What is your idea of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia?

there is not any other place in the world like Saudi Arabia.

True.. but is this a good thing or a bad thing?!?

Now now, I'm joking.  I've been saying since I got here how interesting I find this place--so totally unlike anything I've ever experienced.  Learning new stuff every day! :)

I am so glad I came here but I doubt I would like living here the rest of my life. Beeing born in northern Asia and raised in northern Europe it is not easy to feel completely at home here. I think I could live here for 2-3 years. For how long are you planning to stay in Saudi Arabia?

I think I could live here for 2-3 years

I'm thinking about the same, EYS.  I've recontracted for a second year but I think that will be about it (want to get out while it's still a positive experience).  Three years would be pushing it for me, I think.

I wouldnt want to stay in one company for three years. lol.
but I've been here for like.... 26 years? lol

saudi is the apportunity for work and not for longterm

Ex US Ambassador James E Atkins passes away in Md: … .html?_r=1

i think saudia have a diffrent way of living somtimes take years to get use to it.


“A Letter not opened yet by an Expartiate”

***Dear Father & mother***
Today I am completetd 5 years in the Gulf. I am decided to come at home next month. Within this 5 years, I have zero balance apart from clear out my visa expenses and availed one vacation before. Upon this vacation, I dont like to return Gulf. I have sound health to do any manual job at home country.
Let me know your suggestion, Yours loving Jamal.

***Dear Jamal, father writing***
Received your letter and very happy to know about your vacation. Rest will continue your mother. Dear son, Do you know about the condition of our house? Rainy season, Nobody can to stay inside the house. Repair and maintence is very expensive with this old wooden items, All are suggesting to prefer a concrete house. Without home, do you know, there is no alternative. If you dicided to stop Gulf, can you do this with your limited income?. I am just reminding this, you can decide what you like.
Yours loving mother.

***Dear Mother***
Now I am completed 10 years at this desert. I like to come home next month. Within these period, we rebuilt our house, and I completed all the related loans. Now I am planning to settle home and expecting to meet our day to day expenses by Taxi driving. I already fedup with this desert life. I wants to live with my kids. Let me know your suggestions. Yours loving Jamal.

> ***Dear Jamal***
> Received your letter which is very regrettable when I read. My son started to suffer for us at his childhood. But one more thing I reminding you. Your sister Zainaba is aged more than 20. Did you have any arrangement or plan to get her marry. I have only one ambition, that is to die after her marriage. Dont feel bad, I am not passing any burden to you,
you can decide yourself. Yours loving MOTHER

***Dear Mother and Zuhara (wife) ***
Now I am completed 14 years at this January. I fed up with this Gulf life. I cannot continue more here. I am deciding to cancel my Visa. Within the last four years, we could arrange the marriage of Zainaba, which was done well with the help of Allah higher than our expectation, and paid out all expenses related to her marriage. Also settled my other loans too. Now I am deciding to settle at home and start any job like light driving or similar. I cannot do any heavy work, because I have abnormal BP and Sugar. If I continue here, I am forced to pay all my salary for medical expenses, so it is better to continue any Unani treatment at home. Yours Jamal.

***Dear Jamal***
I shed much tears after reading your letter. Anyhow, my son, you don’t go back to Gulf any more. But Zuhra (wife) wants to write something. Dear my sweet, after our marriage, I am not requested anything from you, but now I am forced to ask something. After marriage of your brother Jalal, your mother is totally against me. Now your mother is depending his wife for everything. Also I heard, your mother is planning to give this house to your brother. If any dispute arises, where can we go with our kids If you are decided to settle home, can you possible to make a house for our own. Do you know the price of steel and Cement and labor charges, which is not affordable. I am just expressing my anxious, you can decide yourself.
Yours loving Zuhara.

***Dear Zuhara***
Now I am completed 19 years at my gulf life. Within this last four years, we built a new house with my effort which is higher than your expectation. Now I have no balance, except the retirement benefit from the company, i.e my final settlement around SR 25000/- Only that is my net balance. Anyhow turning back, I have satisfaction, I could done something for others. From now, I cannot continue here. Last 19 years, I could not what is a family life. Now I am deciding to settle home and I wants to live with you and children. This month last, I am retiring from my job, see you face to face, yours loving Jamal.

***Dear my sweet loving***
After reading your letter, I am very happy to know about your decision to discontinue the gulf life even you are late. But our son requested me to write one thing to you. He like to join Engineering course. He got an admission Card from Amritha Auto Engineering college, Coimbatore. First year needs to pay 4 Lakhs (SR 40000/-) then each year 3 lakhs each. No need to pay cash down at one stroke, they agreed installment payment. Student’s learning there are all expatriates sons. Fist installment must pay on or before this 30th.
Expecting your reply soon, yours love Zuhra.

