Tips for umrah - Mecca Forum
28. Re: Tips for umrah
Here is my summary of my trip to Umrah on May 25th to June 1st.
*Expect to put the Ihram on in the airplane. Yes it is very difficult not scratch or remove hair! once the Ihram is on pay attention to what you are doing. Do not take it off until your Umrah is done!
* Jeddah to Mecca. Take a decent taxi or bus. Avoid the older looking taxi's and minivans they drive slow and/or AC doesn't work.
*Keep your passport in a convenient place, they check it EVERYWHERE at the airport, hotel, bus ride
* We stayed at the Massa hotel which is literally 2 min walk from the Haram. IT was 500 riyals a nite. The Hilton/Intercontentinal are all in front of the kaaba. All hotels have the same distance walking.
* A note about the hotels. A lot of them don't speak English if they do its very broken. You will find plenty of Bengali and Pakistanis who can speak Urdu and Arabic and translate for you. Many of them offer free breakfast too, so make sure to ask, they won't tell you upfront.
* There is a lot of construction going on. So expect to wake up to a lot of noise! There is also a lot of Traffic so be careful crossing streets, the taxi drivers come very close to pedestrians. And yes you will be crossing streets for shopping.
* BRING in Sun shades for your eyes - the Haram is all white marble and during the day it is very BRIGHT and gets difficult to see.
* The Haram has AC in the King Fahd section! which is next to the King Abdul Aziz Gate to your left. Take the escalators!
* There is water everywhere so keep yourself hydrated. It does get extremely HOT so be careful. Suggestion if you have a young baby infant bring a small portable fan. I had a 4 month old and used a baby carrier, I splashed her face with zam zam and used the fan to cool her down everywhere we went shopping, salaat, tawwaf. comes in handy!
* Tawaaf is most busy after sunset! Tahjood and fajr is also busy! its even busy before asr and after asr. Its not busy during Duhr. You have assess yourself bc ppl know when its busy and when its not, but it is unpredictable.
I got a chance to kiss the stone around 10:30 to 11 AM. Do not go in directly approach from the sides. If your not comfortable pushing then forget it you wont get to kiss it.
For the women approach from the side of the Door and indicate to the guard you wish to kiss the stone. Go with a group of women and he will let you in. If you can give the guard some water, he stands there in the sun and heat!
* You can bring a book for all your Dua's everyone had them. I had a paper with my umrah guide on it.
* They do stop tawaf for the prayers. So if you wish to kiss the stone, start your tawwaf 10 min before the Athaan and keep going until the guards stop you. That way you line up right in front of the Kaaba. right after the Fard, everyone makes a dash for the stone to kiss it. So be on the lookout
* Learn Salaat Jehnazah you will read it 5 times a day.
* The Sai will be hot and humid. Umrah is physically demanding. that is the purpose. To break you down so that your spiritually opened up. Enjoy it do not
consider it a burdensome task.
* take camera's at your own risk. if its in a bag they check. Especially for women. Many ppl took photos/videos with their cell phones. Outside you might find it easier. but ppl do still say "Hajji haram haram"
*Learn arabic if you can, at least the numbers that will come in handy when bargaining. Otherwise you'll get swindled by the taxi drivers. Agree on the fee before you get in, not after.
* Shopping - Do not shop at the Hilton towers, the items there are 10x more expensive. The safwa towers shops just outside in front of the king abdul aziz gate are better deals. There is also a nice 3 riyal shop too!
Always bargain. Ask for the last price then start bargaining. They trap you by saying this is 200 riyals but for you i give it for 190. they only try to go down by 5 or 10 riyals. but try at least 30 riyals. Watch out for fake merchandise such as prayer beads (tasbih) and perfumes.
* Shopping in Mecca is more expensive then Medina. So if you want to shop, shop in Medina. They have much lower prices!
* There is hardly any authentic food anymore. Mostly fast food places. So expect to eat a lot of burgers and fried chicken, broast chicken. I had gotten a chicken sharwarma 4 times and all 4 were different and very bad.
Real food is outside, which you have to do a lot of walking beyond the hotels to get to and they are a bit more rundown...
* Bring a tissue with you at all times especially if you pray by the Kaaba. The birds tend to poop on ppl...happened to me 4 times!
* Mecca has 2 ATMS by the Safwa Tower shops on the outside to the left by the main road.
* Medina has 1 ATM at the Hilton on the 3rd floor which is right next to masjid al nabawi.
* There are plenty of money exchange places around. Don't carry a lot of 500 Riyal bills they are hard to break!
Going from Makkah to Medina we took the SAPTCO buses which are located in between the Intercontinental hotel and Hilton hotel. If you have a lot of luggage good luck carrying it in the heat all the way there if your hotel is far.
* there are plenty of ppl asking for money from the airport to each city. What you decide to do with your money is up to you. But I did give out to to the needy, its hard to ignore a child asking for money.
* We stayed at the Concord Madinah which is about 2 blocks from the Masjid al Nabawi. it was a great hotel for 250 riyals a nite! There is a bengali guy (doorman) who was really nice and did a lot for us. He helped us get our clothes laundered any food we wanted he got it. Service was def good there.
* The shops are wonderful around Medina, so enjoy them!
* To get to Riyaz ul Jannah, we went around 10:30 pm to midnight. The rush is significantly less and you'll get in easier. However the masjid itself is closed so you cant enter through the main gates. Go around the masjid....if you go left its longer, go right should be shorter.
* everything closes at 12 am. Food is open til 1 am (KFC & hardees)
Thats all of what I can think about right now. If you have questions you can email me at
i'll try to help as much as i can.