Umrah is a sacred pilgrimage undertaken by Muslims to the holy cities of Makkah and Madina in Saudi Arabia. While it is not obligatory like the Hajj pilgrimage, Umrah holds great spiritual significance in Islam. It involves performing a series of rituals and acts of worship at the revered sites, primarily at Masjid al-Haram in Makkah, where the Kaaba is located, and at Masjid Nabawi in Madina, the final resting place of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The rituals of Umrah include wearing Ahram (the sacred attire), performing Tawaf (circumambulation) around the Kaaba, Sa’i (walking between the hills of Safa and Marwa), and other supplications and prayers. Umrah can be performed at any time of the year, providing an opportunity for Muslims to seek spiritual purification, closeness to Allah, and blessings from undertaking this blessed journey.
Umrah Travel Guide From Pakistan:
Planning your Umrah tour properly is essential to ensure a smooth and meaningful experience. Here is a comprehensive Umrah Travel Guide to help you prepare for your journey:
1. Duration and Destination:
Decide how many days you want to stay in Makkah and Madina respectively. Consider allocating sufficient time for your religious rituals and visiting the holy sites (Ziarats). It’s recommended to spend more time in Makkah to fully immerse yourself in the spiritual atmosphere.
2. Niat (Intention) and Ahram:
Begin your Umrah journey by making your intention (niat) to perform Umrah at the designated place. Remember to wear Ahram, the sacred attire for Umrah, at this location. In case you forget, you will need to return by taxi to wear Ahram again with the intention of Umrah.
3. Preparing for Umrah:
Prioritize learning and understanding the correct way to perform Umrah. Purchase a guidebook or watch informative videos on platforms like YouTube to familiarize yourself with the rituals and supplications (duas) associated with Umrah. Also, learn how to wear Ahram correctly in advance.
4. Packing Essentials:
Pack according to your personal needs and the duration of your stay. Along with regular clothing items, make sure to carry Ahram, at least two pairs of good quality chappals (flip-flops), and a tasbih. Additionally, a small first aid kit can come in handy during your journey.
5. Joining a Karwan (Group):
Decide whether you want to travel alone or join a Karwan/group. If you are confident in handling your own arrangements and following a self-planned schedule, traveling alone might be suitable. However, if you prefer the convenience and guidance provided by a group, join a Karwan. Consider factors such as language barriers and the need for assistance in decision-making while making this choice.
6. Mobile SIM Card:
Upon arrival in Saudi Arabia, purchase a local SIM card from stalls outside the airport. Avoid buying SIM cards from individuals with biometric machines inside the airport. Choose a SIM card provider that offers a suitable data package with international minutes. If you are traveling with multiple people, consider getting SIM cards from different networks for added flexibility.
7. Transportation to Makkah:
The mode of transportation from the airport to Makkah depends on your budget and comfort preferences. Buses are the most budget-friendly option, costing around 15 to 20 Riyals. Trains and taxis are more expensive alternatives. If you prioritize comfort and convenience, hiring a taxi might be suitable.
8. Choosing a Hotel:
Select a hotel based on your budget and preferences. Hotels located closer to the Kaaba tend to be more expensive, while those further away offer more affordable options. Determine whether you prefer staying within walking distance or don’t mind a short commute. Bargaining with hotel owners can help you secure better rates.
9. Ziarat (Holy Places) in Makkah:
There are two ways to visit the holy sites (Ziarats) in Makkah. You can either take buses from Ibrahim Khalil Road or Hijira Road, which charge around 10 to 20 Riyals for limited tours. Alternatively, hire a taxi from Ibrahim Khalil Road to have more flexibility in choosing the sites you want to visit. Negotiate with the taxi driver and confirm that you intend to visit all the holy places. Taxi fares for a detailed tour can range from 150 to 200 Riyals.
10. Food in Makkah:
Numerous restaurants offering Pakistani, Indian, and Bangladeshi cuisine can be found in the vicinity of Masjid al-Haram. If you’re interested in trying Arabic fast food, visit Albaik. Food courts are also available in Makkah Tower and other nearby buildings. For authentic Pakistani food, explore Ibrahim Khalil Road.
Make a shopping list in advance to avoid unnecessary expenses. While you can purchase everyday items in your home country, prioritize buying Zam Zam water and dates in Saudi Arabia. These items are commonly brought back as religious souvenirs. Save money by avoiding expensive purchases such as prayer mats and tasbi (prayer beads), which can be bought at cheaper rates in Pakistan, India, or Bangladesh.
12. Traveling to Madina:
To travel from Makkah to Madina, you can choose between buses, taxis, or the bullet train. Buses are the most economical option, while taxis and the bullet train offer convenience and speed. If you want to explore the places between Makkah and Madina, hire a taxi and negotiate the fare while informing the driver of your intention to visit all the sites.
13. Medina Hotel:
Similar to Makkah, hotel selection in Madina depends on your budget. Hotels near Masjid Nabawi tend to be more expensive, while those farther away are more affordable. Bargain with hotel owners to secure a good room at a reasonable price. Consider staying near Masjid Al Ghamamah on Quba Road, where you can find a variety of Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi, and Arabic food options. The food street near Masjid Bilal is also recommended for food enthusiasts, with Albaik being a popular choice.
14. Ziarat in Madina:
In Madina, you can either take a bus or hire a taxi to visit the holy places (Ziarats). Opt for a taxi if you want a detailed tour of the sites. Bargain with the taxi driver and clearly state your intention to visit all the Ziarats or holy places in Madina.
15. Money Transfer:
If you need to receive money from Pakistan, India, or Bangladesh, it’s best to use Western Union for secure transactions. Alternatively, you can receive funds from friends or family residing in Saudi Arabia. Avoid using MoneyGram, as their availability is limited in Saudi Arabia.
16. Zam Zam Water:
You are allowed to carry a maximum of 5 liters of Zam Zam water back to your home country, but it must be in properly packed bottles. Ensure compliance with airport regulations by purchasing Zam Zam water in packaged containers. Avoid exceeding the weight limit mentioned on your flight ticket to avoid additional charges. It’s not recommended to hide extra bottles in your luggage as they may be detected during scanning.
17. Emergency Numbers:
Keep emergency numbers handy in case of any unforeseen circumstances. Important contact numbers include police assistance (999/911), fire emergency response (998), car accidents (993), public ambulance services (997), natural disasters (966), coast guards (994), and general emergency (112), Ministery of Hajj and Umrah contact form. If your travel agent fails to provide satisfactory service, make sure to file a complaint.
Remember, this Umrah Travel Guide serves as a reference, and it’s advisable to consult with authorized travel agents and reliable sources for the most up-to-date information before embarking on your Umrah journey.
If you have any questions that we missed mentioning in this Umrah Travel Guide then feel free to ask in below comments.