Saudi Arabia is well known for its history and natural landscapes, including the gardens in Riyadh, beaches along the Dead Sea in Jeddah, and the country’s expansive deserts.
The standards for patient care and medical services in Saudi Arabia may differ from your home country. Saudi Arabia has both public and private health sectors, with private healthcare more popular in major cities. Healthcare generally meets international standards, but may be inadequate in rural parts of the country. Saudi Arabia has a shortage of physicians, nurses, and other healthcare personnel, so healthcare access can be limited in some areas.
In the event of a medical emergency, contact your travel health insurance company immediately. Hospitals in Saudi Arabia typically require upfront payment in cash or credit card, regardless if you have travel health insurance. Ensure that you have accessible funds to cover upfront fees and adequate travel health insurance. Before you depart, check with your insurer about the extent of their coverage in Saudi Arabia.
Pharmacies in Saudi Arabia are found in hospitals and health centres. Medicines such as antibiotics require a prescription from a doctor. Many medicines can be purchased over-the-counter, but you should consult a physician before taking a new medication.
If you are travelling with medication, check with Saudi Arabia’s embassy, consulate, or Ministry of Health for details on medication allowances and restrictions. If your medication is a psychotropic or narcotic, you can review Saudi Arabia’s regulations on the International Narcotics Control Board. Note that these sources may provide incomplete or out-of-date information.
Road conditions in Saudi Arabia can vary by region. In cities, road are generally well maintained, but roads in rural regions may be in poor condition. Seat belts are required for front and rear seat passengers at all times. It is legal for women to drive in Saudi Arabia, but a special license is required and only available to Saudi nationals. Helmets must be worn by drivers and passengers of motorcycles at all times.
Before you go, check the list of vaccines and relevant health risks for Saudi Arabia. For personalized advice, check out our Travel Health Planner to get health information that’s tailored to all the destinations on your itinerary:
Population: 32.94 million
Official language: Arabic
Time zone: Arabian Standard Time (AST)
Emergency #: 997
Vaccinations required: Yes
Risk of malaria: Yes