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Solo travel to Riyadh / Saudi Arabia as Solo Traveller.

Exploring Riyadh: A Woman Solo Traveler’s Guide

Introduction: A Rich Tapestry of Culture and Heritage

Welcome to my travel blog! If you are a woman planning a solo adventure, Riyadh is an incredible destination waiting to be explored. Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture, enchanting history, and warm hospitality of the capital city of Saudi Arabia. From awe-inspiring architecture to bustling markets, Riyadh offers ample opportunities for solo female travelers to create unforgettable memories.

Getting Acquainted with Riyadh

1. Accommodation Options

Choosing suitable accommodation is key for a pleasant stay. Riyadh offers various options, including luxurious hotels and cozy guesthouses. Consider staying in the trendy Al-Masif district, known for its cosmopolitan vibe and proximity to popular attractions.

2. Navigating the City

Getting around Riyadh is relatively easy. Public transportation options like buses and taxis are readily available, but it’s advisable to use reputable taxi services or ride-sharing apps for added safety. Familiarize yourself with the city’s landmarks and use a reliable map or GPS app to navigate efficiently.

3. Dress Code and Cultural Etiquette

As a woman visiting Riyadh, it’s important to respect the local culture and adhere to the dress code. While traditional abayas are not mandatory for visitors, modest clothing that covers your shoulders and legs is recommended. Carry a scarf or shawl to cover your head when entering religious sites.

Top Attractions in Riyadh

1. Marvel at the Kingdom Centre Tower

Head to the iconic Kingdom Centre Tower, one of Riyadh’s architectural gems. Ascend to the Observation Deck on the 77th floor, offering panoramic views of the city. Indulge in a cup of coffee while gazing at the sunset, and witness Riyadh’s breathtaking skyline come alive with twinkling lights.

2. Dive into History at Masmak Fortress

Step back in time at the historic Masmak Fortress, a symbol of Saudi Arabia’s heritage. Explore the impressive fortification, wander through its museum rooms, and trace the footsteps of King Abdulaziz Al Saud. Immerse yourself in Riyadh’s fascinating history and gain insights into the country’s founding.

3. Shop and Savor the Local Culture at Souq Al Zal

Discover the vibrant atmosphere of Souq Al Zal, a traditional market brimming with authentic Saudi delights. Stroll through its narrow alleyways, adorned with vibrant textiles, aromatic spices, and handcrafted souvenirs. Engage in friendly haggling with local vendors and savor delectable street food like falafel and freshly brewed Arabic coffee.

Hidden Gems: Unveiling Riyadh’s Secrets

1. Explore the Murabba Palace

Escape the crowds and visit the Murabba Palace, a hidden gem showcasing traditional Arabian architecture. Explore the beautifully preserved rooms, lush gardens, and stunning courtyards as you learn about the history of the Saudi royal family. The tranquility and serene ambiance make it an ideal spot for solo contemplation.

2. Escape to Wadi Hanifah

For a nature getaway, venture to Wadi Hanifah, a picturesque valley located on the outskirts of Riyadh. Take a scenic walk along the banks of the Wadi, marvel at the lush greenery, and enjoy a peaceful picnic amidst nature’s embrace. It’s the perfect place to unwind and reconnect with yourself.

3. Indulge in Authentic Saudi Cuisine at Najd Village

Treat yourself to an authentic Saudi dining experience at Najd Village, a restaurant specializing in traditional Arabian cuisine. Delight in mouthwatering dishes like slow-cooked lamb, aromatic rice, and flavorsome appetizers. The warm ambiance and cultural performances add an extra touch to this memorable culinary experience.

Conclusion: Empowering Solo Adventures in Riyadh

Riyadh welcomes solo female travelers with open arms, offering a unique blend of history, culture, and warmth. Embrace the adventure, immerse yourself in new experiences, and create lifelong memories in this captivating city. Remember to respect local customs, stay vigilant, and let your exploration of Riyadh as a courageous solo traveler inspire others to embark on their own journeys of empowerment.

Accommodation Options for Solo Female Travelers in Riyadh

Hotels

– Marriott Riyadh Diplomatic Quarter: Upscale hotel with spacious rooms and amenities.
– Sheraton Riyadh Hotel: Well-known chain hotel with comfortable accommodations.
– Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh: Luxury hotel offering impeccable service and top-notch facilities.
– Novotel Riyadh Al Anoud: Modern hotel with friendly staff and convenient location.
– Holiday Inn Riyadh – Al Qasr: Comfortable hotel with various dining options.

Apartments

– Rosh Rayhaan by Rotana: Serviced apartments with well-equipped kitchens and leisure facilities.
– Vivienda Hotel Villas: High-end villas with private swimming pools and a peaceful atmosphere.
– Boudl Al-Faisaliah Hotel: Apartments with cozy interiors and proximity to major attractions.
– Warwick Riyadh: Spacious apartments with contemporary design and excellent amenities.
– Gloria Inn Riyadh: Comfortable apartments with separate living areas and a fitness center.

Campgrounds/Caravans

– Riyadh Caravan Camping: Caravan park offering camping spots for visitors with caravans or tents.
– Al Mulayan Cavern Campground: Campground with breathtaking views and basic facilities.
– Al Maher Resort: Caravan park and campground with serene surroundings and outdoor activities.

Must-See Places in Riyadh

Historical Sites

– Masmak Fortress: An iconic fortress that played a significant role in the formation of modern Saudi Arabia.
– Diriyah: UNESCO World Heritage site showcasing the historic birthplace of the first Saudi state.
– King Abdulaziz Historical Center: Museum complex dedicated to showcasing the life and achievements of King Abdulaziz, the founder of Saudi Arabia.
– Murabba Palace: Historic palace complex featuring traditional architecture and beautiful gardens.

