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Riyadh Airports Company (RAC) was established as part of the privatization program of the aviation sector in Saudi Arabia. It is now managing and operating King Khalid International Airport (KKIA) in the Saudi capital, and is working on upgrading the KKIA infrastructure and expanding it with new services and facilities. We in Riyadh Airports are committed to working closely with our partners and stakeholders on both local and global levels, to ensure that consumer satisfaction is exceeded by pleasant, safe, and efficient services.
At RAC, we believe strongly that each of our employees has the potential to contribute to the overall company performance and strategic directions. We also believe that our employees have the courage and ability to perform outstandingly by adhering to five core values that have been significantly built up to serve our clients and partners according to the highest standards. We are keen to translate these values into action in all our daily practices, and in both internal and external dealings with our partners, stakeholders, and customers.
In the ever-growing and flourishing city of Riyadh, you will discover the birthplace of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, along with its historical treasures hidden in the old palaces that witnessed the founding of the Kingdom. It is a destination for tourists from all over the globe who wish to discover a world of shopping, entertainment and business. The malls offer the most exciting shopping experience, and the sand dunes combined with the brightest stars in the sky present the most magical experience in nature. It is an environment full of a natural variety and unique characteristics that are intriguing for explorers.
On the other side of the bustling city, you can enjoy a variety of experiences in luxurious restaurants that offer their special services, and their elaborate international dishes. Simultaneously, the local Riyadh restaurants will tempt you with their authentic flavors and blend of spices originating from Saudi culture. Today, Riyadh is one of the most happening cities where the biggest cultural events are celebrated. Endless entertainment destinations are always emerging for the city's visitors to have intriguing and renewing experiences.
The average temperature in Riyadh in May for a typical day ranges from a high of 103°F (40°C) to a low of 74°F (24°C). It is most suitable to wear light clothes.
Time Zone of Riyadh: UTC/ GMT+3
Saudis work from Sunday through to Thursday, and their weekend is Friday and Saturday.
Government offices in Saudi Arabia open at 8:00 am and close at 2:30 or 3 pm. Business hours can be from 9 to 5 pm, or from 9 to 1 pm with a three-hour break until 4 pm, re-opening 4 to 8 pm.
Commercial outlets open at 9:30 am and remain open until 10 pm or even later. Some close for a couple of hours around 1 pm. There are a few outlets that now operate 24/7.
Muslim prayer times need always to be taken into account. At each prayer time, many shops, businesses, banks and government offices close for 20 to 30 minutes to allow time for worship. Because of the lunar calendar, prayer times change slightly from day to day, but daily prayer times are easily found online and displayed in hotel lobbies.
Embassies and consulates in Riyadh are generally open from 8am to 2pm and are closed on Fridays and Saturdays. The majority are located in the "Diplomatic Quarter" (Al Safarat) just off the western ring road.
Banks in Saudi Arabia provide the usual commercial banking services. Banks are open from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm, Sunday to Thursday.
Foreign Exchange & Banking
Currency exchange and transactions are easy in Saudi Arabia. There are 30 banks in Saudi Arabia, of which 13 are local and 17 are international. All are overseen by the Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority. Saudi Arabia's national currency is the Saudi riyal (ر.س SAR), which is subdivided into 100 halala.
You'll receive notes in denominations of five riyals, ten riyals, 50 riyals, 100 riyals, 200 riyals and 500 riyals; and coins in denominations of two riyals, one riyal, 50 halala, 25 halala, 10 halala, 5 halala and 1 halala. In 2020, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority announced the first polymer note to be used in Saudi Arabia, being the 5 riyals note, to replace the current paper banknote. Check the Saudi Central Bank website here for the notes' descriptions and specimens.
As of 1986, the riyal has been officially pegged to the US dollar. $1=SAR 3.75, or put another way, SAR 1=$0.266667.
All banks in the kingdom offer currency exchange services. Exchange bureaus are located at airports, some shopping centers and various other locations throughout the country. Credit card, such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted throughout the kingdom. ATMs are also widely available.
Banks in the Kingdom set different ATM cash limits, but withdrawing SAR 2,000 is usually not a problem. ATM Machines support English language transactions.
Saudi Arabia imposes an indirect tax of 15% (VAT) on all goods and services purchased and sold by enterprises. There are some exceptions.
Telephone code, Emergency & Useful Numbers
Saudi Arabia's country code is +966. There are three mobile network providers in Saudi Arabia. These are:
Saudi Ambulance: 997
For traffic accidents: 993
General enquiries: 905
Emergency medical consultation: 937
Tourism Call Center: 930
Tourism International Call Center: +966 920 000 890
Uber is available in larger cities, as are Middle East rideshare apps like Bolt, Jeeny, Careem and Kaiian, all of which have English options. For street hails, there are taxi stands at busy areas like shopping malls and sports stadiums. Your hotel can also organize taxis for you.
