In Finland where I’m currently writing from, this time of year (and for a very long time) it gets really dark, murky and gloomy. I haven’t seen the sun for over a week and I’m already feeling depressed and out of energy. Everything seems so expensive and has a tax on it. Public transport around Finland costs almost as much as international airfare. For example a train ticket from Helsinki to Oulu would cost around 120 euros. Gas is also ridiculously expensive and driving becomes costly due to all the other fees that go into owning and keeping a car. I went for a coffee and paid 24 euros for a sandwich, coffee and water! Things like this make me miss Saudi Arabia, and it makes you realize how lucky we are to have them as a part of everyday life.
When we think about it, we start to appreciate some things we often take for granted in Saudi-Arabia. So I thought I’d compile a list of ten things I like about living in Saudi. Yes, there are lots of good sides in Saudi life -believe it or not!
1. The sun!
The sun shines by default everyday of the year. It’s easy to be in a cheerful mood and to keep energy levels up with so much sunshine. No need to take vitamin D supplements since we can have it naturally from the sunlight, which is a much better way to absorb vitamin D anyways! Another thing many enjoy is sunbathing, people who live in compounds are lucky to have beautiful swimming pool areas perfect for lounging and swimming in the sun all year round.
2. Inexpensive food
Groceries are so much cheaper in Saudi than for example in Finland or most western countries. Everything except the imported stuff is affordable and good quality. There are countless restaurants to choose from and most are very reasonably priced and eating out won’t make a huge cut in your budget. Saudi foods are delicious and available everywhere for cheap prices.
3. The desert
I just love going to the desert and to experience the absolute silence that falls upon you out there. That is where your soul rests. There’s always something interesting out there to find and explore and it’s so easily accessible. Check out these 10 Beautiful places in the Riyadh desert
4. Mosques and athan
Every neighborhood has a mosque or two and they are all look different. It creates a peaceful atmosphere hearing the athan (call for prayer) throughout the day, even inside shops and at the hospital.
5. Tax-free income
This is definitely a big plus too with obvious benefits! Salaries also tend to be on the higher side compared to what expats would earn in their home countries.
6. Untouched places
There are not many places left in the world where tourists can have the entire site to themselves. Saudi has plenty of historic sites, nature reserves and other places around the country that remain unspoiled by mass tourism. There are spectacular World Heritage sites like the tombs in Madain Saleh and ancient city in Najran, virtually empty of visitors. One of my favorites are the pristine beaches you can have all to yourself, like the beaches in Haql north of Saudi Arabia. Elsewhere in the world tourists pay $$$ to find such places.
7. Women Only
Sometimes it works for your advantage, especially at the airport! Enables faster security checks, passing men in queues and so on. Ladies branches of banks are a breeze and it’s nice to go to the gym or swimming pool and know for sure there’s no men lurking around! Also I’ve noticed as a woman it’s perfectly fine to jump the line if there’s no female section, nobody will dare protest a woman walking straight up to the counter.
8. Cheap Travel
Travel around Saudi and around the Middle-East is affordable. In the Kingdom the roads are mostly in very good condition and the petrol is almost free making driving around the country easy. Domestic flights and flights to neighboring countries are cheap.
9. Red Sea
I don’t live on the coast, but just being so close to the Red Sea and being able to go to the beach or diving so easily makes for one of life’s little luxuries. The Saudi side of the coast is still mostly untouched by mass dive tourism and reefs remain healthy and rich in marine life unlike the neighboring Egypt side. Farasan Islands is a paradise that only residents of KSA can currently enjoy.
10. Unique historical sites
Saudi Arabia is a closed country to the outside worlds but those of u who are lucky to live there have the unique opportunity to explore and discover all the world class heritage sites like Saudi Arabia’s UNESCO listed sites: Madain Saleh, At-Turaif historical city in Diriyah, Al Balad district in Jeddah and Ha’il archeological rock art sites.
What are the good sides of Saudi in your life?
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Hello there, I’m Laura, the founder, author and manager of Blue Abaya, the first travel blog in Saudi Arabia established in 2010. Travel has always been my passion- so far I’ve visited 69 countries and I’m always on the lookout for new adventures inside and outside of Saudi Arabia! Having visited all corners of the Kingdom with over a decade of experience, I have a vast knowledge base about travel and tourism in Saudi Arabia.