What’s it really like living in Saudi Arabia?
Updated: Feb 5
Over the years, Saudi Arabia has become an attractive destination for expats and tourists is considered one of the biggest economies in the Middle East but adjusting to its culture and lifestyle may take some time. There are many benefits for those who decide to relocate to Saudi Arabia - such as tax-free salaries, good housing and a low cost of living. There are numerous misconceptions about relocating to Saudi Arabia, but this blog aims to set the record straight.
Saudi Arabia follow Islamic beliefs – so there is a misunderstanding about the suitable dress code for woman dress code in Saudi Arabia. Many women think they must always wear a burqa (headscarf). This is not the case - when traveling around rural area’s or participating in activities – it’s not needed at all. This is culture not the law, so it's a personal choice.
There is also a misconception that woman can’t wear bikinis in Saudi Arabia, but this is not the case. Woman can also wear bikini’s in Saudi Arabia. There are restrictions as to where woman can wear bikinis such as private beaches/pools and boat parties – to respect to Islamic culture. When traveling around the city, all you need is long outerwear of any style and colour. This is a good way to express your own unique style, which is encouraged in Saudi Arabia.
There is also a perception that females cannot be seen with unrelated men in public. But this is far from the truth, although some areas are segregated, most places are beginning to make this easier by combining both genders – which can now mix and mingle together.
Despite the misconceptions of Saudi Arabia, the benefits will over-ride any of the negative of Saudi Arabia – with lots of exciting prospects. Saudi Arabia is known for its dry desert climate and the Islamic religion, but there is so much Saudi has to offer; galleries, historical, memorials, mosques are almost everywhere. With all Saudi Arabia has to offer you won’t be disappointed, particularly if you’re traveling with your family. Now with the introduction of tourist visa it is much easier for friends and family to visit.
Saudi Arabia has many cultural and religious sites – they follow Islamic laws which preaches respect privacy and religion. Hence, expats and visitors are expected to respect the Saudi culture and values, especially during the holy month of Ramadan. The government of Saudi Arabia is now dedicated to creating events and festivals - a way of encouraging the tourism of Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia has lots of beautiful cities to visit. Riyadh is perceived to be a safe destination to visit – with low crime rates. The government is making a conscious effort to improve the safety and security of the community and tourists. By increasing the presence of police to provide a feeling of security, to help woman feel safer on their travels.
The cost of living in Saudi Arabia is considerably lower than other countries in the UAE, with a high tax-free salary. The accommodation prices are relatively inexpensive, with cheaper bills with regards to gas, water, and electricity. Of course, imported products from European countries will cost more but you can look out for inexpensive alternatives – locally produced.
The tax-free salary is a main driver to relocate to Saudi Arabia – as in other countries you can expect to pay taxes up to 40% of your earnings. Therefore, savings will be much easier as the salaries are higher here than in most parts of the world. Expats in Saudi Arabia can save up to 70% of salaries per year making it a great reason to live and work there.