Currency

Saudi riyal (SR)

Daily Costs

Budget: Less than SR450

  • Double room in a budget hotel: SR250–350
  • Falafel wrap: SR3
  • Bus or short taxi ride: SR2–20

Midrange: SR450–1000

  • Double room in a midrange hotel: SR400–600
  • Lunch and dinner in local restaurants: SR50–100
  • Admission to museums: SR25–50
  • Taxi trip: SR20–50

Top end: More than SR1000

  • Double room in a high-end hotel: SR1000–1500
  • Lunch and dinner in decent restaurants: SR250–400
  • Scuba-diving day trip: SR400–600
  • Daily car hire: SR180–250

Bargaining

Bargaining is expected in most souqs and casual shopping areas, where prices quoted are often double what a local might pay. It is therefore a good strategy to offer half of what is being asked, and use this as your starting position in any bargaining battles. In the modern malls, prices tend to be fixed, although asking for a discount is not out of the question.

Money

ATMs are widespread, and credit cards are widely accepted.

Credit Cards

Most establishments in big cities will accept credit cards, however, outside of these areas even hotels may demand cash.

Currency

The unit of currency is the Saudi riyal (SR). One riyal (SR1) is divided into 100 halalas. Coins come in 25- and 50-halala denominations. Notes come in SR1, SR5, SR10, SR20, SR50, SR100, SR200 and SR500 denominations. The Saudi riyal is a stable, globally traded currency, and there are no restrictions on its import or export.

Exchange Rates

AustraliaA$1SR2.69
CanadaC$1SR2.83
Euro zone€1SR4.29
Japan¥100SR3.43
New ZealandNZ$1SR2.56
UKUK£1SR4.90
USUS$1SR3.75

For current exchange rates, see www.xe.com.

Changing Money

For the best rates, head to a money-exchange bureau, where all major currencies are exchanged and commission is not usually charged. Exchange desks at hotels offer poor rates.

Tipping

There is no tipping culture here; recipients may appear confused by the gesture. In cities with large expat communities, tipping is slowly spreading, and the following guidelines could be applied.

  • Airports SR5 to SR10 for baggage handlers.
  • Petrol Stations SR5 to SR10 for pump attendants.
  • Hotels SR10 to SR20 for porters; gratuity for cleaning staff is at your discretion.
  • Taxis 10% will be appreciated, as will rounding up to the nearest unit of SR10.
  • Restaurants 10% for good service.