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Saudi Arabia sits at the junction of Asia, Europe and Africa covering roughly 80% of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Jordan, Kuwait and Iraq on the north, Yemen and Oman on the south and United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain in the east. It also touches two bodies of water; to its west is the Red Sea and east, the Arabian Gulf.

It is a land of varied and diverse terrains. There are immense deserts, deep valleys, mountains even forests and grasslands. The country houses a number of man-made lakes but there are no permanent streams. The second largest desert, Rub Al-Khali is located in the south while the southwest has the mountain ranges with heights of over 9,000 feet. The climate changes depending on the region. The summer temperatures in the desert can climb over 110 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas the winter temperatures towards the north and center of the country can sink below freezing. The country as a whole hardly gets any rain with an average of roughly four inches a year.

The main population hubs are made up of the Western Province, Jeddah, the Central Province, Riyadh and the Eastern Province Dammam/Dhahran. All of these centers are well connected with rail, air and excellent road service. Residents of the Eastern Province can easily access the Saudi/Bahraini Causeway (actually a bridge), connecting it to the island Kingdom of Bahrain, with a more open and Western oriented atmosphere. One third of the people residing in the country are expatriates.

Expatriates live comfortable in the country with all the modern amenities. Large shopping malls carry all branded item with prices competitive to those in North America or the U.K. foreigners entering the country have to abide by certain rules. Men and women can travel together only if they are married (with a marriage license), or they are travelling in a group of a minimum of four people. An unmarried couple is not allowed travel in the Kingdom alone (unless in the form of a group), and neither are women under 30. Young women must be in company of husband or brother, who must enter and depart the country at the same time. The tour has to organize by a tour company that is recognized by the Kingdom.


Fast Facts:

Capital:   Riyadh

Government:   Monarchy with Council of Ministers

Official language:   Arabic Language

Ethnic groups:   Arab, Afro-Asian

Religion: Islam

Area: 2 million km² (868,730 sq. mi.)

Currency:   Saudi riyal

Dialing code:   +966


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