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Can a single woman visit saudi arabia

Disclosure: this post contains some affiliate links, meaning if you click through I may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Some of you may have seen my previous article, My Experience Travelling to Saudi Arabia as a Woman that I wrote after my first visit to the country in I thought it was high time for an update as I travelled there again in April this year and Saudi is currently going through a rapid pace of change in terms of its culture and laws; for example, only a few weeks ago, a new law allowing women to drive in the country came into force. TGIF and a relaxing evening after a busy day!



Women Traveling in Saudi Arabia

This article has been updated to reflect the new changes in visa rules in Traveling to Saudi Arabia has never been easier. Beneath my feet, the craggy sandstone cliff drops off to reveal a dizzying height. And below that, the vast plain sprawls endlessly into the horizon. From this vantage point, I can see a few camels resembling tiny lego pieces in the far distance.

Originally known as Jebel Fihrayn, the escarpment is a spectacular natural wonder with dramatic views that would impress even the most hardened travelers. Yet, there is not a single tourist in sight. This is Saudi Arabia, a mysterious country that has closed its doors to the outside world for years. I have come to Saudi Arabia on the new e-visa system, which the kingdom rolled out in the second half of As a taster, the kingdom offered e-visas to tourists interested in attending the Formula-E car racing event , the first of its kind to be held in Saudi Arabia.

It was ridiculously easy to get the e-visa. The e-visa allows travelers including women 25 and older a single entry into Saudi Arabia and stay for 30 days. Even female travelers aged 25 and older will be able to travel independently on the e-visa, without the need for male companions.

Read more below. Changes are coming to Saudi Arabia. For the first time in years, women are now permitted to drive and vote. The Saudi Council of Ministers has stripped the religious police of their power, who used to arrest people for not abiding by the rules. They have created a new Islamic center to review the fatwas, Hadith. The government has also just ended a year ban on cinemas. In February , the conservative country allowed female-only gyms and for women to attend sporting events.

According to TIME , Saudi Arabia says it expects to attract million foreign and domestic visitors by and create 1 million new jobs in the tourism sector.

Travelers can apply for the e-visas on this website , which will deliver your visa by email in just a few minutes. I dressed in an abaya throughout my stay in Saudi Arabia. These are all great news for those traveling Saudi Arabia as a woman. In a country where cinemas are banned and women cannot drive or vote, writer- director Haifaa Al Mansour has broke many barriers with her film. For years, only a business visa that cost an arm and a leg can get you into this kingdom.

Even then, it was mandatory to join a tour and female travelers were not allowed to travel on their own. Now that Saudi Arabia is opening up to tourism , there has never been a better time to travel there. My trip there was such an eye-opening experience — it gave me a rare glimpse into a world that few foreigners have seen, one that momentarily felt entirely untainted by outside influence.

Yet, before my trip to Saudi Arabia, I was criticized by many friends for supporting a regime that has strict Islamic laws enforced, brutally murders law-offenders case in point: Jamal Khashoggi and waged a brutal war against Yemen.

For one, I was overwhelmed by how vibrant the capital city of Riyadh was weekends are an exception, when everything opens only at 4pm. Tall skyscrapers, sparkly new malls and neon-signed restaurants line Olaya Street, the main artery of the city. Every women in Saudi Arabia wore an abaya a long-sleeved black robe , but I also noticed many had on Kim Kardashian-style makeup, immaculately polished nails, branded handbags and the trendiest sunglasses.

At a traditional mud-walled restaurant called Najd Village, our group of mixed unrelated men and women sat and ate together — which would have been outlawed a few years ago. I was surprised by how much freedom I enjoyed as a female traveler. I moved freely around the city in Ubers by myself and had no problems hanging out with my male travel mates. I also chatted freely with both male and female Saudi Arabians and they were more than happy to socialize with us. I found myself adapting easily to wearing an abaya since everyone else was.

A friend of mine also wore a head scarf over her hair since most women did. We covered up out of respect — neither the abaya nor the hijab are required by Saudi law. Considering that tourism is very new to them, I was expecting quite a bit of curious stares from locals. But I was wrong! Saudis are also a global and well-traveled bunch, many of them having studied and lived abroad.

Mind you, there ARE still plenty of strict rules that govern the kingdom. For instance, gender segregation is still obvious in many places. Restaurants have designated entrances and sitting areas for men, and family areas for women. Food courts and fast food restaurants too have separate lines for women and men. Do Saudi women feel like second-class citizens? I met several Saudi women who were strong, confident, outspoken and intelligent. Many of them received good education and have their own thinking.