Cultural and Entertainment Attractions

– National Museum: The largest museum in Saudi Arabia, offering an extensive collection of artifacts and exhibits.
– Al-Masmak Souq: Traditional marketplace filled with shops selling handicrafts, spices, and traditional merchandise.
– Kingdom Center Tower: Iconic skyscraper with a shopping mall, observation deck, and panoramic views of the city.
– Riyadh Zoo: Popular zoo with a wide variety of animals and recreational areas.
– Edge of the World: Stunning geological formation offering breathtaking views of the desert landscape.

Outdoor Activities

– Salam Park: Beautiful park with landscaped gardens, walking trails, and recreational facilities.
– Wadi Hanifah: Scenic valley with lush greenery and a great spot for a picnic or leisurely walk.
– King Fahd Cultural Center Park: Park with a lake, playgrounds, and outdoor seating areas for relaxation.
– Al Hokair Land: Amusement park with various rides, games, and entertainment options for all ages.
– King Fahd International Stadium: One of the largest stadiums in the world, hosting various sports events and concerts.

Shopping and Dining

– Riyadh Gallery Mall: Large shopping mall with a wide range of international and local stores.
– Al Nakheel Mall: Upscale mall offering high-end brands, numerous dining options, and entertainment facilities.
– Granada Center: Mall with a mix of local and international stores, plus a food court and entertainment options.
– Kingdom Mall: Premier shopping destination with luxury brands, a gourmet supermarket, and stylish restaurants.

Favorite Foods to Eat in Riyadh

Mandi

Mandi is a traditional Saudi Arabian dish that consists of tender and aromatic meat, usually lamb or chicken, served on a bed of flavorful rice. The meat is marinated with a blend of spices, including cardamom, cloves, and cumin, before being slow-cooked in a tandoor oven. The result is a mouthwatering dish with a rich and smoky flavor.

Kabsa

Kabsa is another popular Saudi Arabian dish that is a must-try in Riyadh. It is made with fragrant basmati rice cooked with a combination of spices such as saffron, black lime, and cinnamon. The rice is served with chicken, lamb, or fish, along with a side of flavorful tomato, cucumber, and carrot salad. Kabsa is known for its aromatic flavors and is often enjoyed during festive occasions.

Shawarma

Shawarma is a Middle Eastern delicacy that has gained immense popularity in Riyadh. It is made by layering thin slices of marinated meat, such as beef, chicken, or lamb, onto a vertical rotisserie, where it slowly cooks and becomes tender. The meat is then shaved off and served in a warm pita bread with a variety of accompaniments, including tahini sauce, pickles, and fresh vegetables. Shawarma is a delightful street food option that is both flavorful and filling.

Saudi Arabian Breakfast

Saudi Arabian breakfast is a lavish affair that offers a wide range of delicious options. It typically includes freshly baked bread, such as khubz and tamees, served with various spreads like honey, cheese, and jam. Ful medames, a dish made of fava beans cooked with spices and served with olive oil and lemon, is also a common component. Additionally, options like hard-boiled eggs, olives, labneh, and fresh vegetables complete the hearty breakfast experience.

Samosa

Samosa is a popular snack or appetizer in Riyadh, which has its roots in Indian cuisine. It is a triangular-shaped pastry filled with a savory mixture of spiced potatoes, peas, and sometimes meat. The pastry is deep-fried until crispy and golden, resulting in a delicious and satisfying snack. Samosas are often enjoyed with a side of tangy tamarind or mint chutney.

Arabic Coffee

No visit to Riyadh is complete without trying Arabic coffee, also known as Qahwa. It is a traditional hot beverage made from lightly roasted Arabian coffee beans that are ground and brewed with cardamom. Arabic coffee is known for its strong and aromatic flavor and is usually served in small cups accompanied by dates, which adds a delightful sweetness to the overall experience.

Daily Costs in Riyadh for Solo Travellers

Food

– Breakfast: SAR 20-30 (local food at a casual restaurant)
– Lunch: SAR 30-50 (mid-range restaurant or fast food)
– Dinner: SAR 50-100 (mid-range to upscale restaurants)
– Snacks: SAR 10-20 (street food or small cafes)
– Total daily food cost: SAR 110-200

Stay

– Budget Accommodation (hostels/guesthouses): SAR 100-200 per night
– Mid-Range Hotels: SAR 200-400 per night
– Upscale Hotels: SAR 400+ per night
– Total daily stay cost: SAR 100-400+ (depends on accommodation choice)

Transportation

– Public Transportation (metro, buses): SAR 5-10 per ride
– Taxi/Uber: Starting from SAR 10 (minimum fare)
– Car Rental: SAR 100-200 per day (varies based on vehicle type and rental duration)
– Total daily transportation cost: SAR 15-200 (depends on usage and mode of transport)

Safety for Women Solo Travellers in Riyadh

General Safety

– Riyadh is generally safe for women solo travellers, with low crime rates.
– It is advisable to dress modestly, respecting local customs and traditions.
– Stay aware of your surroundings and use common sense to avoid any risky situations.

Accommodation Safety

– Choose reputable hotels or guesthouses in safe areas when booking accommodation.
– Ensure the accommodation has proper security measures in place, such as 24/7 reception or surveillance cameras.

Transportation Safety

– Use licensed taxis or ride-hailing services like Uber for safer transportation.
– Avoid traveling alone late at night and prefer busy, well-lit areas for pickups and drop-offs.

Social Customs and Etiquette

– Respect local customs and Islamic traditions, such as dressing modestly and avoiding public displays of affection.
– Interact respectfully with locals and be aware of cultural sensitivities.

Note: It’s always wise to check the latest travel advisories and guidelines before your trip to stay informed about any specific safety concerns.