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  • Writer's pictureRidhwan Mohd Basor

7 Step-by-Step Guide for Umrah DIY (Do-It-Yourself)

Updated: Apr 7

How can I perform Umrah by myself without a travel agent from Singapore & Malaysia? Check out this comprehensive guide to plan for your next umrah trip!

Raudhah


If you are planning to perform the umrah pilgrimage to Makkah and ziarah to Madinah, Congratulations! Alhamdulillah, you are on your way to be the Guest of the Most Merciful (duyufurrahman). In a hadith recorded in Sahih Muslim, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w said:


‏ الْعُمْرَةُ إِلَى الْعُمْرَةِ كَفَّارَةٌ لِمَا بَيْنَهُمَا، وَالْحَجُّ الْمَبْرُورُ لَيْسَ لَهُ جَزَاءٌ إِلاَّ الْجَنَّةُ ‏


"(The performance of) `Umrah is an expiation for the sins committed (between it and the previous one). And the reward of Hajj Mabrur (the one accepted by Allah) is nothing except Paradise."


Indeed, there are numerous benefits and rewards in performing this minor pilgrimage. It is a spiritually enriching experience. Many of us yearn to go to Makkah and Madinah, again and again.


Kaabah

In planning our umrah journey, there are many options that we can consider. Of course, the most popular options are by signing-up for umrah packages from reliable travel agencies. There are many umrah packages led by accredited Ustaz and/or Ustazah that you can choose from. For those who prefer to have a customised, OTOT (own-time-own-target) umrah itinerary, DIY umrah is worth considering. Nowadays, it is relatively easy to plan to do umrah on your own - you don’t need an umrah visa to perform umrah, and you can apply for a tourist visa on your own!


Here are 7 easy steps on how you can plan for your DIY Umrah:


1. Book for Your Best Umrah DIY Flight


One of the most important things to do is to find the best flight for your umrah journey. If you have the luxury of flexible dates, you stand to gain by getting the best price flight!

In performing umrah, Makkah is the main city where we need to visit. In fact, the umrah ritual begins when we started making our intention before entering the miqat, and we need to be in the state of ihram. If you choose to fly to Jeddah and travel directly to Makkah, you need to be in your ihram prior to entering Jeddah. If you wish to visit Madinah first, you do not need to be in the state of ihram on your flight.




Search Flights for booking

(Screengrab from Expedia.Com)


For me, I prefer to get a flight from Singapore to Madinah and then return from Jeddah to Singapore. This way, you will be able to save the travelling time by land from Jeddah to Madinah which can take around 4-5 hours. If you wish to fly to Madinah and then return from Jeddah, you need to select multi-city options when booking your flight.


MAS Flight 'Amal'

(Image source: Berita Harian Malaysia)


My preferred flight for the umrah trip is the Malaysia Airline-Amal. It is a dedicated flight for umrah pilgrims where they broadcast the talbiyah upon you entering the flight, they even broadcast the azan when it is time for prayers, and provides guide for in-flight prayers and tazkirah for post-umrah passengers!



Malaysia Airlines

Beside Malaysia Airlines-Amal, Emirates and Qatar Airways also provide excellent service for umrah pilgrims. These airlines provide an additional baggage allowance of 5kg for zam-zam water, even if you make a transit in Dubai (for Emirates).


Welcome to Madinah


2. Choose your accommodations wisely


There are many hotels around Makkah and Madinah, especially those surrounding Masjidil Haram and Masjid An-Nabawi area. You may book your hotel using Expedia.Com, Agoda.Com, Booking.Com or other hotel booking websites. Alternatively, you may also book directly with the hotel, especially if they are part of international chain of hotels like Hilton, Fairmont/Swissotel, Hyatt, Accor Hotels and many others. You may use your member benefits to get a special discount and/or room upgrades.


Hilton Suite Jabal Omar

(Hilton Suite Jabal Omar, Makkah)


Remember to e-mail and call the hotel few days or weeks prior to your check-in to double-confirm that you will be coming and that your bookings are valid. There were episodes of guests saying their hotel bookings were missing or their rooms were cancelled. Just to be extra safe, no harm reconfirming your booking with the hotel.



