Edge of the world lookout

Discovering Riyadh: A Cultural Journey in the Heart of Saudi Arabia

Welcome to Riyadh, the vibrant capital city of Saudi Arabia where tradition meets modernity, and history intertwines with innovation. As you embark on your journey through this dynamic metropolis, there are a few essential tips and cultural insights to keep in mind to ensure a memorable and respectful experience.

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Understanding Riyadh’s Culture


Photo by ekrem osmanoglu on Unsplash

Riyadh is deeply rooted in Islamic culture, and respect for local customs and traditions is paramount. When interacting with locals, remember to greet them with the traditional Arabic greeting “As-salamu alaykum” (peace be upon you) and respond with “Wa alaykum as-salam” (and peace be upon you too). Hospitality is highly valued in Saudi culture, so expect to be warmly welcomed wherever you go.

Tips for Visitors

head scarf

Photo by Khaled Ghareeb on Unsplash

  • Respect Local Customs: Riyadh follows conservative customs, and it’s essential to dress modestly, especially in public places. Women should wear loose-fitting, ankle-length clothing that covers their arms and legs, and a headscarf is recommended.
  • Tipping Etiquette: While tipping is not mandatory, it is appreciated, especially in restaurants and for services such as taxi rides. A customary tip of 10-15% is generally acceptable.
  • Language: Arabic is the official language of Saudi Arabia, but English is widely spoken, particularly in urban areas like Riyadh. However, learning a few basic Arabic phrases can go a long way in enhancing your interactions with locals.

What Not to Do:

  • Public Displays of Affection: Public displays of affection, including holding hands, hugging, or kissing, are considered inappropriate and should be avoided.
  • Photography Restrictions: Always ask for permission before taking photographs of people, especially women, and refrain from taking pictures of sensitive locations such as government buildings or military installations.

Must-See Places in Riyadh

Red Sand Dunes

Red Sand Dunes Saudi Arabia

Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels

Experience the mesmerizing beauty of the Arabian Desert by visiting the Red Sand Dunes, located just outside Riyadh. Take a thrilling ride on a 4×4 vehicle, ride ATV’s or try sandboarding down the steep dunes for an adrenaline-pumping adventure.

Edge of the World

Edge of the world lookout

Photo by Jay Glenn on Pexels

Journey to the Edge of the World, a breathtaking natural wonder located approximately 90 minutes from Riyadh. This stunning cliff formation offers panoramic views of the surrounding desert landscape, making it a popular destination for hiking and photography enthusiasts.

Al Masmak Fortress

Saudi Arabia

Photo by Masmak Fortress on Wikimedia commons

Step back in time at the Al Masmak Fortress, a historic landmark that played a significant role in the founding of Riyadh. Explore the museum housed within the fortress walls and learn about the city’s rich history and cultural heritage.

Kingdom Centre Tower

riyadh saudi arabia

Photo by muflih alhababi on Pixabay

Marvel at the futuristic architecture of the Kingdom Centre Tower, one of Riyadh’s most iconic landmarks. Take a high-speed elevator to the top floor observation deck for panoramic views of the city skyline.

National Museum

National museum Riyadh Saudi Arabia

Photo by Llana on Unsplash

Immerse yourself in Saudi Arabia’s rich history and heritage at the National Museum in Riyadh. Explore interactive exhibits, ancient artifacts, and archaeological treasures that trace the country’s fascinating past.

As you embark on your journey through Riyadh, embrace the unique blend of tradition and modernity that defines this captivating city. Respect the local customs, savor the rich culture, and explore the hidden gems that await around every corner. Riyadh promises an unforgettable adventure for every traveler daring enough to explore its vibrant streets and timeless wonders.

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-Gemma Winchester, Tripio Guru

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