One thing is for sure, there’s no shortage of incredible places to see in Saudi Arabia. In this list I selected some of the lesser known, hidden gems and extraordinary places to see in Saudi Arabia. It was actually very difficult to select only 20 places out of so many options!

Saudi Arabia is a vast country with versatile landscape and terrain, creating an endless array of places to see and off the beaten path places to explore! For more detailed travel information and how to visit these locations, follow Blue Abaya on Instagram here: Viking in Arabia

For this list I selected one natural location from every corner of the Saudi Kingdom from the North down to the South.  I included various different types of landscapes from sand dunes, canyons to mountains, forests, waterfalls and lakes to showcase the vast diversity that can be found in Saudi Arabia’s nature. The land of Arabia is diverse in history, culture, landscape flora and fauna. It’s full of hidden gems waiting to be explored! Take a look at all these lesser known places to see in Saudi Arabia!

  1. Habala, The Rope Village, Asir Province. The hanging village of Habala, built on a ledge in the the middle of a steep canyon, which was only accessible by climbing with ropes from the cliffs above. The village was inaccessible and the inhabitants were safe and self reliant in their mountain ” hanging village”. There is a cable car that operates in the summer months taking visitors down to the village.
    incredible must visit  Places to See in Saudi Arabia

    Incredible places to see in Saudi Arabia: Habala Rope Village, Asir Province. Photo: Laura Alho

  2. Turtle Bay, AlWajh. A sandy bay of crystal clear waters where juvenile turtles can be seen swimming in the shallow waters. Nearby seagrass forests and coral reef pinnacles provide a safe haven for the baby turtles.
    turtle saudi alwajh

    A turtle swims by a boat in Turtle Bay, AlWajh. Photo: Laura Alho

  3. Seven Sisters Reef, Yanbu. One of the top dive sites along the 200km Saudi Red Sea coastline. The coral reefs are abundant with marine life and a great spot to encounter hammerhead sharks in Saudi Arabia.
    diving scuba yanbu saudi

    Seven Sisters reef in Yanbu. Photo: Yarob Bashrahil

  4. Rainbow Mountains, NEOM. A mountain range near Jabal Lawz where all colors of the rainbow appear in the landscape.

    Incredible places to see in Saudi Arabia, Rainbow colored mountains in Tabuk province. Photo: Laura Alho

  5. Springs of Moses, Maqna, NEOM. Natural springs in a palm tree oasis next to the Red Sea.12 natural springs that legend tells Moses found are located with a view to the Sinai peninsula in Egypt on the horizon.
    neom, springs of moses, tabuk

    Springs of Moses, NEOM. Photo by: Laura Alho

  6. Wadi Lajab, Jizan. Waterfalls, natural swimming pools hidden amongst a lush tropical surroundings in Jizan province. Wadi Lajab has water running through it year round.
    wadi lajab, saudi , swimming natural pools

    Lush and green Wadi Lajab, a hidden tropical haven in Jizan Province. Photo: Laura Alho

  7. Wild Iris Flower Fields, Tumair, Riyadh Province. A field of wild irises bloom here each spring. It’s a magical experience to watch them all open simultaneously at the same time each day. 

    Wild Iris flowers opening up in the filed in Tumayr. Photo by: Laura Alho

  8. Red Volcano, Hai’l Province. A volcanic crater surrounded by red sand dunes.

    The Red Volcano. Photo by: Laura Alho

  9. Al Naslaa Rock, Tayma. A petroglyph covered rock split in half with laser sharp precision, found in the middle of the desert.

    The Split Rock. Photo by: Saudi Archeology

  10. Cloud Park and Forest (Prince Sultan Park), al Namas, Asir Province. It’s always cloudy and misty at this park you can feel like you’re walking on top of the clouds.

    Sunset at Cloud Park, al Namas. Photo by: Laura Alho

  11. Valley of the Queens, Tabuk Province. Spectacular sandstone formations stand tall guarding the entrance of this valley near Wadi Disah. The sandstone pillars resemble the Queen of the chess game.
    eidotsenko@yahoo.combuk, neom, desert

    Valley of Queens, Tabuk. Photo: Laura Alho

  12. Yellow Lake, Al Asfar, Eastern province. A huge desert lake in the middle of golden sand dunes.

    The Yellow Lake. Photo by: Zaza Hardy

  13. Black and White Volcano, Madinah Province. Otherworldly scenery in Khaybar, the White volcanoes are located in the Harrat Khaybar lavafield. The unusual and rare white volcano craters are starkly contrasted by a stream of black lava creating a scene which could be from another planet.
    volcanoe, saudi, black and white volcano

    Incredible places to see in Saudi Arabia: Black and White volcanoes, Khaybar. Photo: Laura Alho

  14. Dhee Ayn, The Marble Village, Al Baha Province. A 400 year year old stone village built on top of a marble hill, surrounded by a forest of palm trees and banana trees, the village’s name comes from the stream ( ayn) that runs through it year round.

    Dhee Ayn Marble Village. Photo by: Laura Alho

  15. Secret Lake, AlUla. Beautiful serene and secret spot hidden in the Shallal mountains of AlUla. The water is clear and clean for a cool dip in the hot summer months.
    alula lake canyon water

    A gem hidden in the sandstone mountains of AlUla. Photo: Laura Alho

  16. Saudi Stonehenge, Al Jouf Province. Huge blocks of stone pillars stand side by side in a circular formation. The mysterious site dates back around 4000-5000 years but the purpose of the standing stone structures still remains a mystery.

    Rajajil, The Standing Stones. Al Jouf province. Photo: Laura Alho

  17.  The Open Library, Jabal Ikmah, AlUla. A canyon with more than 500 inscriptions from the Lihyan civilisation, dating back 3000 years located along the AlUla valley.
    AlUla, saudi, inscriptions

    The Open Library of the Lihyan Kingdom, Jabal Ikmah in AlUla. Photo: Laura Alho

  18. The Gingerbread Village, Rijal Alma’a heritage village, Asir Province. One of the must-see places in Saudi Arabia. More than 600 stone houses form Rijal Alma village, built on the side of a hill in Asir province. The houses are painted colorfully inside by the women of the village, the art form is called Al Qatt Al Asiri, which is a UNESCO listed intangible heritage art form.
    rijal alma, saudi, asir

    Rijal Alma village, also known as the Gingerbread village of Saudi Arabia. Photo: Laura Alho

  19. Hidden Oasis of Zulfi You would never expect to see these lakes and palm trees appearing like a mirage in the desert. The Zulfi desert oases are found in the middle of a vast sand dune desert. Some of the desert lakes have water year round but more appear after the winter rains which normally begin around November every year.
  20. Broken Heart Island, Tabuk Province. When viewed from Google earth, this deserted paradise island, together with the surrounding coral reef takes the shape of a broken heart. try to find it on google maps! The island is located within the Red Sea Development company’s protected area and at the time being cannot be visited by boat.

    Broken Heart Island, Red Sea project area . Photo: Laura Alho

Want to know about more amazing places to see in Saudi Arabia? Check out these 10 Amazing Places to Visit in Saudi Arabia 

Follow @blueabaya on instagram for more Saudi Arabia travel information and how to apply for a Saudi tourist e-visa.

Check out these beautiful places to see in Saudi Arabia that are not mentioned in this list: Wanderlust in Saudi Arabia 

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  • MaciejJanuary 15, 2022 - 12:38 am

    Sekretne Jezioro, AlUla. Piękne spokojne i sekretne miejsce ukryte w górach Shallal AlUla. Woda jest przejrzysta i czysta, dzięki czemu można się ochłodzić w gorące letnie miesiące.

    Czy mozna prosic o dokładne namiary na to miejsce.
    Planujemy turystyczno-jaskiniową wyprawę do Arabi Saudyjskiej w 2023r
    Maciej PReplyCancel

Here’s an article I wrote about Saudi Tourism and the Economy for Internationale Politik magazine, the magazine for DGAP (Deutsche Gesellshaft fur Auswärtige Politik), German Society on Foreign Relations. IP is Germany’s leading foreign policy magazine that covers contemporary subjects from around the world. Their 03/2018 issue is about the Gulf States and the economy, and can be read online here: Wirtshaft Golfstaaten My Article “Ab in Die Wuste” can be found here. ( please note that it’s a premium content and to read full article the reader must pay the subscription fees). The online version is in German language but you can read a summary of the article below in English.

Saudi Tourism and Economy

Saudi Arabia is gearing up to become a future tourist destination for international travelers. Mega projects, new cities, archeological surveys and developing entertainment are ways that Saudi intends to boost its economy through tourism.

The Future of Saudi Tourism 

No Backpackers, souvenir shops or sounds of cameras clicking. Until very recently, Saudi Arabia has been a country infamously difficult for foreign visitors to enter on tourism purposes. Apart from religious tourism and business visits, visitors have not been able to enter Saudi Arabia in the traditional role of a tourist. For decades, only a few tour operators had special permission to bring in tour groups to Saudi Arabia, and those tourists were subject to various entry regulations and restrictions of movement.

In 2018, Saudi Arabia has revealed its plans to begin opening the country for international tourism. Will this ambitious plan succeed, and if so, what are they key factors to determine success?

Residents of the Gulf countries have been able to visit Saudi Arabia without the need for a visa but this is a small fraction of foreign visitors to the Kingdom. The majority of foreign visits to Saudi Arabia comes from the Hajj and Umrah visas, both of which allow entry to Muslims of all nationalities for a specific time period and area only. Hajj 2018 saw 1,75 million foreign pilgrims and a total of 2,3 million pilgrims performed Hajj in 2018. Umrah visitors during 2017 were a total of 19 million pilgrims visiting Mekkah and Madinah for religious tourism, of which 6,5 million pilgrims came from outside of Saudi Arabia.

While the numbers of religious tourism keep growing and the religious tourism industry is constantly being developed and new facilities are being built to ensure the pilgrims a more comfortable experience in Saudi Arabia, there is no doubt that opening the country to international tourism will boost its economy even further.

VISION 2030 and tourism

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman announced the Vision 2030 plan to diversify the Saudi economy and a large part of the vision is developing the tourism sector. The plan is to create new jobs and attract foreign investors to the tourism industry. The Vision 2030 has launched several New “mega projects” such as the future city NEOM and the Red Sea Project, aimed to make Saudi Arabia an international world class tourism destination in the future.

Opening Tourists visas

The implementation of opening up the country for foreign visitors is not a simple task. Since the country has remained closed from other types of tourism for so long, a sudden free access to a mass flow of tourists would not be feasible. In this sense a gradual step by step plan to open up the tourist’s access to the Kingdom would seem the best practice in Saudi Arabia’s case.

And this does indeed seem like the direction that the country is moving to. Rumors of the tourist visas opening in April 2018 were circulated and then in late September 2018, Saudi Arabia announced the opening of the tourist visa for visitors coming to the newly announced Diriyah E- prix in Riyadh. These e-visas are a quick and simple way for international visitors to gain access into the country. By opening the tourist visa for a specific event and time frame, the flow of the visitors will be easier to control in a sort of soft opening phase. This way it will be easier to prepare and plan ahead for opening the unrestricted tourist visas.

The New E-Visa- Easy Access into KSA by joining Events

A purchase of the formula-E ticket is required to apply for the e-visa online on the Sharek website, created for this visa application process. The formula E visa is valid for a duration of 14 days. So far it seems that there are no restrictions on who can obtain this visa in terms of age, nationality or gender, as earlier has been speculated might be the case. There is however a mention of restricting the area in which the tourists would be able to visit, but no further information on this can be found the website currently.

Attending sports events and festivals might be the first channels through which international visitors will be welcomed into the country, and tying up the visas to an obligatory ticket purchase is a guaranteed way to generate income from tourism.

The reason behind restricting the tourists to certain areas is most likely due to many of the more rural areas currently lacking the sufficient infrastructure and services to welcome a large amount of visitors. There are massive development projects going on all over Saudi Arabia to develop facilities, infrastructure and hospitality sector to welcome more visitors in the future. The capital Riyadh and the two large cities of Jeddah and Dammam however offer a good network of hotels and other facilities for the tourists and these areas are ready and able to host foreign tourists.

Saudi Arabia’s Potential to Attract Foreign Tourism

Saudi Arabia certainly has the potential to attract more visitors with its unique and diverse landscape, remarkable historical sites and colorful culture.

Saudi Arabia is a vast country with plenty of beautiful landscape and opportunities to experience different types of tourism. The main landscape regions that have potential for developing tourism industry are the modern cityscapes of the large cities, different types of desert terrains, the Red Sea coasts beaches and underwater world, and the mountain areas of the South. A large quantity of historical sites from different ancient civilizations can be found in all regions of Saudi Arabia.

Developing National Tourism

One of the aims of the Vision 2030 is to develop the national tourism and attract more Saudis to stay in the country for their holidays. There is a huge flow of tourism and spending flowing into the neighboring countries and several measures have been taken to lessen this loss of potential income to the Kingdom. These measures have started to show a positive effect, the number of tourists from Saudi Arabia visiting Dubai in 2017 decreased by 7% to 1.53 million visits, however Saudi Arabia still remains in the top three source markets for Dubai tourism.

The drop in numbers of Saudis visiting Dubai could be explained by the increased efforts by Saudi Arabia to develop the entertainment sector and national heritage tourism.

Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority (GEA), launched in 2016, is a part of the Vision 2030 efforts to boost the local economy. Through its mission to “diversify and enrich entertainment experiences around the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”, the GEA aims to organize, develop and lead the entertainment sector to provide exciting entertainment options in all regions of the country.

The projects launched by the GEA aim to keep the tourists inside the Kingdom, who would have in past years sought for these same entertainment opportunities, such as movie theatres and concerts, in other Gulf countries such as UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait.

Tourism coming in from GCC

The Gulf tourists visiting Saudi Arabia (apart from the religious tourism) have main interest in the heritage tourism and milder climate of Saudi Arabia. Abha and its surroundings are popular places for Gulf residents to visit in the summer months, due to its pleasant, mild climate and green scenery. During the winter months many of the Central areas in Saudi Arabia offer very cool climate which attracts the Gulf visitors. Another draw for the GCC market is Saudi Arabia’s large heritage festivals such as the Janadriyah Cultural Heritage festival, attracting over 3 million visitors annually, Souk Okaz and the King Abdulaziz Camel festival.

Tourism Mega Projects

Since the launching of the 2030 vision, several projects to develop the tourism and entertainment industry have been launched. The most ambitious project is NEOM, the future city. NEOM promises “The world’s most ambitious project: an entire new land, purpose built for a new way of living”.

Other mega projects evolve around the Red Sea coastline, the Red Sea Project and the most recent addition of mega projects, Amaala.

Qiddiyah is a project to build an entertainment city including a Six Flags amusement park on the outskirts of Riyadh.

Various projects to develop UNESCO sites such as the historical city of Al Balad in Jeddah and Turaif district in historical Diriyah are in progress. Once ready, At Turaif will become the largest open-air museum in the world.

All of the mega projects promise to create jobs and offer investment opportunities to foreign investors.

These projects are very much needed and once completed will offer a variety of options for both national and international tourists.

The Promise of Al Ula

Al Ula valley boasts an incredible array of historical, nature and heritage sites. Thanks to Al Ula’s location in a protected valley with plenty of water sources, this area was inhabited by different civilizations for thousands of years and was the hub for trade routes.

These civilizations have left their marks on the rocks of Al Ula, in the valleys and the forgotten cities. The desert landscape of the Ula valley is breath taking and otherworldly, something which cannot be found elsewhere in the world.

The Al Ula Royal Commission was established to help centralize the development of the entire area into one body.  The goal of Al Ula Royal Commission is to transform the area into one of the  world’s premiere destinations for history, nature and heritage. With France as the main partner in achieving the goals to transform Al Ula, the development projects a long term plan which will empower the local community and boost local economy.

Al Ula Royal Commission, established in 2017 is responsible for the survey of the Al Ula archaeological sites including Hegra ( Mada’in Saleh) The Lion’s Tombs (tombs of the Dedan Kingdom and the Ikhma library. These sites were closed from public visits in December 2017 and are estimated to reopen for tourism sometime in 2020’s. The archaeological survey is undertaken by several international teams of archaeologists to make sure everything in the area has been discovered, before building or developing the area further.

After the surveys have finished, the sites will be developed to handle a large number of international tourists. World class services and facilities will be built, in accordance to protecting the value of the sites and the surrounding nature.

Projects by Saudi Commission Tourism and Heritage

The SCTH, established in 2000 and headed by HRH Prince Sultan bin Salman, has been very active in the past years in developing the tourism sector through several different projects. The main goals are to develop heritage sites around Saudi Arabia, rehabilitation of archaeological sites and readying them for visitors, developing the hospitality sector and listing more sites as UNESCO World Heritage, bringing the total number of sites to 7. The SCTH works together with the National Transformation Program, which aims to provide the youth with more job opportunities and better the quality of life for everyone.

The real challenge might come from convincing the Saudis that opening tourism is a good idea in the long run. From the economic perspective it will bring an undeniable boost, but the concerns evolve around the ideologies that the more conservative part of the society fear tourism will bring along.

One of the main keys to the success of the tourism then, would be to involve the Saudi youth in tourism projects, training them in tourism and hospitality sector. A major role would be creating awareness of the available options for tourism in Saudi Arabia,  which many Saudis surprisingly are very unaware of. Boosting pride in national heritage sites, nature and interest in attending the culture festivals are ways to motivate and include the youth in this process.

Saudi Arabia’s ambitious plans to make the Kingdom a world-class tourism destination in 2030 all well on the way. Once completed, the development plans will offer a selection of “something for everyone” and Saudi Arabia has the potential to become one of the “must visit” places on earth.

Discover more about places to visit in Saudi Arabia here: Explore Arabia

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  • MaramMarch 12, 2019 - 8:59 am

    Hello Laura ..
    Good morning …
    this is maram from KSA
    Thank you for your amazing articles about ksa at least you showed up the positivity .. can’t wait to have a tourist visa for my friends from Germany and USA

    Sorry if I’m bothering you but is there anyway I can invite them to come for 3 months I’m trying to find a visa for them and they really want to visit ksa

    Would appreciate you advices and recommendations

    Thank you in advanceReplyCancel

  • Jade DsaJuly 28, 2019 - 11:25 am

    Your blog is SO informative! Thanks a ton for all this infoReplyCancel

  • AbdulAugust 28, 2019 - 1:04 am

    Thank you Blue
    Your trip around Saudi Arabia was beautiful and thank you for showing Saudi beauty to the world..?


  • MajdNovember 12, 2019 - 7:18 am

    Hello Laura,

    I was exploring the new Saudi e-Visa, and your blog was one of the options, and I add it to my favorite list. I appreciate your efforts; I can feel your passion and love of what you are doing.
    What happening in Saudi Arabia nowadays is historical; it’s moving forward in all aspects.
    I pray for Saudi Arabia to be the best and reach its goals.
    All my best wishes to you too.ReplyCancel

  • […] SAUDI TOURISM AND ECONOMY ( […]ReplyCancel

  • ManiFebruary 12, 2020 - 10:50 pm

    Thanks Laura, very informative post about SAUDI TOURISM AND ECONOMY.ReplyCancel

  • JSMay 30, 2020 - 7:49 pm

    Do female expats still need to wear an abaya? I heard that it is no longer required but I still see foreign women in al khobar wearing it.ReplyCancel

  • HossamJune 19, 2020 - 8:38 am

    Thanks for sharing such deep information about Saudi Arabia’s culture, tourism, e-visa, and other informative things. I believe that Saudi has much more to showcase to the world, and will be one of the most visited destinations by tourists very soon.ReplyCancel

Jeddah is just an 1,5 hour flight away from Riyadh making it the ideal weekend getaway destination in Saudi Arabia with all the cool things to do in Jeddah.

Sometimes we don’t have to travel far or abroad for a relaxing weekend getaway! Saudi Arabia offers many great destinations for families to choose for a staycation.

Jeddah has always been a favorite staycation destination of mine in Saudi Arabia because it offers so many fun activities. There are so many fun things to do in Jeddah and each trip we discover something new.  It´s easy to find flights to Jeddah on five different domestic airlines that fly to Jeddah daily from all major cities in Saudi Arabia. The best thing about Jeddah for me is definitely the Red Sea and all the leisure opportunities it offers to visitors.things to do in Jeddah with kids

I travel to Jeddah several times a year with my children for some much needed Vitamin Sea and always feel so energized from the ocean breeze and change of scenery. Sometimes a weekend trip to Jeddah feels like you’ve actually gone abroad, the landscape and local culture are so different from what we have in Riyadh.

I would say Jeddah is a must visit at least once for everyone living in Saudi Arabia! Whenever my mom visits Saudi Arabia (she’s visited us 8 times already!) I always take her to Jeddah for a weekend, because nothing beats the Red Sea breezes and the Jeddah vibe.things to do in Jeddah with kids

So what are the best things to do in Jeddah, especially if you’re traveling with kids? I’ve gathered a list of my favorite things to do in Jeddah with kids (and of course why not for adults too) for some ideas and travel inspiration! Jeddah has developed a lot during the past years and there’s constantly new things to do in Jeddah especially around the newly opened Jeddah Corniche area.

Things to Do in Jeddah

Visit the new Jeddah Waterfront and Corniche

A must see when in Jeddah is the new Jeddah Corniche and waterfront area. The new Jeddah Corniche has become a hot spot for families to spend time together ever since its opening in 2017. You’ll find a beautifully landscaped waterfront area with parks, recreation facilities, children’s playgrounds, fountains, beaches and cafes. The best way to explore the Corniche is on foot, so make sure you to stay closeby with walking distance to the best spots on the Corniche to avoid traffic, especially on weekend evenings. Check out where to stay on the Corniche at the end of this post.

things to do in Jeddah with kids things to do in Jeddah with kids

Al Balad

A visit to Jeddah is not complete without a visit to the historical city, Al Balad. A UNESCO listed heritage site, the area is best visited in the early mornings or in the late afternoon/ evenings. Learn about the history of Jeddah by visiting Naseef house and browse through the colorful souks. More things to do in Al Balad here: 10 Things to do in al Balad, Jeddah

things to do in jeddah

things to do in jeddah

Fakieh Aquarium

Located just on the Corniche, it’s very easy to walk to the aquarium and spend several hours learning about the colorful marine life that can be found in the Red Sea. The Jeddah aquarium is a perfect way to experience the underwater world of the Red sea without the need of getting wet! Kids will be in awe of all the different kinds of fish and corals and a walk through the ”fish tunnel” where visitors can watch sharks, turtles, rays and fish swim above them.