He spent a sum more for the education of his son and to get marry his daughter, then now he completed 27 years. Now he is on the way to the Airport with his ultimate balance of Blood Sugar, Blood pressure, back pain and ulcer. On the way incidentally, he noticed a letter in his pocket , which he received from home, not opened yet.

That is the first letter he did not read in his Gulf life.

Fist, I was dying to finish my high school and start college
And then I was dying to finish college and start working
Then I was dying to marry and have children
And then I was dying for my children to grow old enough
So, I could go back to work but then I was dying to retire
And now I am dying…
And suddenly I realized
I forgot to live

Please don’t let this happen to you
Appreciate your current situation
and enjoy each day

……old friend

To make money we lose our health,
And then to restore our health we lose our money…
We live as if we are never going to die,
And we die as if we never lived….

for most people KSA is a mint, make money and soor or later go back home.

its never a home or second home, its just a house.

Saudi Arabia converting into the development hub and also one of the most preferred career destinations.
Jobs Saudi Arabia have gained significant status as it help in realizing the dream of working abroad for many people. Jobs give not only huge salaries along with attractive incentives but also a lifetime opportunity to mingle with people of different nationalities, ideologies beliefs, share ideas with those unknown to rest of the world. It is a rewarding experience as one gets to participate in developing a country that has long remained veiled with conservative ideas and is now opening up to welcome modernization.

One great benefit in living and working in KSA has been the great opportunity to meet and know people from all corners of the globe. The multicultural friendships that me and my family have made here is unimaginable.

Ranger :

Jobs give not only huge salaries along with attractive incentives.

I need one of those jobs with a huge salary!  I was making more in the US but without taxes or overhead make a more here ... but I certainly wouldn't call it huge!

How huge is huge?

My employer cant spell 'HUGE' :(

I bet he knows how to drop the E at the end of it

What`s Going on Still you Don`t know About Saudia and Saudi Shame on you who Living in Saudia and Don`t know about these.:dumbom

After they drop the 'E' you can get a salary increase. Then you hear they have gone on 'suspension vacation' then they return to work.

One of the saddest trauma in expat life in KSA is the anxiety and panic that many are subject to when it comes to obtaining their exit/re-entry, D/L, Iqama Renewals, and other paperwork formalities with the governmental authorities, especially when vacations and other personal needs are round the corner. I have seen some running from pillar to post just cos the right person or the rubber stamp was not available in the office to have these completed. In most cases this is due entirely to absolute neglect, disconcer, and mismanagement. It drives people to absolutely torrid mental states. In my view it is a form of abuse that needs to be addressed and, maybe, even punsihed.

I can't tell you how many times I have been asked this question.  In most cases, I have found that the person asking the questions doesn't really want an honest answer.  So, that being said, if you don't want to hear the answer,don't ask the question.  Too late now though.  You are trapped.  You asked.  Here is my answer.

Before coming to Saudi Arabia I had this romantic notion that Riyadh was an oasis in the desert and that many exotic experiences were waiting for me here.  The word is exotic, not erotic.  Anyway, much to my dismay, I have found life here to be anything but exotic and everyday life in Riyadh tedious at best.  I have lost all the freedoms I have been used to and, additionally, have found society here to be very closed.  The great thing about being here is the exposure I have had to people from other parts of the Middle East.  It's like visiting other countries without getting on a plane. 

I hear that other parts of the kingdom are not as restrictive.  I hope to be able to visit them and to explore.  Ask this question again a few months from now.  :)

I didnt have Google available when I first came in as an expat and hence was not as fortunate as many of you today. Yet, its not the expectation that matters but how we manage within whats available. It would be impossible to have everything we have been used to from where we came from in any corner of the globe away from home.

I'd done extensive research before coming here, knew what it would be like, and knew I could handle it, which I have.

What I didn't expect was how much I'd like the Saudi people, however.  Most are friendly, warm, intelligent and with wonderful senses of humor (the majority of the people I work with in a large national institition).

That said, though, amerinriyadh is correct in saying he finds "society here to be very closed."  I agree because while my colleagues and I get along famously at work, not one has ever thought to invite me to her home .. or even out to eat or shop or do anything together.

One colleague, earlier today, asked me how I would be spending Eid.  I replied I would be working.  She asked me why.  I replied that Eid, for an outsider, really means nothing and that nobody had invited me to celebrate so I might as well work.  She seemed surprised.  But no invite was issued lol


Would you be kind enough to join the whole family for lunch on Eid Day?

