In those days, many people went to Mecca to perform Umrah through certified pilgrimage agencies. But now things have changed. Since the cost for Umrah increases, many of us looking for solutions to minimize the spending to the Holy Land. Similarly when you travel without travel agents, going to Mecca for Umrah can be done by the same way, as what we call “Umrah DIY” – a way of performing Umrah by ourselves without agencies.
What type of people inclined to do Umrah DIY?
- Those who have been performing Umrah for few times and no longer require guidance from ‘mutawif’. Also those people who are familiar with airport surrounding and procedure, hotel and mosque in both Mecca and Madinah.
- Those who plan to stay based on their time, not planning to stay long in the Holy Land.
- Those who want to perform Umrah only and wish to spend longer time in mosque without having to follow scheduled trip for visit (eg. Kurma Garden, museum etc.)
- Those who want privacy.
- Suitable for people who often travel and adventurous, independent and calm in pressuring situations.
- Those who want to save budget. Umrah DIY lets you to decide your own time and can see clearly expenses details
- Preparations Before Travel
If you want to perform Umrah, you have to apply for Umrah Visa via registered travel agents only. Find a registered and certified travel agency when dealing with visa application. Normally, well-known agencies refuse to take risk to attend individual visa application. This is because they don’t really know you and you are not registered under their Umrah packages (which is logic). If you violate the terms and conditions of visa, for example prolong your Umrah stay till Hajj season, it is that agency will be blacklisted from the Saudi government and action will be taken.
You can check registered travel agent for Umrah visa application via Saudi Embassy website or just google “umrah visa application”. Visa application can be done at least 2 weeks before your departure date. Visa will cost you RM200, as instructed by the Saudi government. However through agents, the cost is RM300. The cost for overall Umrah DIY can be as low as RM3000 or as high as RM6000, depends on your budget.
- Buying the flight ticket
KUL – MEDINA – JEDDAH – KUL
If possible, try to find a flight which direct you to Medina first. This is because the immigration procedure in Medina airport is more commercialized, systematic, professional, easier and less waiting time. Besides that, you don’t have to be in “ihram” if you first go to Medina. Therefore in Medina, you can be spiritually prepared for the actual Umrah in Mecca. This is where you can increase your act of worship, pay a visit to the Prophet’s tomb and get to know the new surrounding, weather, people and culture.
Going back to Malaysia, you can get a ticket from Mecca (nearby airport from Mecca is Jeddah) direct to Kuala Lumpur or choose airline with transits. It all depends on the ticket availability and your budget.
- Find hotel
You can book hotel via online from booking.com, agoda.com or hotels.com or any online hotel booking websites. Find hotel that is nearby to the mosques (Masjid Nabawi and Masjidil Haram) but at the same time cost saving. This is why it is important to book hotel in advance so that you can get the price value for your money. The earlier you book, the cheaper you can get. At this moment too, you can also proceed with vaccine injection for Umrah pilgrims.
Tips: Once you have all the documents ready, i.e flight ticket (go and return), hotel information, vaccine injection and passport, you can go to travel agency for Umrah visa application. Visa application process normally can be completed between 2-3 days, but always allocate extra time at least 2 weeks for any case of emergency.
- Going to Medina
Check-in in KLIA. Use the entire journey inside the flight to supplicate and ask for Allah’s forgiveness and mercy. You can also revise back the du’a that you have to utter while performing Umrah.
Once you arrived Medina airport, get a taxi to send you to your hotel. This will cost you around 60-80 riyal. Then, check-in to your hotel, get some ample rest and fill your stomach if you are hungry because the main goal to go for Umrah is to spend as much time as possible inside the Holy Mosques to focus on act of worship.
- Heading to Mecca
From Medina, you can either use taxi or bus to Mecca or using flight from Medina to Jeddah. From Jeddah, you can get a taxi to Mecca directly to your hotel. You can cut the waiting time 4-5 hours by Umrah DIY than travelling via agencies when heading from Medina to Mecca. Once you arrive your hotel in Mecca, rest for a while to restore your energy, fill your stomach if you had to and start heading to Masjidil Haram for Umrah rituals.
Tips: The ‘ihram’ period is about 4-5 hours from Medina to Mecca. This way you will not be in ‘ihram’ state for long time and have less tendency to break the ‘ihram’ period. Therefore we encourage you to use a flight from Medina to Mecca. Less exhaustion and can reduce waiting time.
- Return to Kuala Lumpur
You can book a transport service from hotel concierge to send you to Jeddah airport. It will cost you around RM300. A direct flight is always the best choice as Umrah DIY people are looking for low budget and time saving flight.
Now that you have read Umrah DIY, how do you feel about it? If you want to try something new with budget-friendly cost, give yourself a try for Umrah DIY. Remember, Allah never disappoints those who walk in His path. Therefore, have no worries while performing Umrah because His help is closer than we thought. Make a lot of du’a so that your Umrah journey will be smooth and easy from the day you depart till the day you return home.