Day at the Beach 

There are some family friendly private beaches to visit for a day trip located in Jeddah’s North Obhur area. The whole family can swim together at Lafontaine beach, Coral Beach Resort, Salhia beach, Silver Sands beach, Fal beach, Sheraton, Oia, and La Plage beach. Women can swim in bikini and swimsuit on the private beaches. Most of these places do require a yearly membership but some allow day passes as well. For the best public beaches in Jeddah, the ones on the New Corniche area are safe with calm waters that allow for children and men to swim.

Another option is driving further up north to Durrat AlArous where you an rent a villa or apartment next to the beach. There’ a very nice Marina with restaurants and shops, you could hire a boat out for the day from Durrat.

things to do in Jeddah with kids

The most beautiful beach in Jeddah

Day out at Red Sea

Red Sea divers, Blue Reef divers, and many other dive operators can arrange boat trips for day trips out to the reefs for snorkeling, diving, fishing and swimming. This would be ideal for older children already comfortable in the water. The reefs outside of Jeddah are a great place to explore with kids, the colorful corals and the many different kinds of fish will keep kids entertained for a long time.Things to do in Jeddah- fishing at Red Sea

Things to do in Jeddah day out at Red Sea

Eating out

Jeddah has plenty of great family friendly restaurants, many of which can be found along the Corniche and in the Red Sea mall.  Papaya restaurant, which is right next to Souk Shatee, is located inside an indoor tropical garden with small fountains and daylight coming in from the glass roof. Recommended especially for breakfast and lunch time. For the evenings, try out the restaurants near the waterfront, for views out to the Red Sea restaurants next to New Corniche. A new beautiful outdoor place by the sea is restaurant Angelina.

For traditional Saudi food Hejazi style, head to Aseil restaurant or try The Social Kitchen, where you’ll be treated to one of the first Saudi female chef´s cuisines!

things to do in Jeddah

Restaurant Papaya in Jeddah

Corniche evening stroll

The new Jeddah corniche itself is lovely, clean and family friendly option to spend a relaxing evening. Numerous imaginative, safe playgrounds have been built along the Corniche and visitors can admire local Saudi artists works there too. You can stop by to watch fishermen fishing on the pier or have an ice cream in one of the many cafes on the Corniche. Don’t miss a visit to the JEDDAH-sign after sunset, the best place to take memorable shot of your Jeddah staycation!things to do in Jeddah

Bounce with whole family

If you fancy some indoor fun and physical activity to get the energy drained out of your kids, the biggest trampoline park in Jeddah, BOUNCE INC is the place to go.  They have lots of different activities like wall running and dodgeball and activities suitable for all ages plus a section dedicated just for women.

World’s tallest fountain

Many do not know that Jeddah is home to the tallest fountain in the world! The King Fahad fountain, Shooting sea water up to 300 meters high, is best viewed from the southern Corniche areas.

Al Shallal theme park

With an impressive artificial lake at its center, a planetarium, ice skating rink, boat rides, lots of rides for kids of different ages (and adults too) a day at Shallal theme park is highly recommend fun time for the whole family.

Al Tayibat Museum

The Tayyebat Museum for civilizations is an amazing museum which is built in Hejazi heritage village. It’s a great way to get a glimpse of the culture, architecture, traditional clothing and lifestyle of each region of Saudi Arabia.

things to do in Jeddah

Traditional Saudi clothing at Tayyibat civilizations museum in Jeddah

things to do in Jeddah

Red Sea Mall

Undoubtedly the best mall in Jeddah and located just minutes away from the new corniche area, Red Sea mall offers a variety of activities for kids, a vast selection of restaurants, and of course great shopping!

Where to stay in Jeddah:

For families traveling with kids the new North Corniche is a great option and  family friendly area to stay in Jeddah.  This is an ideal spot to be based because you can walk to the children’s playgrounds, beaches and parks from the hotel in a few minutes without having to worry about the traffic and parking hassles. At the Jeddah Corniche, you can watch the sun setting from your room and dine in the many different restaurants of the area within walking distance. Plenty of hotel chains are located along the Corniche.

Another great option for families is Om Shada suites, which is located in an ideal location near to airport. The new and clean apartments, furnished with Asir inspired decor, are located just off Madinah road, which makes it easy to drive up to North Obhur for a day at the beach and back to the city for the evening. Rooms are spacious, with living rooms, kitchen for self catering options, and they even have washing machines.

Interested in exploring Saudi Arabia further? Head to the Explore Arabia page for more destination in Saudi Arabia!

Find more Things to do in Jeddah here

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  • Abaya marketOctober 18, 2018 - 8:41 am

    The Tayyebat Museum is nice to visit. I would like to visit The Tayyebat Museum.ReplyCancel

  • Susie of ArabiaOctober 25, 2018 - 2:51 pm

    Great tips! You are so thorough and helpful with all the information you provide. We appreciate it!ReplyCancel

    • LauraOctober 28, 2018 - 11:29 am

      Thank you very much Susie I appreciate the feedback!ReplyCancel

  • AileenOctober 25, 2018 - 3:15 pm

    For ladies especially you could add the Park Hyatt Evania spa. It’s right on the corniche near the fountain and it’s the only place in Jeddah with an outdoor ladies only swimming pool. For 550 riyal you get a 30 minute massage plus access to all the spa facilities including sauna, indoor massage pool and more. They also have a kids area.ReplyCancel

    • LauraOctober 28, 2018 - 11:29 am

      Thanks for the tip! It’s not easy to find outdoor ladies swimming pools in Saudi Arabia!ReplyCancel

  • LeenNovember 7, 2018 - 8:06 pm

    Would you mind referencing the pictures specifically the one with the steps leading into to ocean for swimming. Which beach resort is that? Love your posts as usual very thorough and presented beautifully :)ReplyCancel

    • LauraNovember 24, 2018 - 8:32 pm

      Thanks Leen! Not sure which image you’re referring to though :)ReplyCancel

      • LeenMarch 29, 2019 - 3:28 pm

        Hahaha I’m back a few months later visiting Jeddah. I was talking about the picture of the little guy jumping into the water. Is that a beach or resort in jeddah?ReplyCancel

  • Abdul moyeedNovember 11, 2018 - 11:04 pm

    Very niceReplyCancel

  • Jameela DeenNovember 24, 2018 - 4:47 pm

    Great post but I’d say the faking aquarium is a little small compared to other such places I’ve visited abroad but kids will still enjoy it. The tayyebat museum is a private museum and incredibly interesting but my god it’s hard to get in: the best thing is to get a small group together and contact a private guide to organize a visitReplyCancel

    • LauraNovember 24, 2018 - 8:31 pm

      yes that’s right it needs a larger group to get i the Tayyebat or try weekend evening when they have more traffic. The problem is that people don’t know about its existence nor do they know how to visit, so there’s not much visitors sadly! Because it’s such a nice musuem.ReplyCancel

  • Rimon hossainDecember 29, 2018 - 1:14 am

    Great tips! You are so thorough and helpful with all the information you provide. We appreciate it!ReplyCancel

  • EllaMayJanuary 20, 2019 - 9:05 am

    Oh my, Jeddah has chaged a lot since I was there in the 90’s when I used to work in an airline .How I wished I can visit the place again. Hopefully, they will issue tourist / visit visas soon.ReplyCancel

  • MaryMay 8, 2019 - 4:23 am

    Hi, I’m a female expat working here in riyadh and my aunt works in jeddah, she wants me to visit her in jeddah, so I’ll be flying solo, aside from the ticket and iqama, do I need anything to present at riyadh airport? ThanksReplyCancel

  • Firoz QureshieMay 27, 2019 - 4:18 pm

    Hey, Great Article.
    Jeddah is a great place to travel to. The Blue Abaya, Red Sea are the worth visiting places in Jeddah. If you are planning to visit Jeddah for your next trip, You can book flight tickets to Jeddah along with Jeddah Hotels Booking.
    The website provides the best deals and discounts on flight tickets. I have got great discounts on this site. Thought this will help you, people, as well.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah CooperJune 25, 2020 - 9:10 am

    Hi, I really enjoy reading your page. I am looking to explore Jeddah with the family. We really want to visit some of the private beach resorts that you have mentioned in your article, such as Lafontaine beach, Salhia beach, Silver Sands beach, Fal beach and La Plage beach, but my query is how and who do you contact to get day passes for these beaches? What kind of costs are incurred from a day trip pass? Thankyou for any information you can give us so that we can plan a long weekend away to Jeddah. SarahReplyCancel

  • ChristyJuly 8, 2020 - 9:14 pm

    Hi there,

    Thanks for the article. Do you know why the beach doesn’t allow women to swim?
    Where can you swim in the sea if you are a woman?


There is a brand new highway which will connect Saudi Arabia and Oman by road. Once it’s open, the road from Saudi to Oman will cut driving time by half. The border crossing between Saudi Arabia and Oman has not opened yet, so in the meanwhile those planning to drive from Riyadh to Oman must drive through UAE. A road trip from Riyadh to Oman is certainly doable and worth the trip regardless of the longer drive time.

Now that women can drive in Saudi Arabia the possibilities for women to explore and travel more freely are open! A friend of mine recently drove herself (and her 3 kids!) alone from Riyadh to Muscat in Oman. She might have very well been the first lady ever to make this journey alone, but that I suppose we will never know for sure. What is certain is that Erica is a very brave lady and I’m really happy to share her Saudi road trip story with you.

I hope it will inspire other women to take on the roads and you’ll learn practical information about taking a car out of Saudi Arabia as a female driver. The drive from Riyadh to Muscat took her a total of 16 hours with one stop at Abu Dhabi overnight.

Erica’s tips for the road from Saudi to Oman


Road trip Riyadh- Muscat by Erica Zentner

I sms’d my father in the early hours of the morning. “Am I doing the right thing?” Following a goodbye meal with friends I had begun to question whether driving from Riyadh to Muscat alone with three quite young kids was going to be as mundane as I had previously thought. I ran through the risks I had considered and mitigated against;

Risk 1 – not being able to get through the border with a car in my husband’s name – I was now in possession of a letter form Muroor (Traffic department) allowing me to drive the car abroad and an Istimarah (vehicle ownership document) which listed me as either a driver or a co-owner of the vehicle, we didn’t at this point know which, nor was it material to us (picture and more on this process below).

Risk 2 – There is some sort of emergency and I’m in the desert alone with the kids – I mused this could happen to anyone, male or female, in any case I was to travel with a special power of attorney in English and Arabic in which was specifically listed, crossing borders with the children and taking medical decisions in the absence of the father. I added to that the points raised by my friends

Risk 3 getting run off the road by a male angry with the change in status quo and

Risk 4 running out of petrol or having a blow out.

I resolved to travel under the cover of night in a cap and masculine sunglasses, carry petrol and a tire jack. Now sleepy I received a final message from my father; ‘Do what your heart tells you.’

road from Saudi to Oman and drive time

A few days later at 3:30 a.m. I’m on the eastern ring road, with surprisingly chirpy children in the back carrying neither jack nor spare petrol (I guess my fear was tempered by the checks I did on the car at the garage) and mildly amused that I hadn’t in my planning realized that wearing a cap and sunglasses in the middle of night was a completely impractical idea. I am at this point, to anyone who looks into the car, clearly a woman, and excuse me if I reach the punch line too early – no one is batting an eyelid.

The sat nav directs us onto the Al Kharj Road, following which we bypass kharj stopping for petrol. From here it’s straight on until morning! Anyone who undertakes this drive should know that it’s quite important to fill up at most of the opportunities after Kharj.

I realize I have made my second error in planning as at this time in the morning the coffee shops are not yet open. Oh well, no matter, I can survive the journey on the three bags of snacks mandatory for any Saudi road trip. Second caution to those who are going to do the drive: know your body- it’s a long drive if you know you get fatigued then do share the driving with someone. My children are being delightful (the three of them doing this simultaneously makes this something of an auspicious day).

We are alternating singing children’s songs and pop songs with long bouts of silence looking out of the window. There are some fairly beautiful sights to see, the sun rising over the low foot hills of the desert, the large freight railway that runs parallel with the road for some way, the dairies and farms of Almarai which come one after another for miles seem simultaneously puzzling (for a vegan anyways) and awe inspiring (humans are incredible at organizing difficult things), the only other traffic on the road apart from occasional other private vehicles are the Almarai distribution trucks who drove more safely than many trucks I have seen in Europe.

There is plenty of time to think on this drive, I have been told by other expats who have driven it that it’s just sand the whole way – I wonder to myself whether they noticed the beauty in the sometimes gradual sometimes dramatic changes in the color of the sandy landscape. Later on there are many many camels, mostly chocolate brown ones, I see Qatari plated cars herding them alongside the roadside at one point we have to stop the car to let them cross. My kids love it. They are very visible from a long way away so weren’t really a hazard but I did notice sand drifts on the other side of the road and tractors pushing them back.

A little way before the border we make our last petrol stop there is a relatively clean ladies toilet at this penultimate petrol station.

Then we arrive at the border. It is not an exaggeration to say that the border officials are delighted to see us, at customs and immigration they all comment and some congratulate on the fact that I am driving alone. We cross into the UAE without a single hiccup where we find officials are similarly delighted especially the female customs officer who does our screening in the ladies section.

A side note: far from the capital cities of either nation some officials seemed to be more comfortable speaking in Arabic, do learn some of the useful words (passport, insurance, drivers license and the numbers etc.) It goes a long way and I find myself wondering a lot whether we would be as accepting in our home countries of people who arrived to stay for some time and limited themselves to learning the words required to order food only.

The road from Gweifat to Abu Dhabi is well serviced with petrol stations, there are some hotels on this road if you find yourself tired after the long drive through the desert. We broke up our drive in Abu Dhabi at just shy of 900km and 9,5 hours from our starting point. If you make it this far I suggest rest a night and then carry on driving until Oman, which is another adventure altogether! We crossed to Oman at the Mazyad border post, but Khat am Al Shiklah is better to cross at except if you want to head for Salalah.

The entire trip took me two days, 9.5 hours the first day and 6 hours the second (we had a slow border crossing and then an extra half hour to get to the border we should have crossed at.


-Letter allowing me to take the car out of KSA (this is uploaded on the absher system but only available to dependents who apply in person)

-Registration listing me as an authorised driver (this document was incredibly useful at the UAE and Oman side of the border to show I had some official standing with the vehicle)

-Special Power of attorney listing my children and their passport numbers signed by their dad (I didn’t need this but in my experience people are much more willing to act in unclear situations when they have the comfort of a piece of paper to rely on)

-Vehicle insurance card– adding GCC cover for a year before driving is a similar cost to one month at the border.

– Passports


-Medical cards

Process for getting listed on the Vehicle Registration Document

-go to muroor -take an Arabic speaker – car owner to write no objection in Arabic

-pay using the online system government payment system for a replacement card

-hand in old vehicle registration card collect new one

For international authorization – there is a small separate office which deals with this in the same complex, there are forms to be filled out and signed and the authorization is then signed by a senior police officer uploaded onto the system and a letter valid ONLY for six months is given. We did this first and this senior officer told us that we should do the in KSA authorization as well to avoid ambiguity in accident situations.


Erica is a yoga teacher in the Middle East, you can contact her by

Have you done an all- female road trip in Saudi Arabia? I would love to hear about it! please send me your road trip stories to email: contact ( at)

A Guide for expat and Saudi women how to get a Saudi driving license by converting your international license can be found here: Saudi Driving License for Women 

For more road trip stories from Saudi Arabia check these out: Road Trips KSA 

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  • Drake Dexter MangalinoOctober 2, 2018 - 10:51 am

    Allowing women to drive is one of the best thing that ever happened in the Kingdom. I’m really sad that I didn’t get the chance to see this in person.ReplyCancel

  • SanaOctober 2, 2018 - 2:38 pm

    Loved the article. We r planning for Oman in October. Such a useful article.ReplyCancel

  • ImtiazOctober 23, 2018 - 5:17 am

    I want final exit can I go saudi to Dubai final exitReplyCancel

  • ZakriyaDecember 23, 2018 - 1:20 am

    If the owner is driving the vehicle himself does he still need some authorization from Traffic dept for taking the car out of KSA (to UAE). ThanksReplyCancel

  • KandenoFebruary 6, 2019 - 3:17 pm

    @ Zakriya no need , but make sure to applying visa indeedReplyCancel

  • JayarajOctober 27, 2019 - 12:27 am

    I have a visa for 90 days and the car registration is under my name
    • Can I travel to use by road
    • do I need the clearance paper
    • how much will be the insurance approximately


Great news for women in Saudi Arabia who are under their husbands or fathers sponsorship, and previously unable to register online to apply for Saudi driving license. There has been an issue with so called “dependent iqama” holders, in other words women who are under their fathers, husbands sponsorship to apply for the driving license conversion which requires an independent Absher account.

It is now possible for dependent iqama holders to register their own Absher account. You need a Saudi mobile to get verified. Register as new user here: absher portal

UPDATE for dependent iqama holders

Follow below steps to convert your foreign driving license to a Saudi one.
1- As an independent currently you can register your own Absher account
2- Activate your absher account through proper channels (Malls,Mobily.etc..)
2- login to Absher and take an appointment to replace your foreign driving license (last item from Traffic appointment menu)
3-prepare all requested documents and pay the fees.

4.take the test

UPDATE 2019: More driving schools and license conversion centers are opening around the country. Dependents can try to enroll in the courses provided by Driving Schools and through that try to get the Saudi Driver’s license.

The rest of the steps how to get Saudi driving license for dependent iqama holders please follow these steps:

Saudi driving license application for women

If you are a female expat in Saudi under your employers sponsorship or married to a Saudi then follow these steps: How to convert foreign license to Saudi license and you will be able to convert an existing, valid driving license from any foreign country to the Saudi one by first creating your own Absher account.

Converting the license does not mean you need to give up or “surrender” your original, however it is needed to present at the Moroor once you are doing the short driving test.

To find out what documents you need to get done BEFORE applying for license, you must follow the instructions on this post: Step by Step Guide How Expats Apply For Saudi Driving License

If you need to follow the guide in Arabic it is available here: How Saudi and expat women can convert foreign license to Saudi license

Tip: If your city’s appointments are all booked, check your nearest cities and you can apply in any of them.

Good luck everyone and please leave comments about your experiences to help others apply and any updates you know of!

Enjoy driving!

road trip saudi AlUla

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  • MariaJuly 19, 2018 - 1:01 pm

    I also got my license from Rimal Riyadh on 12th july and none of the instructors spoke english and i was the first one to go in the morning…yikes. Thankfully the other ladies translated instructions for me and he made another lady take the test before me so i understood what is needed, especially your post and pic of the track helped.

    So ladies plz beware and speak up if you dont understand. They are all helpful though.ReplyCancel

    • aishaAugust 30, 2018 - 12:34 am

      Hi, What’s the fees for a new driver’s license for expat women?ReplyCancel

    • Neeta SinghSeptember 10, 2018 - 3:20 pm

      Could you please let me know what is permission letter and who gives it if you are on your spouse’s Iquama. Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • FaizaJanuary 5, 2019 - 4:42 pm

      thank for sharing your experience can is possible i have pakistani driving licenced so can i convert direct saudia arab licenced and where is the driving licenced office for women i need information someReplyCancel

      • MadihaMarch 14, 2019 - 7:56 am

        Pls update if you were able to go through the process. I am planning to apply for driving license… I have Pakistani lic.
        Pls share your experience so far.ReplyCancel

      • AghaMay 12, 2019 - 10:51 am

        Dear Faiza,

        i exchanged Pakistani driver license with Saudi Driver license. the benefit of Pakistani driver license is you dont need to take any theoretical test they will just take practice test for 2 minutes where they asked you to stop at stop sign and pedestrian sign how to reverse and park use of hazard light.
        i have done my test in July 2018 in Yanbu and received the driver license of Saudi.ReplyCancel

        • BinitaJune 27, 2019 - 3:56 pm

          Dear Agha,
          Can you tell in brief about the procedure of applying Saudi Driving License as I am in my Husband’s Iqama and having Indian Driving License.ReplyCancel

        • SabahathOctober 29, 2019 - 1:44 pm

          Cangatulations for getting the license. Can I know more details, I ahave Indian driving license and I am dependent on my husband’s Iqama. Can I still convert my Indian License? Please give me the procedure to apply and link if any.ReplyCancel

      • AfzalJune 19, 2019 - 2:15 pm

        no, you must have to take training and pass the Saudi driving test to get a license now.ReplyCancel

      • Usman Qayyum N.A HyeeNovember 11, 2019 - 4:23 pm

        Currently the Website is not working. once it takes you to the Authentication page from. when you select Saudi Driving Licensee it will keep looping around both pages.

