How Safe Is Riyadh for Travel?

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Safety Index:
52

Riyadh is the capital of Saudi Arabia, biggest country in the Middle East, and it’s also the biggest and most urban city in this country.

And despite it has all virtues of any other similar cosmopolitan capital in the world, it is still very conservative, with strict religious views and laws.

Women are expected to be covered from head to toe whenever in public, and demeanors of its residents are under a close eye.

Most forms of entertainment are banned here, so it’s mainly considered a business destination.

There are few sights of interest, but with its brutal climate, it isn’t a destination coveted by tourists.

Though it’s so strict, and the tourists aren’t too common in Riyadh, English is spoken by most Saudis and you can find many of them dressed in westernized clothing.

Warnings & Dangers in Riyadh

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK : LOW

Riyadh is mainly safe but there are extremely unsafe areas, as in most major cities of the world. Some of the biggest concerns for tourists in Riyadh should be disrespecting their moral codes, as this is followed by severe punishments.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM

Reckless drivers are a major concern in Riyadh. Accidents on the road occur frequently. The roads outside of Riyadh vary in quality from well maintained to extremely poor. Vessels operating in the Northern Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden and Gulf of Oman are at risk of a pirates' attack.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM

Pickpocketing is relatively common in Riyadh despite the constant presence of police on the streets. Pickpockets are especially active during pilgrimages. Avoid wearing purses and keep your money in a hidden place, not easily accessible by pickpockets. Also, be wary of people trying to distract you, it might very well be a way to take your money.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM

As for natural disasters in Riyadh, you can expect extremely high temperatures, reaching as high as 50C. This is why it is highly recommended that you always carry water with you and maintain hydrated. Sandstorms and thunderstorms are also common.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK : LOW

Muggings or kidnappings might be a concern, though generally, they aren't common in Riyadh.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK : LOW

Terrorists are extremely likely to try and carry out attacks in the capital of Saudi Arabia. The main threat comes from Daesh that was formerly referred to as ISIL. Remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings at all times.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK : LOW

Except for credit card frauds, expect virtually no scams in the territory of Riyadh.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW

There are some risks for women traveling to Riyadh, especially if they're not respecting their codes of morality, like wearing an abaya at all times. Apart from that, women should apply basic precaution measures.

So... How Safe Is Riyadh Really?

Probably the main concern for travelers in Riyadh is the situations they can get themselves into in cases of disrespecting Islamic codes of morality, which are a lot stricter than anyone outside of the UAE can imagine.

What you may see as minor or non-relevant, may get you into serious troubles.

Women, for example, whether local or foreign, need to wear an abaya, a long and loose black robe.

And even though a headscarf is usually enough for foreign women, you are advised to at least bring one with you.

Another strict law in Riyadh prohibits all LGBT activities in the country.

Anything LGBT related is illegal in Saudi Arabia.

It is, in fact, one of the least homosexual friendly countries in the world.

For first offenses, you can get prison sentences of several months to life, and physical punishments like whipping/flogging, chemical castration, torture, vigilante killings, and public execution.

Second offenses invariably lead to an execution.

If you’re a member LGBT community, you are advised to stay out of Saudi Arabia.

As far as crime is concerned, the biggest danger for tourists in Riyadh is the Fahateen: bad drivers.

You have to be very careful when picking your drivers and always wear a seatbelt.

Riyadh has one of the lowest crime rates in the world as the police are regularly present on the streets, but there’s always a small degree of petty theft like pickpocketing and purse snatching.

