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Why carry an IDP while driving in Saudi Arabia?

Your IDP is a valid form of identification in more than 150 countries worldwide and contains your name, photo and driver information in the 12 most widely spoken languages in the world – it is understandable to most of the local officials and authorities of the countries you visit.

It translates your identification information into 12 languages — so it speaks the language even if you don’t. Saudi Arabia highly recommends an International Driving Permit.

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Top Destinations in Saudi Arabia

From its natural wonders to its deep-rooted culture, Saudi Arabia has a lot to offer in history and tradition. As one of the countries with the earliest traces of human civilization, Saudi Arabia is undeniably one of the world’s oldest places. As its tourism is slowly booming, here are some of the top destinations you could visit while you plan your trip to the country.

At-Turaif District

If you’d like a taste of Saudi Arabia’s history, visit At-Turaif in Ad Diriyah. This ancient district is known for its distinct mud houses and labyrinthine streets that date back to the 1400s. UNESCO recognized it as a world heritage site in 2010, and it has had many visitors even when the ruins were still being restored.

At-Turaif was initially opened to the public in 2019. But the district and the rest of Ad-Diriyah are expected to reopen in 2022 after more projects are erected. When it is ready for the public once again, you can take yourself back in time to 15th century Saudi Arabia, as you take a stroll in the parks and taste the traditional food in Najd village.

You wouldn’t want to visit the ruins when it gets scorching. So it’s best to visit them when the temperature ranges from relatively warm to cool in January to May or September to December. Lastly, remember that even if At-Turaif is closed to the general public, you may get an exclusive tour from the management if you’re lucky enough.

Driving Directions: (30 mins via King Salman Rd)

  • From King Khalid International Airport, you need to head northwest on Airport Road.
  • Keep left and continue onto King Salman Rd to Route 535.
  • Exit onto King Khalid Branch Rd.
  • Turn right onto Al Imam Abdulaziz Ibn Mohammad Ibn Saud.
  • Go through 2 roundabouts and drive straight ahead.
  • At the next roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Al Maktabah.
  • Turn left onto Wadi Hanifah.
  • Turn right three more times until you reach your destination. The heritage site will be to your left.

Don’t forget that foreign drivers need an international driver’s license in Saudi Arabia. You will need this, along with your local driving license, before you even get to rent a car. Other benefits of carrying an international driver’s license in Saudi Arabia include smooth travels on the road, especially when driving between cities. This is because checkpoints are usually present along the way.

Applying for an IDP in person is too much of a hassle. But you can get your International Driver’s Permit for Saudi Arabia online in just a few clicks. If you want to order your copy, visit the International Driver’s Association (IDA) at https://internationaldriversassociation.com/.

Say you’re already in the Kingdom, but you still don’t have an international driver’s permit. You can visit the IDA website for more information on how to get an international driver’s license in Saudi Arabia. The requirements are simple and can be provided digitally. IDA will also provide the application form. A few things you have to fill in for your international driver’s license for Saudi Arabia are your name, contact number, and complete address.

Edge of the World (Jebel Fihrayn)

Tourism is relatively new in Saudi Arabia, and one of the best places you could take a road trip to is the edge of the world. Visitors can enjoy the splendor of the rocky Tuwaiq escarpment, overlooking the sandy valley below. The outside gates close at 6 pm, so it's best to start your trip early. You may also camp in the Acacia valley, but do note that it is only open on Fridays and Saturdays, so always make sure to plan your trip ahead of time.

The best months to visit the edge of the world are from November to February, when the temperatures aren’t hot. Weekends may get crowded so brace yourself for other local and foreign tourists visiting.

It’s encouraged to take an SUV and a GPS with you in order to get to your destination. If you’re not confident in getting to the edge of the world alone, you can travel in large groups or with other cars to reduce your chances of getting lost.

Driving Directions: (2 hrs 15 mins via Route 546)

  • From King Khalid International Airport, you need to head northwest on Airport Road.
  • Make a slight right onto Banban - Airport Rd.
  • At the roundabout, drive to the 3rd exit and continue onto Banban - Airport Rd.
  • Onthe next roundabout, head to the 2nd exit and stay on Banban - Airport Rd. Do the same thing for the next two roundabouts and stay on Banban - Airport Rd/Route 5776.
  • Merge onto Salbukh Rd and continue onto Route 546.
  • Turn left toward Route 5762
  • Turn right onto Sadus Dam Rd.
  • Turn right and follow the dirt road until you reach your destination.