        I dont know why its not working.i will go like sdlp site to Nafaz Site then again from Nafaz to sdlp and it goes on and on and on.

        can any one explain why its like that?ReplyCancel

  • BobJuly 20, 2018 - 4:47 am

    Ok sounds good. I as a male took test passed but they still found a problem with my UK license….. eventually when sorted they said I had to do an advance test…. so making up it was cheaper to drive on the AA international license.ReplyCancel

  • alokaJuly 20, 2018 - 3:50 pm

    thanks for your detailed article , i checked my iqama , and i find it still valid , thanks again for your helpReplyCancel

  • TasneemJuly 20, 2018 - 10:56 pm

    Hi, I did sdlp step through my father’s absher account. but where do i upload the documents and where do i book appmnt (online or physical)? Much thanks to you for the update, highly appreciated!ReplyCancel

  • StarwberryJuly 22, 2018 - 12:32 pm

    Thnks for updating!! you got any idea why i am not able to get past the homepage?.. nothing happens when i try clicking the login button…ReplyCancel

    • AdeelJuly 23, 2018 - 2:31 pm

      I was facing the same problem, then i cleared the browsing history. then I logged back in and got through the website.ReplyCancel

  • Rubaina HayatJuly 23, 2018 - 10:54 am

    I am an expat on my fathers visa. I dont have a license from a foriegn country. Can i apply for a license with the same procedure you mentioned above?ReplyCancel

    • SattJanuary 9, 2019 - 1:37 pm

      I have similar circumstances as yours. Just want to know if someone responded to your question? What is the current status of driving license obtaining procedure for expat ladies who are on a dependent iqamas and do not have a driving license from any other country?ReplyCancel

  • Deepa SenguptaJuly 23, 2018 - 11:29 am

    Thank you Blue Abaya for all the required info.
    Does the Practical test means the written test?
    Also, Is there anyone in Dammam / Khobar who has applied for license? Kindly help on the translation/medical/license center for Dammam / Khobar or nearby areas.ReplyCancel

    • Rez25July 26, 2018 - 9:52 pm

      Thanks Laura for your help! I got mine in Dammam! Well in fact I went to Hofuf to do the test because no appointments available before september in Dammam. Translation done in Khobar driving school (small office on the left before the entry gate) and medical in Layla Onaizi Polyclinic (you need to go there with the medical form that you can get at the driving school and 2 ID pictures). Everything was pretty easy and got my driving licence in less than 1 hour (well + the 2 hours drive to reach Hofuf ;o). Good luck ladies for yours!ReplyCancel

  • Ayesha ismailJuly 24, 2018 - 10:09 am

    Your website is very useful please keep it up

  • ReginaJuly 26, 2018 - 5:51 pm

    Hi Laura, thanks for the update especially for dependent wives! Just to clarify as I was a little confused by the post – so my husband can apply for the conversion of my license through the SDLP – by logging in with his account details; but the rest of the procedures is the same as Saudi women getting licences? Thanks again! Will hope to be driving soon!ReplyCancel

  • ZareenaJuly 30, 2018 - 1:11 pm

    How do I apply for a licence if I don’t have a licence from my own country?ReplyCancel

  • AlejandraAugust 2, 2018 - 3:37 am

    Thanks for the update, you are the best!ReplyCancel

  • MominaAugust 2, 2018 - 7:55 am

    After obtaining the driver’s license, can I purchase a car and be the primary owner? Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • LauraAugust 2, 2018 - 12:23 pm

      yes you can as long as it´s not a 7 seater suv car.ReplyCancel

  • M MabsAugust 4, 2018 - 8:58 am

    The website does not respond and times out. Did anyone find a way to over this ?ReplyCancel

  • MaeAugust 5, 2018 - 10:03 am

    Thank you Ms Laura for your blog. I got my Saudi License already from Dammam Morror this week and they were all friendly.ReplyCancel

  • rawaa baydounAugust 5, 2018 - 6:28 pm

    Hi, I am Lebanese and I have a Lebanese driving license, what can I do to obtain the Saudi driving license? I tried several times to register in Absher site but still not responding. Thanks in advance.ReplyCancel

  • AmmarAugust 6, 2018 - 1:48 am

    Dear all can anyone help I applied for my wife’s licence
    And it shows the status “ waiting for document validator “

    I didn’t pay fee yet those who got their licence can they explain thisReplyCancel

    • ParachaAugust 15, 2018 - 5:38 pm

      I took my wife on Aug 13 (Jeddah East Office) and were told that there are orders from Riyadh to hold off issuing visa for expat dependent women.
      Anyone else heard the same?ReplyCancel

      • HMSeptember 6, 2018 - 8:12 am

        Same in Jubail. System close for expat dependent. As of Sept 4, 2018.ReplyCancel

  • ZeeAugust 14, 2018 - 2:38 am

    Hi! They do have an automatic car for the test at the appointed day, don’t they?ReplyCancel

  • NylAugust 14, 2018 - 5:33 pm

    Can I ask if dependents without license before still apply for this?ReplyCancel

  • AtifAugust 18, 2018 - 11:33 am

    My wife has already received a Saudi driving Licence. Can you guide the procedure for making her to authorized for my own vehicle?ReplyCancel

    • aishaAugust 30, 2018 - 1:07 pm

      Dear Sir,
      What was the cost of receiving the driving license for your wife?ReplyCancel

    • RizwanSeptember 28, 2020 - 11:55 am

      Do u know how to authorize spouse to drive the car own by meReplyCancel

  • AmberAugust 27, 2018 - 11:38 am

    Welllll….. thnx a lot for all the extended help and feed back I got from yr thread and blog………to compile the process of obtaining mine,,,,,,

    Today I guess I am the first Pakistani-Canadian to get her lisence…..

    Yupppppyyyyyy,,,,,,,,,yallllllllllllaaaaaaaaa galz,,,,,,,,

    The next thing I am hoping is that driving habits and road sense of people improve by the time,,,,,,,ReplyCancel

    • AghaMay 12, 2019 - 10:56 am

      Dear Amber,

      happy to hearthat you recived your license. i recived my Driver liecnce from Yanbu School on 29th July 2018. there were few pakistnai – Candian national with me including meReplyCancel

  • AnonymousAugust 28, 2018 - 3:04 pm

    I was told the same in Dammam recently. They said that the directive to halt issuing foreign dependents’ licenses was open ended and they did not know when it would be lifted. They advised me to show up on my appointment date in Oct by which time it may or may not be allowed. In the mean time they have a backlog of applications building up from other foreign women whose appointment dates have come and gone.ReplyCancel

  • Sreeja KumariAugust 28, 2018 - 4:39 pm

    I have approached Al Hasa Traffic Authority and they refused because of dependent visa. But at the same time thy issued to other nationalizes with same iqama status !!!!ReplyCancel

  • Usman EhsanAugust 30, 2018 - 11:38 am

    What about woman under husband sponsorship but not having foreign driving license? How can she get license as she cannot make absher account and has no driving license from any other country?ReplyCancel

  • a kAugust 30, 2018 - 12:22 pm

    What’s the cost of applying for a license for a woman? I understand official driving lessons are more expensivr for women than men but is this also true for license fees?ReplyCancel

  • NisaSeptember 2, 2018 - 5:40 pm

    Drove all the way to Makkah from Jeddah to be told the system is closed for dependants?I hope it’s not for good!! Any ones has any news on this?ReplyCancel

  • AsmaaSeptember 4, 2018 - 12:22 am

    Unfortunately, issuance of DL for dependent expats is still closed till yesterday. I went and they said that there are orders from Riyadh to stop that for dependent women and yet they did not cancel previously issued DL within the 10 days window for those with similar status!
    Hoping that they found a problem and they would reopen after fixing it!
    Any positive update would be highly appreciated.ReplyCancel

    • kwonSeptember 4, 2018 - 5:03 pm

      I went Moroor today as per appointment schedule today. They said the system was closed for dependent expats. However, I paid DL for 5years and prepared all required documents.
      Please share any updated information.ReplyCancel

    • SnSeptember 4, 2018 - 5:31 pm

      Same thing happen to me today. I had an appointment in Jeddah for converting DL and officer told me that system is blocked for dependent expats. His direction was to call or come back again in 2 to 3 weeks to check if the ban is lifted.
      Recommendation was not to cancel current appointment in the system. Hope this will be resolved soon!ReplyCancel

    • MAtuSeptember 5, 2018 - 4:11 pm

      We went today and they inform us same, system is off and they tell us to return in two weeks. :-(ReplyCancel

      • KateSeptember 10, 2018 - 8:00 pm

        We faced the same problem in Taif. The answer was “try later after 2 weeks”. But we came from Jeddah it takes all the day and they even don’t have any phone number to check by a phone call.
        Please, ladies, if you get any information about renewal of licenses issue share it here.ReplyCancel

  • ReneSeptember 4, 2018 - 1:10 pm

    I went today and they said I cannot get my license because it says on my iqama that I am not allowed to work. An officer told me to get an employment letter and get it authenticated at the chamber of commerce (الغرفة التجارية – al ghurfa al tijaariya), make a new appointment, then come back with the documents. Don’t know how official this is so can anyone confirm this????ReplyCancel

  • Mrs MudassirSeptember 5, 2018 - 4:55 am

    Can any one help telling, What about woman under husband sponsorship but not having foreign driving license?
    How can I get license as I m not having absher account and I don’t have previous license from other countryReplyCancel

    • aghaMay 12, 2019 - 10:58 am

      Your husband need to add you in his absher account as my hubby did and paid the fee and get the appointment.ReplyCancel

      • Mariam AsimJune 19, 2019 - 2:47 pm

        How must my husband add me in his absher, I am already his dependent. But how must he book appointment for me. Could you kidnly guide.
        thansk for your kind support in advaneReplyCancel

  • Sandra AustSeptember 9, 2018 - 9:25 am

    Unfortunately there’s supposedly a stop to the dependent drivers license testing since Wednesday. Does anybody have any information?!

  • SarahSeptember 10, 2018 - 12:55 pm

    I went to Makkah for the road test today but they said that its closed for dependents and will open it in 2-3 weeks
    The option for dependents making appointments and license fee payment is still open though so hopefully it should be resumed soonReplyCancel

  • Jesus BermudezSeptember 13, 2018 - 10:14 am

    My wife and I drove today from Khobar to Jubail to her DL exchange appointment. Upon arrival we were informed us the same news. That Drivers license issuance for Iqama Dependents are on hold. No further explanations or an estimate time for resuming its issuances. Would appreciate if someone has some news. Thanks.ReplyCancel

  • Jesus BermudezSeptember 13, 2018 - 11:03 am

    Today September 13th, I went with my wife (Expat with Bahraini DL) to Al Jubail Traffic Police Dept., and were informed that Drivers License issuance are on hold for Iqama Dependents Ladies. No further details were provided.ReplyCancel

  • NighatSeptember 13, 2018 - 4:35 pm

    Visited Remal traffic office Riyadh as per my appointment for the test and the Response is same System is closed for DEPENDENT.
    0114927242 is the inquiry number for information about Woman Licences change information.ReplyCancel

  • FionaSeptember 14, 2018 - 12:29 pm

    My husband tried today to log into and book me an appointment. When he tried login in, the website says this service is for “women only.” When I tried, it says I need an Absher account first. Which I can’t since I am a dependent. So I can’t book a appointment or upload my documents. Now we are really out of luck. :(
    By maybe they are changing the system and hopefully dependents will be able to obtain a driver’s license soon.

    PS, does anyone know how long the medical reports are valid for?ReplyCancel

  • faisalSeptember 14, 2018 - 8:38 pm


    i had taken appointment from SDLP portal and i got date for test on 20 Nov.. today i receive message that the appointment is postponed. even the portal is not working any more for login.. any idea????ReplyCancel

  • Expat2018September 18, 2018 - 10:13 am

    How can I add my wife as an authorized user to drive my car (expat), when the Absher portal for expats doesn’t have the option to add additional driver? Any news? and whats the status on insurance policies. Does my wife have to buy her own insurance policy even if our car is already fully insured?ReplyCancel

    • LauraSeptember 19, 2018 - 11:12 am

      I think you just have to ask your insurance company for that because their policies are different form to another.ReplyCancel

  • Muhammad ismailSeptember 21, 2018 - 10:46 am

    Isha allah no difference between saudi women and expat women and soon ban willbe lifteReplyCancel

  • SanaSeptember 29, 2018 - 1:54 pm

    Whats the update for expats women having dependant iqama. When will they start accepting the applications. Kindly update as soon as possible.ReplyCancel

  • NisaOctober 3, 2018 - 10:37 pm

    Any update on dependants driving?ReplyCancel

  • MomzayedOctober 7, 2018 - 2:14 pm


    What’s the update on dependent women who wants to apply for the driving license? Any clear information regarding it? Please let us know. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • JanethOctober 8, 2018 - 6:04 pm

    I went to my appointment to exchange my international British license this September . However I wan informed for the official here in the Dammam trafficking office that wife dependents were not allowed to get Saudi licence. This is a very frustrating and sad situation for dependents wife as they don’t privude any clear information about what the prices was stopped for us.ReplyCancel

  • Syed NadeemOctober 9, 2018 - 9:39 am

    Today I tried several times for registering my wife when I click on the registration button, it takes to the same site of Absher for new registration and at the end, it says the aqama holder does not have an independent aqama. so sorry to say dependent aqama holders cannot get a driving license.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 9, 2018 - 1:02 pm

    Checked today at Dammam. Still no licenses permitted for foreign dependents. No news on when the hold might be lifted.ReplyCancel

  • annOctober 12, 2018 - 10:41 am

    My husband tried to login in this site but unfortunately it says that the website is for woman use only.. please update us if its already ok. thank youReplyCancel

  • theis sollingOctober 14, 2018 - 4:17 pm

    It does not seem like its right around the corner unfortunately. I heard the want to get rid of the serious backlog of women who need to take the test. One way is to prevent more “unnecessary” appointments. We went to Dammam Moruur to talk to the captain who said the directives come from Riyadh and that he did not know when the situation would change. My guess is quite a while…ReplyCancel

  • MariamOctober 17, 2018 - 1:46 pm

    Do I have to get a letter from my employer she is my sponsor. Also can I make an online appointment as all my doc’s are in order. Please can you give me the number for Muroor in Rimal please.I followed your informative info. Thanks millions for the post.ReplyCancel

  • HalaOctober 23, 2018 - 3:28 pm

    Any new update regarding allowing the dependent wives get a drivers license?ReplyCancel

  • LekhaOctober 23, 2018 - 4:11 pm

    Please leave a latest update on the transfer of a foreign license to saudi license for dependant female.ReplyCancel

  • MomzayedOctober 26, 2018 - 8:02 am

    It seems that they really didn’t lift the ban at all. ? I hope to hear some good news the soonest. ? Please let the dependent wives to take a driver license. Most of us needs it to send our kids to school or atleast do the groceries without depending too much on our husband.ReplyCancel

  • wellaOctober 29, 2018 - 3:07 pm

    Is it possible to get a Saudi driving licence without prior driving license from my home country? I tried to go to Princess Noura and said to just register for driving school, can I attain a license after attending the course?ReplyCancel

  • AyeshaNovember 7, 2018 - 1:42 am

    Hi ! I went to the ladies driving school yesterday at Jeddah still they are not issuing the driving license to dependent iqama holder wives.ReplyCancel

  • HalaNovember 9, 2018 - 10:59 am

    Did they give you a reason why? Or did they give you hope that its just a matter of time?ReplyCancel

  • fathimaNovember 9, 2018 - 2:43 pm

    did they continue converting the foreign driving license to saudi license for dependent ladies? if anyone has any information regarding this please update it here. I check this website every single day in hopes of any good news :( :(
    i had my appointment for converting on 28 november but they have rescheduled it. and there is no update. neither do i get any response if i try emailing and asking about it :'(ReplyCancel

    • LauraNovember 11, 2018 - 12:27 pm

      really sorry to hear this.

      Have only heard similar news so far.ReplyCancel

  • MajaNovember 16, 2018 - 12:53 pm

    I am waiting as well. Anywhere to voice our concerns?ReplyCancel

  • AsiyaNovember 26, 2018 - 7:41 am

    When will they start giving Saudi lisence???ReplyCancel

  • A Neimul HasanNovember 28, 2018 - 11:27 am

    today i went to Riyadh Airport traffic and they informed me the same the DL for dependent is still on hold, not sure anyone can tweet to higher authorities and see if they will respondReplyCancel

  • Vicky NortjeDecember 13, 2018 - 1:56 pm

    Are we allowed to drive with our Internasional drivers lisence in Saudi.ReplyCancel

  • MomzayedDecember 19, 2018 - 3:50 pm

    Any good news? Please update us.ReplyCancel

  • FathimaDecember 19, 2018 - 4:46 pm

    Any updates yet ?ReplyCancel

  • HebaDecember 25, 2018 - 10:21 am

    Any updates for the dependent expat wife?ReplyCancel

  • SreeDecember 27, 2018 - 5:05 pm

    Any update yet? When they will resume DL service for dependent expats?ReplyCancel

  • TaghridDecember 30, 2018 - 3:08 pm

    Are they still holding the driver license for dependent iqama ?ReplyCancel

  • nazminJanuary 7, 2019 - 4:41 pm

    Any update regarding licence for female in dependant visa? Heard like we can get it if we directly go to PNU at Riyadh. Any other places like that at YANBU? Also for those who are working, whether females in all profession is allowed to take driving licence ,ya just doctors and engineers..ReplyCancel

    • A N HasanJanuary 15, 2019 - 7:08 pm

      i went to PNU and they denied for dependent IqamaReplyCancel

      • Reema khan i get licence depend status from pnuJanuary 18, 2019 - 7:06 pm

        No problem depend statusReplyCancel

        • FatemaJanuary 31, 2019 - 8:31 am

          Are you sure they are issuing license for dependent iqama? How did you apply?ReplyCancel

  • S. KhanJanuary 13, 2019 - 10:32 pm

    Hello. I’d like to know if I fall in the said criteria even if I’m under my father’s sponsorship since the word husband has been mentioned throughout the article and not father. Hope to get my confusion cleared, thank you.ReplyCancel

    • fathimaJanuary 15, 2019 - 10:39 pm

      yes, you do. anyone on a dependent’s iqama cannot receive the licence. That includes both father and husband.ReplyCancel

  • NisaJanuary 19, 2019 - 9:40 pm

    they denied To exchange the licences or to give you driving classes?ReplyCancel

  • KellouJanuary 21, 2019 - 2:26 pm

    Any update regarding licence for female in dependant visa? Sdlp is not workingReplyCancel

  • SurriFebruary 2, 2019 - 7:15 pm

    Any news about dependent ladies converting there DL to saudia DL??ReplyCancel

  • SteveMarch 7, 2019 - 3:52 pm

    Just visited Dammam office with my wife to get Saudi license. She has a valid US license. The system months ago let me log in and add my wife and daughter, but they were waiting for their renewed US licenses so I held off and didn’t schedule appointments. The system now will not let me in, saying it is only for women. Today my wife had her paperwork in order but did not have an appointment. The desk guys sent us to see the captain who was not there. His deputy asked us if she was in Absher. I explained that she was in Absher under me. He took us back to the desk guys and proceeded to talk to them one by one. The last one he talked to said that the system would prevent them from issuing the license because she was a mother, not a position holder like a teacher or engineer.ReplyCancel

  • fathimaMarch 16, 2019 - 3:37 am

    I heard that they have now started issuing license for dependent expats who are applying for a new license (not for conversion).
    And it seems they are developing a system with easier access to get the license converted and should open anytime soon. hoping for good news soon.
    anyone with any other news plz keep updating here since a lot of us keep checking this websiteReplyCancel

  • DaniaApril 27, 2019 - 8:30 pm

    Please keep us updated.ReplyCancel

  • NisaMay 1, 2019 - 12:46 am

    Any good news ppl?!ReplyCancel

  • DennisMay 7, 2019 - 9:42 am

    Any good news for the dependent license? thanksReplyCancel

    • LauraMay 7, 2019 - 6:20 pm

      Sorry I dont have any other news than some women have managed to get the license through the driving schools by going through the process as new drivers. More driving schools are being set up all over the country, so that should help speed things up.ReplyCancel

      • Dania HNovember 4, 2019 - 11:06 am

        Dear all,
        I was applied to convert/ replace my foreign driving license since 4 September 2018 under husband Absher account and my test was on 08/11/2018 and paid to sadad after 2 days I received a message that they want to reschedule another appointment soon. No response yet just back from shark driving school after I told them that I want to take lessons without converting mine they said that I can’t this is open only for citizen. And Absher open also only for citizens and employees who are independent. Plz if you know any new information how independent can convert their foreign will be much appreciated.


  • FatiMay 29, 2019 - 10:51 am

    Hello, are they issuing license for 2omen with dependent visas? Please update…ReplyCancel

  • Mariam AsimJune 19, 2019 - 3:14 pm

    Waht process have you followed. You issued new licece or you converted. How long it tookReplyCancel

  • LekhaJune 30, 2019 - 10:43 am

    Any news..pls updateReplyCancel

    • LauraJuly 7, 2019 - 4:54 pm

      What you can now do is sign up for the Saudi driving school classes, either as a new driver or to update skills. This seems to be the only way to currently get the license for dependent expat women.ReplyCancel

  • FatimaJuly 1, 2019 - 11:23 pm

    Any update?ReplyCancel

  • SanaOctober 3, 2019 - 11:50 am

    Any update regarding dependant iqama licenseReplyCancel

  • Dania HNovember 4, 2019 - 11:28 am

    I was applied to convert/replace my foreign driving license since 4/9/2018 and uploaded all documents required through my husband Absher account and my appointment was on 8/11/2018 paid to sadad after 2 days I received a message that they will reschedule another appointment soon no response yet. Now just back from shark driving school to register and to get lessons and apply a new one without converting mine they said this service is open only for citizens and employees who are independent an$ have their own absher account now I passed one year with no response plz if some have new information for dependent let us know.thank you.ReplyCancel

  • SeemaDecember 31, 2019 - 7:58 pm

    Very informative one..

    Could you please explain the procedure of the driving there a computerised test about the traffic signals..and driving test exactly how it many times do they make us drive there any particular task to be done while driving test ..
    Attending driving classes,is it compulsory?
    Are there English speakers..and the car would be automatic gear or manual..ReplyCancel

  • SteveJanuary 19, 2020 - 5:20 pm

    Still having problems getting expat dependent wives and daughters license conversion. This is very frustrating.ReplyCancel

  • Balance BikeMarch 13, 2020 - 4:34 am

    Thank you for the article.
    King regards,
    Boswell CannonReplyCancel

  • UmmeMay 27, 2020 - 5:41 pm

    Hello guys,
    I m new to this place here on dependent visa.. I have my UAE driving license. So what is the process here to get a saudi driving license based on my UAE license.. pls guide me on how and what to do.
    Really appreciate any info.ReplyCancel

  • saniya labeebJune 6, 2020 - 11:47 am

    How can i renew my Saudi driving license ? I am a dependent. Can you please help me?ReplyCancel

  • MaryNovember 1, 2020 - 9:50 pm

    Hello Laura,

    I came upon your blog url trying to find an answer if an expats dependent (spouse) with a valid foreign driving license could apply for a Saudi driving license.

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I’m pretty sure it was helpful to expat women who are eligible.

    Do you know anyone who has successfully applied for a driving license (with valid foreign driving license)using their husbands absher account(who is a resident expat as well)?

    **Please note this applies to women registered as their husbands dependents in the Absher system, with valid foreign driving license. ( the husbands you are referring to are sponsored expats working here with resident permit, right? and not saudi nationals?)

    I hope I’m not confusing you with my question.

