Essential Info for Saudi Arabia

Population: 32 million

Capital city: Riyadh (also largest city)
 
Other major cities: Jeddah, Damman, Mecca
 
Neighbouring countries: Saudi Arabia is bordered by Jordan, Iraq and Kuwait to the north, Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates to the east, and Oman and Yemen to the south.
 
Political system: Islamic absolute monarchy

Geography: Saudi Arabia is made up mostly of desert. The population is distributed amongst the eastern and western coastal towns as well as the interior oases, but much of the country remains empty desert. 
 
Main languages: Arabic is the official language, although English is widely spoken and understood in business.
 
Major religions: Saudi Arabia is a strict Islamic country governed by Sharia law. Although other religions can be practised in private, proselytising is strictly forbidden.
 
Money: The official currency is the Saudi riyal (SAR), divided into 100 halala. The country has a well-established banking system and expats are able to open a local bank account in Saudi Arabia.

Tipping: 10 percent

Time: GMT+3

Electricity: 110 volts, 50Hz in main cities, but expats in remote areas may encounter 220 volts, 60Hz.
 
International dialling code: +966
 
Internet domain: .sa
 
Transport and driving: Cars drive on the right side of the road in Saudi Arabia. Most expats get around in their own vehicles or with a personal driver. Although women have been forbidden to drive in the past, this is slowly changing.
 
Emergency numbers: 999 (police); 997 (ambulance); 998 (fire)
 
Education: Foreign children don't have access to local public schools. There is a range of international schools catering to the expat community, although the standard of education can be variable.

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