transportation in SA
Updated 7 months ago

Are you looking to getting around the city, or maybe even the country? Find out all the transport means in Saudi Arabia.

If you have decided to settle in Saudi Arabia then you will need to find a way of getting around. Saudi Arabia until recently was the only country where women were not permitted to drive, but as of June 2018, it will be legally allowed for women to drive women in the Kingdom. That may make things a bit easier for female expats looking to live and work in Saudi Arabia.


Taxes are aplenty in Saudi Arabia. All major cities have thousands of taxi cabs ready to get you from point A to B. Unlike most other taxi services, Saudi Arabia taxis are privately owned and operated, yet registered with a regulatory company. They are very safe, and all taxicabs are equipped with a fare meter. You will also find an operator number and picture of the driver in each cab to ensure quality and compliance.

Taxis are often found at busy locations, malls, supermarkets, parks, etc. To hail a cab, you just need to approach the cab or waves your hand and they will attend.

To avoid any confusion, it is a good idea to have your address ready, including the nearby landmarks of your destination. Many taxi drivers don’t speak English, so don’t be shy to ask whether or not they understand and know where the destination is beforehand.


The popular car transport apps are available in Saudi Arabia. Simply downloading the app and registering for the service will allow you to request licensed drivers to assist you with your travel needs. All major cities have been introduced to these services and have been recently become the most popular form of travel in Saudi Arabia (especially amongst women). The service is completely safe and all the drivers are registered.


A credit card is not needed to access these services. In fact, the only form of payment accepted is cash.

Also, because both apps pre-determine the cost of the trip, haggling and language barriers are not an issue. Additionally, the use GPS allows for accurate destination locations, and there’s no need to worry about directions.


Saudi Arabia has a single rail line, which connects Riyadh to Dammam, passing through Al Asha and Abqaiq 5 times a day. Trips generally last for about 4 hours. With a minimum of 50 kg of luggage, you will be able to travel in first or second class.


Foreigners in Saudi Arabia will have to produce their Iqama to be authorized to travel by train. Note that advance booking is required (at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled travel date) so as to secure a seat. Tickets have to be purchased at least three hours before the time of departure. Otherwise, rates will be increased by 10%.

 Good to know:

Boarding a train in Saudi Arabia is quite similar to boarding a flight. Your luggage will have to be subjected to an X-ray scan and the local police will verify your travel documents. Make sure to reach the train station at least one hour in advance, especially due to the fact that train doors close five minutes before departure.


Saudi Coach Bus (SAPTCO) operates countrywide, connecting smaller towns/villages to bigger cities. Coach Bus destinations include all major cities such as Mecca, Riyadh, Gaseem, Hail, Jeddah, Madinah, Tabuk, Taif, Abha, and Dammam. Note that most buses are equipped with air conditioning and a toilet.

If available, some routes have First Class Coach Buses available. They are slightly more expensive than the regular buses but provide extra amenities. They include extra legroom, a meal, and comfortable seating.

You can buy a ticket on-site at the bus terminal, or tickets can be bought in advance online.

Local buses that operate within are also available if you wish to mingle with the Saudi population and learn more about their culture and lifestyle.


Due to the very conservative society, it is advisable for women travelling alone do so during day hours and limit solo night-time travel as much as possible.

It is permitted for women to take cabs alone, but under no circumstance shall she sit in the front seat. She is to ride in the back-seat at all times.

It is also advisable to avoid long trips and secluded destinations if travelling alone. Keep destinations public and always request the driver use main streets.

Do not engage in unnecessary conversations with drivers, as it may be misunderstood as something more basic courtesy.

If you feel like the driver is unaware of the destination, is lost, and/or prolonging the trip demand, to be stopped and get out. Take note of operator’s number and name in case needed.

 Good to know:

Medina and Mecca are forbidden to non-Muslims.


Travelling in Saudi Arabia is relatively safe. However, make sure to check the current restrictions before heading to the Najran border in Yemen.

 Useful link:

Saudi Railways

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