    Thanks in advance Laura.ReplyCancel

  • FathimaNovember 2, 2020 - 8:21 am

    Hello friends,

    I would like to share my experience of obtaining the Saudi Arabia Driving License. I am a dependent here in KSA and don’t have an individual absher account. I have a driving license and was driving in UAE for almost 5 years. Firstly, I registered on Saudi Driving School website before the outbreak of Coronavirus in March and was due for an initial assessment at PNU. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic my initial evaluation was postponed and in June 2020 managed to get an appointment for initial assessment. I had successfully passed the initial assessment and had to take 6 hours mandatory driving lessons before appearing for the final road test in order to secure the license. Secondly, due to backlog of applications at SDS I had to wait for my turn till October 2020 to start my 6 driving lessons. I managed to complete the lessons in three days and each session lasting 2 hours each. After the successful completion of driving lessons, I booked in for a final road test. The test lasted for roughly 10-15 minutes with two candidates and the instructor in the car. The final road test was quite straightforward and easy for people who are used to driving car in their respective countries. Please refer to SDS website and also you can get in touch with the SDS call center for further enquiries. Please do feel free to contact me if you have any questions.ReplyCancel

  • BfkaMarch 7, 2021 - 5:48 pm

    The conversion of your driving license has opened for dependants through absherReplyCancel

  • loriaJanuary 26, 2022 - 7:24 am

    the system for non employed dependents to get a saudi driving licence is now open. do it using the depedent own abashir accountReplyCancel

ستقوم المملكة العربية السعودية برفع الحظر عن قيادة النساء في 24 يونيو 2018 ويجري الآن إصدار رخص القيادة السعودية للنساء. حصلت أول امرأة سعودية على تراخيصها هذا الثلاثاء من مكتب المرور.

وفي يوم الأربعاء، افتتحت المكاتب لجميع النساء اللاتي لديهم مواعيد لتحويل الرخص الأجنبية ومنها الحصول على رخصة القيادة السعودية. حصلت على رخصة قيادتي صباح يوم الأربعاء وأنا سعيدة للغاية ومتحمسة جداً! بعد استلام رخصتي، راسلني المئات من الناس لطلب النصيحة حول كيفية إكمال هذه العملية والتقديم على رخصة القيادة السعودية.

لقد كتبت كل ما أتذكره، فيما يتعلق بالإجراءات المتبعة في هذا المنشور. إذا ظهرت أي تطورات، فسأضيفها هنا. يرجى قراءة منشور المدونة حول استخدام مقاعد السيارة والتوعية بالسلامة في السيارات من مقالي السابق هنا: الأطفال هم كنوز وليس وسائد هوائية .أرجو أن مدونتي تجيب على الأسئلة التالية: كيف تقوم بتحويل رخصتك الحالية إلى رخصة قيادة سعودية؟ هل يمكن للوافدين الحصول على رخصة قيادة سعودية؟ كيفية الحصول على طلب رخصة قيادة سعودية للنساء الوافدات؟

تحويل رخصة أجنبية إلى الرخصة السعودية ممكنة للنساء من أي جنسية تحمل رخصة قيادة سارية المفعول.

لن تضطر إلى “التخلي” أو التنازل عن رخصتك الحالية للحصول على الرخصة السعودية

العملية مشابهة جدا لتلك التي يمر بها الرجال الأجانب للحصول على رخصة القيادة السعودية. يمكن لكل من النساء السعوديات اللواتي حصلن على رخصة من بلد أجنبي والمغتربين التقدم بطلب للحصول على رخصة قيادة سعودية بهذا الإجراء ذاته. بالنسبة للنساء اللاتي ليس لديهم تراخيص سارية المفعول (أو انتهت صلاحية الترخيص) أو لا يعرفون كيفية القيادة، سوف تحتاج للتسجيل لمدارس تعليم قيادة السيارات بالأول.

الخطوة الأولى

أولاً، على المرأة فتح حسابها الخاص في أبشر على هذا الموقع: تسجيل حساب جديد لوزارة الداخلية

يمكنك بدلاً من ذلك الذهاب إلى أجهزة الخدمة الذاتية لأبشر التابعة لوزارة الداخلية التي تقع حول المدينة (في الرياض: رويال مول في الطابق العلوي)

من أجل فتح حسابك الخاص تحتاج إلى إدخال التفاصيل الخاصة بك، رقم الهوية أو الإقامة ورقم هاتفك المحمول الخاص بك.

نصيحة: تأكد من أنه عند إنشاء الحساب، يمكنك استخدام اسم مستخدم طويل بما يكفي ويحتوي على أحرف ورقم حتى يتم قبوله.

على سبيل المثال، لن يقبلوا اسم المستخدم” دعنانقود“ ولكن النظام سيقبل” دعنانقود٢”

لتنشيط حساب أبشر الخاص بك، فإنك تحتاج إلى التحقق من ذلك من خلال الخدمات المصرفية عبر الإنترنت أو الذهاب إلى أجهزة الصراف الآلي للبنوك الخاصة بك والقيام بذلك هناك.

لا تزال هناك تقارير تفيد بأن بعض السيدات الوافدات لم يكن باستطاعتهم على إنشاء حساب في أبشر لنفسهم، إذا كانا لا يزالان تحت رعاية الزوج غير السعودي، يتم سردها باعتبارها” تابعا”

تمكنت النساء المغتربات اللواتي لديهم بطاقات الإقامة تحت أرباب العمل وزوجات السعوديين على إنشاء حسابات أبشر حتى الآن. من الواضح، هذا الأمر ينتظر تغيره وتثبيته في النظام، ونأمل أن تتغير لصالح جميع النساء قريبا.

الخطوة الثانية:

بمجرد إنشاء حساب أبشر ، ستكون الخطوة التالية هي الانتقال إلى موقع بوابة رخصة القيادة السعودية على الويب:

الموقع في وقت كتابة هذه النشرة متاح فقط باللغة العربية لذا اطلب من صديق يتحدث اللغة العربية مساعدتك في ملء الاستمارات.

في موقع الويب ، ستقوم بإنشاء حساب وتحميل المستندات الخاصة بك. قبل القيام بذلك ، يجب أن يكون لديك بعض الوثائق جاهزة.

المستندات المطلوبة للتقديم الإلكتروني لطلب رخصة القيادة السعودية:

نسخة ممسوحة ضوئيا من هويتك

نسخة ممسوحة ضوئياً من رخصة القيادة الخاصة بك سارية المفعول

نسخة ممسوحة ضوئياً لترجمة رخصة القيادة (الأمامية والخلفية)

تقرير طبي

بمجرد أن يتم تحميل نسخة الترخيص والترجمة ، سيكون بإمكانك حجز موعد في مكتب المرور  للقيام باختبار القيادة وبصمات الأصابع. من الممكن حجز الموعد ولم تنتهي من إجراء الفحص الطبي بعد.  تبدو المواعيد في الوقت الحالي محجوزة بالكامل لأنها عطلة رمضان وعطلة لموظفي الحكومة

نصيحة: حاول الحجز في جميع مواقع مدينتك ، وجرّب أوقاتًا مختلفة أو حتى في مدينة أخرى! (إذا كنت حقا في عجلة من أمرك)

يجب معالجة دفع  قيمة الرخصة من خلال نظام سداد قبل موعدك. التكلفة هي   ٤٠٠ ريال سعودي  لرخصة مدتها ١٠ سنوات و لرخصة ٥ سنوات ستكون تكلفتها ٢٠٠ ريال سعودي.

كيفية الحصول على تقرير طبي للحصول على رخصة قيادة سعودية: يمكن عمل تقرير طبي في عيادات معينة فقط

–  PDFانظر على الرابط الموجود ببوابة رخصة القيادة السعودية وستحصل على ملف

الذي يعطيك أسماء وأرقام هواتف العيادات المحددة في منطقتك التي تقوم بإجراء فحوصات طبية لرخصة القيادة

هناك عيادتان في الرياض ذهبنا إليها أنا وصديقتي وكانت زيارة ناجحة.  خلال شهر رمضان ، كان الموظفون غائبين أثناء النهار أو غادروا مبكراً وكان علينا القيام بعدة رحلات للعثور على شخص ما لاستكمال التقارير الطبية

من المهم اختيار الشخص المسموح له بالدخول إلى نظام أبشر ليتمكن من إدخال تقريرك الطبي فمن الأفضل أن تذهب بعد الساعة ٩ مساءً (خلال شهر رمضان). العيادة مفتوحة خلال أيام العمل العادية بدءاً من ١٠ صباحا فصاعدا.

موقع العيادة التي ذهبت إليها لإجراء الفحص الطبي المطلوب لإخراج رخصة القيادة السعودية: مجمع صحة الدرعية الطبي على شارع عبد العزيز البرهان ، الخالدية، الرياض ١٣٧١٣

رقم الهاتف: 0155 486 011

الموقع في الرياض باستخدام خريطة قوقل:

ماذا يحدث في العيادة الطبية؟ من الضروري أن تكون مستنداتك جاهزة ، ويجب عليك طلب إجراء اختبار طبي يتعلق برخصة القيادة ودفع الرسوم (لقد دفعت حوالي 20 ريال سعودي بتأمين ، بدون تأمين ، 105 ريال سعودي). نصيحة: إذا كنت تكره اختبارات الدم ، فيجب أن يكون لديك شهادة تبين فصيلة الدم ونوعه. وإلا سيقومون بفحص الدم. ستنتظر في العيادة لتكشف عليك الممرضة التي ستقوم بإجراء فحوصات بسيطة للبصر (ارتد نظارات لها إذا كنت تفعل عادة أثناء القيادة). بعد الحصول على الموافقة على الفحص الطبي ، عليك الانتظار حتى يقوم الشخص في المكتب بإدخال التقارير الطبية في النظام.  تأكد من عدم الرحيل قبل أن تكون متأكدًا من أنه قد تم إدخاله وتأكدت من ذلك على الجوال باستقبال رسالة قصيرة. سوف يعطونك أيضا شهادة طبية مختومة.

كيفية الحصول على رخصة مترجمة:

ابحث عن خدمة ترجمة معتمدة في مدينتك. في الرياض يقوم هذا المكتب بترجمة جميع اللغات التي تكلف حوالي 100 ريال سعودي ومن الإنجليزية إلى العربية مقابل 40 ريالاً سعودياً

يقع بالقرب من مركز الملز للإسعاف، ٦٤٨٠ شارع الأمير فهد بن إبراهيم آل سعود ، الضباط ، الرياض ١٢٦٢٧

الموقع في الرياض باستخدام خريطة قوقل:

نصيحة: يمكنك إرسال صورة الرخصة الخاصة بك لترجمتها كصورة واتساب  ثم استلام الترجمة الجاهزة في اليوم التالي.

الخطوة الثالثة

بمجرد الانتهاء من جميع هذه الخطوات، يمكنك الذهاب إلى الموعد في محطة شرطة المرور، ذهبت إلى واحدة في منطقة الرمال في الرياض. إنه بعيد جدًا لذا تأكد من أن لديك متسعًا من الوقت للبحث عن الموقع قبل موعدك. سوف تتلقى رسالة نصية من الادارة العامة للمرور حول موعد اخراج رخصة القيادة مع التاريخ والوقت وموقع المكتب أيضا.

مكتب تقديرات المرور في حي الرمال

موقع المكتب على خريطة قوقل:


احضر معك:

رخصة قيادة أصلية

بطاقة الإقامة أو الهوية الوطنية

نسخ من جميع الوثائق المطلوبة

نظارات إذا كنت بحاجة للقيادة

(أحضرنا صور جوازات السفر فقط في حالة احتياجنا إليها ولكن لم تكن هناك حاجة إليها فإنهم يستخدمون نفس الصورة التي لديهم على النظام)

مدخل مكتب المرور:

في المكتب: قم بتسجيل الدخول عن طريق إعطاء رقم الهوية الخاص بك (الإقامة أو الهوية الوطنية) في مكتب التسجيل. سوف يبحثون عن موعدك ويعطوك رقمًا. عندما يتم الإعلان عن رقمك، ستقترب من المكتب وتقدم هويتك الأصلية ورخصة القيادة الأصلية. (ملاحظة: إنهم لا يقبلون نسخاً فوتوغرافية، يجب أن يكون لديك المستندات الأصلية. كما يجب ملاحظة: أنهم لا يحتفظون برخصتك الأصلية، كما توقع البعض. ستأخذها معك إلى المنزل). سوف يتحققون من جميع المستندات التي لقد تم تحميلها في النظام. لذا من المهم أن تكون المستندات المترجمة معك في حالة طلبها. يتم أخذ البصمة الخاصة بك.

ثم انتقل إلى منطقة انتظار الامتحانات القيادة العملية. هنا، سوف يشرحون لك الدورة وسوف تنتظر دورك

بمجرد اجتياز الامتحان بنجاح، تعود إلى التسجيل ويتم إعطاؤك رقمًا مرة أخرى. بمجرد استدعائك للمكتب، ستقوم بإعطاء بصمة إبهامك مرة أخرى وستوفر المعلومات الأساسية مثل لون شعرك ولون العين وعنوان المنزل (على الأقل قم بتزويد اسم الحي / المنطقة التي تعيش فيها)

لاحظ أن هذه هي المتطلبات الكاملة لتبدل رخصتك في المرور. من الممكن أن يُسمح لك بتخطي بعض هذه الخطوات في المستقبل إذا كنت تحمل رخصة قيادة من بلدان معينة. ومع ذلك، في مركز الاختبار لدينا، لم يعف أحد من أي جزء من هذه العملية. سيبدأن في أخذ البصمات وإدخال تفاصيل الرخصة الخاصة بك في النظام وبعد ذلك سوف تذهب لاختبار القيادة الخاصة بك.

الخطوة الرابعة

اختبار القيادة. يرجى ملاحظة هذه النصيحة خصيصا لفرع حي الرمال في الرياض. سمعت أن النساء اللواتي استطعن إكمال تحويل رخصة القيادة في مدن أخرى، لم يحتاجوا إلى إجراء اختبار قيادة، لذلك سيعتمد ذلك على الموقع الذي تختاره.

ملاحظة: أنصحك ألا تكون مثلي وأن تفقد نومك في الليل بسبب هذا الاختبار. الاختبار بسيط للغاية وكان الموظفون متعاونين جدًا وداعمين. أثناء اختبار القيادة، يجب عليك اتباع الدورة التدريبية التي تشمل أداء مهارتين: كيفية لف الدوار وركن السيارة بالمواقف الموازية. يجب أن تحصل على ٧٥٪.  السيارة لديها معدات أوتوماتيكية. سيعرضون لك خريطة توضح ما تحتاج إلى القيام به وما يجب القيام به في مسار اختبار القيادة. الدوران على المدارات والشوارع، كيفية لف الدوار، وركن السيارة بالمواقف الموازية (المفضلة لدى الجميع)، ثم في النهاية، إكمال مواقف متوازية (المفضلة للجميع). لا يدخل معلم القيادة السيارة معك، سيتبع سيارتك حتى يتمكن من تقييمك أثناء الاختبار. كان المقيم الذي حصلنا عليه متعاونا للغاية وواصل شرح ما يجب فعله بعد ذلك.

جميع الضباط كانوا في حالة معنوية جيدة، مبتسما، وكان الشخص الذي قام باختبارنا يتمتع بروح مرحة للغاية، وقال مازحا إن واحدة منا اجتازت الاختبار فقط! ولحسن الحظ نحن الاثنين نجحنا في الاختبار وبعد ذلك عدنا إلى المكتب الرئيسي.

الخطوة الخامسة الخطوة الأخيرة هي طباعة رخصة القيادة الفعلية. لذلك ستحصل على رخصة القيادة الجديدة الخاصة بك عندما تنتهي! هذا لم يستغرق ٥ دقائق.  إنه أفضل شعور بأن يكون هذا المستند بيدك، إنه أمر غير واقعي!

يجب أن أقول إننا قد انبهرنا حقا بتنظيم الإعداد بالكامل. جميع الموظفين يعرفون بالضبط ما كانوا يفعلونه واتبعوا عملية واضحة. معظم الموظفين يتحدثون الإنجليزية. حاول فريق العمل المساعدة وكانوا ودودين طوال العملية. والمثير للدهشة، أن العديد من النساء لم يتقدمن بطلب الحصول على رخصة القيادة، ولكن الطلب سيصبح بالتأكيد شائعاً بمجرد أن يفهم الناس كيفية التقديم

آمل أن يساعدك هذا الدليل في التقدم بطلب للحصول على رخصة القيادة السعودية. إذا كان الأمر كذلك، يرجى مشاركتها مع أصدقائك من خلال ربطهم بهذه المنشورة، أو بالنقر على زر المشاركة بدلاً من نسخ النص أو التقاط لقطات الشاشة! هذا ليس عدلاً بالنسبة للكتاب الأصليين الذين يقضون العديد من الساعات والأيام في إعداد المنشورات

أرجو أن يقود الجميع بحرص ومتعة!

تحديث ٢٦ يونيو: يتم تحديث نظام أبشر، ويجب حل المشكلة المتعلقة ببطاقات الإقامة المتعلقة بالتابعين التي لم يتمكن من فتح حسابات فردية. الأمر يستدعي حل المشكلة في فترة زمنية قصيرة.


لسوء الحظ فإن الصورة التي يستخدمونها لرخصة القيادة الخاصة بك هي نفسها التي لديك بالفعل على الملف الخاص بك (الإقامة / الهوية) أقول للأسف لأن معظم الناس يكرهون عادة صور الإقامة الخاصة بهم :)

ملحوظة أخرى: ذكر الضابط المسؤول أن رخصة القيادة السعودية فقط هي التي ستقبل كوثيقة رسمية للقيادة للسيدات، لذا أوصي بتحويل رخصتك الدولية، فقط في حال وجودها.

ملاحظة ثالثة: هل لديك رخصة قيادة سعودية وجاهزة لبعض المغامرات؟ إلى أين تتجهي لرحلتك الأولى؟ للحصول على بعض الأفكار: اقرأ مشاركات المدونة المتعددةالموجودة على صفحتي.

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  • AlanoudDecember 4, 2018 - 10:17 pm

    Thank you for these super useful information. i was looking for someone who had already done this to help me out. Thank you again!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Farina Ayub HassanFebruary 5, 2019 - 1:38 pm

    Please tell me how I can convert my valid USA drivers license to Saudi Driving License without a test
    I am a doctor and work with ministry of health JazanReplyCancel

  • LenaApril 30, 2019 - 3:21 pm

    Thank you. That was super informative.ReplyCancel

  • ZahraFebruary 13, 2020 - 9:56 pm

    Can you please tell me where this information came from?ReplyCancel

  • RFebruary 18, 2020 - 12:24 pm

    I almost never comment anywhere, but your article was super helpful that I couldn’t not comment. Thank you so much! I appreciate the effort you put into this article and your blog in general. I am a Saudi native, so if you need any help with Arabic or anything else, hit me up!ReplyCancel

Saudi Arabia lifted the ban on women driving on the 24th of June 2018 and Saudi driving licenses are now being issued to women. In this guide you will find the necessary info how to apply for the Saudi Driving license for women. The process explained here is valid for expat and Saudi women how to apply for Saudi driving license in the case the woman has a valid driving license issued by another country.

Starting Wednesday 21.5. 2018 Saudi Arabia’s Moroor traffic offices opened appointments for women to convert licenses to come and get their Saudi driving licenses. I got mine on the first morning and could not be more happy and excited about this! 

Read about our experience in getting the licenses here: Friends to hit road together as first western women to get their Saudi driving license 

After receiving my license many people (hundreds, literally) have messaged me online asking for advice how to complete this process and apply for the Saudi driving license. So I’ve written everything I can think of regarding the process in this post. If any developments surface, I’ll be adding them here.

Please read about using car seats and safety awareness in cars from my previous article here: Children are treasures not airbags 

I hope this post will answer the following questions: How to convert your existing license to a Saudi driving license? Can expats get a Saudi driver’s license? How to get the Saudi driving license application for expat women?

Converting a foreign license to the Saudi license is possible for women of any nationality with a valid driving license. You will not have to “give up” or surrender your existing license to get a Saudi license. The process is very similar to the one that foreign men go through to obtain the Saudi driving license. Both Saudi women who have obtained a license from a foreign country and expats can apply for the Saudi driving license with this same procedure.

There is a process you need to follow in order to convert the foreign license to the Saudi license. For the women who do not have valid licenses (license expired) or don’t know how to drive, you’ll need to enroll to the driving schools first. There might be a bit of a wait to the driving schools but it’s worth the wait and efforts- your life in Saudi will change for so much better!

road trip saudi AlUla

STEP ONE- how to apply for a Saudi Driving License for women 

First the woman has to open her own Absher account on this site: Ministry of Interior new account registration 

Alternatively you can go to one of the MOI Absher kiosks located around town ( in Riyadh Royal Mall upstairs has one)

In order to make your own absher you need to enter your details, ID number or iqama and your own mobile phone number. Note you also need a bank account. Tip: Make sure that when creating the account you use a username that is long enough and contains letters and a number for it to be accepted. For example they will not accept username “letsdrive” but the system will accept “letsdrive2”.

To activate your absher, you need to validate through online banking or go to  your banks ATM and do it there, this means you need to have a bank account.

Good news is that beginning form 2020 expats with dependent iqama status can also now open their own absher account and apply for the license conversion through it. 

STEP TWO- gather documents to apply 

Once you’ve created the Absher account, the next step is to go to the Saudi Driving License Portal website

UPDATE APRIL 2019: SDLP site is no longer in use. the procedure to book appointment is now through the Absher account directly. 

At Absher go to Electronic services- Click on appointments- click on traffic- click on book appointment.


-Scanned copy of Your ID

– Scanned copy of your valid driving license

– Scanned copy of translation of driving license ( both front and back)

-medical report

Once the license copy and translation have been uploaded, you will be able to book an appointment to Moroor traffic office to do your driving test and fingerprints. It’s possible to book the appointment and not have the medical done yet. The appointments at the moment seem to be quite fully booked as it’s Ramadan and Eid vacation for the government employees.

Tip: try to book in all locations of your city , try different times or even in another city! (If you’re really in a hurry ?)

The license payment has to be processed through SADAD before your appointment. The cost is 400 sar for 10 years license and 5 years license is 200 sar.


Medical report can be done at most medical clinics.

What happens at the medical clinic? Have your documents ready, ask for driving license medical testing and pay the fee ( I paid about 20 sar with insurance, without it’s 105 sar). Tip: if you hate blood tests then have with you a certificate which states your blood group and type. Otherwise they’ll draw blood to test for them.

At the clinic you’ll wait to see the female nurse who will perform simple eyesight checks (wear glasses for it if you normally do during driving). After receiving approval of medical checkup you’ll have to wait for the person in the office to enter the medicals into the system. Make sure not to leave before you’re certain they entered it and you’ve got the confirmation of the same on your mobile as SMS. They will also give you a stamped medical certificate.

HOW TO GET LICENSE TRANSLATED Search for certified translating service in your city.

There are plenty of official translators around Olaya street.

STEP THREE- go to Moroor to get your driving license converted to Saudi driving license

Once you’ve done all these steps you’re good to go for the appointment at Moroor. I went to the one at Rimal area in Riyadh. It’s very far so make sure you have plenty of time to search for location ahead of your appointment. You will receive a SMS from MOROOR about your driving license appointment, time and the map.