Hilton Suites Jabal Omar

(Hilton Suite, Jabal Omar, Makkah)


My preferred hotels are Accor’s Shahd al-Madinah in Madinah (less than 5 mins walk to Masjid an-Nabawi) and Hiltion Suites Jabal Omar in Makkah (less than 10 mins walk from room to the door of Masjidil Haram). These five star hotels generally cost between SGD $300-$500 per night.


Shad Al Madinah

(Shahd Al-Madinah)


It is important to find hotels that are not too far from the Masjid, as you would definitely want to pray at these masjids at least five times daily and save time from walking too far. Do take note that some hotels in the Clock Tower (Abraj) may be seen as very near Masjid al-Haram. In reality however, do take into consideration of the the time you need to walk from your room to your lift lobby, and then you have to change to another lift lobby, and then walk through the shopping mall before finally stepping out to go to Masjid al-Haram. The whole journey might take 15-20 mins, if not more. I have previously stayed in Fairmont and Swissotel al-Maqam, both located at the Clock Tower, it was quite a long walk to the Haram.


Hotels in Jabal Omar are generally more convenient than hotels at the Clock Tower. For Hilton Suites Jabal Omar, you only need one lift to take you to the entrance for you to to Haram. Less waiting and distance required.


Hilton Suites Jabal Omar

(Nasi Goreng for breakfast pepared by Chef at Hilton Suite Jabal Omar)



When booking for hotels, you might want to consider choosing the breakfast option. Most of the hotels also offer half-board options (breakfast and lunch or breakfast and dinner). If you wish to eat hotel food daily, you can opt for half-board. However, there are plenty of food options around Makkah and Madinah. There are also delivery services that are reliable, including Malay food delivery in Makkah and Madinah. Follow UmrahPedia.Sg to find out more!


Malay foods delivery in Mecca

(Malay food ordered from home-based food delivery service in Makkah)


In Madinah, opposite Shahd Al-Madinah, there are Hardee's and KFC (fast food) and around the hotel, there is a nice stall serving delicious Middle Eastern rice (Mandi and Kabsah). If you need Malay food, just walk to the open cafe area where there is an Indonesian stall selling Chicken Noodles (Mie Ayam) and Bakso.



Abraj Complex Mecca

In Makkah, there is a two-storey food court at the Abraj Complex (Clock Tower). Plenty of options. If you really craving for Malay food, the food court at Sofwah Tower, located beside Abrjaj Complex have D’Saji Malaysian Restaurant. Their teh tarik is really good!


D'Saji Malaysian Restaurant at Mecca

3. Apply your tourist visa for umrah


Saudi Arabian government allows tourists from Singapore, Malaysia and several other countries to visit Saudi Arabia through apply tourist visa online. For Muslims you can perform umrah using the tourist visa.


It is super easy to apply. You may wish to apply few weeks before your date of departure, as the visa is valid for 12 months from the date of application/approval. Meaning, you can come back within one year without the need for applying a new visa! The visa cost around SGD $200-$300 per person, and it comes with health insurance.


You may apply at https://visa.visitsaudi.com/ and ensure you have your passport particulars, and your hotel address and contact number. The whole application process take less than 15 minutes, and your visa will be issued within an hour of application.


E Visa Portal for Umrah

Once your e-visa is approved, you will get e-mail with the PDF file of your visa. Do print it, together with your insurance certificate. You need to show your e-visa at the immigration. You also need to show your e-visa for purchase of zam-zam water at the airport prior to your departure.


You may also wish to purchase your own travel insurance, as the health insurance issued together with the e-visa do not cover travel inconvenience and trip cancellatons.


4. Find your land transport


There are variety of options for land transport! If you are more adventurous, you do not need to book any advance transport (it can be risky though!), you can rely on the taxi, Uber/Careem (local version of Grab), or arrange with the hotel for your land transfer. Here are some of websites for your transportation needs:


You do not necessarily need to understand Arabic to communicate with drivers, although many of them do not speak good English, you can communicate via text and have it translated. For your tour/ziyarah around Makkah, you need to use dedicated transport. For tour/ziyarah around Madinah, there are many walking tours available (from masjid Nabawi you can walk to Masjid Quba’), and there is a Hop-on Hop-off bus service too!


Hop On Hop Off Umrah Bus

For transfer from Makkah-Madinah, or Madinah-Makkah, you can opt for the Speed Train. Fastest way to get between these two holy cities, and it is super convenient, better than trains in Europe! Find our more here to book your tickets.

