Talk:Saudi Arabia

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This is not a political forum; please restrict all discussion here to discussion about how best to improve the Saudi Arabia article. Off topic debates, political rants, nonsense poetry, etc. will all be removed as it is added. This is a travel guide and political disputes are utterly irrelevant except insofar as they directly bear upon the experience of a traveller. See Wikivoyage:Be fair#Political disputes for further guidelines.

Formatting and language conventions

For articles about Saudi Arabia, please use the 24-hour clock to show times, e.g. 09:00-12:00 and 18:00-00:00.

Please show prices in this format: SR100 and not 100 ريال or SAR100..

Please use American spelling (color, labor, traveled, realize, center, analog, artifact, program).

Phone numbers should be formatted as +966 XX XXX XXXX and not +966 X XXXXXXX.

For future reference Project:CIA World Factbook 2002 import can be found at Talk:Saudi Arabia/CIA World Factbook 2002 import.


Hey pal, pretty sure comedy is illegal in Saudi Arabia and why did you remove the stuff about Chevy Chase being denied access into the country when this is well known?

Stay Safe[edit]

Please note that, while the offences and sentences listed in this section are technically correct to the best of my knowledge, the harshest sentences are very seldom applied, with jail and lashes being the preferred way to deal with most violations of the law.

I have also removed a line claiming that Jews are not allowed in the country, as this is false, both from an official and a practical point of view. Officially, a number of statements have been issued over the years by the authorities to the effect that there is no law preventing Jews entering the country. In practical terms, openly professing a religion other than Islam is bound to attract unwelcome attention, and it is generally advisable to keep one's religious adscription to oneself. Having said that, and anecdotically, this contributor has intimated his semitic origins to several Saudi acquaintances during time spent in the Kingdom and was surprised by the warm and respectful response received.

To remove that information is misleading; the Saudi government has publically stated that Jews are not welcome in the kingdom no matter what their views on Israel or zionism. Do a search on google and you will find many, many news stories affirming this fact.
Yet there are Jews in Saudi Arabia. As with many things in Saudi, just because somebody somewhere says something doesn't make it true... (WT-en) Jpatokal 00:36, 11 April 2008 (EDT)

All the facts in here are real, but unfortunaley you are exagerrating in all of them. And you might have to know that Saudi Arabia is recently changing everyday and what you might say today could be wrong tomorrow. I'm not asking you to take facts from me as a Saudi but take from honest people who had the experience of living in Saudi.

NO one is being excuted today for talking about the royal family, I've seen many western women walking in public places without wearing Abaya or so, I have a bible and other religous books and I have never been asked about them !!

Please just make sure that what you are saying is today not in the past. 22:41, 10 April 2008 (EDT)


The Stay Safe section says "Adultery is punishable by death if you are married, and lashes if not."

The definition of Adultery states that at least one of the partners having sex is married. So what does "if not" refer to? Does it mean that if one of the two involved in Adultery is unmarried, that person will receive lashes? Or was the author of that line unaware of the exact definition and meant that sex between two unmarried people is punishable by lashes. -- (WT-en) Colin 19:39, 30 December 2006 (EST)

I noticed that as well, doesn't make sense. —The preceding comment was added by (WT-en) (talkcontribs)
I thought it was pretty obvious that it meant you as the traveler to the country of Saudi Arabia, being unmarried, and having an affair with a married person in Saudi Arabia, would result in you receiving lashes. —The preceding comment was added by (WT-en) (talkcontribs)
Your definition of adultry is very very different from the Islamic definition.
Anyways, as of the page itself, it is clearly aimed at nonmuslim intending to visit (for which reason is far beyond me). It's rude then that the tone taken is one of saying that there is no fun in the kingdom. To a nomuslim, sure. but I don't know why you'd be there in the first place. —The preceding comment was added by (WT-en) (talkcontribs)
Wikivoyage isn't aimed at anybody in particular, but it necessarily reflects those who have contributed to the guide. If you have different perspectives, or can add information for visiting Muslims, please plunge forward. --(WT-en) inas 23:56, 20 February 2010 (EST)

Stay safe again[edit]

I removed the suggestion that non-essential travel should be avoided... this is baseless, as far as I know. – (WT-en) cacahuate talk 00:43, 24 August 2007 (EDT) Some Confusion

Seems as if this article was written in the context of what it was like in the middle ages.

