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Tips for umrah

Level Contributor
14 posts
49 reviews
45 helpful votes
Tips for umrah

These are some things I picked up on my recent trip there. Feel free to email me for anything in particular:

* Don't be afraid of going on umrah while you are young. There were tons of young couples with the look of passion in their eyes for each other there, sharing themselves with God. It was beautiful

* Bring an extra set of Ihram in case one gets dirty or you sweat too much

* Be careful when wearing the ihram. I was accidentally flashed once

* If you are sensitive to light bring sunglasses as it gets very bright at the kaaba

* A trick to kissing the black stone is to join the queue 10 - 15 minutes before the azan for Asar. The people pushing are shooed away and the line moves quickly.

* for the hijr ismail for Zohor or Asar pray near the entrance and when salat is finished go near the entrance. After the funeral prayer they will open the gate up and it will be straightforward to go in

* Learn the funeral prayer (salat Jenazah). You will pray it 5 times a day, I kid you not.

*The three most happening hotels are the intercontinental (dar tauhid), hilton and Zam Zam suites. Theres a nice shopping mall at hilton with KFC, Hardees (delicious) and burger king. Outsiders can use the internet there (SR50 per hour at the business centre). Zam Zam suite has a high class shopping mall there and the intercontinental is closest to the kaaba

*Dar Firdaus is probably the closest of the other hotels. Used to be called the Grand Makkah Hotel before it was renovated. Rooms are reasonable sized and canteen has Malay food (cook from Penang). Workers are quite friendly as well, and they keep the place clean and efficient. Going out from King Fahd gate of kaaba you cross the bus stop and the hotel is right there. Only just a bit further than the 5 star hotels (it is 3 or 4 star. 3 star by Malaysia standards).

* don't be put off by the hot weather. Even though it is very hot you really don't feel it

* there are places for ladies to pray on the second floor of the masjid haram. Near the intercontinental and Zam Zam suite entries there are escalators. It is much more peaceful there rather than at the ground floor.

* Ladies are allowed into the ar raudah section of the prophets mosque in the morning and night for an hour or so. The one at night is a lot less crowded

*If you want to pray near the kiblat for congregational prayers, do sunnah inside first and then go to where people are doing tawaf. People will form lines there just before salat starts.

*Not much food in the airport and it is expensive so if possible bring food and drinks from elsewhere. They don't check for liquids at immigration.

* Need to pray in the open at the airport so bring a prayer matt

* Follow all the readings and whatnot on the first umrah. After that the second time can do it more from your heart. The first time you try you will be nervous and in awe of the whole situation for your heart to appreciate everything.

Hassan Scott, muslimactuary@yahoo.com

Dammam, Saudi Arabia
Level Contributor
123 posts
4 reviews
10 helpful votes
21. Re: Tips for umrah

As Salam alykum, im pretty sure Hilton towers are the ones closer to masjidulharam.. It is a nice place to stay in and i would definately recommend it.. Please check out my reply on this thread


How close it is?..uhhm i would say its probably 15-20 meters away or close .. ok.. let me put it this way.. its as close as if you were in your hotel room at the time the "athan" (calling for prayer) was announced .. you can make it to almasjid by the time of the iqama :) ..

the backside of the loby is connected to a passway with shops on your right and left side that takes you to a gate.. when you are on the other side of the gate you are literally few steps away "or close lol :)" from the Masjidulharam..

Enjoy your visit :)


London, United...
Destination Expert
for Saudi Arabia
Level Contributor
2,096 posts
104 reviews
167 helpful votes
22. Re: Tips for umrah

* A trick to kissing the black stone is to join the queue 10 - 15 minutes before the azan for Asar. The people pushing are shooed away and the line moves quickly.

why didnt I read this before. When I was there 2 weeks ago I just couldnt get near the black stone, it was crowded with women. they were more pushy than the men. I found the close proximity to women in this area to be a little unsettling, especially when I was in my pure state of ihram. Not good in that state to have to brush up against scores of women. So, I decided to stay away and did my tawafs in a wider circuit thus avoiding that corner altogether.

This is a great shame, that some people lose all patience and respect for others when doing the tawaf. I live in hope that I can touch the black stone next time inshallah.

Level Contributor
14 posts
49 reviews
45 helpful votes
23. Re: Tips for umrah

I was actually told not to get near the black stone when in ihram as some people spray perfume near the kaaba for some reason...

Level Contributor
14 posts
49 reviews
45 helpful votes
24. Re: Tips for umrah

Further tips from the trip just now:

* It will take 2 - 3 hours to go from touch down to leaving the airport if not busy

* There are touts that will put your bags on their trolley and bring you through the bag checks. They are not necessary and will want SR10 for helping you. In fact most everyone that wants to help you by praying for you, taking your picture for you, or lending you scissors will want money in return.

* Going to Madinah by GMC rather than flight is much easier and quicker. It was 4 hours including one stop. The bus took longer, 5 - 6 hours. Same for the way back.

* If you have glasses don't keep them in front of you. If anything they need to be directly in between your feet. People will walk right in front of you and through you at times.

* Al Baqi closes other than after Subuh until 9am. Most tour groups don't go into much detail and go quick. If you want to see more hunt for a good map of Baqi online and go yourself. Its nice to just wander, feeling the energy there. The prophet's son Ibrahim's grave has especially strong energy. Note that the guards are very sensitive to people reading prayers and taking pictures so you need to be very discreet. Not all umrah books have details on prayers for individual graves. For Malaysia the Tabung Haji book is good.

* The busiest time is obviously hajj, followed by Ramadhan. Next is just after the umrah visa's open again. The quietest is before the umrah visa's are given (Ziarah permit is given) but only a few countries are eligible to go, including Malaysia and Brunei.

* Install a GPS for you shoes. Just kidding, but seriously though when you get the main Kaaba area turn around and see exactly where you came from. Please remember that sometimes things are funny in Mecca. One time I was lazy to finish my Dzikr so I went to leave but could not find my shoes anywhere. Finally I gave up and finished my dzikr. Only then I realized I had gone to the wrong green sign!

* On the second floor of Safwa tower (next to Zam Zam tower) is Felda restaurant for decent Malay food. They seem to be open more than other restaurants. P3 and P4 of the Zam Zam tower are restaurants. Citarasa is a decent Indonesian place, included in our package. For them it is RM50 for buffet. The food prices seem to be around double what it would be in Malaysia. Individual fast food meal would be SR20 - 25, as compared to SR10 or so in Malaysia. Fast food at Zam Zam includes Burger King, KFC, Hardees, Pizza Hut, Movenpick Ice Cream and Baskin Robbins.

* Zam Zam well has been closed since 2003 so no need to hunt for it!

1 post
25. Re: Tips for umrah

Assalamu Alaikum,

Inshaallah I am going for Umrah this week from USA. Can someone give me contact number for Dal Al Firdous hotel please ? I want to stay there. I stayed there in 2006 for Umrah but don't have the contact info. Jazakallah.

Level Contributor
14 posts
49 reviews
45 helpful votes
26. Re: Tips for umrah

I stayed there last year but the tour guide arranged everything...

Level Contributor
536 posts
136 reviews
193 helpful votes
27. Re: Tips for umrah

Walaikum salam.

This is what I got from internet, hope it helps:

Dar Al Firdous Hotel

P.O.Box: 3790


Saudi Arabia

+966 (2) 543-6383

Parsippany, New...
2 posts
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.


29. Re: Tips for umrah

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