Saudi Arabia Overview
Quite possibly the last kingdom in the face of the planet, Saudi Arabia is the culmination of everything Middle Eastern that the rest of the world has come to expect over the years: oil, Islam, and tenacious political relationships with the rest of the world. With the largest oil reserves on Earth, Saudi Arabia is a country that has been at the center of all the conflicts of the Middle East for the past century. Notoriously difficult to enter due to the political differences between itself and many of the other countries in the region as well as the West, there is nevertheless a great wealth of natural treasure to be found behind its borders.
From the massive desert of the Empty Quarter with its majestic sand dunes encompassing an area larger than France or Texas, to the ancient caravan destination at Najran set in the middle of an oasis in the desert, to the mist-covered mountains near the mountain resort town of Abha, the magnificent fortress at Najran, or the more liberal coastal town of Jeddah, there is an air of mystery covering the entire kingdom, and you will be hard-pressed to tell if you are in a real place, or if you stepped through into the pages of Arabian Nights.
Getting into the country is exceptionally difficult, and will require months of paperwork and negotiating in order to earn a visa. You cannot have any Israeli stamps in your passport. Tourist visas are obtainable only if you plan on using one of the official tour guides for the country. Check your local Saudi Arabia embassy for more information on who currently has authorization to operate such. In addition, most of the archaeological sites in the country require additional permits, and the Islamic holy sites are strictly off-limits to non-Muslims.
Although it is exceptionally difficult to get into, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of the most majestic and mysterious places to visit, and well worth the time if you are hungry for adventure.