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Saudi Arabia Tours & Holidays

Small Group Tours & Tailor-Made Holidays

Overview

The birthplace of Islam, Saudi Arabia encompasses a vast expanse of arid desert and mountains. The second largest country in the Arab world (after Algeria), it covers some 2,150,000 square kilometres and is the only nation with coastlines on both the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. Home to Mecca and Medina, the Kingdom is the spiritual caretaker of the two holiest shrines in the Islamic world, a role it takes very seriously. Staunchly traditional, the country’s citizens are required by law ...

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Group tours

GROUP TOUR

Inside The Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia

Traverse these arid desert lands, the birthplace of Islam, visiting the historic city of Jeddah, the mountainous landscapes around Ta'if and the natural wonder of the Al Waba volcanic crater
11 days from C$7,866

HIGHLIGHTS OF SAUDI ARABIA

BEST EXPERIENCES

SAUDI ARABIA REVIEWS

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WHEN TO GO

INSPIRATION

Meet the expert, Dan

Dan is our Middle East expert, who has travelled extensively in the region.

Speak to Daniel by calling
+44 (0)20 3944 6258

In this highly complex and fascinating destination, be sure not to miss the stunning desert scenery around Al Ula, home to Mada’in Saleh (Hegra), the UNESCO Nabataean sister city to Jordan’s Petra.

USEFUL INFORMATION

Health and Vaccinations  

There are no mandatory immunisations for travellers to Saudi Arabia though you should be up-to-date with Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio and Hepatitis A. We recommend you seek advice from your local GP or travel centre as to the correct immunisations and preventative treatments. 

Currency 

In Saudi Arabia the official unit of currency is the Saudi Riyal, which is subdivided into 100 halala. 

To check out the latest exchange rate for the places that you are visiting you can go to www.oanda.com

Cultural Sensitivity 

On our tours you will frequently interact with local people, each with their own distinct customs and traditions. We therefore ask you to be considerate and to treat them with respect. Your tour-leaders and guides will always be able to advise you accordingly.  

Saudi society is going through some major changes at the moment so please bear in mind that any considerations raised here may alter at any time. Ultimately the Kingdom remains a deeply conservative country and is likely to be different from any other destination to which you may have travelled. 

Tourism (other than for religious purposes) is a new concept for the Kingdom so come expecting enthusiastic but inexperienced levels of service. Encouragingly, in contrast to previous edicts, there are no current restrictions placed on adult women travelling solo and while it is expected that foreign visitors will dress conservatively, women will not have to wear an abaya (the long black dress covering the body from shoulders to feet) and they will not have to cover their hair. 

Alcohol however is still currently forbidden and should not be brought into the country; you should also not arrive into Saudi Arabia under the influence of alcohol. 

Saudi Arabia is a Muslim country in which Islamic law is strictly enforced. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend. 

Public displays of affection are not considered as being consistent with local culture and traditions. 

Both men and women are asked to dress modestly in public, avoiding tight fitting clothing or clothes with profane language or images. Women should cover shoulders and knees in public. 

The public practice of any form of religion other than Islam is illegal including wearing religious jewellery for example a crucifix.  So please be mindful of anything that may be interpreted as religious iconography. 

Language & Religion 

In Saudi Arabia, the major language is Arabic, although English is commonly spoken in larger cities. Saudi Arabia is a Muslim country in which Islamic law is strictly enforced and the public practice of any form of religion other than Islam is illegal. 

Time 

Saudi Arabia is 3 hours ahead of GMT. 

A useful website to check the time zone differences is www.worldtimezone.com.  

Food and drink 

Food in Saudi Arabia is full of flavour and packed with spices, dishes are often rice-based with flat breads and meats such as lamb, goat, chicken and beef. 

Food can vary from region to region, but Kabsah is considered by many to be national dish.  Kabsah compromises of rice, meat, vegetables and a mixture of spices.  The spices can differ depending on location but cloves, cardamom, saffron and nutmeg are often used.  Some varieties may be enhanced with nuts such as peanuts, almonds, pine nuts etc. 

Lunch is considered the main meal of the day.  Traditional dishes are preferred but in larger towns a full range of international cuisine is available.  Pork and alcohol are forbidden under Islamic law.   

There is a traditional and unique “coffee culture” in the Kingdom.  Offering guests coffee is a display of hospitality and generosity which is very much entrenched in the culture so expect to be served Arabic coffee with nearly all your meals.   

It is customary for Saudi coffee to be served from a dallah (coffee pot) in a ritualistic manner. The flavour is very distinctive due to the addition of other elements such as cardamom, cloves or saffron.