Before road-tripping, always double-check your documents. Make sure that your international driving license is valid in Saudi Arabia. Some companies issue IDPs that may not be valid in certain countries. But with the International Driver’s Association, you’re guaranteed to have a copy translated into twelve languages and accepted in over 150 countries.

If you lost your IDP, remember that you can still go online and order a new international driver’s permit in Saudi Arabia. Contact customer service and provide your name and IDP number, along with your complete address, to get your new International Driver’s Permit for Saudi Arabia. Zipcodes also shouldn’t be forgotten when filling in your details.

Are you feeling excited to finally travel to the Kingdom? Visit the IDA website to apply for an International Driver’s Permit in Saudi Arabia. Although you can get your IDP anytime, it’s best to get your copy now, so you can go to your destination fully prepared.

Al Wahbah crater

Another hidden gem is the Al Wahbah crater found on the western edge of the Harrat Kishb basalt plateau in the Hejazi region of Saudi Arabia. It is around four kilometers wide and 250 meters deep. The crater also has white sodium phosphate crystals found on the bottom of its lake. They glimmer under the sun, painting a picturesque view for the tourists.

Getting to the crater can only be done by car, as no public transportations are heading in its direction. Tourists can also trek down to the center for around an hour while going back up would take twice the time. Be sure to visit the crater during the colder months of November to February. And trek down to the center by early morning or late noon to avoid the sun’s heat.

Driving Directions: (4 hr via Route 4252)

  • From King Abdulaziz International Airport, head east on Al-Nuzhah/Route 320 and turn right.
  • At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit and take the ramp onto Al-Nuzhah/Route 320.
  • Continue down the route and take a slight right.
  • Take another slight right onto Route 5/Route 55M.
  • Continue onto Route 4050 and keep left until you merge back onto Route 4050.
  • Take the ramp onto Route 15 and continue onto King Faisal.
  • Make two left turns, then continue straight onto Route 4700.
  • Turn right, then make another right turn onto Route 4420.
  • Make a U-turn.
  • Turn right onto Route 4252, and keep right to stay on the route.
  • Turn right onto Route 4174, then turn left.
  • Take another left turn onto Route 4174 and continue onto Route 8454.
  • Turn right onto Wahba Crater Rd and continue straight ahead.

Traveling to Al Wahbah may take some time, especially if you’re coming from other cities. The crater lies in the outskirts of Taif and requires a trek. The only way to get there is by car, which is one of the benefits of having an international driver’s license in Saudi Arabia. Before you get to drive, car rental companies would ask for an IDP, especially if your foreign license is not in English.

Not only do you get to rent a car and drive at your convenience, but you also have the reassurance of not getting fined by authorities. Multiple checkpoints are stationed within the cities, so it’s important to get an international driver’s license for Saudi Arabia for a stress-free trip.

If you’d like to finally satisfy your wanderlust, visit the IDA website to apply for an international driving license online. Saudi Arabia requires this for foreign drivers to rent a car and drive in the country. Lastly, remember that your IDP must be issued from your home country as the Kingdom wouldn’t accept an international driving license from Saudi Arabia.

Al-Ahsa Oasis

A world heritage site recognized by UNESCO in 2018, the Al-Ahsa Oasis is a historical and traditional oasis located in Al-Ahsa, Hofuf, the largest governorate in Eastern Saudi Arabia. If you want to explore more of Al-Ahsa, you can visit the Al-Qarah mountains and take a tour around its caves. Don’t forget to drop by the most popular natural springs in the area, too, as they are said to have ‘healing’ properties because of their high mineral content.

If you don’t want to leave empty-handed, visit Souq Al-Qaisariya, one of the oldest markets in Saudi Arabia, to buy some souvenirs. Not only do you get a keepsake of the place, but you also get to step foot in the center of economic trade in old Al-Ahsa.

