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Guide: Saudi Arabia

FACTS AND FIGURES

 

OFFICIAL NAME:

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

NATIONALITY: Saudi or Saudi Arabian
CAPITAL: Riyadh GOVERNMENT: Monarchy with Council of Ministers & Consultative Council
NATIONAL DAY: 23 September - "Al-Yaom Al Watany" (Saudi National Day Unification of the Kingdom)
LAND AREA: 1,960,582 sqkm (six times the land area of the Philippines)
LOCATION: Southwest Asia or the Middle East, occupying most of the Arabian Peninsula.
TERRAIN: Most of its terrain is sandy desert that is uninhabited.
CLIMATE: Summer is from March-September; Cold season is from October-February
NATURAL HAZARDS: Frequent sand and dust storms
POPULATION: 27 million, including 8.4 million foreign residents (2010 census)
PEOPLE: Arab (90% of native population); Afro-Asian (10% of native population)
LANGUAGES: Arabic; English is widely spoken in Urban areas
RELIGION: Islam
WORKING WEEK: 7:30AM to 2:30PM; Private: 9:30AM to 2:00Pm, evening session from 5:00PM to 8:00PM; Friday is the weekly day of rest, government offices also closed on Thursdays.
CURRENCY: Saudi Riyal (SR) (1SR = 11.348300 PHP) (as of August 23, 2011)
CODE: COUNTRY DIALING =  +966     INTERNET  =  .sa  
TIME DIFFERENCE: UTC/GMT +3; Philippines is ahead by 5 hours.

 

REMINDERS:  Living in KSA

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a Muslim country and the culture, customs and traditions practiced by its people are purely Arab, based on the teachings of Islam

1.  The importation of narcotics, pork products and pornographic books and material is forbidden.

2.  DON'T be persuaded by your friends to transfer employment while your contract is in force.  It is against Saudi Labor Laws.

3.  DON'T involve yourself in any political activity or join any religious activities.

4.  NEVER use or possess illegal drugs.  The penalties for drug trafficking, smuggling and possession, of even residual amounts, of drugs are severe.

5.  DON'T accept any package or hand-carried items at the airport.  It may contain prohibited drugs which you will be held liable for.

6.  DON'T bring amulets or anting-anting or similar items considered as voodoo materials.  You can go to jail.

7.  DON'T bring religious items incompatible with Saudi Arabian Laws (e.g. rosary, bible images, pictures, etc.)

8.  DON'T participate in any form of gambling.

During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking and smoking between sunrise and sunset. 

9.  Non-Muslim OFWs should refrain from eating, drinking or smoking in public or in front of employers, associates and the public.

10.  DON'T take pictures or video at any government facility, mosque, airports, and residential houses without official permission.

11.  DON'T get into any intimate relationship with the opposite sex and same sex.  This could lead to a "love case" punishable by imprisonment.

12.  DON'T possess or take alcoholic drinks, or indulge yourself in the illegal trade of alcohol.  Heavy alcoholic drinks are prohibited in most Middle East countries.

13.  DON'T stare or smile at men, especially when you don't know them.  It will give them the impression that you have interest with them.

14.  DON'T stare at the Arabic women.  It is considered an insult.

15.  DON'T point your finger at someone while talking DON'T call them by their nickname or use foreign words like "You, Hey, Baby, Arabo".  Better address them as SIR, MISS or MADAM.

16.  NEVER walk in front or ahead of your employer.

 

Mixing of sexes in public is strongly discouraged.  Men are not supposed to talk to the opposite sex except out of necessity.  Women are not allowed to interact with men other than their husbands.  Married couples should carry with them their marriage certificates when going out together.  If you are a Christian, it is better not to discuss religion (either Christianity or Islam) with the Arabs.

 

17.  NEVER use the word "ALLAH" in vain.

 

Public theatres and cinemas are prohibited.