Moroor Rimal Saudi Driving license appointment MOROOR  Rimal Location google maps:


Bring with you:
-original license

-Iqama/ ID

-copies of all documents

-Glasses if you need for driving

(we brought passport pics just in case but they were not needed, they use the same iqama pic they have on the system)

Entrance to the Traffic Office< strong>Saudi driving license traffic office Rimal At the office:
sign in by giving your id number (iqama or National ID) at the registration desk. They will look up your appointment and give you a number.

– When your number is called, you will approach the desk and present your original id and original driver’s license. (Note: they do not accept photo copies, you must have the original documents. Also note: they do not keep your original license, as some have speculated. You will take it home with you.) They will verify all of the documents you have uploaded in the system. So do also have your translation with you in case they ask for it. Your thumbprint is taken.

– You then go to the practical driving exam waiting area. Here, they will explain the course to you and you will wait for your turn.

– Once you successfully pass the exam, you return to registration and are again given a number. Once called to the desk, you will give your thumbprint again and provide basic information such as your hair color, eye color, and home address (at minimum provide the name of the neighborhood/area you live in).

Note that these are the full requirements for exchanging your license at Muroor. It is possible that you will be allowed to skip some of these steps in the future if you hold a driver’s license from certain countries. However, at our testing center, no one was exempted from any part of this process.

They’ll start with fingerprinting and entering your license details into system. After this you will go to have your driving test.


STEP FOUR- Pass your driving exam 

Driving test. Please note this advice is specifically for the Riyadh Rimal branch. I’ve heard that women who did the conversion in other cities did not have to take a driving exam, so it will depend on the location it seems.

Tip: Don’t be like me and lose your night’s sleep over it. The test is very simple and all the staff was very supportive and helpful.

During the driving test, you will follow the course which includes performing 2 skills: the three point turn and parallel parking. You have to get 75% to pass. The car is with automatic gear.

Saudi driving license drive test  They will show you the map of what you need to drive and perform on the test track. A circle 8, 3 point turns and then in the end a parallel park (everyone’s favorite). The driving instructor does not enter the car with you, he will follow next to the car to evaluate the test and the one we had was very helpful and kept explaining what to do next.

Saudi driving license test drive track All of the officers were in good spirits, smiling and the one who did our test had a good sense of humor too, he first joked that only one of us had passed the test! Thankfully we both passed and then proceeded back to the main office.

Step five- congratulations on your Saudi driving license 

The last step is printing out the actual license. So you will get your brand new license in your hand when you’re done! This did not take more than 5 minutes. It’s the best feeling to have this document in your hand, I still kind of can’t believe it’s real!

I must say we were really impressed at how well organized the whole setup was. All the staff knew exactly what they were doing and followed clear process. Almost everyone spoke English, they were helpful and friendly throughout the process. Surprisingly not many women were there but it will surely pickup once people understand how the application process works.

I hope this guide helped you in applying for Saudi driving license. If so, please share it with your friends by linking to this post, or by clicking the share buttons instead of copy pasting my text or taking screenshots! This is not fair to the originals writers who spend many hours and days preparing them.

saudi driving license women conversion


Important Note:

This article is written based on a friend and myself experience from the first day they began issuing licenses in June 21st 2018. We worked very hard for to get appointments on the very first day, they actually canceled the appointments several times and there was a lot of confusion because everything was new and being set up from scratch.

We went through the entire process by ourselves, without any help from government officials or support of government employer, at a time no information was available ( especially in english) and to think there were not even medical centers who knew how to issue women’s driving test reports! 

Thanks to our perseverance and Finnish “sisu”, we managed to get the licenses that early. Once we were handed out new licenses the officer mentioned I was the first European in the system that day- this was totally unexpected but such a great reward for all that effort.

Since we had a hard time figuring out how to navigate this process, I wrote this guide to help other women get their licenses converted and get on the roads with that amazing feeling of freedom of movement which women in KSA have been waiting for long time to enjoy.

You may read about the experience in the following articles: 

The National: Friends to hit the road together as first western women to get their Saudi driving licences

Finnish News reported on YLE here:  Suomalaisnainen sai tiettävästi toisena länsimaisena naisena ajokortin Saudi-Arabiassa – bloggari Ylelle: Ajolupa alkaa juhannusviikonloppuna

Euronews: Finnish citizen ‘first European woman to get driving license’ in Saudi Arabia

Helsingin Sanomat: Suomalainen Laura Alho sai ajokortin Saudi-Arabiassa ensimmäisten naisten joukossa – aikoo hypätä auton rattiin heti, kun ajokielto kumotaan

 Gulf News: First European woman receives Saudi license

AlArabiyah English: Finnish Travel Writer and Founder of Blue Abaya Laura Alho has become the first European woman to receive the Saudi Driving license 


Happy & safe driving everyone!

Unfortunately the image they use for your driving license is the same one you have already on your file (iqama/ID) I say unfortunately because most people usually hate their iqama pics :)

 Got your Saudi driving license and ready for some adventures? Where to head for your first Saudi road trip? Some ideas here: Explore Arabia

Follow me on instagram for more Saudi travel road trip tips: Viking in Arabia 

road trip saudi woman driving

Post updated 08/ 2021

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  • Sherry NassifJune 8, 2018 - 3:06 am

    Thanks for this!ReplyCancel

  • N.MerveJune 8, 2018 - 3:19 am

    Thank you so much for the detailed, useful information.ReplyCancel

    • LauraJune 23, 2018 - 2:30 pm

      Thanks a lot :)ReplyCancel

      • Harish PawarJune 26, 2018 - 10:00 pm

        Can expat Women Without holding any driving licence (from their country) apply for driving licence here in Saudi?

        if they are confident and have all the required driving skills acquired secretly? ;-)

        I think it should be possible, do you have any info.?ReplyCancel

  • AmyJune 8, 2018 - 3:29 am

    Thank you Laura so much for the post. Really valuable information ??
    I have one more question, I’ve went through most of the steps you explained but my appointment was canceled and as it appears in the original sms you got, youre appointment was on the 21st of May, did you need to cancel that one and schedule a new one on Wednesday? Or did Moroor reschedule your original appointment on their own?

    Thank you so much!ReplyCancel

    • LauraJune 23, 2018 - 2:28 pm

      They sent me a new appointment confirmation by SMS the day before the new appointment 5th June.ReplyCancel

  • A WoodJune 8, 2018 - 8:52 am

    Thank you so much for all of the information!ReplyCancel

  • GaeleneJune 8, 2018 - 2:24 pm

    Awesome. Well done on getting your licenses and on writing the process up. I won’t be in Saudi on June 24th but will be there in spirit with razzle dazzle Pom Poms for all driving ladies. Looking forward to getting my license when I return in August. By then hopefully they’ll have sorted the issue with women sponsored by husbands. I tried to apply before leaving for my holiday but the system wouldn’t let me because of that. It doesn’t matter though…what matters is the 24th is sooo close now. So exciting for everybody.ReplyCancel

    • IbtisamJune 12, 2018 - 8:20 pm

      Thank you so much Laura! & congratulations on getting your license.
      I cannot wait until they open it up for women who are under non-saudi sponsorship. I have been counting days every since they announced it.ReplyCancel

    • LauraJune 23, 2018 - 2:29 pm

      yes lets hope by then it’s all sorted out and everyone gets to enjoy driving :)ReplyCancel

  • AdamaJune 8, 2018 - 5:05 pm

    Thanks so much Laura! This is so comprehensive! You are a star:-)ReplyCancel

  • StaceyJune 8, 2018 - 5:16 pm

    What if a person already has an international driving permit and a valid driver’s license from abroad? Can they simply start driving?ReplyCancel

  • Nura Al-ShammariJune 8, 2018 - 9:23 pm

    Thank you so much for the shared information!
    Nura Al-ShammariReplyCancel

  • Kahkshan AliJune 9, 2018 - 11:33 pm

    Just leaving olaya international clinic now. They said they still have not been approved to do the medical test for ladies. I asked several people at this clinic to make sure. Will have to try somewhere else. Thank you for the rest of the information. Going to finish uploading everything else now and get appointment.ReplyCancel

  • Angah AbdullahJune 10, 2018 - 8:07 am

    Thank you Laura. ?ReplyCancel

  • Kahkshan AliJune 10, 2018 - 11:12 am

    Update. Came to the Al-daraya clinic which you recommended. They are open in the mornings at 10am and doing the medical test for ladies driving license. Had a very nice Saudi lady (Rihab) do my blood test and eye exam and she was very gentle, professional and spoke excellent English. Cost was 105 riyals with no insurance. Thank you again for your post. I managed to get through the Arabic form online with a little help from Google translate and have my appointment July 17 when I return from the States. Super excited!!ReplyCancel

    • LauraJune 23, 2018 - 2:27 pm

      Thank you very much for this information I have updated the post accordingly! Sorry for the extra trouble for you, they told on phone during Ramadan that they do them and they are on the list from SDLP.ReplyCancel

    • LauraJune 23, 2018 - 2:27 pm

      Do you know until when they are open?ReplyCancel

  • TayyabaJune 10, 2018 - 12:29 pm

    Congrats for this achievement and Thanks for the valuable Blog.

    As you mentioned in your blog above that some expat ladies have not been able to create an absher because they are listed as “dependents”. I’m experiencing the same problem.

    Can you please guide us whom should we take-up this issue or is there any forum or channel we should contact for the solution?ReplyCancel

  • Ayesha ismailJune 10, 2018 - 12:56 pm

    Dear blue Abaya
    Your detail information is very helpful
    thank you so very much

  • Katie BJune 10, 2018 - 1:16 pm


    I had an appointment on 31st of May but they cancelled. They are still working all this week. How soon after your appointment cancellation did they set a new one?
    Also is the parallel parking reversed or do you have to do it driving forward? Or they don’t care? Lol.ReplyCancel

    • LauraJune 23, 2018 - 2:25 pm

      My original was on the initial first day they planned to open the conversions, 21 st May. Then they cancelled and I did not hear anyhting form them until 5th June when they rescheduled it for the new first day, 6th June. So they’re doing it according to the order that women have signed up.ReplyCancel

  • Umm ShemsJune 10, 2018 - 3:25 pm

    Really helpful information! I’ll be there on the 30th of June to get this done!!! Thank you so much for the post!ReplyCancel

  • ZahramichaelaJune 10, 2018 - 4:20 pm

    I created my abshar account, went to sdlp website to create new account, but it directed me to abshar website (for new registration),how can I proceed?ReplyCancel

  • LolaJune 10, 2018 - 4:32 pm

    Thanks Laura for the post
    I have a problem on step 1, when I tried to create an absher acount, I got this message ” The current ID does not have an independent ID”
    I am a dependant on my husband iqamah,
    Is there a solution for me? Please let me knowReplyCancel

    • sadaf nageenJune 20, 2018 - 7:13 pm

      i have the same issue… please let me know if u get any solution for it…ReplyCancel

    • mKcAugust 2, 2018 - 12:17 pm

      Lola – You should be able to do this now. The system did not allow the “spouse dependents” to do the DLIC process. Try again!ReplyCancel

    • FAREEDJuly 5, 2020 - 6:50 pm

      Hi, I am facing the same problem, can you please help me to fix it? How did you register on Absher as dependent on husband’s visa?ReplyCancel

  • Zahra MichaelaJune 10, 2018 - 4:38 pm

    Where can i find the pdf file with medical centres?ReplyCancel

    • LauraJune 23, 2018 - 2:23 pm

      Inside the SDLP when you’ve logged in and filled out the application it gives you the link to the file.ReplyCancel

  • NinaJune 10, 2018 - 8:08 pm

    Replying to Stacey—-> Saudi Arabia doesn’t recognize international driver licenses especially not for women. I believe Laura mentioned it also…ReplyCancel

    • LauraJune 23, 2018 - 2:22 pm

      this is what the officers at the moroor told us on the day when we asked about it. I have not heard or seen any official statements about it.ReplyCancel

    • sadiaSeptember 9, 2018 - 4:57 pm

      Dear Laura Should one take their National licence for converstion or we need to have and internationa l licence only to apply for saudi licenceReplyCancel

  • Muhammad Jawad YaqoobJune 11, 2018 - 3:25 am

    After taking appointment through SDLP, do we still have to visit Maroor office to get an appointment again? This part is confusing for me.ReplyCancel

  • FatimaJune 12, 2018 - 12:15 am

    Hello there! Me and my mother are planning to get our driving license soon inshallah after the month of Ramadan, but it’s very sad now that I’ve realized unemlployed international women can’t get them :( can you please update me on the status of the situation, and when will this be fixed?ReplyCancel

  • Just MeJune 12, 2018 - 2:20 pm

    Thank you for Blue Abaya for the useful information. A note and question about the SDLP portal. If opened in Chrome, it is possible to have a translated version of a website; however, I have found that only offers an option to log in, at the moment anyway. I was wondering if those of you who have been successful registering did so by clicking on the “log in” button or if you actually found a “register” button. If so, could you please leave a note to help locate it. Thanks.ReplyCancel

  • MishalJune 12, 2018 - 6:37 pm

    Clear and organized article. Thank youReplyCancel

  • Katie RothwellJune 15, 2018 - 8:10 am

    Any news on whether dependants can create an Absher account? I failed at the first hurdle as my ID is a dependant ID as my husband is an expat.ReplyCancel

    • LauraJune 23, 2018 - 2:20 pm

      When I hear something about it ill update the post!ReplyCancel

  • sadaf nageenJune 20, 2018 - 7:16 pm

    Any update on whether dependents can create an Absher account to get a driving license ???ReplyCancel

    • LauraJune 23, 2018 - 2:19 pm

      No updates yet, really hope they’d give some info on this soon.ReplyCancel

  • RLJune 20, 2018 - 7:21 pm

    Hi Laura,
    The blog about driving license application is very much informative.
    You mentioned that basic information were asked. so I wanna know if they asked for your height (or was it a requirement?)
    I wanna know coz’ I’m a short girl and i hope it won’t be a hindrance at all for me to apply one.



    • LauraJune 23, 2018 - 2:19 pm

      Hi there, no they don’t ask for these infos. Good luck :)ReplyCancel

  • VickyJune 22, 2018 - 4:44 pm

    Hi I am a little confused why the process / regulations are different for men. I have an UK ?? and International License, men with UK and International licences can drive for 3 months on these documents, why different for women?! I’ve been driving 23 years and itching to get on the road in Saudi and sing ? my head off to some tunes! ? Even my western Compound seem to be stuck in the dark ages!ReplyCancel

  • mazmazJune 24, 2018 - 3:09 am


    may i ask what if there is no driving license yet and it will be the first time to ever drive will that be valid and accepted? an expat woman with existing driving license can it apply for those women too?ReplyCancel

  • MaribelleJune 24, 2018 - 9:27 am

    Hi there..are there any fees to pay aside from the medical and the license fee? Is there any fee for the driving exam?ReplyCancel

  • Aru RamisettyJune 24, 2018 - 12:44 pm

    Dear Laura,
    So kind of you to have posted these step by step instructions on how to go about getting the Saudi Driving licence. Very helpful and I very much appreciate the minute details and your thoughtfulness!

    A Big Thank You :)ReplyCancel

  • NajlaJune 24, 2018 - 12:55 pm

    Hi Laura,,

    Congrats on your Saudi driver’s license.

    Thank you for posting this guide, its very helpful. I was glad to find my waya through your post. It certainly helepd me and my friends as well.

    I’m in process of applying myself but I was wondering if you happen to know if the process differ if my international drivers license is expired?

    Again thank you very much for taking the time to write this helpful post.

    Best regards

  • MaramJune 24, 2018 - 9:22 pm

    Hey thank you so much for the information! I just wanted to know what is the minimum age limit ..I’ve heard it’s it true?ReplyCancel

  • Regina CliffordJune 25, 2018 - 8:10 am

    Please let us know when dependents of expat husbands can drive! It’s so hard to find information out there! Thanks Laura.ReplyCancel

  • Dr. FNJune 25, 2018 - 6:43 pm

    Driving licence validity is linked to residency. So for example, if you are British, but not normally resident in the UK because you are living/ working in KSA, you can only use an international driving licence when visiting the UK as the insurance there would not cover you if you drove on your UK licence. So unless you are a recent arrival in KSA, chances are your UK licence would be invalid and possibly expired. Legally you can’t renew it in the UK if not normally resident there. So on what basis would the Saudi traffic department accept your foreign licence as valid since your licence lost its validity when you moved to KSA?ReplyCancel

  • Rawan DewanJuly 1, 2018 - 7:57 pm

    I have a UAE driving license that is still valid until 2021. I am currently dependent on my husband. Can my license be exchanged for a Saudi driving license or do I still need to create an Absher account when it works? I am planning to ask at Muroor since Men are allowed to do so. My husband only exchanged his when he came here so I am hoping it’s the same for women :)ReplyCancel

    • FAREEDJuly 5, 2020 - 6:53 pm


      My wife has same scenario, can you please help if you got your UAE driving license replaced with KSA driving license while you are dependent on your husband’s iqama?

      Thanks in advanceReplyCancel

  • begonaJuly 5, 2018 - 9:28 am

    Dear Laura,
    My sponsor is my husband… Do You know the procedure to access the license?. At the moment I can not access anyplace. Because if I don’t have access to Ministry of Interior, I can not create the account on Saudi Driving License Portal….
    Help me Please…. :-)ReplyCancel

  • grace deeJuly 6, 2018 - 12:01 am

    hi LAURA. actually I was stuck in step2 coz I hve asked a few friends and we can’t seem to figure out how to create and account in sdlp site or to log in even So that I can proceed to get the appointment. Help me please. i have all the requirements but can’t seem to move on with the arabic website. Appreciate if u can further clarify.ReplyCancel

  • Yvonne OidaJuly 9, 2018 - 12:21 pm

    Big THANKS Laura?…I just got mine today noontime.
    Yallah lets drive??ReplyCancel

  • Afiya SaleemJuly 9, 2018 - 10:20 pm

    Hi Laura. Thank you so much for such detailed information. You are the only one who has acknowledged the difficulty that expat women on dependent iqama are facing. I have a US lisence and cant wait to get back on road. Wondering if you have any update regarding the progress made by absher team? Any idea when it will be fixed?

  • cheap nimegen couponJuly 10, 2018 - 10:55 pm

    Thanks for a marvelous posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you’re a great author.
    I will ensure that I bookmark your blog and will eventually come back
    from now on. I want to encourage yourself to continue your great job,
    have a nice evening!ReplyCancel

  • Sami AbdinJuly 18, 2018 - 9:17 pm

    Thank you for this thorough and informative post. It’s really appreciated! You very much deserve a basket of strawberries but, alas, I don’t have any.ReplyCancel

  • iamaalJuly 20, 2018 - 3:48 pm

    thanks for your detailed article , i checked my iqama , and i find it still valid , thanks again for your helpReplyCancel

  • AngieJuly 25, 2018 - 2:39 am

    Thank you for the great information!ReplyCancel

  • MarriamJuly 31, 2018 - 12:46 am

    Dear Laura thanks alot for Such great information. I applied today for my license and got appointment. I didn’t pay fee yet and online application status is “ waiting for documents verification “
    Is it ok ? Will they verify my documents first then confirm anything or i can simply proceed my fee? I applied from my husband s account.ReplyCancel

  • mKcAugust 2, 2018 - 12:12 pm

    Hi Laura,

    Where did you get the car insurance from? Can you share some information about that as well?


    • LauraAugust 2, 2018 - 1:00 pm

      when you purchase a car from the car shops they hep you with this, also close to the car souk in Riyadh there are many car insurance offices where you must first get the insurance entered into the systems and then you can purchase the car.ReplyCancel

  • RobertAugust 2, 2018 - 9:29 pm

    Hi, I just arranged an appointment for my wife after registering her through my absher.
    Does anyone know if I can pay the fee for her through sadad, as my wife doesn’t have a bank account here?ReplyCancel

    • jophyAugust 12, 2018 - 11:02 am

      you can pay the money through any others account.ReplyCancel

  • Saima ArifAugust 5, 2018 - 11:34 am

    Hi Robert
    R u applying for the first time license or your wife has licence before ?ReplyCancel

  • MarriamAugust 5, 2018 - 5:59 pm

    Sir what is the status of your request?
    Is it same like mine ?
    “ waiting for document validator “

    I also applied through my husband s absher account.ReplyCancel

  • MarriamAugust 5, 2018 - 6:04 pm

    Sir Robert
    Can you tell me what is the status of your wife’s request online
    Is it “ pending with document validator”

    I also applied through my husband s accountReplyCancel

  • LaylaAugust 6, 2018 - 3:52 pm

    Thank you SO MUCH! You are very very helpful!ReplyCancel

    • LauraAugust 7, 2018 - 12:56 pm

      Thank you for the comment :) I’m really glad to see what a great positive impact this post has had on women getting their driving licenses!ReplyCancel

      • mariam saleemAugust 8, 2018 - 6:22 pm

        Dear Laura can you please explain me my request status “ pending with document validator “
        It has been more than 10 days since I got appointment for test but status is still sameReplyCancel

  • MaryAugust 8, 2018 - 9:32 am

    Just been refused my Saudi license at my appointment in Dammam today.
    Captain said new directive from ministry as of yesterday NO Licenses for non working dependents!!ReplyCancel

  • JamesAugust 10, 2018 - 2:28 pm

    Hi all,
    It would appear there are two locations in Riyadh to hand over originals and get ones license. Any ideas where in King Khalid International Airport one must go to hand over original documents?ReplyCancel

  • chrisAugust 10, 2018 - 8:52 pm

    To whom it may concern,
    On the 9th of August we had just driven to the test station one and a half hours away and my wife was told that her driving test had been cancelled due to the overwhelming number of dependent wives wanting to test drive, and that all tests had been cancelled by the General in Riyadh, she was to try again after 5 days or so.
    We had not been given any notice that it had been cancelled before we drove all that way!
    I suggest you check before you go.ReplyCancel

  • jophyAugust 12, 2018 - 10:59 am

    thank you for your information,
    i tried for getting driving license for my wife. unfortunately she failed the test.
    according to my point of view, the test is not so simple.
    the dividers are very small. cannot able to see from inside the car. and driving track given is too small also.
    even the Morror people is not cooperative. they are treating like we done some mistake before.
    also the exchange driving license having only one chance. once we failed; they said there is next chance after ‘dellah’ felicities over here. it will take at least 2 years according to them.
    i am speaking about Gizan Region.ReplyCancel

  • ParachaAugust 13, 2018 - 8:39 am

    I am house wife and i am dependent on my husband’s iqama. I went today for my driver license appointment and they told me that there is a new order from Riyadh head office that “any non saudi woman who is dependent” CAN NOT apply for driver’s license. I was shocked and disappointed.

