Top 5 things you will NEVER find in Saudi Arabia

There are plenty of contraband items in Saudi Arabia. And there are plenty of harsh laws, too (many discriminating against females). For example, if a naked women is discovered by a man, she (by law) must cover her face, NOT her body. It comes as no surprise, then, to find many everyday items that have been deemed illegal by the Quran, the Saudi Government or by the Religious Police. Here are the top 5 things you WILL NEVER SEE in Saudi Arabia in your lifetime.


5. Movie Theatres are banned throughout Saudi Arabia, in conjunction with the Quran. No music is allowed, either (apart from traditional Arabic music), so don’t think you can watch the latest Justin Bieber concert in 3D next time you’re in Riyadh, right?!

A busy lunchtime in Riyadh
A busy lunchtime in Riyadh

4. Social Mixing cannot be performed in public at any time of the day. Regardless of browsing through a marketplace, or ordering a McArabia in McDonald’s, there will always be queues specifically for women and men, and most of the time, separate queues for singles and families!


3. Other religions are not tolerated in any way, shape or form in Saudi Arabia. Islam is the de facto religion to which all citizens must abide by law. Even in expat compounds, where foreign workers live, such as teachers and businessmen, it is always a risky affair to celebrate occasions like Christmas openly for fear of upsetting the religious Police.


2. Women Drivers will not be seen on any of Saudi Arabia’s roads, as it is the only country in the world which prohibits women from sitting behind the wheel. It is common to see underage drivers driving (illegally) on the roads of Saudi’s biggest cities, but women are expected to stay in the passenger seat by law.

Part of a typical piggery in rural Philippines

And number 1 is…Bacon! We all know that Islam strictly forbids the consumption of pork as it is considered a taboo. Other meat, such as chicken, goat, and lamb are eaten plentifully, but there is no such thing as bacon butties offered for breakfast, or pork scratchings available as snacks in Saudi supermarkets!


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