Are you saying something is inaccurate? Saudi Arabia itself is designed as a replica of the Middle Ages. (WT-en) Jpatokal 04:22, 20 April 2008 (EDT)


(it was recently stated by an Arab Satellite media that over 2 million Muslim citizens converted to Christianity discreetly. This makes over 7.4% of the citizens being Christians.)

this is absolutely not true ! saudi citizens not allowed to change Religion ! i am saudi and some of my frined are atheist but they CAN'T announce that for public.

Hmm, when did that sneak in there? I've removed it. (WT-en) Jpatokal 03:30, 30 April 2008 (EDT)

strictly fobiddin imagery of people and animals[edit]

I know from a strict Wahhabi belief that not only that forbid imagery of Muhammad, but also imagery of people and animals. As such, I added that in there. And can anyone confirm that Pokemon and video games (or the Wii) are banned in Saudi Arabia due the implication of one of the Saudi beliefs?--(WT-en) Dark Paladin X 11:51, 15 December 2008 (EST)

See, this is why you shouldn't write about places you haven't personally been to...
Just because some mullah says something doesn't mean it's against the law, much less that said law is enforced. There is no prohibition against imagery of people or animals, and this is a common sight in the Kingdom. The super-ultra-conservative town of Buraydah is known for spraypainting over faces, but even there it's just local yahoos, not government policy, and other Saudis laugh at them. Video games and Pokemon goods are very widely available, there are entire shops devoted to them. (WT-en) Jpatokal 22:11, 15 December 2008 (EST)
And as for "travelers wanting to show pictures of Muhammed", tell me, where on earth would a traveler find such a picture, and why on earth would they "want" to show it off? (WT-en) Jpatokal 22:33, 15 December 2008 (EST)

Are you...[edit]

Shouldn't one say "Anta Muslim" instead of "Inta..."? Is it the saudi dialect? And why would it scare anyone away?

few statements revising and such[edit]

While Internet in Saudi Arabia is cordoned off by a filter, it aims primarily at pornography, non-Islamic religious and domestic political sites in Arabic, and (from the traveller's point of view) is nowhere near as strict as, say, China's.

I don't think we should be comparing the censorship in Saudi Arabia to China's. There are some people who think that the Saudi censors are more strict than China's and I'm one of them.

Yes, you think all sorts of things, most of which are wrong. Most Wikivoyagers write things based on actual experience.
So: based on my half-dozen visits to the Kingdom and a whole lotta surfin' while there, Saudi Arabia's internet filter, which is nowhere near as strict as China's. China blocks all sorts of semi-random sites because of political content (CNN, BBC, Wikipedia, Wordpress, Livejournal, Flickr, etc etc); Saudi Arabia only blocks porn and some Arabic-language dissidents. (WT-en) Jpatokal 00:54, 19 January 2009 (EST)

The fun doesn't end when you get the visa, since visas do not state their exact expiry date.

This statement is a bit on a sarcastic tone. A few rewording might remove on sarcasm.

No, it's not sarcastic. (WT-en) Jpatokal 00:54, 19 January 2009 (EST)

While first-timers in Saudi Arabia are often regaled with tales of beheadings, amputations and whippings, the full harshness of Saudi law is reserved for true criminals like drug smugglers.

Don't they reserve the harsh penalties like death penalty not only for criminals, but also committing apostasy, witchcraft, idolatry, and blasphemy, even doing such is unintentional?

How do you unintentionally commit any of those? (WT-en) Jpatokal 00:54, 19 January 2009 (EST)

And speaking of which, I know the Saudis punish homosexuality by deaths, but should we tell gays and lesbians not to travel to Saudi Arabia whatsoever, since I'm afraid they may use death penalty on gays and lesbians if the Saudis find out that a foreign traveler is gay.