    I said i know you have issued DL to many women like me before? He said yes we have done it but now we have order from Riyadh like a week ago.

    Anyone experience something like this?

    Jeddah OfficeReplyCancel

    • Sreeja KumariAugust 28, 2018 - 5:37 pm

      Yes in Al Hasa they did not accept my file saying same reason.
      But they issued some other nationalities with same similar (dependent) iqama status in front of me. Very unfortunateReplyCancel

      • LauraSeptember 2, 2018 - 10:42 am

        That is very unfortunate. What nationalities did you see getting issued the licenses?ReplyCancel

  • Maryam HashmiAugust 26, 2018 - 2:25 pm


    I have already taken appointment, but my USA License is expired. Will it be OK? Or otherwise what is the procedure for having Saudi driving license with expired USA license. Thanks.


    • LauraSeptember 2, 2018 - 10:45 am

      No you can’t get a license if its expired you need to renew it from home.ReplyCancel

  • aishaAugust 30, 2018 - 12:36 am


    Do you have any idea of the cost of getting a completely new license for a woman? Not converting an existing license.ReplyCancel

    • LauraSeptember 2, 2018 - 10:41 am

      As from PNU driving school. I think its close to 3000 sar.ReplyCancel

  • TahiraAugust 30, 2018 - 4:31 pm

    You post was very helpful!

    Can I drive my husband car or I need authorization from traffic department. And what is the process for that.ReplyCancel

    • LauraSeptember 2, 2018 - 10:40 am

      you can be added as the driver of the car , make sure your insurance covers both of you s drivers.ReplyCancel

  • Shiv kaporSeptember 5, 2018 - 5:41 pm

    Dear Laura, how can I thank you for your detailed and helpful article, ur explanation about what u had experienced burned my desire up to go and give it a try, many thanks, may u be praised. I guess there wasn’t any computer test or oral questions ” i mean about signs..” since u didn’t mention, isn’t it?ReplyCancel

  • GKSeptember 9, 2018 - 3:42 pm

    Did anybody approached or had been through the Jubail License office?ReplyCancel

  • MaymoonahSeptember 12, 2018 - 8:50 am

    Just came back from the Rimal Moroor office in Riyadh. They’re still turning dependents away if their iqaamah says not allowed to work. The said I will be automatically sent another appointment in about a week, 2 weeks maximum. But if I don’t then to call this number that they gave my husband.ReplyCancel

  • MatuSeptember 12, 2018 - 5:06 pm

    It is not yet working, they said the same. Two or three weeks.ReplyCancel

  • Shubha ShettySeptember 13, 2018 - 12:58 am

    In Al Hassa where ladies driving license issued?ReplyCancel

  • AMANSeptember 14, 2018 - 12:53 pm

    My daughter is under my sponsership.She does not have separate MOI account. Should she regsiter separately?ReplyCancel

  • G KSeptember 15, 2018 - 1:04 pm

    Today 15/09/2018
    we officially receive this message from the traffic department.

    That the General Directorate of the Traffic apologizes for postponing your predetermined date for the replacement of the foreign license. we will contact you soon to set a new date for your service.ReplyCancel

  • ZunairaSeptember 16, 2018 - 5:12 pm

    Hey Laura

    Thank you for the valuable information. could you please inform me regarding the fee used for conversion.
    Thanks in advanceReplyCancel

  • ZunairaSeptember 16, 2018 - 5:14 pm

    Hey Laura
    Thank you for the information. Culd you please inform me regarding the total fee that would be required ?

    Thanks in advance.ReplyCancel

  • Roopa HaridasSeptember 23, 2018 - 11:58 am

    I registered in IAm.GOV>SA and git an appointment in AL HASA. Later tis was cancelled. I still visited they and was infored that the government has stopped issuing license to Expat women with dependent iqama. Ans told to wait for the new rule. Totally dissppoinedReplyCancel

    • RIyaSeptember 28, 2018 - 6:43 pm

      How can we know when this will open for dependant women under husband sponsership for license?ReplyCancel

  • F TSeptember 24, 2018 - 4:22 pm


    Many thanks for the detailed procedure that you have described above. I arrived in kingdom around 3 weeks ago and finally have my iqama. I wanted to for appointment with however, once i login to this site by entering my absher details it opens up a new page Now i am really confused what to do next since it doesn’t show any option to upload my documents for the appointment.

    Please help me out.

  • EdwardSeptember 29, 2018 - 9:28 pm

    I can’t find the list of approved clinics for the medical report. I understood from you it’s on SDLP website ? We live in Jeddah.

    Otherwise thanks for the detailed description !ReplyCancel

    • LauraSeptember 30, 2018 - 10:27 am

      yes it should come up as a pdf file u can download when you’re doing the application.ReplyCancel

  • Rolina VisdaSeptember 29, 2018 - 11:53 pm

    Hi just want to ask for help im dependent would like to convert my license here in riyadh but until now after following the steps in sdlp and opening the absher of my husband still i cannot create my own account always saying the current id is not applicable for independent id. Can i just go directly to moroor and give my papers and get an appointment?ReplyCancel

    • LauraSeptember 30, 2018 - 10:27 am

      Yes currently they have temporarily suspended the issuing of licenses to women under husband sponsor aka “dependent women”.ReplyCancel

  • Lily RoseOctober 1, 2018 - 8:10 am

    Hi Ms. LAURA

    Thank you for all the information written here. As i ‘m reading all the comment and reply i have the same problem, im under my husband sponsorship and before my appoinment i recived msg from moroor that my appointment postponed and they will call for another appointment. Should it be resume? Should i wait for their call or can i make absher? . Thnk you and waiting for your kind response .ReplyCancel

  • Kat BinanOctober 6, 2018 - 9:53 pm

    Hi Laura!

    Would you mind sharing the total cost for applying for a saudi driving license? I dont have a driving license from my home country… thanks… :-)ReplyCancel

  • Jee MarieOctober 7, 2018 - 11:21 am

    I have my documents readt but i can’t find where to upload it?? Please help me. Thank uReplyCancel

  • BobOctober 9, 2018 - 4:46 pm

    ADVICE= Bring a translator, they don’t know English or partially.

    But they are funny and nice!


  • BushOctober 10, 2018 - 9:46 pm

    Hi Laura,
    Firstly thanks a lot for all the effort I really appreciate it, you are doing a wonderful job <3. Well, I have a request, if you can inform me about the women who want to start from scratch to apply for license as I don't know how to drive yet and don't have a foreign license, I read that you've written that one has to enroll in driving schools but I want to know the whole process and also if you can advise me any driving schools in Jeddah.

    Thanks in advanceReplyCancel

    • LauraOctober 14, 2018 - 10:04 am

      hi, sorry I don’t have time to write a post like that would take days of investigation, writing and compiling the info for this post took took me weeks. If anyone else wants to take up the task then Im open to posting it.ReplyCancel

  • Flying CarpetOctober 12, 2018 - 7:32 am

    Hi Laura,
    Thanks for the detailed post.
    If im not wrong, the dependent wives who already have license in their home country are not getting license at the moment.

    So is it still possible that they can enroll in the driving course at pnu and get it the other way? or are they not allowing both??
    Any leads would be helpful

    • LauraOctober 14, 2018 - 10:01 am

      yes some women have been successful in doing it through driving school.ReplyCancel

  • EllenOctober 14, 2018 - 3:47 pm

    We tried to access the website on the weekend to upload the documentation needed so that it would all be in order for if and when I could convert my license. However, the website is not even accessible. The message state it is a women only website, which indicates that my husband’s Absher account is not usable.ReplyCancel

  • FathimaOctober 15, 2018 - 8:37 am

    I don’t have my home country driving license.
    Can i still apply and get license here or not?


  • NiyetiOctober 25, 2018 - 2:06 pm

    Ladies…i am sharing my experience of getting the DL. I have an existing valid DL from overseas and am on dependant visa here…and took the driving test today and have received the license.
    The process as it stands today is that:
    1) register for 6 hrs (3 lessons of upto 2 hrs each) at the SDS head office (appears as Saudi Driving School on google) in PNU (they are open thru the day), carry your valid overseas DL & Iqama)…this will be Sar 525.
    2) within a couple of weeks you shud receive a call from your designated instructor to start classes. Since i didnt receive the call I had gone to the training centre (within PNu but a different location than SDS) after 2 weeks and booked my classes (no payment reqd now).
    In many cases the assigned instructor isnt available so you will be assigned to an alternate. It is upto you to make the most of the lessons as the instructors do tend to be casual (as they assume you already know driving);
    3) after the last class book your test (no payment at this time either);
    4) have your medical test done at the regd medical centres, eye test &blood group (it will be automatically updated into your records);
    5) pay for the DL fees online thru Sadad (your sponsor should be able to do this) & keep a printout of receipt;
    6) arrive early for the test (at the SDS head office), relax and enjoy the ride. Focus on roundabout rules, traffic signals, lane changing and parking within lines.
    I could manage this withthe help of Blue Abaya and a few friends who guided me through the process.
    Hope this helps!!

    • MomzayedNovember 4, 2018 - 7:48 pm

      I tried to ask here in king Abdulaziz Jeddah but they said they still don’t have in their system that allowing the dependent women with foreigner license to take 6 hours driving lessons.ReplyCancel

    • WajahatDecember 10, 2019 - 7:32 am

      Thank you so much for all of the information!ReplyCancel

  • LoreeOctober 29, 2018 - 11:06 am

    Hi Ms. Laura. Thank you for this very helpful post. However, I do not have existing driving license so I must enroll to driving school first. By any chance, can you please share at least the estimated costs for newbie expat drivers? Looking forward to your soonest feedback!ReplyCancel

  • Ramy salemNovember 4, 2018 - 4:27 pm

    Hi Ms. Laura ,
    Thanks for your valuable advice but can you advise more details about the location for the driving lessons

  • SaadiaNovember 15, 2018 - 12:01 am

    Hi there
    Are they letting expat working women to still exchange their foreign valid DL or is this also on hold as heard that some people are being turned away despite having booked appointments?ReplyCancel

  • MadeehaNovember 16, 2018 - 7:14 pm

    A very helpful and detailed review indeed. Thanks so much. My sister doesn’t have a previous licence….can you please guideReplyCancel

  • WaqasNovember 22, 2018 - 1:00 pm

    My wife faced this issue about a month or so back. She went on her scheduled appointment date but the officer did not let her take the test saying that conversion of dependent women is “temporarily” stopped. Gave her a number to follow up on – been calling it but no one answers.

    If anyone has news on this – will be greatly appreciated.ReplyCancel

  • AfshanNovember 23, 2018 - 11:47 pm

    I am Pakistani National having dependent Iqama under my husband. I would like to apply for drivers license. I have valid Pakistani drivers license more than 10 years. I am trying to create my account but asked to create account in Absher. Since I am already registered in Absher under my husband, I cannot create my own account.

    Please advise how can I get woman drivers license from Dammam Khobar.

  • Ambreen MohsinNovember 27, 2018 - 1:21 pm

    Hi everyone!

    I am an expat born and raised in Saudi. I do not have a foreigner driving license. What should I do in such a situation? Can I apply for a Saudi one?ReplyCancel

  • Um turkeyDecember 4, 2018 - 6:27 am

    I just heard from Jordanian nurse in our hospital that converting to Saudi Driving License stopped!!ReplyCancel

  • Eddy and GracieDecember 4, 2018 - 3:41 pm

    How long did it take you from time going for the test till you left the facility ?
    Thanks !ReplyCancel

  • JAE IL LEEDecember 5, 2018 - 2:26 pm

    Thanks a lot and could you let us know where did you get the training and test?ReplyCancel

  • RidadDecember 12, 2018 - 9:58 am

    Hi, this is wonderful thank you.

    Is there any particular person/entity that is authorized and should do the translation of the foreign driver license before uploading?ReplyCancel

  • MominaDecember 21, 2018 - 12:09 am

    Can you please confirm or not that we can purchase vehicles and own them like Saudi women nationals? I am getting conflicting information that expat women with Saudi Driver’s license cannot purchase and own vehicles. Thanks.ReplyCancel

  • Lily RoseDecember 31, 2018 - 1:06 pm

    Is there any news or updated news for for expat non working if can drive ? Bec. Until now i dont recieve any msg from morror. Please any update. Thank youReplyCancel

  • LanaJanuary 3, 2019 - 12:29 am

    How much does it cost to switch the license once i arrive there? It said online that there are fees but it didn’t actually say the cost. I also never received a medical certification for the exams they just gave me a code.ReplyCancel

  • Quratul-Ain KhanJanuary 8, 2019 - 1:05 pm

    Any update regarding lifting the ban from issuing license only to working womanReplyCancel

  • Farina AyubJanuary 8, 2019 - 4:03 pm

    I wonder if the moroor allow American drivers’ license holders to drive in Saudiarabia without a driving test
    Please replyReplyCancel

  • Thea BacsJanuary 17, 2019 - 5:31 am

    Just got mine yesterday..Thanks blueabaya!.. i just followed every step written here.. it was such a Big help..???ReplyCancel

    • FatemaJanuary 30, 2019 - 10:26 am

      Are you on a dependent iqama or you have your own sponsor?
      I thought we cannot get the license if we are on dependent iqama. Please confirmReplyCancel

  • Farina AyubJanuary 30, 2019 - 11:36 am

    Please tell me what steps Iam exumpted to have a saudi Driver license if I am having a valid USA issued drivers licenseReplyCancel

  • AfiayFebruary 3, 2019 - 1:12 pm

    May i ask which foreign country lisence did u have? R u a working woman?ReplyCancel

  • Asra Amatul HakimFebruary 5, 2019 - 10:07 am

    The detaied information and a clear cut idea of the driving procedure is of real help to all the new drivers accquiring licence. Its amazing and great the way you have put all the steps so simplified and easily understandable.Thanks zblot for all the support and guidance.ReplyCancel

  • titiMarch 4, 2019 - 9:00 pm

    I was among the first woman to get a drivers license, and soon after I went to the traffic police to get the written authorization to drive my husband’s vehicle across to `bahrain. The permit lasts 6 months, so I went to renew it a few weeks ago and unfortunately, the story has now changed. The folks at the police are telling me that because I work *my husband is not my sponsor, I cannot get a permit to drive my husband’s car across to Bahrain. I am being told that rules recently changed, and cannot longer get that authorization unless I am a dependent. Another friend, who is a dependent, goes there to renew the authorization, and is told that cannot get one because she is a dependent. Long story short==> we are not being able to get an authorization permit to drive our husbands vehicle wether we are sponsored by our work or by husbands… I wish the issue is resolved for women expat.ReplyCancel

  • Reni johnMarch 25, 2019 - 1:30 pm

    Hii madam
    My wife had Indian license,need to transfer
    Pls let me know where this existing license will translateReplyCancel

  • Mir A. KhanJune 2, 2019 - 2:24 pm

    I have a question:

    Can my daughter apply for her Saudi Driving Lincense?
    My daughter is under my (father’s) sponsorship.

    Thanks for your quick guidance.

    Mir A. Khan

  • VickyJune 15, 2019 - 9:57 pm

    Hi. Does anybody know when will the dependent women be allowed to go for they license again.ReplyCancel

  • helen pelangitSeptember 16, 2019 - 1:33 pm

    i want to have lern in driving school
    can i have an apointment?ReplyCancel

  • Manhal syedSeptember 30, 2019 - 9:35 pm

    Need a driving licenseReplyCancel

  • HarrietteNovember 14, 2019 - 1:18 pm

    Hi all. Is there any update regarding getting a license issued to a dependent? My husband is Australian and I am Dutch. Have had my Australian licence for 35 years (valid) and my UAE license for 15 years. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • AndrewDecember 27, 2019 - 4:39 am

    I have a maid who knows driving. Can she convert her foreign license on her own. Or does she need my me to support her application?ReplyCancel

  • ErmJanuary 4, 2020 - 8:31 pm

    I have valid driving license but in my country its rite hand drive, so is it possible to apply saudi license with My previous license or i have to take learning classes?ReplyCancel

  • ImranJanuary 26, 2020 - 6:58 am

    Hi Laura!

    Thank you very much for the exhaustive information. My sister’s booked in for a driving test appt. what’s the best way to cancel if she can’t make it?

    Do we have to actually call and inform and can she just not turn up

    Thank you very much!ReplyCancel

  • Sadaf AzharFebruary 13, 2020 - 2:44 pm

    Hey Laura, thank you so much for writing up this post.

    I’ve a few queries, I’m searching for driving schools here in Saudi Arabia (Jeddah or Riyadh), can you recommend any? I’ve only come across Princess Nora University and King Abdulaziz University, tha latter is full till Dec 2020.

    I’m a dependent on my dad’s iqama. So will the procedure for obtaining a license be same as the one for a women dependant on her husband?

    Lots of love

    • AdeebSeptember 8, 2020 - 10:24 am

      Do you have overseas license?ReplyCancel

    • TaniJune 14, 2021 - 7:26 pm

      There is good news for those ladies who wants to drive. In Eastern province, there is a ladies driving school called Sharq driving school Dammam,( where you get your driver’s license. Sharq School is in Imam Abdul Rahman bin Faisal University in the Colleges Complex in Al Rayyan District in Dammam. The official working hours at the school start from 7:30 in the morning until 8:00 in the evening. First you do registration at and fill out the requirements (a copy of the ID or residence card and a personal photo) as well as a copy of the driver’s license if you have a driver’s license. After that you will get a SMS from the school then visit Traffic police office (, where you will submit all your documents and Arabic translation of your expired or valid license if you have. After a week or two you will get another SMS to visit driving school in 48 hours to pay the fees accordingly.ReplyCancel

  • SydneyJuly 21, 2020 - 4:47 pm

    I’m a dependent trying to get my license for Saudi how do I do this?

    I’m American have a drivers license but dependents can’t have basher account.

    Thank youReplyCancel

  • AdeebSeptember 8, 2020 - 10:21 am


    there is a process in place for ladies who do not have their absher account but posses overseas DL. If the admin of the web approves i can share the complete process.ReplyCancel

  • Rashmin fathimaMarch 25, 2021 - 11:39 am

    *The procedure to convert Indian driving license to Saudi License for woman*

    *Experience as of 24/3/2021*

    If you hold an Indian driving license, and want saudi license then follow the steps below:

    1. Do medical test for driving test usually costs 115 riyal ( they test for blood group and eyesight)

    2. Translate the valid indian driving license with any legal translation center to Arabic – (costs 50 riyal outside takasusi dallah)

    3. Take appointment in VFS alhada branch (riyadh) for document attestation- they will verify your iqama, indian driving license and attest the Arabic translated documents. Cost 67 riyal. (Done and given in hand at the same time. )

    4. Pay in bank for the number of years required for the driving license via government payment.

    5. Take appointment for traffic in Absher under the option of conversion of international driving license – woman, it is mostly not available and so we went directly to the King Khalid airport muroor in Riyadh ( the only authorized center for this process.

    6. The manager verified the attested arabic translated Indian Driving document and gave me appointment for the same day, and was asked to undergo a simple test.

    7. The test included driving the car by myself with no one inside to supervise, and was assessed by a lady inspector outside, i was asked to follow the track and park the car.

    8. Then i was informed that i have passed the test and go to the other office to get my driving license printed.ReplyCancel

  • TeeJanuary 23, 2022 - 10:25 am

    Hi, I have British driving licence and want to convert it to saudi. I translated my lisence, got medical test and went to mirror office and they are persistent that I should get the translation verified from my embassy while the embassy totally denies of doing it saying there is no such thing they do. Any British here who converted their licence?ReplyCancel

Mysterious, remote and undiscovered, Hegra, also known as Mada’in Saleh is one of the most significant archaeological sites in the Arabian Peninsula. 

The historic name of Mada’in Saleh is Hegra, or al-Hijr in Arabic. Madain Saleh is located in AlUla, in the Madinah Province of North West Arabia. Hegra is located some 300 kms North of Medina and 500 kms South from its sister city, Petra in Jordan, which served as the Nabateans capital city some 2 millenia ago. 

In this comprehensive guide you can read in detail about Hegra and its history, learn in depth knowledge about the different designs of Nabataean tombs and fascinating areas that can be found in Saudi Arabia’s mysterious desert city.

Guide to tombs in Hegra AlUla

Hegra, AlUla. Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage site


Historically, Hegra had a lucrative position in the desert with an underground water supply that permitted agriculture, which in turn made it one of several indispensable stops along the incense trade route from Yemen to the Levant. This strategic location brought a certain wealth to its inhabitants, and with it, a number of passing kingdoms and civilisations since early history. It began in the 3rd millennium BCE with the tribe of Thamud, infamous in Islam for rejecting the calls to worship the one and only God by their prophet Saleh. It is from this very prophet that Hegra’s modern name, Mada’in Saleh which means “Cities” of Saleh, was derived.

The Dedanites and Lihyanites were other tribes who settled in the area in the 6th – 4th centuries BCE, followed by the Nabataeans in the 1st century BCE. The latter made Hegra their second capital city in case their main capital, Petra in today’s Jordan, was threatened by the Romans. Hegra’s golden age thus ensued and for the next century, while the city flourished, its inhabitants carved rock-cut tombs similar in style to those found in Petra.

The Roman threat did finally materialise in 106 CE when the entire Nabataean kingdom and its civilisation, including Hegra, were usurped by the Roman Empire. The city’s decline, however, had already begun when, in 70 CE, King Rabbel II transferred the Nabataean capital from Petra to Bosra in modern day Syria, rather than Hegra. Although Hegra continued to exist for at least another century after the Roman takeover, it later mysteriously disappeared from history, only leaving behind its many magnificent rock-cut tombs as a reminder of a glorious civilisation.

These tombs, coupled with a fun desert adventure and visits to the many other historical sites in nearby al-Ula, make Madain Saleh the most remarkable place to visit in all of Arabia. Its importance has led the UNESCO finally to list it as a World Heritage Site in 2008.

The vast area of Mada’in Saleh (Jan 2011)


The Hegra archaeological site covers a vast area and is located about 30 min drive from AlUla city. It is entered by car from the north next to the Ottoman-period Hijaz Railway station, and both entrances join an unpaved road that loops around the whole site, making a few detours along the way. The ruins of the town of Hegra itself, where the Nabataean inhabitants once lived, is located at the centre of the site, but is currently under excavation in two distinct fenced-off areas. Visitors need to book tickets to Hegra online or at the AlUla ticket offices in town. it’s best to book early on high season ( Decpember – March). By purchasing the ticket the visitor gets a full tour of Hegra UNESCO World heritage site in tour buses. Please note you may not not enter Hegra without a ticket and there is no parking spaces at the site, cars should be left in the city and the bus will transport tourists to Hegra for their tours. 

