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Saudi Arabia Has Many Areas of Beauty

Aug 18, 2007
There is a veil hung over Saudi Arabia that distorts the reality that resides behind it. This is partly a two way process, since Saudi Arabia does not permit tourist visits and exercises strict Islamic principles those non Muslims might shy away from. Similarly, much media reportage of Saudi Arabia focuses solely on these Islamic based laws and equally focuses on its expanse of hot and repetitive desert, its archaic customs in dated cities.

Lift the veil, however, and you will find that many conceptions of Saudi Arabia are misconceptions. Saudi Arabia has many areas of beautiful oases and dramatic mountain tops, beaches and rivers. Its cities, although having no nightlife, do have plenty of cafes and restaurants. There are also shops galore, from the souk to the huge department store. Indeed, Saudi Arabias major cities are generally very modern, with amenities of a high standard. And as long as you respect and abide by the viewpoints and customs of the country, you will find that you are treated cordially.

Saudi Arabia has a desert climate. In Jeddah it is warm for most of the year. Riyadh, which is inland, is hotter in summer and colder in winter, when occasional heavy rainstorms occur. The Rub al Khali seldom receives rain, making Saudi Arabia one of the driest countries in the world.

There is a good range of hotel accommodation throughout the country. Accommodation is generally easy to find, except during the pilgrimage season when advance reservations are recommended. Service charges are fixed at 15 percent for deluxe and first category hotels and at 10 percent for all others. Hotel charges double in Mecca and Medina during the pilgrimage season, and increase by 25 percent during the summer months in resort areas such as Abha, Al Baha, Kamis Mushait and Taif.

Local food is often strongly flavoured and spicy. The most common meats are lamb and chicken, beef is rare and pork is proscribed under Islamic law. The main meat meal of the day is lunch. Foreign cooking is on offer in larger towns and the whole range of international cuisine, including fast food, is available in the oil-producing Eastern Province and in Jeddah.

Eating, drinking and smoking in public during the fasting hours of Ramadan will incur strict penalties. Restaurants have table service. There are no bars. Alcohol is forbidden by law and there are severe penalties for infringement. It is important to note that this applies to all nationals regardless of religion.
About the Author
Douglas Scott works for The Rental Car Hire Specialist. and is a free lance writer for The Saudi Arabia Rental Site
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