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Must-know facts for Bangladeshi travelers planning a trip to Saudi

Messenger Online

Published: 19:27, 26 June 2024

Must-know facts for Bangladeshi travelers planning a trip to Saudi

Photo : Courtesy

As Saudi opens its doors wider to the world, it is time for travellers to go beyond just the traditional pilgrimage and discover what else this vibrant country has to offer. Whether you're planning a journey for leisure, adventure, or cultural exploration, here are the facts about Saudi that every Bangladeshi traveller should know:

1. It has never been easier to visit Saudi 

It has become easier than ever to visit Saudi, as Bangladeshis can apply for visas for Umrah, Tourism, or Stopover. Bangladeshi passport holders with UK, US, or Schengen visit visas are also eligible for a visa on arrival. In addition, the recently launched 96-hour Stopover Visa allows visitors to spend up to 96 hours in the Kingdom before continuing onward, making Saudi the perfect stopover destination for Bangladeshi travellers.

2. It’s easily accessible from Bangladesh

Saudi’s aviation sector is a global key player and acts as a gateway to a rich cultural tapestry. More airlines are expanding their connections to Saudi, with Saudia adding a second route to Chittagong, flying four times a week. This complements its existing routes to Dhaka from Jeddah, Madinah, and Riyadh. Saudia joins Biman Bangladesh Airlines, which currently operates three weekly flights between Jeddah and Chittagong. Flynas is also expanding its network, further enhancing connectivity between Bangladesh and Saudi.

3. It’s increasingly popular with tourists

In 2023, Saudi welcomed more than 100 million tourists, a 156% increase over 2019, and a record number as it hit the 2030 target of 100 million tourists 7 years ahead. Saudi has also earned recognition as one of the fastest-growing tourist destinations in the world, as reported by the World Tourism Organization (UNTWO) in its 2024 Barometer report.

4. Safety for female solo travelers

Saudi has ranked safest among G20 nations according to international indicators, and for the third time in a row this year, the city of Madinah was awarded the highest safety rating for female solo travel worldwide by InsureMyTrip.

5. It hosts 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Saudi is home to over 10,000 archaeological sites and seven UNESCO World Heritage sites –  Uruq Bani  Ma’arid (2023); Ḥimā Cultural Area (2021); Al-Ahsa Oasis (2018); Rock Art in the Hail Region (2015); Historic Jeddah, the Gate to Makkah (2014); At-Turaif District in ad-Dir'iyah (2010); Hegra Archaeological Site (2008) – these unique attractions have been singled out for their outstanding universal value, cultural significance, and natural beauty.

6. It’s a diver’s dream

Saudi is one of the best diving spots in the world, with pristine waters on the Red Sea coastline and Arabian gulf, white sandy beaches, an abundance of thriving coral reefs, and some of the world’s coolest shipwrecks. Interact with beautiful and rare marine creatures – see if you can spot the world's fastest fish, the Black Marlin, with a speed of 109 km/m, or the endangered Napoleon fish, also known as the "Queen of the Coral Reef”. Swimmers and divers can enjoy the warm water all year round – the Red Sea area has a sunny climate, and temperatures stay above 21° C.

7. The famous Saudi Welcome; its hospitality is unmatched

In Saudi, hospitality is the highest value and an integral part of the culture. Saudi people are known for their inherent generosity and kind spirits, especially to tourists, so expect a warm Saudi Welcome from helpful locals. The Saudi spirit is contagious – you may find yourself mirroring local behaviour, which is encouraged and taken as a gesture of appreciation. While the dress code has relaxed and is dependent on individual establishments, it’s worth trying on a colourful scarf or the abaya, a traditional loose-fitting long robe for women that is now very much a fashion statement!

8. It presents a unique blend of culture and history, where traditional markets thrive

While Saudi boasts plenty of modern and luxurious shopping malls filled with prestigious fashion and F&B brands, it is also home to a treasure trove of well-preserved traditional markets, or souks. The charming streets of Al Balad come alive in the evening during summer – soak in the Jeddah skyline and the hundreds of antiques on display at local favourite Historic Nights Rooftop Cafe. Better known as ‘Historic Jeddah’ or the Old Town, the Al Balad district of Jeddah is a UNESCO World Heritage site boasting buildings that date back to the 7th century. The magnificent architecture could fool you into thinking you have stepped back in time. When not gazing up, there is plenty to discover on the street for keen shoppers. Hunt for treasures in Al Balad’s bustling markets – there are seven souks in the old town alone, including the oldest souk in Jeddah, Souk Al Alawi. Here, you’ll find leather goods, Arabic perfumes, jewellery, clothes, and much more, making it the perfect spot for souvenir shopping and bringing a piece of Saudi home with you.

Messenger/Tareq