We are planning to eat out at a restaurant. venue will be decided by the big "boss" when they all return from vacation tomorrow afternoon.

musicman :


Would you be kind enough to join the whole family for lunch on Eid Day?

We are planning to eat out at a restaurant. venue will be decided by the big "boss" when they all return from vacation tomorrow afternoon.

You're a sweetie, mm, and I thank you very much for the invitation.  Unfortunately, I'll be working! :lol:

OK, thats too bad, sadly. However if you think you can take some time out from work we will pick you up and drop you back at work. Give us a shout....

It will, as usual, be a late lunch no doubt.

I thought I was the only one in the Kingdom working the WHOLE of Ramadan and the WHOLE of Eid so my collegues can have it off and reduce their hours by half and a rest for 'lunch time' And I also got asked what I was doing for Eid - "spending it at work, cos you want it off"

Allie - you not alone.

Hi Sparrow,  working Ramadan/Eid doesn't bother me.  This year, however, I am NOT going to work Christmas/New Years.  I refuse.  I'm going to go somewhere.  Anywhere.  lol

As long as there is overtime pay involved, working morning, noon and night should be alright. Theres no such thing as a free lunch!

musicman :

As long as there is overtime pay involved, working morning, noon and night should be alright. Theres no such thing as a free lunch!

Overtime pay? There's no overtime pay.  If I'd taken these days off, it would have come out of my annual leave.  They're considered just another workday if you're non-Muslim.  You didn't know this??  :huh:

Nope, wherever I have worked in the Kingdom so far, if anyone (Muslim or Non Muslim) works on a designated official holiday he is entitled to overtime pay at 1.5 X Normal Pay, OR, an extra days leave for each holiday worked, which is usually added to his annual vacation.

During the initial implementation of the SAMBA branch networks in the Eastern Region we worked 365X24X7 and smiled all the way to the remittance center.

Were these just company policies OR are they part of the Saudi National Labor Laws??

I believe it is the local Labor Law

We plan to have a great 'eggnog' christmas with our American neighbour then I planned to go to Paris for a week in Jan - only to hear yesterday, my subordinate (she became a muslim the day befor Ramadan)has signed leave for half of Dec & most of Jan without my knowledge stapled plane tickets to her leave sheet already - I am just SO DUMB. So whilst her Eid begins tomorrow - I will work the days.

Ps then I saw her flop down on a mat for the first day of Ramadan,but the mat was pointing in the wrong direction... I left her.

Alliecat :

Here's a list I had handy, which is by no means comprehensive.  The way I understand it, the problem here isn't finding a compound; rather,  it's finding a compound with an opening.

Best of luck!


AL HAMRA Tel: 249 0440
(Home of the British School)

AL-ISSA COMP Tel: 491 8400 (Mr Walid) (SR30 to 40,000 rent)

AL JAZEERA BADER Tel: 492 1135 (Milwah Al-Shammry)

AL MOHAEYA COMPOUND (AKA Boeing) Tel: 482 1222 x 403, 410, 111, 666

AL NAKHEEL RESIDENCE Tel: 470 4191 (Peter Howarth-Lees)
(Takhassusi St, Near Dallah Hospital)

AL-OLA #7 Tel: 460 8095 – 460 7704
(Olaya – Abdullah Hamdan St., between Thalateen & Tahliah)

AL ROMAIZON Tel: 274 0917, 488 0533
(Behind Immam University)

AL WAHA GARDEN VILLAGE Tel: 278 8414 x 1149 (Rashid Khan)
(Junction 10)

(Eastern Ring Road J16)

ARAB INVESTMENT COMPOUND Tel: 482 3444, Fax:482 313169
(Nr Diplomatic Quarter) Rents from RS 65.000 per year

ARABIAN HOMES Tel: 454 1888 (Martin Shaw)
(Prince Abdullah Street, Al-Mursalat)

ARIZONA Tel: 248 4444
(Next to Cordoba Compound)

ASASCO VILLAGE Tel: 419, 9000 or 419 0936 x 423

(Small compounds/individual villas contact: Mr Mahmood)

(J30 Dammam Highway)

(Nr British School)

DELTA #1 & #2 Tel: 488 7611 x 245
(Opp. King Saud University)

DHABAB GARDENS COMPOUND Tel: 463 1596 - 462 2392 - 462 6762 - 465 0513
(Elite Villas)


DYWIDAG SAUDI ARABIA LTD Tel: 246 4144 x 153 (Mr. Joey)
(Nr football stadium)

EID COMPOUND Tel: 248 3366
(Nr British School)

EURO COMPOUND Tel: 478 0718 – 478 7381, Mobile-  055 27 28 36
(Nr Al Akhariah, contact Mr Nicolas. RS 60 to 65,000)

