Make sure that you do not carry any alcohol with you while entering Saudi Arabia. All forms of liquor are prohibited in the Kingdom and can result in imprisonment.
The climate can be extremely hot in summer with temperature above 40C and quite cold in the winter months 5C. Cotton and linen wear is best during the hottest months (April to September) and winter clothing should be required from December to March.
No photography is allowed in public places, especially near government buildings. Avoid taking pictures of ladies, which can lead into facing a trial.
It is recommended that you exchange some currency before you arrive in the Kingdom, just enough to cover airport incidentals and transportation to the hotel. The Saudi Riyal (SR) is the unit of currency, with one Saudi Riyal made up of a hundred Halalahs. Since July 1986, the Saudi Riyal has been pegged to the US dollar with a fixed exchange rate of SR3.75 to US$1. Al Ahsa InterContinental provides currency exchange facilities at the front desk and having an ATM machines at the lobby.
Shops and business establishments will be closed during each prayer time. Therefore it might be more convenient to shop in the evenings. A variety of shopping facilities available in Al Ahsa within a short drive from the hotel.
DID YOU KNOW ?
Al Ahsa Name
The name Al Ahsa describes the physical nature of the area. The word Hasa is the plural of the arabic word 'hasi' which means sand-covered rocky land that stores water.
The central economic activity of the oasis is agriculture, fed by more than 60 artesian wells. Al-Ahsa Oasis has largest agricultural area estimated about 20,000 hectares . Around 3 million date palms produce finest varieties of dates called Kalkhas, Alrziz, Ciche, Elgar, Khunaizi, Zmily and many others.
Science and literature
Al Ahsa was the destination of the divine Islamic science scholars who travelled from India, Africa and the Middle East and brought religion and literature in addition to scientific knowledge.
WHAT TO PACK
Islamic culture requires women to wear an abaya, an over-garment traditionally black, that covers the whole body except the face, feet and hands.
In summer, between June and September, bring sunscreen, sunglasses and light or thin clothing as the temperature reaches more than 40 degrees centigrade. During winter bring heavy or thick clothing and a jacket as the temperature goes down to 6 degrees centigrade.
The local currency is Saudi Riyal (SAR). It's advisable to change some money before you arrive, at least 500 SAR, to cover transport or airport incidentals. SAR 1.00 = USD 0.266