Make sure to visit Al-Ahsa from March to May since the weather is not too hot. These are also the most active months for tourism in the area. If you want a more relaxed trip, you can visit Al-Ahsa in the colder months of December to February.

Driving Directions: (2 hours via Route 615)

  • From King Fahd International Airport, head south and take a slight right onto King Fahd Rd.
  • Take the ramp to Route 6466 and continue down the route.
  • Take the ramp onto Route 40/Route 80M and take its exit.
  • Turn left and continue straight on.
  • Take a slight right toward Old Abqaiq Rd and continue down the route.
  • Turn right onto Route 607, then make a U-turn.
  • Take the ramp onto King Fahd Road/Route 615 and follow down the route.
  • Make a slight left and continue onto Route 7100 until you exit the road. Make sure to keep left.
  • Continue straight onto Route 6446 and take its exit.
  • Make two right turns, then turn left.

Foreign drivers must have an international driver’s license for Saudi Arabia. You must get one to enjoy the privileges of driving in the Kingdom, as car rental companies and checkpoints would require you to provide one.

Also, remember that your international driver’s license for Saudi Arabia is an English translation of your license. So it’s important to always bring it with you during road trips. But don’t worry if unfortunate circumstances strike, and you end up misplacing or losing it. You can still apply for a new international driver’s license in Saudi Arabia. The website for IDA has instructions on how to order a replacement.

If you don’t want your replacement copy to get lost in the mail, make sure to provide your complete address to receive your international driver’s license in Saudi Arabia quickly. Your zipcode also shouldn’t be forgotten as you fill in the necessary data. Visit the IDA website to know all about the international driver’s license for Saudi Arabia and all the information there is to it.

Ushaiger Heritage Village

Travel back in time by visiting the preserved villages of Saudi Arabia known as the Ushaiger Heritage Village in Najd. This ancient village is just like Ad-Dariyah, with its golden mud-houses and its narrow maze-like streets. The town gets its name from the hill that lies at its north, meaning ‘small or little blond.’

Visiting the village allows you to experience and understand the culture of its residents and early settlers. The locals have also created museums to showcase their way of life to curious tourists. The residents are hospitable and friendly and would not hesitate to interact with visitors. If you’re lucky enough, some might even invite you into their homes for a meal or a quick traditional Arabic snack.

The ideal months to visit the heritage site fall between November and February. Visiting on weekdays would guarantee you more intimate experiences with the locals as there are fewer tourists at this time. Weekends tend to be more hectic and lively, as tourists crowd the streets of Ushaiger to experience its people’s culture and tradition.

Driving Directions: (2 hr 10 min via Route 546)

  • From King Khalid International Airport, head northwest on Airport Road and take a slight right onto Banban - Airport Rd/Route 5107.
  • At the roundabout, use the 3rd exit onto Banban - Airport Rd.
  • Then at the roundabout, take the 2nd exit and stay on Banban - Airport Rd. Do the same thing for the next two roundabouts and continue onto Banban - Airport Rd/Route 5776.
  • Merge onto Salbukh Rd/Route 535 and continue onto Route 546.
  • At the roundabout, drive to the 2nd exit and stay on Route 546. Do the same thing for the next four roundabouts.
  • At the roundabout, use the 1st exit onto Route 50.
  • Take a slight right until you reach your destination.

Suppose you’re a female driver. And you don’t have an IDP because you didn't know that women can finally drive in the Kingdom. Well, now is your chance to finally apply for an international driver’s license for Saudi Arabia. The requirements can be digitally provided, making the application process much easier.

Once you’ve filled in all the necessary driver details, don’t forget to provide your complete address. This is to ensure that your international driver’s license for Saudi Arabia will be successfully mailed to you.

The International Driver’s Association issues IDPs, and you’ll be sure to get yours in no time if you’d like to learn more about applying for an international driver’s license for Saudi Arabia. Information in connection to an IDP application process on the IDA website.

The National Museum of Saudi Arabia

Take a more educational route to experience Saudi Arabia by visiting its National museum. Get ready to know more about the origins of life, the country’s earliest settlers, and the birth of Islam. The museum continually offers guests new programs and activities, so no one is bound to get bored. If you prefer to roam the museum’s halls by yourself, interactive tours are present to provide you with enough insight and information about Saudi Arabia.

