British passport holders can apply for an e-visa on line at the following portal - https://visa.visitsaudi.com/ or on arrival at any of Saudi Arabia's international airports. Explore recommends obtaining an e-visa online prior to travel.
Other nationalities should please consult the relevant consulate.
As visa information is subject to change, please make sure to confirm all visa related issues with the relevant Embassy prior to departure.
In this moment (19 April 2023) we are not aware that having travelled to Saudi Arabia for tourism purposes should hinder your entry to any other country. We are looking into this to try and get a definitive answer and will update this page should we have any further information.
We do suggest that you contact your relevant consulate for more detailed information, should you be worried about this.
The Mutawa (the Religious Police) no longer exist. They were effectively disbanded in 2016; a move that preceded other more ‘progressive’ developments, including permitting women to drive, allowing women and men to mix more freely, and opening a tourism visa in 2019. The Religious Police are no longer in existence to crack down on social behaviour or morality actions. That being said, it’s important to recognise those people considered political dissidents (including women’s activists) are treated severely and the country remains culturally very conservative. For example, visitors are asked to dress modestly – both men and women alike – and alcohol is prohibited.
All our tours are open for solo travellers to join; in fact, around 60% of customers on our tours are travelling alone. Our Saudi Arabia tours especially have a high percentage of solo travellers.
Yes, it is safe for female travellers and you can explore by yourself quite freely.
Both the headscarf and the abaya (a loose over-garment, essentially a robe-like dress) are no longer a legal obligation for women when travelling in Saudi Arabia. You may choose to wear the abaya if you’d like to blend in a little more; this can be worn open over clothes. However, it’s not an obligation in the majority of places. There are just two places on the tour where you will be asked to wear the abaya and headscarf; at the camel market in Buraidah and in Medina. Throughout the rest of the tour long trousers/dresses and long sleeved shirts will work just fine.
Non-members of the Islam faith are allowed to go and visit mosques and religious sites apart from a few exceptions. The city of Mecca is off limits to non-Muslims, and therefore is not included within our tour itinerary. For Medina, the second holiest place in Islam, non-Muslims are not allowed into the Prophets Mosque itself, but are allowed to go all the way up to the gate and walk around the perimeter of the building.
It is recommended to bring a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen to help with the sun but most of the local life is happening in the evenings, so you will not have to worry about being in the mid-day sun too much. Our tours are departing in the Saudi wintertime so temperatures will range from 25 to mid-30 degrees Celsius (68 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit). We do recommend to bring some layers for the part of the tour that you spend in the mountains and cooler evenings in the desert.
It's worth noting that Saudi Arabia can be a challenging (but doable) location for both vegans and vegetarians.
Many of the dishes revolve around meat or fish, and on learning that you don't eat meat, you'll no doubt be asked, 'but chicken is OK?’. It is always possible for us to work around this, but just be prepared for some locations to be limited in your choice. Side dishes are great for this - hummous, tabbouleh, fattoush salad and baba ganoush are often found. Where not, the Tour Leader will help organise something for you.
All breakfasts, two lunches and four dinners are included and it's not expensive to eat out.
During the trip you'll be accommodated in predominantly excellent 3-4* standard hotels. In some locations you'll find the hotels are located on the outskirts of town, which is appropriate for this full-on trip.
In Al’Ula, you will stay in a tented camp, where your accommodation will be an individual tent with en-suite bath services.