Accommodation & Transportation
There is a good number of excellent hotels in the major cities of Saudi Arabia, specially in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam, including 5-star international hotel chains. Most of the regional cities also have some good hotels.
It is recommended that reservations be made well in advance, as occupancy tends to be high, specially in the peak summer period.
Travelers who fly Saudi Arabian Airlines may take advantage of its hotel discount arrangements with many top hotels. Hotel bookings may be arranged through the airlines’ reservation system.
Alfursan frequent flyer program members are also entitled to discounts as well as free stays and room upgrades depending on their accumulated mileage.
Housing for expatriates is usually in the form of flats/apartments, separate villas or housing in compounds. Employee contracts usually provide for free housing, furnishings, water and electricity. Telephone service, with international direct dialing, is widely available. Mobile phones and pagers are also widely used.
Power supply is 110 volts, 60 Hertz AC although it is not unusual for some houses to have 220 volt wiring as well to accommodate certain home appliances. Voltage regulators and surge protectors are recommended to protect appliances and computer equipment from electric current surges and fluctuations.
Saudi Arabia has modern transportation facilities and infrastructure. Roads and highways are well paved and stretch extensively all over the Kingdom. Taxis and limousines are ordinarily available in major cities, particularly at airports and shopping malls. These are metered or a suitable fee is agreed upon in advance.
Car rental companies, including international chains, maintain offices in many airports and hotels. Rental arrangements can also be made from abroad. There are also public buses but these are used primarily by local commuters.
Visitors with a valid driver’s license from many countries, or those with international driver’s licenses, are allowed to drive in the Kingdom. Residents and expatriates, however, are required to obtain Saudi driver’s licenses, which are valid for five years.
The telecommunications system in Saudi Arabia is modern and up-to-date, covering most population centers. Direct Dialing is generally available and international telephone, fax, telex and telegram services are easy to access.The Kingdom’s telephone country code is 966 while the main city codes are:
(012) Jeddah, Makkah and Taif
(013) Abqaiq, Al-Khobar, Dammam, Dhahran, Hofuf, Jubail and Ras Tanurah
(014) Madinah, Tabuk and Yanbu
Mail is sent to post office boxes, not to street addresses. Letters are franked at the post office but stamps can also be used.
Courier companies are active in the Kingdom but customs duties may sometimes be imposed on goods or items received from overseas.
Internet access has recently been allowed in the Kingdom and improvements are currently underway to enhance the telecommunication infrastructure in anticipation of active Internet usage by the Kingdom’s citizens and residents.