The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the Arabian Peninsula. Its population is around 26 million, of which an estimated 6 million are expatriate workers.
On the west coast, Saudi Arabia is bordered by the Red Sea and on the east by the Arabian Gulf. To the south there are borders with the Yemen and the Sultanate of Oman. To the east lie the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and the island state of Bahrain. In the north, Saudi Arabia has borders with Kuwait, Iraq and Jordan.
Saudi Arabia geography is diverse, with forests, grasslands, mountain ranges and deserts. The climate varies from region to region. Temperatures can reach over 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celcius) in the desert in summer, while the winter temperatures in the North and Central parts of the country can drop below freezing. Saudi Arabia gets very little rain – about four inches a year on average.
The country's area is estimated to be some 2,331,000 sq km, which is the size of the whole of Western Europe put together.
Saudi Arabia traces its roots back to the earliest civilizations of the Arabian Peninsula. Over the centuries, the peninsula has played an important role in history as an ancient trade center and as the birthplace of Islam, one of the world’s major monotheistic religions. Read more
Saudi Arabia is a monarchy based on Islam. The government is headed by the King, who is also the commander in chief of the military. Read more
Economy and Global Trade
Saudi Arabia’s free market economy has undergone remarkable changes in a relatively short period of time. It has evolved from a basic agricultural society into a regional and global economic power with a modern infrastructure. Read more
Western children have the options of attending many international schools.
The American International School - Riyadh
British International School of Riyadh
Al-Rissalah International School
British International School of Jeddah
Al-Waha International School
American International School of Jeddah
Dhahran British Grammar School (ISG)
International Schools Group - Dammam
British International School Al-Khobar
Jubail International School
ISG Jubail School
Most employers provide private healthcare as part of an employment package.
There are large numbers of hospitals and medical centres located in Riyadh and include private hospitals such as:
Al Hammadi Hospital
Saudi German Hospital
Riyadh National Hospital
King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre
Private Hospitals include:
Saudi German Hospital
International Medical Centre
Private Hospitals include:
Saad Specialist Hospital
King Fahad Military Medical Complex
The vast majority of expatriates live in secure walled compounds. Many compounds have the facilities of a small town and excellent recreational facilities. The more popular compounds are listed below.
Cordoba Oasis Village Compound
Arizona Golf Resort
Oasis Residential Resorts
The majority of expatriates in Jubail live in secure company owned compounds.
Bajrai Garden Village
Major compounds in Jubail include the SABIC and Desert Palms Compounds.
Expatriates living in Saudi Arabia generally agree that risks are now low, but precautions need to be taken on a constant basis.
Tourism & Recreation
Riyadh is the nations legislative, financial administrative, diplomatic and commercial center. It is the location for foreign embassies, universities, banks and corporate headquarters. It is the capital of the nation.
Riyadh is a particularly youthful city, with half the population under 20 years of age. The land around it, however, is old.
In a region where tradition, modernity and globalization converge, Riyadh is the focal point of the Middle East’s largest economy. Riyadh is an international business hub where you can experience contrasting lifestyles in a traditional Islamic environment.
Known as the Paris of Saudi Arabia, Jeddah is mid-way down the country's Red Sea coast. It is considered the most interesting and friendly of Saudi Arabia's big cities. Jeddah is centred on Al-Balad, the strip of buildings along the coastal road with the old city directly behind them. Jeddah's Red Sea coast is full of reefs, creeks and wadis to keep even the most advanced diver busy. There are numerous underwater wrecks just waiting to be explored. Read more
Al-Khobar/Dhahran/Dammam (Eastern Province)
Al-Khobar/Dhahran/Dammam These three cities in the eastern province of the Kingdom are adjacent to the Causeway which links them to the island state of Bahrain, a drive of approximately 50 minutes. Dhahran is the headquarters of Saudi Aramco, the world's largest oil producer, Dammam is the industrial city which also houses the seaport and international airport and Al Khobar is the commercial centre. Read more
Jubail is an industrial city and as such does not have many tourist attractions. There are good recreational facilities attached to the compounds and at the Intercontinental Hotel which also hosts a Beach Club. Many Jubail residents travel to Bahrain (2 hours drive) at weekends where an extensive range of shopping and entertainment are available. Jubail was a small fishing village until the mid 1970s at which time it became one of the kingdom's two newly-created industrial cities.