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Traveling in Saudi Arabia

Traveling in Saudi Arabia - in particular on the road - has its particularities, such that it is worth to put some notes related to this subject onto a specific page.

Air Travel : to commute between Dammam and Riyadh is actually pretty easy, there are frequent flights as there are hundreds of people flying between these two cities every day. Frequently also women without having an accompanying male 'guardian'.

As a white expat one is treated consistently in a friendly and corteous manner by airline staff, security, etc.

But overall it takes a lot of time - close to an hour drive to the airport, one has to be at the airport about an hour in advance, the flight itself takes another hour and the drive from the airport back into the city another 30 min to an hour, depending on the time of the day.

To drive from Dammam to Riyadh also takes four hours, and when going with a driver it even has the advantage of being more comfortable to work, making phone calls, etc.

Speeding : to drive faster than allowed is very common, also being overtaken in - what we would consider - a dangerous way, in particular on the highways, which frequently causes [ severe ] accidents.

Specially late evenings, one can hear how some 'kids' roar in their highly tuned cars with high speed over the city highways.

Consequently, as of October 1, 2016 the traffic police has introduced new fines. The speed limit on the highways is 120 km/h, and the fine for exceeding this limit is now 6'000 SAR ( 1'600 USD ). When driving back from Riyadh a few days ago, a colleague was frequently driving 140 km/h and I asked him, why he would do that considering the risk of such a heavy fine - he smiled and told me, that we would know where the radar traps are ... let's hope he never misses one of them.

Driving a Motorcycle : In the past, I was driving a motorcycle in many other countries - even in India. But here in Saudi Arabia, I would consider it to be too dangerous. It is a combination of speed, partially poor road quality and a rather aggressive way or driving. Probably this is an assessment shared by many locals as well, as motorcycles are very seldom - at least in the cities.

... more to follow ...