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Country-specific Safety Information

For your safety, you are advised not to travel to the border region with Yemen and to the district Qatif (especially the city Awamiyyah) in the Eastern Province. Sole female travels are not advised to enter Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is officially not a touristic country, although millions of pilgrims visit Saudi Arabia every year for hajj.

Traveling in the desert

The Saudi Arabian authorities explicitly prohibit traveling in the desert (crossing of the Rub al-Khali) out of concern for safety. For safety reasons, the Saudi Arabian security authorities have to be announced before traveling to tourist places to ensure that safety measures can be taken.

General behavior

Saudi Arabian social rules should be respected, particularly flashy clothes and ostentation or even distribution of Christian religious symbols should be avoided. Large crowds, meetings and demonstrations should be avoided. In particular, after Friday prayers (Muslim weekend) it can come to - not always peaceful - demonstrations.

Customs

The import of alcohol, weapons and pork is strictly prohibited.

Tough penalties are imposed for importation of natural and artificial drugs of all kinds - even Captagon pills - (even at low levels may cause the death penalty) and pornographic material. Pornography is any representation of nacked human body, even on DVDs and CDs.

Imports of Bibles, Korans and religious writings may occur at the border with considerable difficulties and seizures.

Criminal law

The little codified Saudi Arabian criminal law is based on the Islamic Shariah of local interpretation with the known, possibly up to flogging and other corporal punishments and amputations reaching criminal sanctions. Drug and alcohol possession is punishable by law, possession of drugs, the death penalty can be imposed. Non-marital sexual relationships even through rape are punishable in Saudi Arabia at the discretion of the judge with imprisonment and/or caning. Prostitution and homosexuality are punished anyway, even by death penalties. Defamation of others, such as through internet sites is also punished http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/saudi-arabia/woman-gets-70-lashes-for-whatsapp-insult-in-saudi-arabia-1.1472300. Consider the possibility for a host/surfer reference to fall within this.

Photography

The laws about photography are not uniform and consistent. You should expect that camera and films might be confiscated. People should not be photographed without permission. Photo shots are explicitly forbiden in and around the Two Holy Mosques.

Diarhea

Some basic rules: Only drink water of safe origins, e.g. bottles of carbonated water, never tap water. In an emergency, use filtered, disinfected and boiled water. On the way also for washing dishes and brushing your teeth where possible use drinking water. For food applies: Cooking or peeling. Keep flies away from your food. Wash your hands as often as possible with soap, always after toilet, before preparing food and before eating. Use disposable towels, where possible.

Malaria

Transmission occurs through the bite of blood-sucking nocturnal Anopheles mosquitoes. Untreated cases develop to the dangerous falciparum malaria, which is often fatal for non-immune Europeans. The disease can also erupt weeks to months after the stay. There is a low risk in the southwestern provinces (Jizan and partly also in Makkah and Al Bahah).The cities of Jeddah , Mecca , Medina and Taif are considered malaria-free.