At Hegra, nearly all of the visible ruins are in the form of rock-cut tombs, 131 in total, carved mostly in the first century CE, but only 86 come with a monumental façade. Though a few are isolated, these tombs were typically carved in clusters around the perimeters of large rock outcrops scattered around the site.

They are divided into seven areas (A to G), plus one additional mountain (Jabal Ithlib) used for religious rituals. In addition, there are more than 100 ancient Nabataean wells spread out across the site, and the dismantled Hijaz Railway Station, the aforementioned late Ottoman-period construction associated with Lawrence of Arabia.

The most famous tomb and iconic symbol of Hegra is the tomb of Lihyan son of Kuzaa, “Qasr Al Farid”, also known as the  “the lonely Palace”. Photo: Laura Alho

At first glance, the tombs in Hegra may all appear to be the same, but upon a closer look, the variety in styles and sizes becomes noticeable. The smallest carved façade is tomb N°3 (Jebel al-Mahjar Group), measuring under 3 by 2 metres, while the largest finished façade is Tomb of Lihyan son of Kuza ( also known as Qasr al-Farid) (N°110), measuring nearly 22 by 14 metres.

Some of the differences in architectural styles are quite obvious, but others require a sharp eye and some basic understanding of architecture to distinguish between them. With the exception of the signature Nabatean column capitals, Hegra’s funerary architecture exhibits strong borrowings from nearby civilisations, including features from Egyptian, Assyrian, and Hellenistic styles, and anyone who has visited Petra in Jordan would immediately recognise the similarities in architecture.

The signature Nabataean capital on Tomb N°93, Jebel Khraymat (Oct 2017)

The signature Nabataean capital on Tomb N°93, Jebel Khraymat (Oct 2017)

There are eight main stylistic categories in Hegra:

#1 Hegra Simple burial chamber:

This type of tomb is a simple burial chamber devoid of any ornamentation. It was used by poorer inhabitants of Hegra who could not afford more lavish tombs. There are over 40 such tombs in Hegra.

Simple Burial Chamber, Tomb N°106, as-Saneh Group (Jan 2011)

Simple Burial Chamber, Tomb N°106, as-Saneh Group (Jan 2011)

#2 Hegra Single Row of Merlons:

This style is the simplest of the monumental façades in Hegra. It consists primarily of a single row of merlons at the top of the façade, but some additional decorative features may be used in some cases. These may be in the form of two large pilasters to support the row of merlons, a pediment and pilasters to frame the entrance, or statues above the doorway to honour a deity. Twelve tombs in Hegra are attributed to this style.

Single Row of Merlons Style, Tomb N°37 (Lion Tomb), al-Bint Group (Oct 2017)

Single Row of Merlons Style, Tomb N°37 (Lion Tomb), al-Bint Group (Oct 2017)

#3 Hegra Arched tomb:

Only one tomb in Hegra follows this style, Tomb N°92. It is a small façade consisting of a single arch over the doorway resting on two pilasters and topped by three urns.

The Arched Style, Tomb N°92, Jebel Khraymat (Jan 2011)

The Arched Style, Tomb N°92, Jebel Khraymat (Jan 2011)

Arched style tomb in Madain Saleh. Photo: Laura Alho

#4 Hegra Double Row of Merlons style:

This style consists of a double row of merlons at the top of the façade. Other features, such as pilasters, or face sculptures are added in some cases. In total, 14 tombs in Hegra follow this style.

Double Row of Merlons Style, Tomb N°75, Jebel Khraymat (Jan 2011)

Double Row of Merlons Style, Tomb N°75, Jebel Khraymat (Jan 2011)

#5 Hegra Half-Merlons style:

Eight tombs were carved in this rather simple style. It consists of two large half-merlons arranged symmetrically at the top of the façade, resting over an Egyptian-style cornice. No pilasters or other entablature is used, but in some cases, the entrance may be framed. The half-merlons at the top create a five-step design that is the signature feature of most Nabataean tombs. Some speculate that the five steps – never more, never less – represent the five major Nabatean deities, including Dúshara.

Half Merlon Style, Tomb N°10, Jebel al-Mahjar (Jan 2011)

Half Merlon Style, Tomb N°10, Jebel al-Mahjar (Jan 2011)

#6 Hegra Proto-Hegra 1 Style:

This is the first of three styles that are the trademark of grand tomb façades in Hegra and is the most widely used. It is crowned by two large symmetric half-merlons surmounted on an Egyptian style cornice and an architrave resting on two large pilasters, often with Nabataean capitals. The doorway may at times be framed by an aedicule consisting of a triangular or arched pediment. In total, 24 façades in Hegra follow this style.

Proto Hegra 1 Style, Tomb N°113, Jebel al-Ahmar (Jan 2011)

Proto Hegra 1 Style, Tomb N°113, Jebel al-Ahmar (Jan 2011)

#7 Hegra Proto-Hegra 2 Style:

It is nearly identical to Proto-Hegra 1 style, except for one minor detail. The entablature below the large half-merlons is wider, consisting of an Egyptian-style cornice, an undecorated frieze and an architrave. The frieze is the extra feature in Proto-Hegra 2. Twelve façades in total were carved in this style.

Proto Hegra 2 Style, Tomb N°42, al-Bint Group (Oct 2017)

Proto Hegra 2 Style, Tomb N°42, al-Bint Group (Oct 2017)

#8 The Hegra Style:

This is the ultimate design in Hegra, thus dubbed the Hegra Style. It is similar to the two Proto-Hegra styles, except that it includes a second entablature above the two pilasters flanking the façade. The grandest tombs in Hegra follow this style, including several in Qasr al-Bint Group (e.g. N°21, N°22, and N°44) and Qasr al-Farid (N°110). The latter, though, is unique in that its façade contains four pilasters instead of two. In total, 14 tombs follow this style, though not all of them are particularly large.

The Hegra Style, Tomb N°20, al-Bint Group (Oct 2017)

The Hegra Style, Tomb N°20, al-Bint Group (Oct 2017)

As many as 38 of the tombs in Hegra contain a dedicatory plaque with carved inscriptions in the Nabataean alphabet, a precursor to Arabic. These inscriptions are legal in nature and often state the date the tomb was completed, the name of its sculptor and the family or person to whom it belonged, and sometimes also describe the punishment or requirement for anyone else who uses the tomb.


Hegra’s plaques date the tombs to the period between 1 BCE and 75 CE, usually stated as the year of the reign of a specific king. They have shed important light on the life and practices of Nabataeans in general and brought to life the cosmopolitan nature of Hegra’s population, and have thus been tremendously valued by archaeologists, in particular because Petra (in Jordan) by comparison has only one such inscription! Many of the other façades in Hegra contain a space for a plaque but no inscription, which led some archaeologists to believe that wooden tablets with inscriptions may have been inserted in that space.

Nabataean Inscription on Tomb N°93, Jebel Khraymat (Jan 2011)

Nabataean Inscription on Tomb N°93, Jebel Khraymat (Jan 2011)

As-Saneh Tomb group

Upon entering Madain Saleh from the southern entrance, one first encounters a group of tombs known as as-Saneh Group, numbered 102 to 108 and designated as Area G. It consists of only seven tombs across two rock outcrops flanking the unpaved road: the first has a single tomb with a large carved façade, known as Qasr as-Saneh (N°102), which gave the group its name, while the second contains the rest of the tombs in the form of simple unadorned burial chambers.

The façade of Qasr as-Saneh is one of the largest in Hegra, carved in the Hegra style, which consists of two symmetrical half-merlons over an Egyptian-style cornice and an entablature resting on two pilasters with Nabataean capitals. The entrance is framed by a triangular pediment on two pilasters, but lacks any statues or figures, and above it is an inscription dating the tomb to the 17th year of the reign of the Nabataean King Aretas IV Philopatris, thought to correspond to 8 CE. It also states that it was carved by the mason, Abd’haretat ibn Abd’obodat, for Malkion ibn Hephaestion and his family, whose name suggests a Hellenistic origin (ibn = son of).

Qasr as-Saneh, Tomb N°102 (Jan 2011)

Qasr as-Saneh, Tomb N°102 (Jan 2011)

East of as-Saneh Group, just south, south-east of the ancient urban centre of Hegra, Areas C and D are often grouped together. Area C is a single rock outcrop, known as Jebel al-Ahmar, with 19 tombs numbered 112 to 130 around its entire perimeter. Jebel al-Ahmar translates to the Red Mountain named so because of the faint red hues of its rocks. Its proximity to the residential settlement of Hegra meant it was a well-utilised necropolis with nearly all styles of tombs represented, but many badly eroded.

The most remarkable of these tombs are the twin tombs N°112 and N°113, carved on the southern side of the rock outcrop. They are very well preserved, except for the bottom part, which was probably eroded in flash floods over the centuries. Both tombs follow the Proto-Hegra 1 style, but differ slightly in the decoration above the doorway: N°112 on the left has three urns above the triangular pediment, while the slightly smaller Tomb N°113 has an eagle flanked by two urns. Although both façades have a space for a plaque, there is no inscription on either one. Some archaeologists believe a wooden inscription plaque may have been inserted in the space upon completion, but no traces remain.

Tombs N°112 and N°113, Jebel al-Ahmar (Jan 2011)

Tombs N°112 and N°113, Jabal AlAhmar, Hegra in AlUla (Jan 2011)

 Tomb of Lihyan Son of Kuza 

Area D is further south and covers a large area with only three isolated tombs, N°109 – N°111. Among them is the tomb commonly known by the name Qasr al-Farid (the “lone” or “unique” palace, Tomb N°110), Hegra’s most iconic tomb. It is a single tomb carved in its own rock outcrop, hence its name, and measures about 22 by 14 metres, making it the largest (nearly) finished tomb in Mada’in Saleh. 

The façade is crowned by two symmetrical half-merlons surmounting an Egyptian-style cornice, below which is an entablature resting on four pilasters with Nabataean-style capitals. A triangular pediment, resting on two pilasters and topped by a single griffin statue, frames the entrance, above which is a plaque with a short Nabataean inscription stating that this tomb was carved for bani Lahin ibn Quza (i.e. the family of Lihyan, son of Kuza).

The style of this tomb is known to archaeologists as the Hegra style, but Qasr al-Farid is again unique in that it is the only one with four large pilasters decorating the façade. The tomb was never actually finished, as seen in the very bottom of the façade, and is thought to have never actually been used as a burial chamber.

Visitors admiring Qasr al-Farid, Tomb N°110 (Oct 2017)

Visitors admiring Qasr al-Farid, Tomb N°110 (Oct 2017)

Qasr al Farid, the Lonely Palace of Madain Saleh

“Qasr al Farid”, the Lonely Palace of Hegra, a tomb carved for Lihyan, Son of Kuza. Photo: Laura Alho

Jabal AlBanat, Hegra AlUla 

Al-Bint Group outcrop.

North-east of the urban centre of ancient Hegra lies al-Bint outcrop, another cluster containing 31 tombs, numbered 17 to 46 and designated as Area B. Twenty-nine of these tombs are carved around a single large hill, while two simple unadorned burial chambers are located in their own tiny detached outcrop. Some of the grandest tombs in Hegra are found in this group, which also has the largest number of Nabataean inscriptions.

The name of the group was derived from tomb N°24, Jabal AlBanat (no relation to its namesake free-standing temple in Petra). It is one of the smallest in the series of grand façades in this group and follows the Proto-Hegra 2 design. The triangular pediment above the doorway is richly decorated and topped by an eagle statue and two urns. The inscription is very legal in nature and, unusually, continues inside the tomb stating that it was commissioned by Abd’Obodat ibn Aribos for himself and his daughter, Wa’ilat, and her descendants. The mention of his daughter (i.e. bint) is likely what earned this tomb its name.

The inscription leaves specific instructions, almost like a will, from Abd’Obodat to his daughter and her offspring, forbidding them from selling or transferring ownership of the tomb, even though it belonged to them in perpetuity. It also states that if Abd’Obodat’s brother, Huru, died in Hegra, that he should be allowed to be buried in this tomb.

This inscription is one of two that mention Hegra in name, written as Hijr, the Arabic equivalent (the other is Tomb N°100). Aftah ibn Abd’Obodat is the mason who carved this tomb in the 44th year of the reign of King Aretas IV, equivalent to 35 CE.

Qasr al-Bint, Tomb N°24 (Oct 2017)

Jabal AlBanat, Tomb N°24 (Oct 2017)

Other remarkable tombs in al-Bint Group include the Doctor’s Tomb (N°44), carved for Kahlan ibn Wa’lan, the doctor, and his descendants, and the Lion Tomb (N°37), a small one with two feline sculptures with curly tails above its doorway (are they lions or leopards?). Tomb N°39 is the oldest dated tomb in Hegra, carved in 1 BCE for Kamkam bint Wa’ilat and her daughter Kulaybat and it has an arched pediment and eagle bas-relief above the entrance.

The Lion Tomb, N°37, al-Bint Group (Jan 2011)

The Lion Tomb, N°37, al-Bint Group (Jan 2011)

Tomb N°39, the oldest dated tomb in Hegra, al-Bint Group (Jan 2011)

Tomb N°39, the oldest dated tomb in Hegra, al-Bint Group (Jan 2011)

The Doctor’s Tomb, N°44, al-Bint Group (Jan 2011)

The Doctor’s Tomb, N°44, al-Bint Group (Jan 2011)

Had the civilization at Madain Saleh lasted longer, then al-Bint Group would have boasted the largest tomb in the city, appropriately nicknamed the Unfinished Tomb (No°46). It would have measured 28 metres in height, but only part of the top step down motif (two half merlons) was completed, which clearly illustrates that Nabataeans carved their tombs from top to bottom, and is only visible from a distance. An inscription near ground level, just below the unfinished façade, states that this space had been acquired by Rabibel, a Nabataean governor, proving that a process of acquisition was necessary before a tomb was created for a particular person or family.

The Unfinished Tomb N°46 towering above Tomb N°17, al-Bint Group (Jan 2011)

The Unfinished Tomb N°46 towering above Tomb N°17, al-Bint Group (Jan 2011)

Jebel Ithlib (The Nabatean Holy Mountain)

East of al-Bint Group lies Jebel Ithlib with its most unusual rock formations. For the Nabataean inhabitants of Hegra in the 1st century CE, it was the centre of much of their sacred religious rituals. On its northern side is a rock-cut assembly hall, known as al-Diwan, carved next to the sacred Siq, a natural crevice in the rock used for religious processions, similar but much smaller in scale than the Siq in Petra. Along the walls of the Siq are several carved cult niches for statues of deities, and at the other end of the Siq lies the Sanctuary, a natural basin with the remains of a Nabataean temple used for religious ceremonies and a water canal that channelled water into a cistern.

A small number of other religious sites have been discovered around Jebel Ithlib, including steles, altars, assembly halls and Greek and Nabataean inscriptions, but much more is thought to lie buried in the sand waiting to be discovered. For those with time and energy, a short hike up the slopes surrounding the basin offers a rewarding view over the whole of Hegra.

Jebel Ithlib (Jan 2011)

Jebel Ithlib (Jan 2011)

The Diwan and the Siq (Oct 2017)

The Diwan and the Siq (Oct 2017)

Carved niche on the wall of the Siq (Oct 2017)

Carved niche on the wall of the Siq (Oct 2017)

Jebel al Mahjar ( Quarry Mountain)

West of al-Diwan and just north of the ancient urban centre of Hegra is another cluster of tombs known as Jebel al-Mahjar (Quarry Mountain), designated as Group A. Fourteen tombs are attributed to this group, numbered 1-14, and spread across three rock outcrops. An ancient well is also located in the vicinity of this mountain, and the top of its main rock outcrop has the remains of a Nabataean sacred high place. This group also boasts the tomb with the smallest façade in Hegra, N°3, measuring only 3 metres in height.

Only a handful of the tombs in Jebel al-Mahjar come with inscriptions. One of the more interesting ones is N°9, known as the Taymanite’s Tomb, which has as many as 53 burial niches, more than any other tomb and is one of three tombs in Hegra with two inscriptions, one on the façade and the other inside. The façade is moderate in size and was carved in the signature Hegra style, but is devoid of any sculptural or floral ornamentation. It is raised well above ground level and comes with a small platform in front of the entrance, plus a couple of exterior burial niches as well.

The façade inscription states that the tomb was carved in the 13th year of the reign of King Aretas IV (5 CE) for Hawshab ibn Nafi, a Taymanite (i.e. from the city of Tayma) and his extended family, many of whom are named. It also warns of severe punishment for anyone else who attempts to use, buy or sell the tomb. The interior inscription is shorter but marks the exact niches where the bodies of Hawshab and his two sons, Abdalga and Habbu, were placed.

The Taymanite’s Tomb, N°9 in Jebel al-Mahjar (Jan 2011)

The Taymanite’s Tomb, N°9 in Jebel al-Mahjar (Jan 2011)

Jabal AlKhuraymat

The eastern rock outcrop of Jabal Khuraymat contains three tombs. One on the northern side and two adjacent ones on the western side, numbered 12, 13 and 14, respectively, but only Tomb N°12 contains an inscription. Written in the Nabataean language, it states that the tomb belonged to Shubayt ibn Aliyu, the Jew, his wife Amira and their children, and that it was carved in the 3rd year of the reign of King Malichus II, equivalent to 43 CE. This inscription is interesting because it demonstrates that Hegra was a pluralistic society with prominent Jews, along with Greek or Hellinistic families as some other tomb inscriptions have indicated.

Tombs N°13 and N°14, Jebel al-Mahjar (Jan 2011)

Tombs N°13 and N°14, Jebel al-Mahjar (Jan 2011)

West of the urban centre of Hegra is the most extensive group of tombs in the archaeological site, known as Jebel Khraymat. It contains 53 tombs, numbered 48-101 and is split into Areas E and F. Tomb N°64 is known as the Centurion’s Tomb. The geographic location, prone to winds and flash floods, has caused severe erosion in many of the tombs in this area, and N°64 was no exception.

It was designed in the Proto-Hegra 1 style, but much of the lower façade was completely destroyed. The inscription above the doorway has survived with some damage and is very legal in nature specifying ownership and fine for unauthorised use. It also states that this tomb was carved by the mason, Aftah, for the Centurion, Sa’dallah ibn Zabda, and his extended family and warns that the tomb is protected by the gods Dúshara and Manat. The existence of the title Centurion shows clear Roman influence on Hegra’s military regime. Unfortunately, the tomb’s exact date of completion is damaged, but occurred under the reign of the Nabataean King Aretas IV Philopatris, who ruled from 9BC to 40 CE.

The Centurion’s Tomb, N°64, Jebel Khraymat (Jan 2011)

The Centurion’s Tomb, N°64, Jebel Khraymat (Jan 2011)

Nearby is another fairly damaged façade, Tomb N°66, known as the Prefect’s Tomb. However, its inscription has survived well and states that it was carved by the mason, Aftah ibn Abd’Obodat, for Matiyu, son of Euphronius the Prefect, and his extended family, whose title and name suggest a military profession and possible Hellenistic origin. The tomb is dated to the 48th year of the reign of Aretas IV Philopatris, which is equivalent to 40 CE.

The Prefect’s Tomb, N°66, Jebel Khraymat (Jan 2011)

The Prefect’s Tomb, N°66, Jebel Khraymat (Jan 2011)

Jabal Khuraymat’s crown jewel, however, is Tomb N°100, the largest in this group and its most richly decorated. Although it was carved in the signature Hegra Style, a few additional features distinguish it from the rest. It is the only façade with carvings in the attic space between the Egyptian-style cornice and the entablature below, consisting of four decorative Nabataean column capitals. The aedicular frame around the doorway is also richly decorated with a row of carved rosettes below its pediment and two griffin statues flanking it.

The left hand statue is the only one in Hegra that has astonishingly retained its head, avoiding the decapitation that befell all other statues in Hegra in the post-pagan period. The inscription dates it to the 24th year of the reign of King Malichus II (64 CE) and states that it belongs to the family of Tarsu ibn Taym.

Tomb N°100, Jebel Khraymat (Oct 2017)

Tomb N°100, Jabal Khuraymat (Oct 2017)

The Griffin with its head, Tomb N°100, Jebel Khraymat (Oct 2017)

The Griffin with its head, Tomb N°100, Jebel Khuraymat (Oct 2017)


To complete the tour of the site, one must visit the Madain Saleh railway station. It was one of numerous stops along the defunct Hijaz Railway, which was laid out in 1900 under the Ottoman Empire to link Medina with Damascus and ultimately Constantinople, thus significantly cutting pilgrims’ travel time during the important Haj season.

Plans had been made to extend it all the way to Mecca, but the strategically important railway was blown up by T.E. Lawrence and his Arab allies during WWI in an effort to weaken Ottoman control over the Hijaz region (western Arabia). With the breakup of the Ottoman Empire by colonial powers following the war, the railway was never repaired and its tracks and stations remain a relic of a bygone era. Here in Hegra, the red-tiled station and adjacent buildings, including a fortress, are one of the attractions of the visit with the station now turned into a museum exhibiting the old locomotive cars.

The Ottoman Fortress with Jebel Ithlib in the background (Oct 2017)

The Ottoman Fortress also known as Hegra fort with Jebel Ithlib in the background (Oct 2017)

  • Routes d’Arabie, archéologie et histoire du Royaume d’arabie saoudite (published by Somogy and Louvre)
  • The Nabataean Tomb Inscriptions of Mada’in Salih, by John F. Healey (Oxford University Press)
  • Discover more amazing places in Saudi Arabia: Explore KSA
  • Experience AlUla

This is a guest post by @zauravoyages, a traveler and writer hailing from Saudi Arabia with a passion for architecture, history and world heritage. All images @copyright zauracvoyages unless otherwise mentioned. Follow him on Instagram here: zauracvoyages

Hegra AlUla’s UNESCO heritage site is open to visitors year- round. Only visitors with tickets will be allowed to enter on guided tours.  For more information about visiting AlUla and Hegra go to

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  • keshav singhalMay 18, 2018 - 10:52 pm

    Ibn Fadlan and the Land of Darkness: Arab Travellers in the Far North is a book about muslim travellers to scandanavian countries in past. you are viking in arabia.ReplyCancel

  • keshav singhalMay 18, 2018 - 10:54 pm

    you will be scared to kow there were norwegian peolple who migrated to the arab world for purpse of tradeReplyCancel

  • NoelJune 3, 2018 - 12:37 pm

    Hi Layla! This post just made me more interested in the place as I originally thought Madain Saleh is just a single tomb. Also, I once thought this is located in Riyadh but is actually in Al Ulah (or is it around the same region, I’m not really familiar).

