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Retire in Taif Guide

Retire in Taif with confidence, armed with the knowledge from our extensive guide. It covers critical considerations for retirees, from the cost of living and climate to housing, healthcare, and residency choices in Taif. We also delve into the social and cultural scene, volunteering options, public transportation facilities, and the city's walkability, helping you make an informed decision.

Retiring in Taif offers a unique blend of cultural immersion, affordable living, and a comfortable climate. The city, nestled in the mountains and known for its cool, pleasant weather, is a popular destination for both locals and international retirees. However, like any foreign country, it comes with its own set of challenges, from language barriers to understanding the local customs and traditions.

Cost of Living in Taif

The cost of living in Taif is relatively low compared to many Western countries. Housing, in particular, is quite affordable, with a variety of options available from apartments in the city to more spacious villas in the outskirts. Groceries, utilities, and transportation are also reasonably priced, making it an attractive destination for retirees on a budget.


Taif is known for its pleasant climate, with mild summers and cool winters. The city is located in the mountains, which provides a refreshing break from the intense heat of other parts of Saudi Arabia. This makes outdoor activities enjoyable year-round, a definite plus for active retirees.

Healthcare Facilities

Healthcare in Taif is of a high standard, with several well-equipped hospitals and clinics in the city. Many doctors and medical staff speak English, which can be a relief for international retirees. However, it’s important to have comprehensive health insurance as medical costs can be high.

Public Healthcare System

While Saudi Arabia does have a public healthcare system, it is primarily for Saudi nationals. International retirees will need to secure private health insurance, which is mandatory for all expatriates in the country.

Residency Options

Obtaining residency in Saudi Arabia can be a complex process. However, the government has recently introduced a new ‘Privileged Iqama’ system, which is a type of long-term visa for retirees and investors. This can provide a more straightforward path to residency for retirees.

Recreational Activities and Dining

Taif offers a range of recreational activities, from exploring the historic Shubra Palace to hiking in the beautiful Al-Soudah Park. The city is also known for its delicious cuisine, with popular restaurants like Al Khayam Restaurant and Al Shafa Restaurant offering a mix of local and international dishes.

Language Learning

While Arabic is the official language, English is widely spoken in Taif. However, learning Arabic can enhance the retirement experience. There are several language schools in the city, such as the Taif University Language Center, which offer Arabic courses for foreigners.

Local Culture

The locals in Taif are known for their hospitality and friendliness towards foreigners. However, it’s important to respect the local customs and traditions, particularly in terms of dress code and public behavior.

Meeting People and Volunteering

Meeting new people can be as simple as joining a local club or participating in community events. Volunteering is another great way to get involved in the community. Organizations like the Saudi Red Crescent Society often need volunteers and it can be a rewarding way to spend retirement.

Housing Options

Most retirees opt for apartments or villas in the city, which offer modern amenities and are close to shops, restaurants, and healthcare facilities. Some prefer the tranquility of the outskirts, where larger properties are available at affordable prices.


While having a car can be convenient, it’s not a necessity in Taif. The city has a reliable public transportation system, and taxis are readily available. Many areas are also walkable, making it easy to get around without a vehicle.

Retiring in Taif, Saudi Arabia offers a unique blend of cultural immersion, affordable living, and a comfortable climate. However, it’s important to do thorough research and possibly visit the city before making the decision to retire there.

Joshua WoodJoshua 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.

Additional Information:

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