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Saudi Arabia boasts of wonderful oases, endless dunes, riveting mountain tops, majestic rivers, culture, and heritage. The country is famous for its natural beauty from the Red Sea coast, the southern mountain town such as Taif, stone dwellings to the town of Al Ula that serves as the gateway to Madain Saleh. Riyadh, the exciting cosmopolitan capital, city centers of Jeddah, and Dammam in the east welcome you to cafe culture, top-notch restaurants, traditional souks, attractive malls, and more. Saudi tourism is blessed with rich historical sites and is home to the two holiest Islamic sites, namely The Grand Mosque in Mecca and the Prophet's Mosque in Medina. Saudi Arabia tourism takes pride in the holy land steeped in tradition, religion, and culture. Let's take a stroll through Saudi Arabia tourism, the mysterious desert oases.
|Official Name||:||Kingdom of Saudi Arabia|
|Form of Government||:||Unitary Islamic absolute monarchy|
|Ethnicity||:||Arab 90%, Afro-Asian 10%|
|Lowest Point||:||The Persian Gulf, Red Sea (0 m)|
|Highest Point||:||Jabal Sawda (3000 m)|
Famous For: Oil | Kingdom Centre Tower | Al-Masjid an-Nabawi | Great Mosque of Mecca | Al-Balad | Red Sea Mall | Kaaba | Jeddah Corniche | King Fahd's Fountain | Al-Rashid Mall
Time Zone: UTC+03:00 (AST)
Driving Side: Left
Airports in Saudi Arabia: King Abdulaziz International Airport | King Khalid International Airport | King Fahd International Airport | Prince Mohammad Bin Abdulaziz International Airport | Prince Abdul Mohsin Bin Abdulaziz International Airport | HOF Al-Ahsa International Airport
Travelers can buy a Saudi Arabia internet package online. A complete Umrah internet package can be purchased on the app that details information on packages and products. You could pick from the roaming packages and portable Wi-Fi packs. On payment, your internet package is activated immediately. The portable Wi-Fi is a wireless internet that you can use to connect up to 10 devices at a time. IziRoam and Java Mifi offer affordable packages via the app. IziRoam offers for Rp 45.000 unlimited quota with FUP 500 MB per day with 150 Mbps download speed.
Saudi Arabia boasts one of the largest oil reserves on the globe. It is the world’s second-largest oil producer and also the largest oil exporter. The country was inhabited mostly by the nomadic tribes’ way back before the 7th century. The kingdom is where Prophet Muhammad was born in Mecca. He united many tribes and created a single Islamic religious community. After he died in 632, his followers began to expand the Islamic empire conquering huge territory from the Iberian Peninsula to modern Pakistan. The 16th century is noted for the Ottoman Empire that took control of the Red Sea coasts and The Persian Gulf.
In the 18th century, the Saud dynasty became prominent and Muhammad bin Saud started ruling until 1818. He is the founder of the Saud dynasty and ruled until the Ottomans regained power. In the 1800s, another family, the Al Rashid came to power.
The Ottoman Empire was defeated in World War I and Abdul-Aziz bin Saud regained power. Saudi Arabia became an independent nation. In 1932, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded by Ibn Saud who united the four regions into one state. In 1902, after the capture of Riyadh, the city became the ancestral home of the House of Saud, and Saudi Arabia since then has a totalitarian absolute monarchy that governs the country by the Islamic regulations. The country is also called ‘The Land of the Two Holy Mosques’, Al-Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and Al-Masjid an-Nabawi in Medina, the two holiest places and Saudi Arabia’s top tourist attractions. Religion, petroleum wealth and tribalism are the three core components of the country's history.
Saudi culture thrives on hospitality and tends to use long greetings with hugs and kisses. The locals are very friendly and warm. They greet you with praises to God. Embraces and kisses are between males. Visitors are served Arabic coffee also known as ‘Kawah’ and dates as a welcoming gesture in an Arabic home. Shoes are removed outside before entering a Saudi home. Do shake hands with the host while arriving and leaving as a polite gesture. It is customary for the host of the Saudi family to put in some pieces of charcoal in an incense cauldron and drop in the resin of frankincense or myrrh. This symbolizes immense respect and honour to the guest. Do not shake the hands of a woman unless she puts out her hand first.
Saudi Arabia extends across most of the northern and central Arabian Peninsula. It is the cradle of Islam and home to Islam’s two holiest cities, Mecca and Medina. The geographical heartland is called Najd that was inhabited by the nomadic tribes. To the west along the Red Sea lies the Hejaz and to the east along the Persian Gulf are the abundant oil fields.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is located in the southwest corner of Asia surrounded by the Red Sea in the West, by Yemen and Oman in the South, Jordan, Iraq, and Kuwait in the North and Qatar and the UAE in the East. Al Nafud is the largest desert in the north and Al Rub’ Al Khali desert is located in the south. There are wide coastal plains to the east along the Arabian Gulf.
The country occupies four-fifths of the Arabian Peninsula and along the Red Sea coastline is a narrow strip called Tihama that has lava fields and tidal flats. A Nafud is to the far north, a desert region, and further south is the Rub al Khali that means, ‘Empty Quarter’, a sand desert. Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coastlines stretch to 1760 km and the Arabian Gulf coastline is about 560 km. Hijaz and Asir Mountain ranges are in the east with their highest peaks at 2000 m above the sea level. The kingdom is thus characterized by diverse terrains and huge topography.
Saudi Arabia art and music are influenced by Islamic heritage and the role the country plays as a historic trade center. The music of Saudi Arabia is a mix of both western and traditional with renowned musicians in recent Saudi history like Tariq Abdul Hakim. However, Saudi music is quite limited to the influences of the Bedouin style. Rhythms are mostly simple beats counted by clapping or striking together. The stringed rababa and the double-reeded ney are some of the musical instruments used. Muslims, however, believe that music is 'sinful' or 'haram', especially songs that involve any mention of women. Samri is a popular traditional dance and music form in the Najd region. Electronic Dance Music is also popular and Omar Basaad is known as the best Saudi DJ in 2012 who is a world-renowned music producer. Etab was the first female Saudi Arabian singer.
Saudi Arabic cuisine is influenced by the nomadic past of the Bedouin tribe. The traditional dishes include a lot of spices, rice, and meat. Lamb is a common choice to entertain guests and camel is also served on occasions. The common meat eaten is chicken. However, the consumption of pork is prohibited by Islamic law as well as alcohol. Beans, wheat, rice, yogurt, dates, flatbreads, millet and sorghum are some of the ingredients used in the delicious cuisine.
Spices are used generously in meals such as saffron, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, and cloves.
Kabsa (chicken and rice), Mutabbaq (folded pancake stuffed with vegetables), Shawarma (meat dish stacked in a cone), Falafel (spicy chickpeas), Laban (yogurt with spices), Saleeg (rice cooked in milk served with chicken), Maamul (bread made with pistachio or dates)
Hamdiyat (Mirinda Citrus), Saudi Champagne (apple juice, apple, orange, mint springs, lemon, lemonade, 7up & ice), Shaani (soft drink), Sun Top (cola drink), Barbican (non-alcoholic malt drink), Lemonita (fizzy drink), Rani (fruit-based beverage)
Greetings are an important part of the Saudi culture and handshaking is a form of greeting between men. The most common greeting is 'Salaam Alaikum!' which means 'May Peace Be Upon You!'. You could reply 'Wa Alaikum As-Salaam!' which means 'And Peace Upon You!'. Mutual respect is shown in public which is an important gesture. In restaurants, there is a separate male section or family section where men can enter only with their family.