Expat Exchange
Free MembershipSign In

Living in Saudi Arabia

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Feb 04, 2023

Summary: People describe life in Saudi Arabia as a mix of traditional and modern. Expats love the country's rich culture, the warm hospitality of the locals, and the many opportunities for outdoor activities. The cost of living for an expat in Saudi Arabia is generally higher than in other countries in the region, but still relatively affordable. The average cost of living for an expat is estimated to be around $2,000 per month. The population of Saudi Arabia is estimated to be around 34 million people. The largest cities in Saudi Arabia are Riyadh (the capital), Jeddah, Mecca, Medina, and Dammam. The cons of living in Saudi Arabia include the strict laws and regulations, the lack of freedom of speech, the lack of religious freedom, and the lack of gender equality. Additionally, the country is known for its hot and humid climate, which can be difficult to adjust to.

What do I need to know about living in Saudi Arabia?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Saudi Arabia, they said:

"It is important to familiarize yourself with the culture, laws, and customs of Saudi Arabia before deciding to retire there. You need to show financial solvency as proof to obtain a residency visa as a retired expat. It is important to know that there is a ban on importing alcohol, pork products, and firearms into the country. Additionally, you must be aware of the Islamic laws that govern the country, such as dress code and gender segregation. Since the weather can be extreme, it is important to be prepared with heating and cooling systems. In regards to cost of living, basic items are cheaper than in Western countries, while imported items will be more expensive," remarked another expat living in Saudi Arabia.

"Bring your yoga mat, fill up your kindle, and download some movies - this may be the place for you if you are looking for a retreat from the busy world outside," added another expat in Sakaka.

Answer Question & View More Answers

PassportCard Introduces an innovative approach to expat and digital nomad health insurance with no out-of-pocket expenses, no paperwork and no long claim processing, facilitating payout on the spot when you really need it. Outstanding service validated with more than 2 million customers for over 20 years. Get a quote from our partner, PassportCard.
PassportCard International Health Insurance

PassportCard Introduces an innovative approach to expat and digital nomad health insurance with no out-of-pocket expenses, no paperwork and no long claim processing, facilitating payout on the spot when you really need it. Outstanding service validated with more than 2 million customers for over 20 years. Get a quote from our partner, PassportCard.
GET A QUOTE

How do I meet people in Saudi Arabia?

When we asked people living in Saudi Arabia about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"Meeting new people in Saudi Arabia can be done through joining clubs or organizations, attending special events and festivals, or joining religious or social clubs. Networking is an effective way to meet people in Saudi Arabia, as the business culture is highly network-based. Additionally, considering the usage of social media, connecting with others online can be a way to form in-person relationships. Additionally, there are online expat communities and platforms for locals and expats to engage, connect and meet," remarked another expat living in Saudi Arabia.

"We have a remote compound for the western faculty members of Al Jouf University. 75% of us are single. Half are women. Mainly American, Canadian and South African," added another expat in Sakaka.

Answer Question & View More Answers

PassportCard

PassportCard Introduces an innovative approach to expat and digital nomad health insurance with no out-of-pocket expenses, no paperwork and no long claim processing, facilitating payout on the spot when you really need it. Outstanding service validated with more than 2 million customers for over 20 years. Get a quote from our partner, PassportCard.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

PassportCard

PassportCard Introduces an innovative approach to expat and digital nomad health insurance with no out-of-pocket expenses, no paperwork and no long claim processing, facilitating payout on the spot when you really need it. Outstanding service validated with more than 2 million customers for over 20 years. Get a quote from our partner, PassportCard.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

What is life like in Saudi Arabia?

When we asked people living in Saudi Arabia what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"Living as an expat in the area can be both an exciting and rewarding experience. The local culture is friendly and welcoming, making settling in and adapting to life in the area much easier. People here are typically open to different cultures, languages, and ways of life, making it an ideal destination for expats. The cost of living is generally lower than many other regions, and the healthcare system is very good. Expats can also take advantage of a wide range of activities and attractions, with plenty of outdoor activities, sightseeing, and cultural events to enjoy. Overall, living as an expat in the area can be a great experience filled with plenty of opportunities to explore and make new connections," added another expat in Saudi Arabia.

"Life here is very quiet. After work, 6 nights a week a compound bus takes us shopping. Women do not leave the compound other than with bus transport. Some men have scooters. Each villa has its own pool and some residents host small gatherings," remarked another expat who made the move to Sakaka.

