Riyadh-Dammam by Train
Sine 1947, when construction work commenced for the current railway network in the Kingdom linking Riyadh the capital city with Dammam in Eatern province through Hafuf and Biqaq cities.
Saudi Railways Organization operates several passangers trains every day between Riyadh and Dammam, some are express non stop, while others make two stops in between at Hafuf (Al Ahsa) and Biqaq.
The trains go as fast as 135 km per house which allow journeys range betwen 4 to 5 hours.
Rihab (non stop) one way: SAR 130.
Normal first class: SAR 75
Normal second class: SAR 60
Riyadh-Damam 4 trains a day
Departure times:10 am, 12:30pm, 4:45pm, 9:30pm
Dammam-Riyadh 4 trains a day
Departure times: 6am, 10:13am, 7:45pm, 1:05am
The exsiting Saudi railway network includes two lines in operation:
1) 556 km single track line built in the 1950s and used only for freight
2) 449 km single track line built in the 1980s and used by passenger trains
The railway handles about 850,000 passengers and 850 million ton-kms of cargo every year.
Saudi Arabia also announced three new railway lines to be constracted in the comming 4 years.
1- SAUDI LANDBRIDGE PROJECT which will Connect Jeddah ( Red Sea ) to Dammam (Gulf) Over 1,000 km of new railway to be constracted to carry cargo and passangers.
2- MAKKAH MADINAH RAIL LINK PROJECT which will be a high speed passenger service (more than 220 km per hour) to accommodate annual pilgrimage between Mecca and Al Medina through Jeddah.
3 North-south mining railway.
Best Solution: Rent a Car or Buy One
The opposite is true for limousines in residential areas. It can be quite difficult to spot one on the residential streets.
Car rental agencies are quite numerous in some areas like Sulimania.
I am not an expert on this but I bet you can find great deals of great cars to rent for few days, weeks or months.
So the best solution especially for women is to buy a car and hire a driver, if not, probably wait for your husband or dad to drive you around.
Owning a car in Riyadh is much cheaper compared to Philippines due to free-taxes and status. There are range of choices from a second-hand car to an extremely luxurious typed vehicles. Yihey to the tax-free city!
By the way, single women getting a ride from people who are not married couple or no presence of family are not allowed. If inspected and no family papers could be shown, everybody in the vehicle could be thrown into jail for days, months and get deported, depends on your connection.
As everybody already knows, I will again repeat.
"Women are not allowed to drive in Riyadh."
Saudi women in push for 2008 driving breakthrough
The "Do's" when Taking a Cab in Riyadh
Only those who know how to speak English.
--Better those who are recommended by friends you already know very well.
Only when you are already familiar with the place you are going.
Be sure that your cellphone or any communication devices are fully loaded, battery and card.
Inside the taxi, take the license number in case of trouble.
If you are feeling suspicious slightly open the window for fresh air,
deep breath and ring somebody you know for support.
It is always best to know few words and numbers in Arabic before going out in public without a male company.
If you decided to go down just say ‘heena kalas’ meaning ‘here’ and ‘it is finish’. Go down quickly and leave a payment to stop him from harassing you.
*Photo taken from internet*
Taxi aka 'Limousine' with Reckless Drivers
Taxi within city center is not really hard to find.
Usually a lot of vacant ones on non-peak hours and they are the ones who come running and looking for passengers on most times. So do not be afraid to bargain and offer a fixed deal. 10 SR is usually the deal for any location within the city areas and 5 SR on streets that are closer.
If driver seems to complain I usually say ‘mafi pulus’ meaning ‘no money’ and add that gasoline prices are lowered so it is a good deal. Otherwise, rely on the meter reading if you do not want to haggle and be sure to know the place you are going or you might get a ‘long way’ to your destination which could reflect on your meter price.
On my experience, spotting you from a far, a taxi would have a quick hand wave to call your attention, somehow asking you to wait for him. If competition is tight you can see taxis speeding up to acquire passengers first.