Useful Information

  • Visas - All nationals are required to get a visa to enter Saudi Arabia. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six-month from your planned date of return from Saudi Arabia. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need a visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
  • Currency - Saudi Riyal is the official currency of Riyadh. Airports offer the best exchange rates, and ATMs are widespread throughout the country. Credit cards are accepted in most establishments.
  • Weather - Riyadh has a desert climate, characterized by extremely high temperatures, exceeding 50C. The period from June to September is the hottest period of the year.
  • Airports - King Khalid International Airport is an international airport serving Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. It is located 35 kilometres north of Riyadh.
  • Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Riyadh, since it covers not only medical problems but also theft and loss of valuables.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Riyadh Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 15° C
Feb 18° C
Mar 22° C
Apr 27° C
May 33° C
Jun 35° C
Jul 36° C
Aug 36° C
Sep 33° C
Oct 28° C
Nov 22° C
Dec 16° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
202428333942434340352822
Low
°C
91115202628292926211510
High
°F
68758291102108109109104958272
Low
°F
485259687982848479705950

Where to Next?

3 Reviews on Riyadh

  1. T
    Tuomas Karjalainen says:

    GBLT And other forbidden in KSA

    I have had deep discussion about those glbt issues with local people to gather consensus – those who are heterosexual and those who are bisexual and homosexual – who work for government and for private sector – with those whose are deeply religious As well.

    I have wanted to understand the culture where men are chasing men openly even though there is a theoretical risk to get death penalty as per discussed..

    the best way to find the truth is ask directly ..

    Those people who wants sex — suggest their desire of having sex openly without shame in various places .. often those also states explicitly what kind of sex –

    Saudi Arabia’s Islamic religious law forbid such kind of sex , but Saudi Arabia’s law of the land doesn’t recognize concept GBLT. That’s very good because then there is no classification of people.. Also God is all forgiving – that’s why people should make forbidden things without presence of unlinked people , because people are not forgiving . Also public display of forbidden or private things is disgusting

    Furthermore You need four witnesses against to you who has seen the details of intercourse without spying and many other condition to get punished

    based on the former statement of mutawwa homosexual are not punished – for plainly for sexual orientation — also mabahith has stated that four witnesses

    in addition to Above the original Wahhabi law explicitly forbids oppression of effeminate men .. if they behave well in public

    if such kind of GBLT people adhere The community rules and be generally spoken good character everything is ok –

    – if you have public sex — whether heterosexual or homosexual you will get that punishment from jail time to Beheading , that’s partially good – less public sex and porn.

    but there is also 33 other crimes where maximum is death penalty like apostasy , Witchery, extremism ..

    Criminal level is low — and no public drinking or worshipping for false prophets

  2. A
    Abdulkareem Almomen says:

    This Article is filled with False Information, I'll tell you what Riyadh is really like.

    This article tells so many lies. Firstly, terrorist attacks here are so rare. In fact, its more likely to have a terrorist attack in America then in Saudi Arabia. I’ve lived here for 4 years and never have I ever been stolen from, so I dont know where they got that notion from. As for entertainment we don’t have much, I’m not sure though, except for in the winter because that’s when Riyadh and Jeddah season start. Last winter we had Lil Wayne, Major Lazor, 50 Cent, Chris Brown, Tyga, Future, and a bunch more. There was also an Amusement Park. We also have plazas and many restaurants. Riyadh is really safe if you stick to Tourist locations. If you roam around the city you will attract attention. But people in Riyadh are super friendly to Foriegners, but there’s that small percentage. So stick to the tourist locations as you would in any country. And if you want to visit the country, visit after 2030. By that time we will have the biggest mall in the world, possibly six flags the Amusement park , a whole new futuristic city in the North called Neom, and many other things. Soon Saudi Arabia will be like Dubia, if not, then better.

    1. M
      Mike Thompson says:

      Sounds like heaven

      Abdulkareem, can you email me at mict2000@yahoo.com? I am from California, USA want to ask you about Saudi Arabia. I met some students from Saudi Arabia and they were so proud of their Kingdom (we spoke about the Kings for hours!), loved America, spoke perfect English, were very devout Muslims, and welcomed me to visit Saudi any time. They told me about so many things I never heard of in Saudi Arabia like a bird they hunt and the oasis and even beautiful beaches. Sounds like paradise. Even for an American Catholic like me. I want to visit so bad. God bless from USA!

Rated 4.33 / 5 based on 3 user reviews.

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