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Young women traveling to Riyadh

edited September 2014 in Middle East

I'll be spending two weeks in Riyadh, my dad lives and works there so I'll have him accompanying me 24/7

Looking for some advice and tips on what to expect, I'm in my early twenties and from New Zealand so am a little nervous on how much of a 'fish out of water' experience I'll have.

Also interested in buying some gold jewelery, where is the best place to look? And just how much cheaper is it?
Thanks in advance


  • Riyadhthrowaway, the main thing you need to care about is how you dress. Saudi Arabia is a deeply conservative Muslim country so you must dress accordingly, when you got out of the house. Riyadh is the capital of the country and is in the central Nejd. This area is the home of the Sauds and considered to be the most conservative part of the country.

    Your clothes should be loose fitting such as full length dresses or skirts , no tight jeans or leggings outside, trousers should be loose not tight fitting. Tops should have sleeves.

    An ABAYA is essential it is a black cloak worn over clothes when you go out, you should also take a head scarf in case you are required to cover your head. There are religious police in Saudi Arabia called MUTTAWA, who can stop you at any time and request you to cover up, arrest you if you are violating the law by your dress code or behaviour, which would have serious ramifications for your father.
    Sandals are ok you need not worry about covering your feet !!

    Shopping in SA is a national pastime and all the large companies and designer shops are there in shopping malls 
    There is even a ladies only shopping mall in Riyadh known as the Mamlakat Al Mara'ah, four floors of beauty salons, shops, restaurants, cafes etc.

    For authentic Arabic shopping head to the Deira Souq but Souq Al Thumairi is where you will find gold shops and jewellers. Jewellers in the souqs are obviously less expensive than those in shopping malls. Gold price is set by the gram and is not cheap but Saudi gold is said to be some of the best in the world due to its pure bright colour.

    I too was in my early twenties when I travelled to the middle east alone to take up employment, I spent the next twelve years working and travelling throughout the region. I loved every minute and would do it all again! Do not think of yourself as a fish out of water but take in every experience and have an open mind and heart.
    Enjoy !

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