For women, you have to be very cautious, there are a lot of rumors of maniac drivers who tortured and raped women to death and dumped them in unknown dessert deserted areas. As much as possible do not travel alone. Also note that women are only allowed to stay in back seat. Sometimes this experience is also true for men passengers.
In some cases, passengers are not only tortured by these monsters, internal body parts are also sold in the black market. So in case you are not that confident with few martial arts skills, better be safe than have your heart on someone’s body. Scary!
*Photo taken from internet*
Taxis In Riyadh
When taking taxi's in riyadh, unless you know:
A: Where you're going (exact building)
B: Exactly how to get there
I would recommend that you take a hotel taxi and ask them to come back for you when your meeting are finished.
Unless you are going to Al-Faisalish or Kingdom tower or some other well known landmark in Riyadh (there aren't really that many) then sometimes local taxis can be problematic..
Not all the taxi-drivers will speak good english (same a I don't speak good arabic), most of the time the Taxi drivers are
from Pakistan / Bangladesh so they speak poor engligh AND arabic, in addition the taxi companies don't really look after their taxis and a lot of them are very dirty and sound like they are about to break down!
- Business Travel
Women not allowed to Drive Their cars
As women are not allowed to drive in the Kingdom, I am sure its widely known by now abouyt Saudi Arabia as the only country in this globe not allowing women to drive their own cars. well that a sad truth.
So women may only sit in the back seat of taxis. A married woman can only ride in the front seat of a car if the driver is her husband or a male relative.
Women still drive in suburban areas and deserts where they have to do their errands by them selves.
(Women driving) comes to the top as hot issue from time to time, since tens of them took their husbands' cars and drove in capital streets some 15 years ago.
Riyadh to anywhere around the city
Regular bus fare regardless of distance is 2 saudi riyal. Public bus originates from Batha district. These buses except for the bigger SAPTCO buses, are not airconditioned. Its seats have remained so much to be desired and could be too crowded. Rent-a-car fee starts at SR.50 above depending on the car's model.
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
There is only one railway in Saudi Arabia, running from Damman to Riyadh (although supposedly this will change in the near future, with a planned extension to all the way across the peninsula to the Red Sea). I recently travelled to Riyadh on it. The two stations at either end are nearly identical. There are three classes, 2nd, 1st and "VIP". I highly recommend VIP -- it's only SR 120 for the entire journey, and it's much more spacious and comfortable than the other classes (although they are also reasonable). Despite the fact that this has to be one of the world's simplest rail systems (one line, two stations), getting ticketed was a bit slow, so allow time for the guy in front of you buying tickets for himself, two wives, three children by the first wife, two more by the second wife, and one more for the maid.
In all the journey takes about 3 1/2 hours. There is a dining car, but I never left my comfortable VIP class seat with it's in-seat power outlet for my lap top. There are four trains per day in each direction; the schedule is on the Saudi Railways web site at http://www.saudirailways.org/english/time_table.asp, although I find it is often very slow to load and the english section often doesn't load at all.
4 Wheel Drive
It is advisable to drive a 4 wheel car/suv (4 wheel drive) when visiting the desert and sand dunes beacuse it will be easy for you to manouver in the desert. This way you can drive all the way to the stony/rocky desert instead of leaving your car near the highway though some desert can be reach through a regular car or a 2 wheel drive.
- Road Trip
Limousine is the common term for taxi in the big cities in the Kingdom. The fare is relatively cheap with a flag down fare of 5SR. The number of limousines have increased over the past few years to the extent that you can find a limo in every corner.
The nationality of the drivers are mostly Indian's, Pakistani's & Saudi's.
Don't worry! most of the limo drivers speak very basic English.
Here in Riyadh, there are 2 kinds of local buses.
1. Government owned called SAPTCO - runs within a specific routes but also runs to all the cities in the Kingdom.
2. Privately owned coasters - runs within certain areas of the city only. The fare is cheaper compared to the government owned. However, comfort is compromise.