Sorry for asking these kinds of questions, but I feel stupid for asking these.--(WT-en) Dark Paladin X 17:01, 18 January 2009 (EST)

The most likely outcome of Saudis finding out that a visitor is gay is getting hit on by lots of horny local men. According to Wikipedia, even convictions for homosexuality (which require four witnesses etc etc) do not result in the death penalty, unless rape/pedophilia is involved. (WT-en) Jpatokal 00:54, 19 January 2009 (EST)


Draft regions map

I'm just checking to make sure I got the regional boundaries correct before moving this map into the article. I used the administrative province boundaries with only one exception—I cut off the southernmost strip of coastline from Hejaz and added it to Asir. I noticed that these divisions place Madain Saleh in Hejaz, not in the North. So, comments? --(WT-en) Peter Talk 08:41, 31 May 2009 (EDT)

Looks good to me, but you've mispelled "Hejaz" as "Hezaz" on the map. (WT-en) Jpatokal 01:10, 1 June 2009 (EDT)
I wonder if I've ever managed to make a map that didn't have at least one of those silly errors. Anyway, fixed. -- 01:26, 1 June 2009 (EDT)

just some changes to the highways like now there is a high way from Hail to Aljouff and there is new high way connecting Tabouk to Al-ula. and you may need to check more where transportation connections are expanding all over the king dom. I am a licened Tour Operator in Saudi and if any one want to know any thing related to tourism in Saudi please do not hesitate to send your inquireis to, where we are uthorised to issue tourist visa and we arrange weekend programs for expacts in saudi such as ( desert safari, desert camping , desert wonders, diving programs, cultural programs , hunting programs, city tours, and more )

Please plunge forward and update highways etc, but don't tout. (WT-en) Jpatokal 12:12, 16 September 2009 (EDT)

Knights of Columbus[edit]

"Catholic visitors must not be members of the Knights of Columbus"

Is there a source for this? Just had a quick look on the internet - just for personal curiosity - but to no avail. (WT-en) Phonemonkey 17:32, 9 September 2009 (EDT)

Seconded, anyone have a cite? I have never heard of such a thing in all my time in the Kingdom. While certainly the KSA is the land of rumor, this article is full of wild claims. The lowest rate of crime in the world? Says who? No Jews? Zero, zilch, nada? Frankly you can really see why Wikipedia went to requiring cites. (WT-en) Paul in Saudi 22:24, 4 November 2009 (EST)
While adding footnotes to a travel guide would be silly, asking on the talk page for citations to back up dubious claims is precisely the way to go on Wikivoyage. Since no one has defended the statement, I recommend you plunge forward and remove it! --(WT-en) Peter Talk 02:06, 5 November 2009 (EST)

Women Travellers[edit]

So, as a woman, I am subject to scrutiny for being single, can't drive or ride a bike, could be castigated for being driven by a taxi driver, have to have special permission to check into a hotel but must not dare to use the facilities, must wear a headscarf even though I am not a Muslim, must avoid cafes and restaurants, may be accosted by police and am subject to heavy punishments if I dare to drink alcohol?

Yes, hmm. Okay, Saudi Arabia, you lovely country, that's you off my travel list. :)

Correct conclusion, especially since they do not issue tourist visas anyway. Some of the details are wrong, though. Head scarves are not always required, and some cafes are open to women. By striking it off your list, you do miss out on some interesting architecture and scenery, and a culture with an interesting history.
For whatever it is worth, my (now ex) wife coped with Saudi Arabia but found many things there quite irritating; she finds Dubai much more congenial. (WT-en) Pashley 08:44, 17 October 2009 (EDT)

tourist visas[edit]

I read on the lonely planet thorn tree forum that tourist visas are not being issued anymore is this true? if so we should change it on the page


Just to be ready for some Star nominations (I hope) and to prevent unproductive reverts, I have proposed at the above page that I think we should add Saudi Arabia to our list of countries that prefer US English. Before I add it, does anyone object and, if so, why? --W. Frankemailtalk 17:39, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

Since more than one year has now elapsed with no objection, I have now made the appropriate amendments. --W. Frankemailtalk 17:49, 19 September 2014 (UTC)


I noticed the banner appears to depict the city of Mecca. My understanding is that this city is strictly off limits to non-muslims, therefore I am just wondering if we should we not use a banner image of a location that everyone can visit? Andrewssi2 (talk) 08:01, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