What I learned is that Saudi Arabia is a culture of conservatism and modesty. This is a custom that predates Islam! I also noticed that Saudi men are very respectful and civilized to women — not just to foreign women, but to women in general. In certain Muslim countries, men can be aggressive especially towards foreign women. But Saudi Arabia was quite the opposite — men here are polite, respectful and civilized. They speak to women politely and treat them with respect.

Even though I only spent four days in Riyadh, I felt like I saw and experienced a lot. Because many Saudis speak English and are a friendly bunch, I met quite a few people and felt that I had a good sense of the country and their culture. There were definitely enough to keep my four days busy and exciting.

It was surprisingly easy to get around Riyadh on Uber even on my own, as a girl. It is immaculately restored, with lots of photos and info on display. Right next to the fort is Deera Square, colloquially known as the Chop-Chop Square, where public beheadings used to take place. For sunset, head to the Sky Bridge at Kingdom Tower , an iconic building owned by the royal family.

Extending 65 meters in length, the Sky Bridge is a steel structure weighing about tons, overlooking the whole of Riyadh. The trip to the SkyBridge passes through two elevators, first elevator will take about 50 seconds to reach the height of meter to the Transfer level, and second elevator will take less than 40 seconds to reach its final destination the Sky Bridge. Entry fee is 60 SAR per person.

During my visit, the At-Turaif historical site had just opened for an exclusive peek after years of restoration work it will be opened to public shortly. In the 18th and the early 19th century, its regional political and religious role increased, and the citadel of At-Turaif became the centre of the House of Saud.

It was absolutely impressive and could easily rival other famous sites like the Alhambra in Spain. The traditional chicken kabsa a rice dish was delicious and I devoured it with beer non-alcoholic of course! My short time in Riyadh got me really intrigued and I definitely hope to return to explore more. Some parts of Saudi Arabia are off limits to foreign visitors i. Like Petra, the city was hewn from solid rock by the Nabateans.

Unlike Petra, it has very few visitors. Sadly, it was closed for restoration work during my visit, although I later found out that it is opened exclusively for the Winter at Tantora festival which takes place on certain dates in Check here for details. The second biggest city in Saudi Arabia, Jeddah , is also worth a visit. The colorful street stalls and market as well as historical architecture remain. Women should wear conservative, loose-fitting clothes.

I bought a simple black abaya with gold trimmings on Amazon before my trip. It would be a good way to fit in. Also bring a headscarf if you want to enter the mosques. Men should not wear shorts in public. I would advise wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts. You just need to print it out and present it at the airport on arrival. The e-visa allows for single entry within a day period.

This applies to women of 25 and older, who are allowed to visit Saudi Arabia independently. You can easily fly into Riyadh or Jeddah , the two biggest cities of Saudi Arabia. Most flights into Saudi Arabia will connect via Istanbul and Dubai. Flights from Los Angeles to Riyadh cost around the same.

Search for Flights to Riyadh here! Hotels in Riyadh are surprisingly affordable. The best area to stay in Riyadh is along the main thoroughfare, Olaya Street. My friend who stayed there raved about the excellent restaurant and breakfast spread. Check the room rates here.

Midrange: Hyatt Buyutat. I stayed at this simple, budget hotel just a block behind Olaya Street. Check the room rates. Travel warnings remain in place from several governments following terror-related incidents in Saudi Arabia.

Can woman travel alone in KSA?

For me, a solo, female, non-Muslim traveler allergic to guided tours, Saudi Arabia was a non-option for years. In recent decades, non-Muslims could enter only on business or transit visas. Muslim pilgrims could transit only through major cities to Mecca and Medina.

Saudi Arabia in detail. The appearance of accessible parking spots is about the extent of assistance provided in most Saudi cities to those with disabilities. High-end hotels can prepare ramps and offer one-to-one assistance if they are notified in advance.

This article has been updated to reflect the new changes in visa rules in Traveling to Saudi Arabia has never been easier. Beneath my feet, the craggy sandstone cliff drops off to reveal a dizzying height. And below that, the vast plain sprawls endlessly into the horizon. From this vantage point, I can see a few camels resembling tiny lego pieces in the far distance.

What are women banned from doing in Saudi Arabia?

