Living in Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia occupies approximately 800,000 square miles – about 80 percent of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered on the west by the Red Sea and on the east by the Arabian Gulf.

Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom has a population of nearly 28 million people. It is a country rich in ancient history, modern culture, and natural beauty - from sweeping desert landscapes to sparkling blue seas. With a large international airport and convenient access to Europe, Asia, and Africa, Saudi Arabia is also the perfect starting point for global travel and unforgettable experiences.


The average national rainfall in Saudi Arabia is 2.76 inches, but extremes are possible. The Empty Quarter (one of the largest sand deserts in the world) may record no rainfall for several years, while snow has been recorded in the north of the kingdom. The rainy season extends from November through May, with the mountainous 'Asir region being an exception, where summer monsoons result in an annual rainfall of 1214 inches.


“Shamal” is the Arabic term for sandstorms that reduce visibility to zero, close airports, and shut-down harbor operations. There are two shamal seasons: the first extends from late spring to early summer; the second from late fall to early winter. The highest winds generally occur in early afternoon and usually decrease by late evening.

Temperature and humidity

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia experiences extremes in both temperature and humidity. In the country’s interior, the air is dry. On the coasts, summer humidity is excessive, particularly at night. In summer, temperatures in some areas may reach 122°F (50°C) in the shade. But in the spring, days are balmy and the nights are clear. In winter, temperatures can drop below freezing in the central and northern regions, and snow sometimes falls in the mountains, the northern plateau, and even in the capital of Riyadh.


The basic monetary unit is the Saudi Riyal (SR), which is printed in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500. Coins are called halalat and are issued in denominations of 5, 10, 25, and 100. One riyal equals 100 halalat. Major credit cards are widely accepted in Saudi Arabia.


Saudi Arabia is on Greenwich Mean Time plus three hours (GMT + 3:00). For example: when it's 6 p.m. Central Time in the U.S., it will be 3 a.m. In Saudi Arabia.

Work schedules

The regular work week is from Sunday to Thursday. The weekend days are Friday and Saturday.