Ersatz Guide To Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is often referred to as one of the most difficult places on Earth to visit as visas are hard to come by.  As a result it is often seen as a mysterious and unknown destination as well as a challenging posting.  On this page you will find links to my blog posts about life in Jeddah including the challenges, the practicalities and, of course, the places to explore.

Ersatz Expat

  • Getting a Saudi Visa is a lengthy process.  Here are some tips to help it go smoothly.  
  • There are some unusual import restrictions that apply to expats (and locals) when bringing personal goods into KSA.  
  • Procedures for getting in and out of Saudi Arabia is a little different to most other countries.
Things To See And Do, Places To Visit
  • The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Al Balad, the old town of Jeddah is a fascinating place to while away the hours. Visit during a cultural festival to get the best experience.
  • There is plenty to see in the wider, less explored parts of Balad as well.  
  • Jeddah Corniche is one of our favourite places to while away the time.
  • Jeddah has a decent little aquarium.
  • The National Museum in Riyadh is a rewarding place to visit, stuffed full of information. 
Expat Life
  • As an expat there are some differences to life in KSA that will take some getting used to.
  • Male and Female expats will experience life in KSA very differently.  I wrote a guest post for the lovely Rachel at about the experience of being a female in Saudi
  • Most expats will choose to live in compounds where the restrictions on life in KSA are not so heavy.
  • Cats are ubiquitous here in Jeddah and most compounds will have a resident family or two.
  • There are clothing restrictions that all residents have to abide by while living in KSA .
  • You don't need to be able to speak Arabic to get around, at least in cities like Jeddah but it is good to learn.
  • Driving is restricted to men only, getting about as a woman is possible but requires planning. 
  • Ramadan is strictly observed in Saudi Arabia and impacts even on non Muslims.
  • Spend some time here and the chances are you will be invited to a Saudi wedding.  

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