of 45 to be accompanied by a male relative.
Saudi Riyal is the official currency of the Saudi Arabia. The best exchange rate can be found in the airports.
Apart from the Asir region on the western coast, Saudi Arabia has a desert climate. It experiences extremely high temperatures, which can exceed 50C. The hottest months of the year are from June to September.
King Fahd International Airport is the largest airport in the country. If you’re looking fore cheap flight deals, you can find some on JetRadar.
As in any country, we advise travellers to get a travel insurance that covers not only medical issues but also theft and loss of personal items. Learn more on our travel insurance page.