Answer Question & View More Answers

Quickly and easily find trusted moving, insurance, relocation and other providers with Expat Exchange's Moving Planner. Select which of our trusted partners you would like to hear from and we'll do the rest.

Get Started Now

Quickly and easily find trusted moving, insurance, relocation and other providers with Expat Exchange's Moving Planner. Select which of our trusted partners you would like to hear from and we'll do the rest.

Get Started Now

Is there a lot of crime in Saudi Arabia?

We asked people if there is a lot of crime. They answered:

"Crime is a daily issue in Saudi Arabia, with reports of burglaries, violent crime, drugs, human trafficking and other forms of illegal activity affecting the country. The official statistics released by the Ministry of Interior show that the country has experienced an increase in the total number of reported crimes over the past few years. Although Saudi Arabia has traditionally had one of the lowest rates of crime in the Middle East, recent years have seen this begin to change. The government has made an effort to crackdown on crime by increasing the powers of the police and introducing harsher punishments for criminals," remarked another expat who made the move to Saudi Arabia.

"Absolute NO CRIME in Saudi!!! Lots of crime in Europe and South America. Canada is rather safe. Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland and Muslim countries = no crime to speak of," explained one expat living in Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia.

Answer this Question

Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Saudi Arabia accepting of differences?

"Yes, there is considerable diversity in Saudi Arabia. Different ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds are found within the country, and the Saudi government has made great efforts to ensure that all its citizens are treated equally regardless of their background. Saudi Arabian culture is traditionally accepting of differences, and its citizens are very welcoming and tolerant of those with different beliefs and customs," remarked another expat who made the move to Saudi Arabia.

"Sakaka is a remote, rural town. All women must wear a niqab at all times in public. There is a lot of construction going on. There is a sizable Pakistani & Indian population," explained one expat living in Sakaka, Saudi Arabia.

Answer Question & View More Answers

PassportCard Introduces an innovative approach to expat and digital nomad health insurance with no out-of-pocket expenses, no paperwork and no long claim processing, facilitating payout on the spot when you really need it. Outstanding service validated with more than 2 million customers for over 20 years. Get a quote from our partner, PassportCard.
PassportCard International Health Insurance

PassportCard Introduces an innovative approach to expat and digital nomad health insurance with no out-of-pocket expenses, no paperwork and no long claim processing, facilitating payout on the spot when you really need it. Outstanding service validated with more than 2 million customers for over 20 years. Get a quote from our partner, PassportCard.
GET A QUOTE

What are the schools in Saudi Arabia like?

"Schools in Saudi Arabia are typically segregated by gender, with male and female students in separate facilities. Students attend classes in accordance with the Saudi educational system, which follows an Islamic curriculum. Modern sciences and technology are also taught alongside religious studies and Saudi culture. During the school year, students observe Islamic holidays and the Saudi calendar and take part in educational trips. At the end of the school year, students take exams and receive official Saudi educational certificates. While public schools provide free education, private schools are also available. Most Saudi schools are equipped with the latest technology and have well-equipped laboratories, athletic fields and libraries," added an expat with kids at in .

"If you are looking for a school with strong values and high academic standards this is the school for you. I have trusted them with my 3 children from kg and now in grade 8 and I can't think of a better school for them," commented one expat when asked about Advanced genenration school in Jeddah.

Answer Question & View More Answers

Is the cost of living in Saudi Arabia high?

We asked people how much they someone comfortably live on in Saudi Arabia, they wrote:

"The cost of living in Saudi Arabia varies, depending on the city and lifestyle of the individual. Compared to other parts of the world, Saudi Arabia has a lower cost of living overall. However, some basic necessities, such as food and transportation, can be more expensive than in other parts of the world," explained one expat living in Saudi Arabia.

Answer this Question

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

PassportCard International Health Insurance

No out-of-pocket expenses, no paperwork and no long claim processing, facilitating payout on the spot when you really need it.
GET A QUOTE

PassportCard International Health Insurance

No out-of-pocket expenses, no paperwork and no long claim processing, facilitating payout on the spot when you really need it.
GET A QUOTE

Contribute to Saudi Arabia Network Contribute
Help others in Saudi Arabia by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Saudi Arabia.

Copyright 1997-2023 Burlingame Interactive, Inc.

Privacy Policy Legal