    Is this near the Elephant Rock? Perhaps I’d visit the place when it becomes colder. Looking foreard to it. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Kathy DAugust 8, 2018 - 6:00 pm

    Hello! Thanks for all your info, I started following you 3 years ago when I was getting ready to move to Khobar. I missed heading over to Madain Salah last year and now it’s closed. ☹️ Any idea of how to find out when it may open? I checked the gov tourism websites but they are out of date or don’t have the info. I feel so badly for people who actually plan on going and find out the hard way. Thanks in advance!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah AltaweelOctober 17, 2018 - 11:20 am

    Hello! Thank you for taking the time to write about Mada’in Salih. We like to encourage more users to discuss our beautiful heritage site online. Our team is currently working hard to rectify any digital collateral that has the historical monuments spelled incorrectly. We appreciate your support in amending the article with the correct name:

    Mada’in Salih

    Thank you,

    • LauraOctober 22, 2018 - 12:13 pm

      DearSraah, thank you. Sadly I have no time or staff to amend that.ReplyCancel

  • YvonneOctober 23, 2018 - 5:17 pm

    thank you very much for this insightful and extensive article. I enjoyed reading it a lot. I have been wondering if there is any updated information on whether Mada’in Salih is now open for visitors or not? Thank you very much for everything.

    • LauraOctober 24, 2018 - 9:16 am

      hi there! The site will continue to remain closed for quite some while. Any updates we will share here!
      Al Ula is highly recommended for a visit despite the closure of Madain Saleh!ReplyCancel

  • Ma. Theresa VillaganasJuly 10, 2019 - 10:20 pm

    Please tell when this Madain Saleh be open to public. We been there last month but it was closed. Do you have any idea when it will be open? Thank you.ReplyCancel

I’ve been looking for a place to recycle waste in Riyadh for a long time. Probably one of the most frequently asked questions I get from readers are “where to recycle clothes, old appliances, glass, metal, batteries etc”.

I must admit, one of the most shocking things for me in transitioning to life from Finland to Saudi Arabia was the lack of recycling practices. Coming from a Scandinavian country, where we recycle almost everything (by law!) I felt like a criminal throwing glass jars and metal cans into the trash bin along with all the other rubbish. Recycling becomes a part of life when you are used to it from an early age, and recycling doesn’t really take that much of an extra effort. So the people who are already used to the system and mindset or materials being reused for other purposes feel guilt when they have to throw away everything in the same bin.

The problem that many people face in Riyadh has been where to take all these glass, plastic, paper and metal products for recycling? Where to donate all this old clothing to? How about old furniture and appliances?  I was most shocked to find out that even batteries are regularly thrown in the same garbage dump.

I was so happy to hear about a recycling place in Riyadh where we can take all this problematic and toxic waste and everything can be dropped off in one place. Recycle center map location at the end of this post!

The use of plastic in Saudi Arabia is extremely worrisome. Whenever I go out to the beautiful desert and other amazing places that can be found in Saudi Arabia, I see what kind of detrimental effect humans and their obsession for plastic bags, water bottles and plastic cutlery does to nature.

Recycling in Saudi has always been close to my heart and I’ve written about it previously in this article: Recycling the Saudi Values and this list of  Ten Ways to recycle in KSA

Thumamah desert fence January 2018. Photo: Laura Alho

Trash collected from Farasan Island beach April 2017. Photo: Laura Alho

One of my pet peeves is going to the supermarket, pharmacy or a baqala (small convenience store), where every single small thing you buy will be placed in one plastic bag. Why? Why is there a need to put a tiny box of medicine for example, into a plastic bag? When I can just put it in my pocket, or handbag or carry it in my hand!

The use of plastic bags in Saudi Arabia is totally out of control.

The country is drowning in plastic.

Habala village September 2017. Photo: Laura Alho

Sadly, going to the desert nearby Riyadh often means having to mingle with a bunch of left behind picnics, plastic bags and bottles. Same goes for the public beaches around Jeddah and Gizan, and the valleys, national parks and the beautiful forests in Asir. Pretty much anything within a 50 km radius from a city is going to look like a garbage yard due to those very same plastic bags we are forced to use everyday, and which people with complete disregard to nature throw onto the ground.

Sometimes large trash cans are provided in some areas, but they’re not emptied at all, or not often enough. Weather conditions and animals cause the trash to fly out of the garbage cans out into the nature. Other animals will come and spread trash around further. The large yellow trash cans we can see in many places have no lids, so all the birds and cats can just jump in and take the trash outside and it spreads around, even if humans tried to do the right thing and dispose of their waste in them.

Plastic bags bags should be BANNED in Saudi Arabia, like they already have in several places around the world. The plastic bags can be replaced by cloth bags, paper bags, or reusable bags.

Hidden Canyon in Riyadh September 2017. Photo: Laura Alho

An example of the plastic madness from everyday life in Riyadh: When you go to a grocery store the have baggers who are actually TRAINED TO WASTE PLASTIC. I know a lot of people reading this from outside KSA will not believe anything so absurd could be the norm in the year 2018 but it’s true. Yes, the bagger is instructed to use a mass load of bags for a just a couple of grocery items. Go to any grocery chain in Saudi Arabia and you’ll find the same problem, the baggers never fill the bags up, unless the customer specifically asks and insists otherwise. This has got to change!!!

For example if the customer buys a bottle of milk, a shampoo, a loaf of bread and some bananas, instead of using ONE single bag to pack all of them, these would be placed in five bags, double one for the bananas.

Every single time I go to the grocery store I face the same issue that I have to go and instruct the bagger to fill the bags up and stop wasting so much plastic. They give me weird looks but I still do it, because it’s really the least I can do if I don’t have a reusable bag with me. Sometimes they won’t understand and that’s when I just take the bags and start filling them up myself, I’ve also taught this to my children and they will advise and help the baggers each time. It’s definitely not the norm to do this and most people seem to have no idea why I wouldn’t want all those plastic bags.

An even better option would be to always remember to have your own reusable shopping bag for packing groceries. Although I’ve noticed that the baggers will not know how to use the reusable bags, unless instructed. They first try to place the items in the plastic bags then place all those inside the reusable bag! You can’t make these things up!

Everyone can start making small changes life, DAILY. Everyone can do it. REFUSE to take that plastic bag. Get a reusable bag for groceries. Tell the bagger to use less plastic. Refuse that straw, you don’t really need it. Take your glass, batteries and metal waste to recycle unit. Most people have drivers, give the recyclable items to the driver once a week and he takes them. No extra effort needed. When taking laundry out, refuse all the extra metal hangers and plastic wraps.

Read this post for 10 ways to recycle in Saudi Arabia. 

When you’re at the park, don’t litter. Call people out for littering. Honestly this really does help.

Pick up trash left by other people, be an example.

Show an example to your kids by teaching them how to recycle and pick up after themselves from a very early age. Insist that the kids school begin teaching recycling and respecting nature as part of the curriculum. There are hundreds of ways every single person reading this can help.

Are YOU doing something?

To be fair there are many environmental awareness campaigns in Saudi Arabia, more and more each year. So there definitely has been a positive change from what I’ve seen in the 10 years time I’ve been in Saudi Arabia. Things which have the most dire impact on the nature, such as the use of plastic bags and water bottles needs regulations and laws set to be effective.

Plastic bags in Saudi Arabia’s stores should either be

A) banned altogether and alternatives taken into use or

B) customers have to pay for their bags and this will greatly reduce the amount being used.

My main reason for this post was originally to share the location of the center where you can recycle in Riyadh that I found out about recently. As usual when speaking about matters close to my heart, I got carried away about how the environment is not being protected enough in Saudi. I do this because I genuinely care and I want things to change. It’s something I’m passionate about and can talk about on and on. Without these things being addressed and talked about, things will not change. This is my second home country and my children are half Saudi, I want them to be able to live in a clean safe environment in the future and for future generations to be able to enjoy Saudi Arabia’s nature the same way we can now.

Location of Recycle Center in Riyadh

I was so excited to find this recycling place in Riyadh where they will accept multiple things at one location. Instead of having to go around the town to multiple different locations to try to recycle waste and in the process spend several hours stuck in traffic, there is one place in the city center that we can now take it all to.

UPDATE 2018 November: After publishing this post the center got so much traffic they could not handle all the materials being brought to them and had to remove the collecting bins.

They no longer accept anything other than clothing and furniture for charity.

If you have information about a recycle center in Riyadh which takes different materials in one place please let me know in the comments!

They can also come to your house to fetch larger items such as furniture and old appliances. So this is fantastic news indeed! It’s not the same as we have in Finland but this is absolutely better than nothing and a great start!

Here is the location on google maps of the center for recycle in Riyadh:

It’s open daily from 9 am to 11pm. Fridays after Jumah prayer.

Recycle center in Riyadh

Recycling place in Riyadh.

If you know of a similar place to recycle in Jeddah, Khobar, Abha, Dammam, Qassim and any city on KSA, please leave the info in the comments to help others to find these locations.

Please also leave in the comments social media handles for Environmental awareness campaigns, charities that accept donated clothing and any other related information that will benefit everyone.

Thank you!

Recycle in Riyadh

Recycle in Riyadh

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  • AbdulmohsenMarch 22, 2018 - 11:29 am

    very interesting article. It is worth noting that the recycling location you mentioned is actually a charity collection spot mostly for clothing or anything that can be donated to those in need.
    There is this company I found online for recycling electronics:

    There is also this company that recycle paper, plastic and glass through it’s 8 branches around the kingdom:

    It is worth noting that I haven’t dealt with any of these companies and I just knew about them from my internet search.ReplyCancel

    • LauraMarch 22, 2018 - 12:01 pm

      Hi thank you for the links!
      it is for charity and recycling.

      Let me know please if you try any of the ones you mentioned how they work.ReplyCancel

    • ShahnazDecember 13, 2018 - 1:50 pm

      I called tadweer, they only do electronics!

      No answer from arab recycling!ReplyCancel

  • BerndienMarch 22, 2018 - 4:28 pm

    I always take my bag and have an extra one in my purse.For me it is very strange that people from Europa are not doing what they do in there homecountry: take there own bag….
    They recognize me in shops and ask for my bag….they know, I don’t want plastic bags….I am sure that if more people do this, it will change ‘Be the change you want to see in the world ‘- Ghandi-ReplyCancel

  • Maureen vamplewMarch 23, 2018 - 6:04 am

    To the lady that says take your own bag … yesthus works if you use the same supermarket and the baggers get to know your habits Often I have given my bags over for a large shop to be packed only to find the bagger has packed my reusable … no time before prayer to repack . I hear you ask why don’t you pack your own shame on you !!!! But if I don’t that little bag packer has no job at all
    Very good article to promote recycling
    May be we need recycle bins in compounds as some mosques have recycle bins so there must be a system for recycling ??ReplyCancel

  • RayMarch 26, 2018 - 12:10 am

    THANK YOU! Coming from canada it was SO hard throwing garbage out. I felt guilty! Now i have a solution. ?
    And i agree about the packers packing every single thing in a small bag…i get weird looks too when i tell them to fill the bag!ReplyCancel

  • HarbiMarch 26, 2018 - 3:07 am

    Sometimes the companies who claims to do recycle ( except charities) are doing resale trade for the clothes on the expence of being a recycling company .. be aware plzReplyCancel

  • MAriaMarch 26, 2018 - 12:24 pm

    thanks for this! I’ve been looking and this is very useful!ReplyCancel

  • GhaidaMarch 26, 2018 - 5:33 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this!
    I’ve been hoarding a year’s worth of plastic bottles in hopes of finding a place to recycle them! I finally have them off my consciouns (and have more room in my house) ?ReplyCancel

  • ErnstMarch 27, 2018 - 10:39 am

    What a disappointment — I have been outsorting my recyclable rubbish for a week and was going to drive past the recycling point on the way home tonight. Now I see I am going to have to throw the bottles, paper and metal in the bin.ReplyCancel

  • AlejandroMarch 31, 2018 - 3:31 pm

    today saturday 31/3/2018, day to highlight. I went to recycling point, i could leave:
    – big bags of bottles and plastic items.
    – bag of glass
    – bag of cans
    – bag of tetra brick.
    – bag of paper and carton.

    they took everything. Easy and quick drop.

    Thanks Laura.ReplyCancel

  • AlejandroApril 15, 2018 - 7:23 am

    today Saturday 14th april, second successful delivery. QUICK and EASY.
    is there more collecting points like this in Riyadh?ReplyCancel

    • NadiaMay 20, 2019 - 11:33 pm

      Hi Alejandro, Have you been able to continue sending your recyclables to the same location?ReplyCancel

      • LauraMay 27, 2019 - 6:26 pm

        They stopped taking recyclables too many people began going there after I posted this and they removed the containers.ReplyCancel

  • Wida sagitaSeptember 16, 2018 - 7:07 pm

    Hello, good evening.
    I would to ask about the center for recycling the water bottles caps.
    We want to use is as charity for the dialisys patient from the selling from these bottle caps.
    May we know the center?
    Thank youReplyCancel

    • Nikki JohnJanuary 27, 2019 - 2:43 pm

      Hi i have a lot of bottle caps. I would like to know more about this charity.

      Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • JimbobSeptember 20, 2018 - 11:56 am

    can you post a pin for this recycling point please?ReplyCancel

    • LauraSeptember 21, 2018 - 3:32 pm

      on the post i have added the google map locationReplyCancel

  • NaymahOctober 13, 2018 - 5:20 pm

    I really really hope that there will be recycle bins in all schools,malls,colleges and public spaces.There is defidently more plastic use here than I am used to where I am from.I have seen the same issue in my home country in Africa but it’s no where near as prevalent due as general consumption isn’t as high.Ive been here few weeks now and have just been collecting plastic until I have enough to recycle and have figured out a spot.I hope there is a national campaign as part of their vision 2030.ReplyCancel

  • Shaun Grace AlcalenDecember 10, 2018 - 10:54 pm

    great to know there has been this kind of recycling facilities around the kingdom. Awareness should start from within us, from educating people that plastics and the use of it destroy not just our health but also our environment.Appreciate this post a lot coz Ive seen how plastic has been like a norm to us here in the kingdom and majority of people doesnt know the effects of just throwing used plastics anywhere.ReplyCancel

  • mariaJanuary 15, 2019 - 11:28 pm

    hi! im tryng to limit also my waste prints,and these is what I just needed and also do you happen to know any grocery store where they allow to use own reusable bag or jar for the bulk aisle? cant find any other page. im luck to find this one ?


  • Jerry.ZhaoApril 23, 2019 - 1:37 pm

    I am a Chinese Businessman, looking for the Lead Battery recycling online, and find you article by accident, you are great.ReplyCancel

  • EòghannMay 5, 2019 - 1:01 am

    One of the frustrations of shopping in supermarkets in Riyadh is that, even if you bring a supply of reusable bags to the store, you are in effect prevented from using them because a lot of supermarkets (as an anti-theft mechanism) do not allow you to bring any kind of bag with you on to the shop floor. You are therefore obliged to deposit all bags at the customer services desk before proceeding on to the shop floor. This then means, of course, that you don’t have any reusable bags to use to pack your shopping when you reach the check-out … and so the cycle of consuming plastic bags every time that you shop continues (and, as you correctly point out in your article, the number of plastic bags offered by the supermarkets on each visit is excessive).

    If the supermarkets would get rid of the policy of requiring customers to check in all bags at the entrance, then we could bring our own reusable bags into the store and use them. A few supermarkets (for example, some but not all of the Tamimi’s in Riyadh) don’t require you to check in your bags at the entrance, and there it is possible to bring your own reusable bags into the store. However, such supermarkets are rare.

    The lack of recycling facilities in and around Riyadh is, for those of us who care deeply about the environmental health of this country, at times very upsetting. I throw out more in a week in Riyadh than I do in a year in Europe. I desperately want to do something to reduce my environmental ‘footprint’ in this country, but have not so far found any way of doing it.ReplyCancel

  • MahmoudJuly 18, 2019 - 2:25 pm

    Finally i’ve found smb who’s interested in saving the environment -as much as possible- in Saudi Arabia, Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • André ASeptember 22, 2019 - 11:55 am

    Today September 22, 2019, I finally found a place where they take used batteries (lamps, remote controls, radios, laptops) for recycling. It is still the same place you mentioned earlier in Al Wurud. Thank you for the great article and to you Laura as well They removed the collecting bins, but they take everything into a truck then they bring it into their recycling centers. I left today a full bag of used batteries we were accumulating for years as my wife did not want to throw them as usual garbage.

    Recycling Center
    Al Wurud, 3218 Ibn Abi Al Fath Al Kharfi, 8200, Riyadh 12254

  • SaharSeptember 29, 2019 - 11:02 am

    Hello! I am a student, and I am interested in how you do the process of recycling. I am currently working on a project for younger children to teach them the importance of recycling, and I would really like for you to help me with this project.
    Thank you!!!!ReplyCancel

    • Afrina Mohammad Noor`October 25, 2019 - 7:14 pm

      salam mualikum
      I am a student from alfaisal university, we will be soon having an event. In that event our topic is environmental health and wellbeing, i really need help also with the project.
      so if you can get in contact and help……
      thank youReplyCancel

  • ZeenatFebruary 21, 2020 - 11:21 am

    Hi laura
    I recently move to Riyadh and I’m already sick of the amount of plastics! I came across your blog which is amazingly interesting. So far I manage to set up a recycling system within my compound and I’m getting in touch with different recycling industries for picking up the compound recycling bin but in vain!

    I’m happy to organise and participate in raising awareness of recycling in the kingdom. I’m just working on that at the moment and start gather some volunteers to go to shopping malls. As well as a volunteering group to pick up litter out and about.

    I would be very grateful if you could please get in touch and share your ideas.

    I’m actually in london for a week at the moment and I’m trying to see with different agencies here about how to setting up workshops to raise awareness in recycling in the kingdom.

    Anyone would like to join me please feel free to send me an email on

    Email –
    Watsapp- +44 7375482963
    Saudi Contact no: +966 56 120 8125ReplyCancel

Some of you may already know that I’ve been making Saudi souvenirs as wall calendars for several years now, five consecutive years in fact! I love compiling and designing the calendars using imagery from my travels around Saudi Arabia, despite it being a huge hassle every year to produce and print them.

The hardest part is choosing ONLY 12 beautiful places in Saudi Arabia (from hundreds of options) and then from those 12 locations, having to select just one or two images to showcase the location in the best possible way. It takes me about three months to finish the entire calendar design because I want the result to be perfect. I try to include something from each region of KSA and showcase the surprising diversity in landscape, culture and colors of Saudi Arabia.

The calendars make the ideal Saudi souvenirs to take back home to show the beauty of Saudi Arabia in a compact and affordable package. They would also make great gifts to visiting foreign friends. For more Saudi inspired gifts check out my Instagram: Inspired by Arabia

For this years calendar cover design I chose to feature al Qatt al Asiri, the traditional wall paintings of Asir region. These wall murals are done entirely by the women of Asir who have mastered this art form for centuries.

I was thrilled to hear that Qatt al Asiri was selected as intangible heritage by UNESCO in 2018 so the choice was perfect to celebrate this recognition! More al Qatt alasiri art can be found inside the calendar.

Other Saudi Arabia UNESCO sites (already listed or tentative) featured in this calendar: At Turaif district, Madain Saleh, Al Balad, Dhee Ayn village, Rijal Alma’a village and Hejaz railway.

So where can you get one of these wall calendars?

I’ve selected some of the best places in Riyadh, Khobar and Jeddah that you definitely should pay a visit to, even if you don’t get a calendar or other Saudi souvenirs :)

Perfect Saudi souvenirs-Wall calendars



Haya Tours office

Salwa is a wealth of information and visiting her office at Alia plaza you can book tours and grab a calendar as a souvenir!


Draft Store Centria mall second floor

This shop is addictive, each time I go there I find new cool things and gift ideas. You will be compelled to grab something every time you visit! Magic Kingdom wall calendars can be found there too as well as many other items you could take home as Saudi souvenirs and gifts from the region. Find them on instagram: @draftthoughts

Open all day 10am -11pm (no break in between ??)

The Blossom Tree Bustan Village compound

Lovely concept store inside Bustan compound. Accessories and home decor, Saudi souvenir ideas. They stock the Inspired by Arabia canvas at Blossom tree.



A must visit place when in Jeddah- they select the best home bakeries, local designers and producers so you are guaranteed for a treat. Have coffee and shop for the perfect gifts in a beautiful instagram-worthy environment! They also host events and concerts at Crate- stay up to date on instagram: @crateksa

Al Khobar

Desert Designs

The go-to place for Saudi souvenirs in Eastern Province. Magic Kingdom wall calendars, Saudi doors pillows, phone covers from the Inspired by Arabia brand are available there too.

For more souvenir ideas from Saudi Arabia check out Susie’s post: Souvenirs from Saudi 

Online stores:


Lulu publisher (U.S.A & Canada)

Lulu is a print on demand site and they will produce and ship the calendar to you worldwide, shop online here: Magic Kingdom Wall Calendar 2018 


Calendar Sponsor

Special thank you to calendar sponsor al Nakhla residential compound! Al Nakhla compound won the title of Best Luxury Residential compound in Saudi Arabia 2017, and once you visit this compound you will no doubt see why! It’s like stepping into a luxury holiday resort, except that people actually live there!

A very family oriented compound, with daycare, kids playgrounds, plenty of different pools ( 23 pools!), safe places for kids to ride bikes, skate and play.  I’ve tried their open air buffet at the Majdool restaurant by the gorgeous pool. I’d highly recommended to try it out as an alternative to the five star hotel buffets for a more relaxed atmosphere.

Al Nakhla’s recreation office is well known for hosting some of the best events in Riyadh, and they allow visitors to attend! The best way to stay up to date with al Nakhla events is to follow their social media channels: Instagram and Facebook page.  Visit their website for more compound info: Al Nakhla Residential Resort

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  • CArolineSeptember 18, 2018 - 6:06 pm

    I am moving to Riyad in the next few months and have really ejoyed your blog.ReplyCancel

  • Dr. Premila SamuelMarch 16, 2019 - 9:26 pm

    Hi Laura. Just want to convey my appreciation and best wishes. I have been following your blog and Twitter feeds and have got a wealth of info about SA. I have just relocated from India to Hafar al Batin. I would be interested to get more info on heritage site tours such as Al ula and Madain Saleh/ Jabal el lawz etc Many thanks to you.ReplyCancel