Women Saudi Arabia
You will feel the difference after you land on the Riyadh airport. However it’s not just the heat that you’ll experience the difference especially if you’re female. For there are huge cultural differences that you’ll be best to prepare for before you even board a flight to Riyadh. It’s a rare event for the employees there to see a western woman and you certainly won’t see many out on their own. The western females who are here generally prefer living in their compound houses or are found in shopping centers.
So here are some immediate differences you’ll feel. Well one thing that may come as a surprise is that there’s no automobile driving for women. No arguments I’m afraid, you simply can’t drive a vehicle. Don’t whatever you do try and get into an argument about the moral values behind this, it’s the law and you’re not going to change it from street level!
Shopping is actually excellent and it’s worth noting that opening times are more flexible than in Western shopping centers. One large difference you will notice is that in Riyadh you are able to go purchasing very late into the night and it’s totally normal for people living there.
For those of us who use the internet for all aspects of our lives, there might also be an issue. The Saudi authorities heavily filter and restrict access to the internet and you may find access to many sites blocked. These are for a variety of reasons usually cited as religious or security based, but they can be very restrictive. The usual fix for this is to invest in some sort of VPN or proxy based in another country. For example if you connect directly to a German proxy like this then you’ll have no filters or blocks applied. You can even use this sort of technology to keep up with the news, accessing a UK VPN server for example will allow you to watch the BBC News streaming abroad – check here for information.
This is one big advantage you will have finished the western countries, since largely the dinning and shopping in these countries closes early. If you’re in Jeddah then there’s absolutely no time at all limit. The malls are mainly open until midnight and eating you may do all day long. In the month of Ramadan, the stores are open until the dawn prayers. In whole of the nation, all the stores are closed for prayers. If you are within a mall purchasing, then the doors will be shut and you’ll remain inside for 30 mins until the prayers are over. No outdoor entertainment is allowed at all at this time.
In religious and holy areas, there are no cinemas, bars, clubs etc. If you’re with a family it does have a positive side, you are simply able to spend more time with your children and husband. Being a women in Saudi Arabia does take some getting used to one of the first things you’ll notice is that you will be having lots of time at home. Additionally if you are living in a western compound area then you might discover some facilities and amusement there and these are available without a gender difference.
There are places women can’t travel to, for example you can’t go to Makkah and Madina. For men it’s easier, you can travel throughout the whole country, but if you’re a non muslim then you won’t get permission to enter these Holy cities. Remember though, no alcohol for anyone and narcotics are strictly forbidden in Saudi Arabia and carry severe penalties.
For Christians worship can be difficult, there are after all no churches anywhere, In fact you won’t find any church in Saudi Arabia so you’ll have to confine yourself to your home if you wish to practice any religion other than Islam. One season all year long and the weather doesn’t change that much mostof thetime it’s hot in Riyadh, but there’s winter for few months where you may need a light jacket while moving out during the night. There’s one experience you must not miss out on and that’s the famous desert safaris. Riyadh is situated right in the center of the Arabian desert. Unfortunately for a woman you’ll need to find a male partner to drive or you won’t be allowed but there worth doing and most people enjoy a lot of desert safaris. These safaris are planned independently but also can be booked though the tourism department. The reality is that Saudi Arabia has lots to offer the traveller or tourist however the cultural differences can be challenging especially for women travelling alone.