On the face of it, and all else being equal, I would vote to keep of photo of Mecca for the banner, as it is by far the most famous place in Saudi Arabia, and although non-Muslims can't visit Mecca, they will constantly see pictures of the Kaaba in every Muslim country. Furthermore, I would be willing to bet that by far the majority of passenger traffic to and from Saudi Arabia is from pilgrims on the Haj or Umrah. This guide serves them, too. Ikan Kekek (talk) 09:13, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Agree with above. --Saqib (talk) 10:37, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Saudi Arabia page banner.jpg
I prefer your banner, Saqib. Ikan Kekek (talk) 11:10, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
OK, I thought worth asking the question. The ersatz-banner is also much better. Andrewssi2 (talk) 11:41, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Andrew, one thing to keep in mind is that Saudi Arabia is not a place that can be visited by tourists, anyway. Unless I'm very much mistaken, people have to either go as Muslim pilgrims or by invitation for work, business, diplomacy, or military service. Ikan Kekek (talk) 12:04, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Who and what is ersatz? OR where is ersatz-banner? --Saqib (talk) 12:21, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
I presume in this case ersatz means the replacement banner (so your new banner above). And although Andrew makes valid points, I agree with the others that the banner should show something recognizable and iconic. James Atalk 13:27, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Welcome back, James! --Saqib (talk) 14:16, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Sorry Saqib, I missed your question before. James A is correct in that 'Ersatz' is the German word for replacement, sometimes used by English speakers in the West because sometimes it just sounds better. Still I should avoid on an international site like this. Andrewssi2 (talk) 04:47, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
I think of "ersatz" as meaning "fake," and agrees with me. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:03, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
To be fair, doesn't actually use the word "fake", but rather "serving as a substitute; synthetic; artificial" (for adjectives). The usage is however definitely not exactly the same meaning as the German original. Andrewssi2 (talk) 05:09, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
I've also understood it there's a little difference in meaning. A direct translation of Ersatz (or ersats in archaic Swedish) would be replacement - any kind of replacement or substitute. It's for instance possible to ersetzen/ersätta a person (fire him and hire somebody else). On the other hand in English ersatz is more like or "artificial (inferior) substitute" just as Ikan said. ϒpsilon (talk) 05:20, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
In German, "Ersatz" can be used with a neutral connotation. In English it cannot. This may be due to American POWs getting to "enjoy" wartime replacement products labeled and/or called "Ersatz-whatever" which by and large are awful. However, yesterday's ersatz is today's health trend, with all manner of "ersatz" coffee now consumed as "healthier" caffeine free alternatives... Hobbitschuster (talk) 17:54, 21 April 2017 (UTC)

To Usable[edit]

This is a very informative article, so it would be nice to make it Usable. However, all regional articles are Outlines. Riyadh is a Guide and has been featured as Dotm. Jeddah and Taif are Usable. All the other linked cities - including, embarrassingly, Mecca - are Outlines except Jubail, which is a red link. Hajj is Usable, but is not really categorized correctly under "Other destinations," as this pilgrimage is of course an Itinerary. Madain Saleh is an Outline and Empty Quarter is an Extra-hierarchical region. So if anyone knows Saudi Arabia well and would like to get this country-level article up to Usable status, the most obvious task would be to bring all the linked cities and the Madain Saleh article up to Usable status, but it seems to me that every regional article should also be above Outline status. For your reference, here are the requirements for Usable status for country articles:

Has links to the country's major cities and other destinations (usable status or better), a valid regional structure, and a Get in section describing all of the typical ways to get there. Information about the country's currency, language, cuisine, and culture is included. At least the most prominent attraction is identified with directions.

Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:21, 5 October 2014 (UTC)

expression: Bachelor Section[edit]

Saudi Arabians used " Shabab" or " Afrad " to describe single men areas in malls or restaurants; " Bachelor " is not arabic word . In Arabian world , they used "Bachelor " to describe Bsc like " Bsc of Engineering , ..... etc " Omda4wady (talk) 10:48, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

Please plunge forward and edit the article as appropriate. Also, please give whatever explanation will be of most practical use to foreigners coming to Saudi Arabia. Ikan Kekek (talk) 11:29, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
But the English word "bachelor" is used extensively in English signage in Saudi Arabia. Jpatokal (talk) 01:14, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
Correct - but never in the sense of "bachelor girl". -- 01:51, 13 January 2015 (UTC)


The article currently states that bringing in non-Muslim religious material like a Bible for personal use is technically illegal but overlooked. But the UK Foreign Ministry says it's allowed, period (as long as it's for personal use). Should we update our text? Powers (talk) 02:18, 19 December 2015 (UTC)