Visitors can visit every day, but specific schedules are imposed.

  • On weekdays (Sunday to Thursday)
  • * 8:00 am to 12:00 pm (Sunday to Thursday) - For students
  • * 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm (Sunday) - Open to the public
  • * 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm (Monday to Thursday) - Open to the public
  • On weekends (Friday and Saturday)
  • * 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm on Friday
  • * 8:00 am to 8:00 pm on Saturday

Note that visitors are still allowed to complete their tour for an hour after the gate has closed. If you want to learn more about the National Museum of Saudi Arabia, you can visit their website at nationalmuseum.org.sa/index.aspx.

Driving Directions: (40 mins via Route 539)

  • Head southeast and merge onto Airport Road/Route 539.
  • Take the exit and continue down Route 539.
  • Continue onto Airport Rd until you reach the Eastern Ring Rd.
  • Exit onto Eastern Ring Branch Rd.
  • Take a slight right to stay on the road and continue straight ahead.
  • Continue straight on to stay on Eastern Ring Branch Rd.
  • Turn slightly right as the road becomes Al Urubah Rd.
  • Exit onto Abi Bakr As Siddiq Rd and continue onto Salah Ad Din Al Ayyubi Rd.
  • Keep right.
  • Make a slight right onto Makkah Al Mukarramah Branch Rd and keep right.
  • At the roundabout, use the 2nd exit and stay on Makkah Al Mukarramah Branch Rd.
  • Take another slight right to stay on the route. Continue straight on.
  • Take a slight left onto Prince Abdulaziz Ibn Musaid Ibn Jalawi St and keep left.
  • Keep right to stay on the route.
  • Turn right toward King Faisal Road.
  • Turn left onto King Faisal Road. Continue until you reach your destination. The museum will be on the right.

Due to tight rules and security, foreign drivers must have an international driver’s license in Saudi Arabia. Suppose you commit traffic violations or get pulled over by police. If your license is not in English, authorities who don’t speak in your native language would have a hard time effectively communicating with you. Your international driver’s license in Saudi Arabia would basically be an English translation of your foreign license.

For drivers who still don’t have an IDP, you can order yours now. Since there’s no specific time to apply for an IDP, you can even do it once you arrive in the Kingdom. Make sure to provide your complete address to get your international driver’s license in Saudi Arabia. Zip codes should also be provided if you prefer to get your copy swiftly.

If you have plans to travel to the neighboring countries, don’t forget that you can still take your IDP with you. Foreign drivers who ordered an international driver’s license for Saudi Arabia can still use their IDP in other countries as long as it is valid.

Most Important Driving Rules in Saudi Arabia

Every country has a set of road rules and regulations that foreign visitors must follow. Knowing these rules would help prevent accidents and violations as Saudi officials are stricter on tourists than locals. Other important things to note, like more detailed information on obtaining an international driver’s permit (IDP) for Saudi Arabia, can be read below.

Don’t Forget Your Driver’s License

Before you even think about driving on Arabian roads, be sure to check if you packed your license. You will need to provide your license as you rent your vehicle, and you’d need to present it to authorities in case they demand it at checkpoints. If your driver’s license isn’t in English, make sure to get an international driver’s license for Saudi Arabia. Remember that this only acts as a translation and does not replace your actual driver’s license.

Police may ask for your license if you pass by checkpoints or get into unfortunate circumstances like accidents. So don’t forget to always carry your license with you as you drive. You might get fined if you don’t have it on hand, adding more traffic violations to your name. Having an international driving permit in Saudi Arabia is helpful since it allows easier communication with authorities who don’t speak your native language.

Lastly, your local driver’s license is only valid in the kingdom for three months. If you want to stay longer, you will have to get a Saudi license. An international driving license is valid in Saudi Arabia for one to three years. However, since your native license is already invalid, your IDP would be obsolete.

Always Carry Your IDP With You

An International Driver’s Permit, informally known as an international driver’s license, is a translation of your foreign license. You need to take it with you when driving abroad since it’s usually one of the must-haves for car rentals. There are very few requirements for an international driver’s permit for Saudi Arabia, so make sure to get yours now.

