For a Muslim, present anywhere around the globe, the most satisfying and blessed moment is the one in which their visit to the Holy city of Makkah is planned! The gratification and contentment that you feel within, is way beyond words! There is a deep sense of contentment and appreciation, a sentiment that your oldest and most precious desire is going to come true- you are going to be a guest of Allah SWT.

Although this desire is somehow present in every Muslim, the same is increased manifolds if you shift to Saudi Arab itself, or anywhere in the GCC. You can then see that the journey is not only convenient, but you do not even need long leaves for planning the visit- less time required, less investment required, and the most honorable and respectful trip is easier than ever.
Here, I would share my experience of the Umrah trip from Bahrain- it was a road trip that took 10 days in all, including the transportation and the stay in Makkah.

Let’s start from the beginning- the visa process. Once we were blessed with the opportunity to make the plan, and decided that we should go for an Umrah, we started searching for a suitable agent- as you need one for the tour. There are several agencies operating in Bahrain, offering different packages for Hajj and Umrah.

We were provided with two options- going by road, or by air. You can choose either, depending upon your budget and the time available. However, going by road requires you to travel in a group (in a van , arranged by the tour operator), as the Saudi government has already banned independent travelling (on you own car) if you are travelling on Umrah visa.
So, we got in touch with the agent, decided to travel by road, submitted the required documents, and started preparing.
The documents required for Umrah Visa Application include:
  • Passport, with minimum 6 months validity
  • 2 recent passport size photographs
  • Vaccination certificate
  • Sometimes, the employer letter is also required for the application processing

Since it was my first time, I was super excited and a little nervous too- as I wanted everything to be just perfect- nothing less was acceptable. I got a lot of instructions and advices, all thanx to my friends who had been on Umrah before. Here are a few simple tips, which I found to be very useful and practical from my personal experience:
  • Do not overload. Being a female, you will have to wear an abaya all of the time, do prefer clothes that you feel comfortable in- no one is going to see them except you- so carry ONLY the essentials, and travel light.
  • If you are travelling by road, take at least 2 abayas with you, as the one you wear in travelling would require washing, and would not be fit for Ehraam. Better to take one extra, and feel comfortable.
  • Take the basic medicines along- since there are hundreds of thousands of people present, at any time of the year, getting diseases like influenza and cough, is not uncommon at all. In addition, you are required for walk, a lot, and that is likely to give you muscle ache. Although these medicines are easily available everywhere, it is better to carry them along, and avoid any confusion whatsoever.
  • Prayer mat is totally optional- I never carried one, and never even feel the need to having it, but a lot of people buy prayer mats from Makkah- Madina and carry them along, a matter of choice, no compulsion.
  • Carry socks along- the females can wear them with Ehraam, and the males can use them after Umrah, during the regular visits and prayers. You will thank me for this advice, as it would not only make the long walks in the huge mosque (Haram) easy, but would also prevent the damage to skin, caused by walking barefoot.
  • Always keep your essential documents, and some cash, with you. Get a cross-body bag/ waist bag for this purpose.
  • Avoid carrying huge handbags. For one, they are difficult to carry, and secondly, they are also difficult to place, especially during prayers. It is better to go with cross-body bag, or no bag at all, if you do not have to carry something very important.
  • Having mobile phone in Makkah is not important at all- there is no segregation (except during Salat), and thus no specific need of the means of communication, while you are in Haram.
  • Plastic bags are provided for shoes, at the entrances of Haram, and you can just carry them along- no need to worry about the footwear.
  • Stay hydrated, all the time. Zamzam is available everywhere in Haram, there are huge water coolers placed after every few feet, make the maximum possible use of it. This would not only allow you to stay active, but would also prevent the health issues caused due to lack of water. Besides, drinking Zamzam is a privilege in itself, and has loads of medical benefits, avail the opportunity while you are present at the Holy site.

We had 5 days stay in Makkah, 2 days in Madian, while travelling took almost 2 days. The road trip from Bahrain to Makkah was around 24 hours long, Makkah to Madina transit took 5 hours, and the trip from Madina back to Bahrain was 18 hours long. The trip might sound really stretched; however, there are frequent stops, and thus nothing to worry about. Food and drinks can be purchased from any of the petrol pumps that bus would take a rest on- also there are prayer rooms, and toilets, on every stop, so the trip is going to be confortable, for sure.
The visit to Holy city of Makkah is one of it’s kind experience- cannot be compared to anything else. Having been to many countries across the globe, I can say for sure, this was the best one. Once you are provided with the opportunity, try to make the most out of it, and spend maximum possible time in prayers.
I have tried to answer most of the questions, which I had in mind as a first time traveller to Makkah, combined with the specifics that I learnt through my experience. In my next blog, I would be sharing the essentials for Madina travel, and my experiences in the second most blessed city. Stay tuned!

#bahrain #umrahfrombahrain #planningumrahfrombahrain #umrahduringramadan #roadtriptomakkah #howtoplanumrahfrombahrain #visittomakkah #roadtriptomakkah #umrah #bahraintour #livinginbahrain #umrahfrombahrain #bahraintomakkah #tourfrombahrain #blogger #bahrrainblog #bahrainblogger #essentialsforumrah #howtoplanumrah #howtoplanumrahfrombahrain #whattocarryforumrah #planningforumrah #firstumrah #preparationsforfirstumrah #preparationsforumrah #umrahguide #whattocarryforumrah