In the last few years, I have been traveling extensively across the Middle East and other Muslim countries, so it is not surprising at all that, every week, I receive tons of requests and questions from kick-ass women who wish to travel to the same places. Since I am a man, all my articles tend to be kind of male-oriented, not on purpose though, but it is just that, sometimes, I forget that the experience for women may be totally different. When I was posting all the photos and videos from my visit to Saudi Arabia on my Instagram Stories , people were actually amazed at all the places I visited and the people I met, as they were so many miles away from all the stereotypes the media has been showing us during the last decade. Those images really triggered the interest of many travelers who would have never thought of going there, and that included many women as well. However, since Saudi is known for being an extremely patriarchal country, I received more questions than I had ever received before, some of them asking about safety, while others if it was even possible to go travel to Saudi Arabia as a woman alone. Nada actually grew up in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, so she knows the people and culture very well and has traveled around the country extensively, so who could be better than her to explain about solo female travel in Saudi Arabia? As you might know, Saudi Arabia started issuing tourist visas from December , which means that now anyone can go there to discover its wonders.

Single Women Can Now Book Hotel Rooms in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia remained closed to most tourism for years. In the past, the only way of traveling to Saudi Arabia was a special business visa or by family invitation. The process is easy and everyone is extremely welcoming. I even met a few businessmen in Saudi and none of them could grasp the fact that I was visiting as a tourist. They saw basically nothing.

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For the first time in its history, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced that will be opening its doors for tourism by issuing an electronic visa for visitors coming from 49 countries — including the United States. Anyone over the age of 18 can apply for an eVisa. Previously, the Kingdom issued only visitor visas for religious pilgrimage and business visas. To attract Western tourists and market itself as a tourist destination — on par with neighboring Gulf states— Saudi Arabia has eased some of its conservative restrictions, like granting women rights to drive and travel without a guardian, curbing the powers of the moral police, permitting unmarried tourist couples to rent hotel rooms, and relaxing dress codes.

Saudi Arabia allows unmarried couples to share hotel rooms

Is Saudi Arabia safe for solo female travelers? Solo female travel in Saudi Arabia was impossible for a long time. In fact, not even men could get visas to visit. Saudi Arabia has been one of the most difficult countries to visit due to strict visa regulations but they have recently started to slowly open their doors to tourists.

The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage announced in early October that single women can rent hotel rooms by themselves in the Kingdom. The new rule applies to both local and foreign women. It not only allows greater freedom to its female citizens but also shows the intention to welcome foreign citizens who may wish to visit Saudi Arabia for tourism of business purposes. For the first time in history, the Kingdom has also recently implemented a new electronic visa system that allows foreign nationals to obtain a travel permit for Saudia Arabia online in minutes. Thanks to the visa application, tourists will can visit the Kingdom without requesting special permission to a Saudi embassy or consulate.

Saudi Arabia solo female travel advice 2018

A guide to independent female travel in Saudi Arabia, solo or otherwise. Includes cultural tips, advice on what to wear, things to be careful of, and more! However, times are changing. Figuring out what is and is not okay as a woman traveling Saudi Arabia is tricky, especially given these rapid changes. My female Couchsurfing host in Riyadh dishing out karak shay at a cafe. Saudi Arabia used to be a more relaxed and open society, until religious hardliners came to power in the s. Restricting women in the name of Islam was one of the items on their agenda. Contrary to how free women were several decades ago, these days the list of restrictions on women in Saudi Arabia is immense.

Oct 7, - Foreign women traveling alone will also be able to book rooms for the first time. Can Saudi Arabia rebrand itself as a tourism hotspot?

Please refresh the page and retry. Their new initiative, inspired by a relaxation in visa regulations that has made the country easily accessible, comes at an interesting time for Saudi Arabia and its youthful crown prince. Mounera and Iman believe their homeland is changing and the time is right to show a different side of Saudi to the world. We work together on my itinerary and decide I will start in Jeddah on the Red Sea, then fly north to explore the sand and rock deserts around Al Ula and Hail which drew Victorian travellers to Arabia, before taking the train on to Riyadh, the capital.

What It’s Like to Travel Saudi Arabia as A Woman (2020 Guide)

Saudi Arabia was unified in Saudi Arabia is a wealthy country with a well-developed infrastructure. The country's facilities for travelers can be quite lavish, but women planning to travel in Saudi Arabia need to be aware that social practices and customs here are conservative and based on Islamic law. It is best to study Saudi customs and appropriate behavior before beginning your trip.

Since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman came to power in Saudi Arabia in June , the kingdom has hit the headlines for a string of surprising reforms. In late , the crown prince introduced new freedoms on females travelling alone, allowing them to get passports and travel abroad without the consent of male guardians. Many of these campaigned for the right to drive or gain equal rights to men. Women still cannot marry or leave prison or a domestic violence shelter without the consent of their male guardians.





Comments: 1
  1. Dugis

    It is good idea.

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