Before applying to get your copy, you may want to know more information about an international driver’s permit for Saudi Arabia. The International Driver’s Association issues IDPs that are translated into twelve languages and are accepted in over 150 countries. Do note that these permits must be issued from your home country; thus, you cannot get an international driving license from Saudi Arabia.

If you’ve arrived in the kingdom without an IDP, you don’t have to worry about being unable to drive. You may apply for your international driving license online in Saudi Arabia. The application process doesn’t have to be in person, making it easier for applicants. Just be sure to provide your complete address to get your international driver’s license for Saudi Arabia quickly.

Suppose you lost your IDP; this still isn’t a problem since you can still order a replacement. If you got your copy from IDA, contact customer service, and provide your name and IDP number. Don’t forget to give your current address, so you could directly receive your new international driver’s permit in Saudi Arabia. Zip codes should also be supplied for more efficient shipping.

Drink Driving is Illegal

Alcohol is illegal in Saudi Arabia, and entering the country drunk may result in your arrest. Don’t attempt to smuggle alcohol or drink-drive because of the strict rules implemented in the Kingdom. Punishments are harsh, and you can be fined, flogged, or imprisoned for simply carrying alcohol.

Foreign drivers must remember that getting caught drunk driving is the highest traffic violation. If you are caught doing so, your driving license may be suspended, and your trip would be cut short.

Given that your license is not in English, police might ask for an IDP to serve as its translation. If you don’t have one with you, this can increase your chances of getting fined. Visit the IDA website to learn how to get an international driver’s license in Saudi Arabia.

Mobile Devices and its Accessories are Banned While Driving

Using your phone while driving poses a potential safety hazard since your attention from the road is divided. The same can be said for taking calls and using Bluetooth devices. Due to the high cases of accidents in Saudi, officials implemented traffic rules regarding mobile devices. If you’re caught using your phone, you will be fined or even detained. So make sure to set it aside when driving to avoid any accidents or violations.

Remember that before you even get to drive, you’d have to present your driver’s license and IDP to car rental companies. Foreign drivers need an international driving permit in Saudi Arabia, especially if their driver’s license is not in English. To learn more about the international driver’s permit for Saudi Arabia, the website for IDA provides all the necessary information about applying for one. So make sure to get yours now for a stress-free trip.

Never Exceed the Speed Limit

Overspeeding is one of the top causes of accidents that occur in Saudi Arabia each year. That’s why it is important to drive below the speed limit. Bad conditions such as sand storms may affect the highways’ visibility, so drive cautiously to avoid potential crashes.

Collisions with animals like camels are also common. Camels have big bodies and long legs, allowing their center of gravity to be higher. When vehicles crash onto their legs, their bodies land on the cars, crushing the passengers inside. When you see camels and other animals passing, slow down your speed and continue once they are finally off the road.

Since accidents aren’t inevitable in the country, always bring your driver’s license and IDP with you to be safe. An international driver’s license for Saudi Arabia has requirements that can be provided digitally. This means you can apply for your IDP at home, without the need to go out. If you’d like to learn more about the requirements for an international driver’s permit for Saudi Arabia, visit the International Driver’s Association website.

Saudi Arabia Has a Points System

In January 2020, a revelation proposing a points-based system would be implemented in Saudi Arabia within the next six months. Different points are allocated for particular traffic violations, and the number of points depends on their severity. The least is 2 points, and the maximum is 24 points. They cannot be omitted until a year after the offense occurred.

Some violations include drifting, running past the red light, and even driving under the influence. The list does not include failure to carry a driver’s license, but this should not stop you from bringing it at all times. Aside from the driver’s license, foreign drivers must also bring an IDP. The International Driver’s Association issues international driver’s licenses for Saudi Arabia. The website provides all the information on what an IDP is and how to get one.

If you’re wondering what the IDP requirements are, they are just your application form, digital photos, and your driver’s license. You’d have to fill in the application for your international driver’s license in Saudi Arabia. Your contact number, license class, height, and even eye color are some details you also need to provide.

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