EXPAT REAL ESTATE Tel: 454 0404 (Mr. Nasser)

FAL COMPOUND Tel: 248 5847 (Larry Heitzman)
(J8 Near Arizona)

GREEN CITY 470 8880 x 411 (Abdul Karim Al-Lahham)
(Prince Abdullah Street, Near Takhassusi (Sheraton))

KINGDOM CITY Tel: 275 0275 (Chuck Collins)
(Next to Kingdom Hospital, Airport Road)

NAJD VILLAGE Tel: 248 1040 x 513 (Ali Askar)
(Near Eid Villas)

(Nr football stadium)

RABWA COMPOUND Tel: 493 1741 (B Lewis)
J13 Eastern Ring Road/Kourais Road

RANCO VILLAGE Tel: 492 4411 (Med Rowlands)

ROC COMPOUND Tel: 241 2800 (Colin)
(Al-Silay, J16)

SAHARA TOWERS Tel: 462 5666

(Behind Al Jazeera Supermarket)

(Old Airport Road, Al-Malik Fahad

VILLAS ROSAS Tel: 482 4417
(Nr Diplomatic Quarter)

can we get the average cost at which these compounds r being rented? I guess it helps the people to make some decisions, may not be accurate, however some random average price will go a long way.

45driver :

That is a question that should be asked? Here is my view right or wrong.No bashing allowed!! The Kingdom is a completly different culture and set of morality rules than what is in America or Western countries. I think in public there is a display of ultra conservatism, however behind closed doors or away from Saudi Arabia there is a tendency to loosen up, at least for many. This is an observation that I have made from some SA neighbors and students I have been around. They were fun too! There is an image painted that women are treated like dogs. I don't neccessarily agree with some of the restrictions placed on women,but that is Saudi culture and so be it. From my recent readings online and watching interviews I don't think that they are treated like dogs. I also have no idea how I will be treated or received? If I do go I want to experience the culture. I want to meet people so different from me that we all learn from each other. I want to experience Falconry! I want to tour an ARABIAN HORSE stable. Will I be safe outside my comfort zone? Will I be a target for people who hate westerners. They don't even know me,why hate me? What will happen if i make an honest mistake? Will I go to jail and be lashed? Can I tour a mosque?

from my one week expereince and other touring expereinces, I think there is bad and good everywhere. As long as we know the threshold at which we operate, living in kingdom is also very fun. Imagine even in our native mother lands, things were changing and is going to change. so any thing we do bad will get noticed or unnoticed depending on whether we r lucky or not, but at the end of the day, Kingdom has their own lifestyle, so be it.

The way expatraites live looked to be wonderful, they have made their own life a complete lifestyle may be contrast to wt a typical SA family lives, but its how it is. :):):):):):):)

AL HAMRA Tel: 249 0440
(Home of the British School) - SR 300K + (large villas)

AL ROMAIZON Tel: 274 0917, 488 0533
(Behind Immam University) - SR 120K+ (Villa)

AL WAHA GARDEN VILLAGE Tel: 278 8414 x 1149 (Rashid Khan)
(Junction 10) - SR 76K (one bedroomed cottage)

(Behind Al Jazeera Supermarket) - DOES NOT EXIST ANYMORE

musicman :

AL HAMRA Tel: 249 0440
(Home of the British School) - SR 300K + (large villas)

AL ROMAIZON Tel: 274 0917, 488 0533
(Behind Immam University) - SR 120K+ (Villa)

AL WAHA GARDEN VILLAGE Tel: 278 8414 x 1149 (Rashid Khan)
(Junction 10) - SR 76K (one bedroomed cottage)

(Behind Al Jazeera Supermarket) - DOES NOT EXIST ANYMORE

would assuem this is daily cost. AM I RIght? :(:(

Daily? SR 300K? Nope These are all Annual rentals.

musicman :

Daily? SR 300K? Nope These are all Annual rentals.

sorry sorry, have missed K at the end. thanks.

Hi I'm about to accept a job offer to work in Jeddah KSA. May I request to let me know about the city & people here & about the working conditions.

MisterStretch :

What's MY idea of the Kingdom?

It's a place that I work because the job is stable and the salary is acceptable.

It is NOT a place I would choose to live, bring a family or plan a future.

But that's just me.  When I finish my work here I will work and live somewhere else...and will enjoy it a great deal more than living here.

totally agree with you MisterStretch... i've seen expat kids in saudi arabia who are delayed in terms of development... i think it's because they do not have a normal, or at least an environment conducive to growth.  some even have attitude problems.  or at least there's something weird in them, something one do not really notice in kids living in a free world.

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