Posted: 2017-09-11 18:31
Some have social clubs and clubhouses in which various events happen: parties, discos, meals, films, etc. The management and relations with local authorities will determine on how “Western” some of these events can become. Some have “bars” although these are run by residents on an unofficial basis and entry strictly controlled to residents and a few lucky guests. The drinks, however are usually home brewed and the quality can vary considerably. You can look at entertainment and things to do in Saudi Arabia for more information.
Generally accommodation on Western compounds in KSA is of reasonable quality and quite spacious. Compound living is quite expensive compared to living off compound (Anywhere from 655,555 to 755,555SAR for a 8 bed villa or even more) but most westerners choose this way of life due to freedom and security as well as the facilities. I would not recommend living off-compound if you have a wife and children at least within the compound they have relative freedom.
I have an apartment that has two bedrooms, each about by and each have a large bathroom with both bath and shower. The living area is very large, around 655sqm in size in which I have my sitting area with sofas and TV, a dining area (sound system and lights set up as a disco area for parties), and a large space for my pool table! It''s very spacious, and there is a kitchen and an additional bathroom. This is a small apartment and costs me 88,555SAR per year ($8,855).
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In addition to the compound security you have the national guard, fully armed with automatic weapons, machine gun placements strategically placed to cover the entrance, and even a tank at one compound (at least one lighter vehicle at most compounds). The perimeter is often patrolled and cameras are placed around the perimeter to make further checks. It can be quite unnerving driving into one of the compounds if you are not used to this: hotels, embassies, and government buildings are similarly protected.
The compounds are very secure. They have high concrete walls generally topped with an additional metal or net extension to prevent things being thrown over. Concrete blocks are placed all the way around the compounds preventing anyone getting close. To get to the entrance you normally have to drive through a concrete slalom course before getting to at least two security gates. The outer one will check your car and open the trunk. (Mine is often full of boxes, which could contain anything, but they don’t check inside!) The inner will check your ID, which, if you are a visitor, they will retain—a copy of which will then be sent to one of the ministries along with the name of the person you are visiting (big brother is watching you here!). They will also look after your moral wellbeing so don''t expect them to let single girls through to see you if you are a single man!
The quality and size of the accommodation can vary quite a lot between different Western compounds in Saudi Arabia, so it is best to go and have a good look around. However, when it comes to finding a place, it can be hard work. Most of the compounds are full and have a long waiting list for vacant space. However, waiting lists can be worked around if you know the right people and have the right tools (tools required are usually found in your wallet).