It seems sensible to update with the latest information, with any words of caution that seem appropriate. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:33, 19 December 2015 (UTC)
Indeed. I was asking, though, which was correct, because I don't know what the latest information is, nor what words of caution might be appropriate. Powers (talk) 02:29, 21 December 2015 (UTC)
Barring any more authoritative information, we can simply mention that the UK Foreign Ministry says it's allowed, and that anyone in doubt should ask the Saudi authorities directly. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:40, 21 December 2015 (UTC)

New rail service[edit]

Apparently a new rail service has just opened a few months ago. Maybe this should be mentioned where appropriate. Hobbitschuster (talk) 17:51, 21 April 2017 (UTC)

And the next one seems to be in the pipeline: Hobbitschuster (talk) 16:18, 6 August 2017 (UTC)

SA planning a gargantuan tourist area on the Red Sea coast[edit]

As people have posted links to interesting travel news on articles' talk pages, I will now do so too:

While Saudi Arabia still doesn't let in foreigners for plain tourism, to visit this place "Tourists will either not require a visa or will be able to obtain one online."

--ϒpsilon (talk) 05:50, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

A Commons file used on this page has been nominated for deletion[edit]

The following Wikimedia Commons file used on this page has been nominated for deletion:

Participate in the deletion discussion at the nomination page. —Community Tech bot (talk) 12:51, 23 May 2019 (UTC)

Tourists being allowed into Saudi Arabia soon?[edit]

Once every year or so there are news about Saudi Arabia intending to start issuing visas for tourism "soon". Let's see if it will actually become reality this time...--Ypsilon (talk) 16:07, 27 September 2019 (UTC)

This looks to be a shift in policy, as BBC also covered it, See ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 19:10, 27 September 2019 (UTC)

Currency, time and spelling conventions[edit]

Below is a proposed infobox to let readers know which formatting conventions to use in Wikivoyage articles. Do you agree with these proposals? If you have direct knowledge of what is most commonly used in the country, please let us know. Ground Zero (talk) 16:57, 9 December 2019 (UTC) {{infobox|Formatting and language conventions|For articles about ==Currency, time and spelling conventions == Below is a proposed infobox to let readers know which formatting conventions to use in Wikivoyage articles. Do you agree with these proposals? If you have direct knowledge of what is most commonly used in the country, please let us know. Ground Zero (talk) 16:57, 9 December 2019 (UTC)

Moved to the top of this page. Ground Zero (talk) 04:40, 28 December 2019 (UTC)

A Commons file used on this page or its Wikidata item has been nominated for deletion[edit]

The following Wikimedia Commons file used on this page or its Wikidata item has been nominated for deletion:

Participate in the deletion discussion at the nomination page. —Community Tech bot (talk) 16:16, 6 April 2021 (UTC)

Respect and Segregation[edit]

The information in this page is so out-of-date. Women are no longer required to wear abaya and cover their face. Men and women are no longer segregated in public places, even not in the coffee shop outside Mutawwa HQ in Deira Square. —The preceding comment was added by 2a00:5400:e017:112:3985:5092:a995:961c (talkcontribs)

Anyone can edit a wiki, including you. If you know information is out of date, plunge forward and update it. But you might want to provide links here on this talk page to demonstrate the truth of what you're saying, because it sounds dubious. (Also, please sign your edits on talk pages by typing 4 tildes [~} in a row at the end.) Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:56, 9 August 2021 (UTC)
Maybe can @Pashley: confirm? Thanks, --SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 05:44, 10 August 2021 (UTC)
I lived in Saudi in the early 1980s, do not have up-to-date information. At that time, segregation was widespread but not complete. At least in Jeddah & Taif, foreign women without abbayas were accepted. Pashley (talk) 06:04, 10 August 2021 (UTC)
I tried to edit the page but it was blocked. The problem of these wiki pages is that it is mostly written by people who either only been the place 20 years ago, or never even been to the place and writing things base on what have been heard from friends or internet. Segregation is not even practice in Riyadh (from photo below), next to Mutawwa HQ on the left. Shops in shopping malls are not even closed in prayer times.
MEnomad (talk) 07:58, 13 August 2021 (UTC) MEnomad