Riyadh's public bus service was launched in March last year and, currently there are 54 routes served by 672 buses. There is a website, and a mobile app called Riyadh Bus that can be downloaded for both android and iPhones which helps with route planning. A 2-hour ticket costs SAR4, whilst a 3-day ticket is priced at SAR20.
The new metro system is currently undergoing testing, but has not yet been opened for the general public.
Electricity, Socket Type
In Riyadh, the power plugs and sockets are of type G. The standard voltage is 220 V, and the standard frequency is 60 Hz. (The type G socket is what is mainly used in the UK, Ireland, Malaysia, Singapore, and the rest of the Arabian Peninsula.)
People should dress modestly – generally covering shoulders and knees and avoiding too tight or visible outfits. Opt for loose opaque fabrics. It is not compulsory for women to cover their hair and wear an Abaya, but carrying a light scarf is suggested.
Arabic is the official language of Saudi Arabia and the primary language used in all dealings and public transactions. English serves as an informal second language in the Kingdom and is spoken by a large section of its society. All road signs are bilingual, showing information in both Arabic and English. Among the non-Saudi population in Riyadh, many people speak Urdu, Hindi and Tagalog, and other Asian languages.
Although you'll hear plenty of English in Saudi Arabia, there's nothing like using a few Arabic expressions to help you really connect with the locals:
Bad language, loud behavior, and encroaching on other people's boundaries are considered disrespectful. Respectful public decorum is always advised.
Taking pictures or videos of people or incidents without permission is a violation, so one must always ask permission first.
To learn about the Public Decorum Charter, please visit here, and here for the Violations to Public Decency and Penalties.
Saudi Arabia's rich heritage and traditions have been shaped by its position as a historic trade hub and the birthplace of Islam. In recent years, the Kingdom has undergone a significant cultural transformation, evolving centuy-old customs to fit the contemporary world we live in today.
Islam is the main religion of Saudi Arabia.
Food & Beverage, Alcohol & Substances
Islamic dietary laws forbid the eating of pork. Also, the sale, purchase, and consumption of alcohol and drugs is illegal in Saudi Arabia. This law is enforced throughout Saudi Arabia.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia's capital and main financial hub, is on a desert plateau in the country's center. Business district landmarks include the 302m-high Kingdom Centre, with a sky bridge connecting 2 towers, and the 267m-high Al Faisaliah Centre, with a glass-globe summit. In the historical Deira district, Masmak Fort marks the site of the 1902 raid that gave the Al Sauds control of Riyadh.
Historical Diriyah:Historical Diriyah's establishment dates back to 1446 AD. At-Turaif District is the most important part of Diriyah, and one of the five Saudi sites included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. At-Turaif includes Salwa Palace, from which the affairs of the first Saudi state were managed. Ghusayba district is the first capital of the region, and is 2 km away from At-Turaif. It is surrounded by walls built from rocks. The main gate is located in the middle of the Eastern wall of the district.
Masmak Fortress (قصر المصمك, or Qaṣr al-Maṣmak), is a clay and mudbrick fort in the al-Dirah neighborhood of Riyadh, located in close proximity to the al-Hukm Palace in the Qasr al-Hukm District. Built in 1865, the fortress played an integral role in the Unification of Saudi Arabia, with the Battle of Riyadh, one of the most important conflicts of the Saudi unification, taking place in 1902. Since 1995, the fortress has been converted into a museum showcasing one of the most important landmarks of Saudi heritage.
The National Museum of Saudi Arabia(المتحف الوطني السعودي) is located in the al-Murabba neighborhood of Riyadh. Established in 1999, it is part of the King Abdulaziz Historical Centre and is surrounded by al-Wadi Park to the north and al-Madi Park to the east. The museum was opened in 1999 and showcases 3,700 artifacts such as statues, scripts and unique sculptures.
Saqr Al-Jazira Aviation Museum (متحف صقر الجزيرة للطيران) has two arenas; the internal arena is where details of aircraft, air force uniforms, and weapons are displayed, and external arena is where various aircraft of different sizes are displayed. It displays the history of Royal Air Force such as its inception and development, and some of the operations of the Saudi Air Force are also displayed through films and photographs. The museum usually presents air shows on important ceremonies. It welcomes visitors daily from 4 to 9 PM with a small fee.
King Abdullah Park (منتزه الملك عبدالله) formerly Al-Malaz Square is an equestrian field-turned municipal park in the al-Malazz neighborhood of Riyadh, located adjacent to Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium. Covering an area of 31.8 hectares, the square served as a horse racecourse from the early days of Saudi Arabia's unification until 2002, before being reopened as the largest public park in the country in 2013. Popular for its 12-meter-wide pedestrian corridor, 110-meter giant laser fountains and an artificial lake, the park gets flooded by visitors during festive seasons.
Edge of the World is a 1.131m-height cliff that lies some 100 km from Riyadh at the end of the 800 km extending Tuwaik Mountain range. Edge of the World is the perfect destination of mountain climbing and hiking lovers to discover the breathtaking off-cliff spectacular views. To book your journey to the Edge of the World, you can look up the available trips to book here, and check instructions here.