Flying Saudia for the first time
My hubby and I flew to Riyadh from Manila via Saudia Airlines - First Class.
The aircarft is relatively big, and for first class seating capacity they have around 20 seats with 2 spacious seats per row.
Individual TV monitor with games, movies and music.They also have Wide selection of food and drinks though no liquor or any alcoholic beverages are being served on board.
Their travelling Kit is really nice..complete with brush, toothpaste,toothbrush ,socks, lotion etc.
Below ae the list of their food menu for Manila/Riyadh flight:
a. Appetizer : Smoked Salmon and Marinated Scallops
b. Salad : Fresh sesonal salad or arabic salad
c. Soup : CHicken Soup or quaker soup
c.Main Course : GRilled Beef Tendeloin, Chicken with Safron Cream, Spicy Prawn with Noddles or Lamb Biryani
d. Dessert : Cream Brulee with Ice cream or fresh seasonal fruits
Hot Snacks: (Second Meal)
a. Salad: Fresh Seasonal Salad,Sautted Shrimp with Salad
b. Main COurse: Arroz La Cubana,Beef Stroganoff, Chicken Breats Tocino or Chicken Biryani
c. Dessert: Apple Pie
Travel by Car
Almost all the people/family here in Riyadh has a car of their own. From a Toyota to Lexus, from Hyundai to BMW. For most of the people here, having a car is not a luxury but a necessity. Its easier to move around esp if you're travelling with women or children. Its very rare that i see people who travel by Limo's or the so called Taxi's.
Fuel is amazingly cheap - 60 halala per liter.More or less Ten cents per liter.
Expats who work here esp male / family are usually provided by theior employer a car/van of their own.
Arriving In Riyadh
Do not be put off arriving the first time at Riyadh airport by the plethora of different signs on top of each immigration desk purportedly aimed to filter the passengers by type - trust your instincts and go for the fastest moving and shortest line.
Once past immigration, head for the staffed customs posts with big luggage X-Ray machines ensuring that you have removed water bottles beforehand; all entering liquids elicit immediate attention.
There are ATM machines/money changers at the arrivals hall - or you get cash on your way to the city asking your cab driver to stop at any drive-in ATM along the way.
Now, for taxis - avoid the few energetic drivers who will try to whisk you to town for upwards to 200 Riyals - The fare is 50 Riyals - Period - State the fare good naturedly to the driver, which the majority will accept with no fuss and get you to town safely. Bon Voyage!
Taxis in Riyadh
In Riyadh, taxis are commonly referred to as Limos or Limousines, most common way for people to get around the city. All taxis are strictly licensed with driver's ID in the windshield, and cars must be maintained to a reasonably safe standard. So there's really no problem with disreputable or dangerous service here. Gas is cheap, drivers don't usually complain, and the attitudes of the mostly Pakistani and India drivers are generally quite friendly and helpful. Although few cars a dangerous wrecks, some cars are better maintained or newer than others, so I usually flagged one down that appeared to have good brakes, lots of A/C, and no cracks in the windshield. Taxis are everywhere, prices are cheap, and competition keen. For those on a budget though, the buses can be just as adequate and far cheaper still. Only special buses on particular routes accept women passengers, so they must take the taxi. It's safe and acceptable for women to stand on the curb and flag down a taxi in Riyadh. However, most women, expat and Saudi alike, develop a rapport with a driver they trust, and reach an agreement to have the driver waiting for regular errands. Also, it's useful to create a list of several drivers who have cell phones and who can be called upon to make a quick pick-up within a few minutes. Naturally, women who live in compounds have to make arrangements for drivers to enter past security. Women with vehicles must also have a driver, so while gas is cheap, the cost of maintaining a vehicle and driver in Riyadh can be a significant cost.
- Women's Travel
- Budget Travel
- Business Travel
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