8 things to know if you’re doing Umrah in Ramadan
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8 things to know if you’re doing Umrah in Ramadan

Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, is likely to begin on Tuesday, March 12, 2024. This holy month, dedicated to prayer, self-reflection, and religious devotion, also traditionally marks the peak season for Umrah. Millions of Muslims from around the world flock to Makkah every Ramadan for worship and to undertake Umrah.

While there might not be hidden secrets, here are some things nobody tells you about doing Umrah during Ramadan that can help you tremendously and make your trip a little easier!

1. Ramadan in March offers the best weather

While Makkah is known for its hot days, you might be surprised to learn how pleasant the weather can get in March, with daytime temperatures ranging from 20°C to 30°C (68°F to 86°F). Ramadan Umrah this year is the perfect opportunity for anyone who can’t stand the intense heat!

But of course, with cooler temperatures come larger crowds seeking the same comfortable conditions during Ramadan. So, make sure to secure your Umrah booking well in advance and avoid busy times!

2. Ramadan Umrah permits are available online through Nusuk

Whether you’ll be performing Umrah, praying, or simply visiting one of Two Holy Mosques, you’ll need to get a permit through the Nusuk app. This app is the only way to obtain a permit/ book an appointment in the Two Holy Mosques: Masjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque) in Makkah and Masjid an-Nabawi (Prophet’s Mosque) in Medina.

Just remember to stick to the date and time you booked. Security guards may not always check appointments at the entrance, they definitely will during peak times! This helps manage large crowds and ensures a smooth experience for everyone. If things change, don’t worry – you can always cancel and rebook.

3. You don’t have to worry about transportation when you arrive

Traveling during Ramadan can be daunting, but getting around in Saudi Arabia is not! No matter your preference or budget, you’ll find a convenient and reliable way to get to & around Makkah.

Airport to Makkah:

  • Harmain High-Speed Train: HHR connects Jeddah and Madinah airports directly to Makkah. You can buy your tickets at the airport or the HHR Train app.
  • Free airport shuttle buses: If you arrive at Jeddah airport, you can also take the free buses heading directly to Masjid al-Haram in Makkah, operating from 10am to 10pm with departures every two hours.

Getting Around Makkah:

  • Makkah Bus: covers various routes within Makkah, connecting the Grand Mosque and its surrounding areas to neighborhoods like Al Shuhada’a, Al Kakiya, and Jaranah. You can find the bus routes and timetables online.
  • Hotel Pick-up and Drop-off: Many hotels in Makkah offer this convenient service to and from Masjid al-Haram.
  • Ride-sharing Apps: Careem and Uber offer their services at competitive rates, while Taxis are the most expensive option.

4. There are doors assigned only to Umrah pilgrims

Usually, the Grand Mosque authorities designate separate entry and exit gates for Umrah pilgrims during Ramadan. This isn’t meant to restrict access, but rather to create a smoother flow for everyone, especially considering the larger crowds during this special month. These designated gates help Umrah pilgrims enter the mosque and start their Tawaf efficiently, without getting mixed in with the general flow of visitors coming to pray.

To stay informed, check the gates assigned specially to Umrah on the Nusuk app or reliable news sources.

5. The Grand & Prohphet Mosque prepare iftar spreads for visitors in Ramadan.

Every day, 10,000 spreads, each stretching 12 meters long, are laid throughout the mosque’s courtyards. These spreads become communal tables for all Muslims to gather for Iftart On these spreads, you’ll find a simple yet fulfilling iftar meal that includes: dates, Zamzam water, yogurt, and cakes.

6. Performing Umrah once is enough this Ramadan

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah (MoHU) has reminded the faithful that “one pilgrimage is enough” for the holy month.

“Performing Umrah only once during Ramadan can help provide other pilgrims the chance to perform their rituals with ease,” the MoHU said. This would also keep the crowd under control and ensure a smooth journey for pilgrims. As such, you can’t repeat your Umrah in Ramadan.

7. You can perform Umrah with any type of visa!

Now, anyone with a valid visa issued by Saudi Arabia, regardless of their country of origin, can perform Umrah. This includes those who have a stopover visa or valid visas from the United States, the United Kingdom, or Schengen countries.

Consider the tourist e-visa for a hassle-free experience. The process takes only around 10 minutes and costs $130. Within 15 minutes to a few hours, you’ll receive the approval via email with the visa attached. The e-visa is valid for one year and allows multiple entries, letting you stay for up to 90 days in Saudi Arabia.

8. Your visa comes with mandatory travel insurance

We all hope your Umrah plans go smoothly, but unexpected situations can arise anytime, anywhere! That’s why it’s important to be prepared. The good news is that all visas issued by Saudi Arabia automatically include basic visitor insurance that covers medical emergencies and hospitalizations.

But the Umrah travel insurance you get when you book Umrah package through Nusuk, covers a wider range of situations, including COVID-19 treatment costs, personal accidents resulting in death or disability, flight delays or cancellations, and other matters.

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