サウジ観光ビザ解禁 見どころや注意点【Saudi’s New Tourist Visa】

Finally in Saudi Arabia, the tourist visa will be available. I will talk about where to visit and some precautions regarding this topic. Firstly regarding this visa, it’s the first time ever for Saudi Arabia to issue such visa for individual tourists it’s been rumored for such visas since few years back, and now it will finally be implemented. This is part of the modernization process by the Saudi government it was the only country in the world where women was deprived of driving, and recently that was abolished, and now they are able to drive a car. Movie theaters and music concerts were previously banned publicly, but they are now allowed. Around 50 countries are now able to apply and receive the tourist visa and Japan is among those countries. European and North American countries as well as East Asian countires such as Japan, China, Korea and Taiwan are included in this list. Regarding the visa fee, it is 440 Saudi Riyals, which is about 13,000 Japanese yen. It seems kind of costly, but it is valid for one year, with multi-entry, of up to 3 months stay for each entry with validity of one full year. Considering that, it’s probably in a reasonable price range. It has been said that Saudi Arabia was one of the most difficult counties to enter or visit, and now we can visit the country as a tourist. There were visas for Japanese muslims to perform the pilgrimage as well as business visa for business persons, but the country is undergoing a huge reform and opening up its door, where it used to be strictly conservative and religious nation now attempting to be somewhat secular and open country. Now I would like mention some points of interests. People may think that there’s not much to this dessert environment where bedouins in the dessert with their camels, etc. but that is just only one aspect and there are much more than that, of course It is also famous as an Islamic country, so you can observe Islamic lifestyle and culture first hand. Makkah and Madinah are famously known as the two holiest sites in Islam, under to supervision of Saudi Arabia, so the pilgrims are visiting the country all year long. As for these two cities, only the muslim are allowed in. Another point of interests are its food. you can expect for high standards of food The local Arabic cuisine are simple and not much variations to it, but since there are so many foreigners and immigrants working there from all over the muslim countries you are able to enjoy authentic tastes from the dishes of those countries. Now regarding the World Heritage Sites. One of the most famous ones is called “Madain Saleh” located in the western coast near Madinah. It is the remains from the same strain as what is know as Petra in Jordan, which originated from “Nabataer Civilization” tracing back to B.C. it is in good condition for visitation. and chosen as one of the World Heritage Site. Another World Heritage Site in Saudi is called Diriyyah, located in the suburb of Riyadh and it used to be the first capital of the country that was a predecessor of Saudi Arabia known as The Emirate of Diriyyah. This place is now massively renovated and suitable for tourism if you are interested in Arabian-Najid Architecture. You may also visit Jeddah, the second largest city in Saudi in the west coast, there’s different atmosphere going on compared to Riyadh. it was originally established as a gate-way to Makkah as a port city that’s more diverse and open atmosphere compared with Riyadh, and there is a district called Balad, an old town still preserved that of a Historic Jeddah. Now I would like to mention some precautionary points before I go. We shouldn’t forget that Saudi is a country of dictatorship not similar at all to any Western countries or Japan. you should be well prepared and be aware for differences, otherwise you might be disappointed if you expect something similar because it is not a democratic country, and not much awareness for basic international human rights. Recently we’ve witnessed the killing of a journalist who was critical of the regime, a war is actually going on in neighboring Yemen, any unexpected incidents or situation can easily occur or get involved in unwanted quarrel. Do not wish for freedom of thought, or speech while you’re there. So be aware of that. It is not like North Korea where the borders were completely shut against the world. People from all over the world are there for work, study, or pilgrimage who have migrated there, from different races and cultures under one country. As for the people of Saudi Arabia, they are cultivated, educated and open to other societies. They love the Japanese people and its cultures such as electronics, cartoons, video games. People are always willing to help others, and you can surely anticipate their generosity and kindness. Of course the country is based on Islamic Law, Naturally you cannot bring or consume pork meat or alcohol also, both men and women need to dress modestly and cover their body. If you’re muslim women, then you have to cover the hair with Hijab, and cover to entire body with what is called Abaya, but with the new tourist rules, the women from outside are not require to dress Islamically and cover their hair. So there’s no need to worry too much about that, modesty is what is required in general sence to the extent that the body line, or skin is not emphasized. Same goes to men, they should not wear short pants that expose their thighs. Another thing is weather. Maybe some people are already planning to visit Saudi for the holidays during the winter. The temperature differences between the day and night is pretty extreme. daytime temperature can go up to the 30’s while nighttime, it can drop to 10’s or even one digit. on top of that, the humidity is so low that you feel freezing compared to other places. So for those who are planning to visit during the holidays should bring coats against the cold weather as well as for heat during daytime. Another thing is the distance, It’s physically so far away from Japan so the airplane ticket can be costly, and no direct flight is available for now the travel time can really extend For some people that can be a tough hurdle If you have never travelled outside of Japan, it could be challenging to go there considering cultural differences too. Other than that, The internet connection is up to par with Japan and easily connected without difficulties. Free Wifi is widely available in town, SIM cards are easy to get, with fast connection. No worries for the net SNS is not blocked like some countries and messaging and communication will be fine. As for transportation inside Saudi, If you have international driving license, Rent-a-car is widely available, Uber is popular too, so transportation is easy and not restricted. However for non-muslims, there are partial restrictions on visiting and the entrance to Makkah and Madinah are prohibited at the city border. So Islam is at the core value for the locals here, and it’s desirable to learn about Islam before going abroad to be able to understand deeply about the culture and people in order to benefit from traveling and exchange. In my channel, I try to introduce Islam as much as I can so please subscribe and wait for more updates until next time!

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