Practicalities – Saudi Arabia

tiny crab © Morten Beier Tropic Ice Dive

Alcohol

Alcohol is forbidden. Don’t bring it.

Behaviour

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of the most conservative Muslim countries in the world and works under Sharia law. It is therefore important to take care not to violate customs and laws.

  • Women must wear at least a t-shirt and shorts over a bikini (or just say “swimsuit”) during diving and swimming. Please also note that there are separate opening hours for women and men in the pool at Hotel Al-Bilad.
  • Men must wear surfershorts – Speedos are no go.
  • Women under the age of 35 must be accompanied by the husband or a male relative at all times.
  • Women are not allowed to drive.
  • On the street, appropriate clothing is at least long trousers and t-shirt. Be sure to bring something with long sleeves too. Choose clothing with a loose fit – this is especially important for women.
  • Homosexuality is forbidden by the death penalty.

It is recommended that you learn a bit about behaviour and tradition before going to KSA – especially if you plan to travel inland. I suggest reading the book “Culture Shock – Saudia Arabia”, which gives an entertaining introduction to westerners about behaviour and culture. Be aware that non-Muslims are not allowed to visit Mecca and Medina.

Visit the web site of your ministry of foreign affairs to get the latest updates.

Cameras

There are facilities for rinsing cameras on board the liveaboards. Be aware that taking pictures of people is not acceptable, especially not of women. This doesn’t mean that you can’t take pictures of in public, but you have to be careful.

Climate

Water temperature is 24-28°C. Air temperature is 28-37°C. The best time to go is December-July in the south and June-October in the north.

Electricity

220V 60Hz on board Dream Master. Remember to bring the appropriate adapter.

Equipment

It is suggested that you bring your own diving equipment. Contact Tropic Ice Dive if you need to rent equipment. Weights and tanks are of course provided for free. All tanks have yoke-mounts. You have to bring an adapter if you use DIN-mounts.

Insurance

Insurance is not included. Make sure you have adequate travel insurance to cover you for diving. Tropic Ice Dive will be happy to assist.

Guiding

There is an English-speaking guide on all dives.

Local time

Local time is GMT+3

Pornography

As you might expect, pornography is illegal, but be aware that photos where you can see more of the body than the hands and feet can be considered illegal. Make sure you don’t bring improper magazines or images on your computer. Just to be sure, I deleted my holiday pictures from my computer.

Pressure chamber

The nearest chamber is located in Jeddah.

Visa

For the moment tourist visas are not obtainable for KSA. If you have visa already – the doors are open :-)

Please also see general information under FAQ.