Good day everyone.
It's that time of the year when most of us think to travel overland. And many of us also plan Umra by road.
so here's my contribution to this subject (my favorite).
I have been doing this run for the last 14 years with Family.
Umra opens this year in first week of December.
Following is the Dua when you undertake a journey.
دعاء السفر : الله اكبر, الله اكبر, الله اكبر, سبحان الذي سخر لنا هذا وما كنا له مقرنين , وانا الى ربنا لمنقلبون , اللهم انا نسالك في سفرنا هذا البر والتقوى , ومن العمل ما ترضى, اللهم هون علينا سفرنا هذا , واطوا عنا بعده ,اللهم انت الصاحب في السفر , والخليفه في الاهل ,اللهم اني اعوذ بك من وعثاء السفر , وكآبة المنظر ,وسوء المنقلب في المال والاهل
1- You have to apply for Umra Visa from a Haj and Umra Agent.
Documents needed: Original Passport, 2 photos white background, UAE ID, NOC from Sponsor and Vaccination Card.
2- Vehicle - If you are registered In Abu Dhabi and Dubai - you will need a Carnet Du Passage (tripticket) from the Automobile and Touring Club. In Dubai its as follows - EMSF Dubai Building - From Almulla Plaza towards Century Mall, first signal, turn right, it will be on your left. its a traditional looking sand brown building - access from the side.
Documents needed: Original Registration card (Mulkia), Driving License, UAE ID, Passport Copy, NOC from Bank (if vehicle is mortgaged). Fees (Payable in Cash): 500 deposit (refunded after your return via cheque AFTER you hand over the carnet), 300 for the Carnet (no one ever looks for it), 80 for the Tourism Certificate.
3- Route: Dubai - Shahamah - Mafraq - Tarif - Sila - Ghuweifat 460 kms. Fillup from home, again at ADNOC after 230 kms (Good point for taking a ten minute break for the children). next fillup will be in Saudi.
4- Enter UAE Border, Handover Mulkiya, Drivers License and Tourism Certificate for the Customs Paper (check you have all your papers including the slip from Customs). Move on and park to the right. Take all your passports, the customs slip, and 35 Dirhams each as exit fees and enter the Immigrations Building to get the passports stamped.
HERE, IT IS A GOOD IDEA TO TAKE ONE OF THE KIDS WITH YOU SO THAT YOU DONT JOIN THE TRUCK DRIVERS LINE. FAMILIES ALWAYS HAVE A SEPERATE LINE.
EASY PART ENDED
UAE Border is Ghuweifat _ Saudi Border is Batha
FRUSTRATING PART BEGINS
5- Enter Saudi Border - park and enter the Huge Building on your right MEN ONLY, take all the passports and go for Fingerprint and photo. After you finish, give the femlae passports to them and theres a small door on the left side of the huge awning (تطبيق النساء) for the women to finger printed and passports stamped as (verified).
6- Move on to the Checking bay - then Insurance at 70 Dirhams a week, 100 for a fortnight and 150 for a month.
After Clearing the border, there are three pumps on your right, SASCO (recommended for fuel and Night Rest- food is crappy), next Alsahab (recommended for food and Night Rest - Fuel is most probably contaminated from the ancient tanks), NEW pump (PREFERRED FOR FUEL).
Here, you can exchange money too but it will be AED=SAR.
NOW, you have two choices to Riyadh:
1- Distance 520 Kms Batha-Haradh-Alkharj-Riyadh - Single lane straight road with moving sand dunes and a rough stretch NOT RECOMMENDED AT NIGHT AT ALL. Refuel at Pump on your right after 200 kms.
Route: After the second Pump, theres an exit on your left. Straight road - Follow signs.
2- Distance 610 Kms Batha-Salwa-Hofuf-Riyadh - Double lane road. Refuel in Hofuf. Then, once you join the highway to Riyadh
Route: straight from border toward Salwa R/A (Qatar Border here). Left from R/A - follow signs to Hofuf then to Riyadh.
3- Makkah Al Mukarramah Via Taif is 810Kms approximately from Riyadh.
4- Madinah Al Munawwarah is about the same distance. Look for signs - if lost, stop any Police Patrol and ask for directions - Don't follow other people's cars. On this route, from Riyadh to Medinah - the petrol pumps are not always on the highway itself.
Golden Rule - never go more than half empty. Carry some fuel with you, even if a gallon only.
1- Fajr is to be prayed on time, Two Rakahs.
2- Dhuhr and Asr are two Rakahs each - with Niyah of Qasr (Shortening).
3- Maghrib is Three Rakahs and Isha is Two Rakah and Witr.
Depending on your Madhab (Hanafi, Shafai, Maliki, Hanbali), you can either pray Dhuhr / Asr together at either one's time and Maghrib / Isha together at either one's time or seperately (you can time it with fuel stops).
TIME AND SPEED:
Calculate one hour for every 100 kms, including breaks and prayer stops.
Average speed of 130 kms - Dubai to border , border clearance, prayer stops, one six hour night stop, wearing Ihraam in Taif and reaching Makkah will take 24 hours. Non stop driving is HIGHLY NOT RECOMMENDED - I personally have seen a lot of fresh fatal accidents on that road.
1- Many fuel pumps dont accept UAE currency on the way, carry at least a few hundred Saudi Riyals.
2- Food is cheap and portions are large - dont buy like you do here, it may go to waste.
3- Saudi SIM Cards are now given against Personal ID and are not very easy to procure.
4- Don't leave valuables in your car.
5- Don't park in no parking zones - the car will be literally dragged away with a lot of damage to front part.
6- Carry Pain relievers and some Imodium (for loose motions) and some Adol for the children in a cool bags.
7- After a long stretch of highway driving, dont switch off the car immediately, let it run for at least fifteen minutes with the hood open.
8- Don't let the car running unattended.
A few things I have learned to pack, over the years and are pretty handy:
1- A strip of Panadol
2- A roll of sterilised tape.
3- A retractable blade and a small knife,
4- A pack of hygenic wet wipes (for cleaning your hands after having a snack).
5- A packet of small blue plastic bags (like the ones in a grocery), for waste.
6- A small bundle of rope - to tie down stuff.
7- Prayer Mats, which can double up as hand rests or shoulder supports.
Remember, it's winter now, pack something warm for the kids INSIDE the car.