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21

Yes, visiting Saudi Arabia is probably more difficult than anywhere else in the world, but it's not impossible by any means. First up, if you're a citizen of a Gulf Cooperation Council country, the answer is easy: you don't need a visa to travel to Saudi Arabia. If you're not, you have four (well, three) choices. Actual tourism visas have been suspended ...


7

There is an interesting 2000 article in Travel & Leisure, an American magazine, on the first non-religious tourist visas that were being issued around that time. Prince Khalid al-Faisal, the popular governor of Asir province whose recent poetry reading in Jordan drew 10,000 people, told me in an interview that "twenty years ago tourism was almost a ...


7

Unfortunately for someone trying to travel between Istanbul and Mecca, the Ottoman-era Baghdad and Hejaz (Damascus-Mecca) railways are no longer in operation. Even assuming you are Muslim and can legally visit the city of Mecca, an overland trip between Istanbul and Saudi Arabia is not practical at this time due to the civil war in Syria and instability in ...


7

First, it will not be "straight and easy": the Middle East is full of unstable countries, underdeveloped infrastructure, political and diplomatical issues between neighbor countries and bureaucracy. But it can be interesting to travel these routes and discover less-traveled places and meet locals nevertheless. From Europe to the Middle East The first part ...


6

Apparently there's no actual law against women driving in Saudi Arabia. But it's forbidden. Two years ago, Manal al-Sharif decided to encourage women to drive by doing so -- and filming herself for YouTube. Hear her story of what happened next in Manal al-Sharif: A Saudi woman who dared to drive.


6

Women who live in compounds can usually drive on the compound, Aramco. Women can also drive offroad so long as no one official is about. But if you are caught the police will take you in. I'm not sure what the punishment is, one of my friends (A Saudi) was detained until her father came to pick her up and she was made to sign a statement that she would not ...


6

The phone should still work as long as it didn't die in the meantime - but you can try that out at home. The question is more whether the sim card still works. I assume it won't. In most countries sim cards expire if you don't use them. Sometimes after 3 months, sometimes after 3 years, so after 7 years it very likely did. So even if the phone still works, ...


5

While this Saudi Airlines page says: If the infant reaches the age of 2 years prior to their return journey, they must pay the applicable child fare, taxes, fees and charges for that part of the journey. In reality things are different, as long as the ticket is issued then it is ok and no one checks and the system only checks the date of the infant as ...


4

Iran is the safest way in Middle East when you want to avoid Iraq, Syria and Israel. As I said in my answer to Quickest way from London to Dubai without flying?, there is a direct train from Istanbul to Tehran. From there, you can go to Bandar Busher by bus, then take a ferry to Dammam. Finally, you can take a bus to go to Mecca.


4

The visa fee is one hundred and eight U.S. dollars ($108.00) for U.S. passport holders; for non-U.S. passport holders the fee is fifty-four U.S. dollars ($54.00) for a single entry and one hundred and thirty-four U.S. dollars ($134.00) for multiple entries. Requirements of travel visa is here Requirements of family visa is here


3

I didn't realize that seat belt laws in Saudi Arabia are nothing close to what they are here. So why would they care about car-seats? Here's what I ended up doing: Mini-Bus: Our travel agent sent us a mini-bus (local school bus), which is somewhat safer (and slower) than a traditional taxi. This covered two trips (to Mecca, and to the airport) Coach Bus: ...


2

Wikitravel mentions one budget hotel, the Al Jazeera Hotel: Al Jazeera Hotel, Al Bathaa Street, +966 1 2863863. Good value hotel on main street, offering singles/doubles from SR60/120. This works out at about US$18 a night at the current exchange rate. In addition, as Michael mentioned there are hostels. The Saudi Arabia Youth Hostel Association ...


1

Is it safe to assume you're a male and fit the requirements including your documents to enter Mecca? Rules in Mecca are the same as the rest of Saudi Arabia. You require your license, and visa (i.e. passport or work-papers) with you at all times. BTW, a drivers license in Saudi Arabia is not considered proper ID, so carry your passport/equivalent. Although ...



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