Umrah Speed Train

However, if you are carrying a lot of luggages, it is not recommended to take the train. You can opt for private vehicle such the premium GMC that will take you direct from your Makkah/Madinah hotels to Madinah/Makkah hotel, more convenient, and the journey are shorter than taking coaches that will take 7-8 hours.


GMC for Umrah

5. Engage a tour guide/mutawif


While it is possible to perform umrah on your own, engaging a mutawif can help you and your umrah group to familiriase with the whole umrah process - beyond just rituals, mutawif can help you to locate to the latest entrance (it keeps changing) to enter the mataf/Kaab’ah area, to guide you on the direction in Masjidil Haram like how to go to the sa’i area from the mataf, and to share some other essential updated information when visiting Masjidil Haram. Especially for those who have not performed umrah previously, or have not been to Makkah for quite sometime, engaging a mutawif is highly encouraged. When I went for my umrah recently, our mutawif came with Al-Baik chicken meals, for us to have our meal before proceeding to do our umrah rituals. The cost of engaging Mutawif is around SGD $150-$200 per group. For information on engaging mutawif, find out more here.


With regards to tour/ziarah around Makkah, it is encouraged that you pre-arranged transport. For Makkah tour, usually half-day tour from 9 am to 12 pm should be sufficient. Places to go usually are Mina, Arafah, Jabal Rahmah, Jabal Nur, mosques near Masjidil Haram (such as Masjid al-Jin, Ma’lah cemetery etc). If you are unfamiliar with historical information of these places, do engage a local guide, find out more here.


Hira’ Cultural Centre

There is a also a new exhibition area located near Jabal Nur (the historical site where The Cave of Hira’ is located) called Hira’ Cultural Centre. There is a multimedia presentation with guided tour in various languages including English and Malay/Bahasa Indonesia with sophisticated cinematic explanation of the history of Makkah, and the story of revelation. It is highly recommended for you to visit this exhibition!





In Madinah, you may do the walking tour on your own and visit historical sites near Masjid An-Nabawi, such as Masjid Al-Ghamamah, Masjid Abu Bakar, Masjid Ali, Masjid Umar, Saqifah Garden. You may also take the hop-on-hop-off to Uhud, Masjid Quba’, Masjid Al-Qiblatain and other notable historical sites.



Masjid Umar Ibn Al-Khattab, Medina

It is also recommended for you to visit The International Museum of the Prophet’s Biography located near gate 306 of Masjid An-Nabawi.


The International Museum of the Prophet’s Biography

This museum provides VR recreation of some of Prophet’s favourite items, and offers cinematic experience of the recreation of the City of Madinah during the time of the Prophet s.a.w. You need purchase advance ticket from here.


The International Museum of the Prophet’s Biography  of Masjid An-Nabawi.

6. Download relevant apps

For entrance to Raudhah, you need to have advanced booking that can only be done via the Nusuk app. You are allowed to book only 1 session for a 30-day period.



Minbar Masjid Nabawi
Raudhah


There are also other apps that you can consider downloading:

  1. For local transportation like Uber, download Careem https://www.careem.com/

  2. For food delivery, download MRSOOL https://mrsool.co/


7. Learn umrah rituals


Finally, and definitely the most essential part of preparing for your umrah journey is to learn or revise the step-by-step umrah ritual guide. Start reading relevant books on umrah and history of the two holy cities. One of recommended books that you may wish to consider is The Ultimate Guide to Umrah



Sa'i in Masjidil Haram

Do look for relevant umrah class as well and engage an Ustaz/Ustazah to clarify any umrah related queries that you may have, prior to your umrah journey.




May Allah s.w.t ease your planning and make it smooth for your sacred journey to Holy Lands of Makkah and Madinah. Amin.



For those interested in performing Umrah DIY, please visit yusriyusoff.com/religious-classes for more details.

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Alen
Alen
Jun 11
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Very informative! For taxi services, I suggest trying VIP Umrah Taxi Service, which is much more affordable and also offers luxury options. Their Ziyarat packages are also awesome, and they operate throughout Saudi Arabia.😊

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Usayed bin Faisal
Usayed bin Faisal
Jan 12
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Really helpful article thanks for sharing, for land transportation you don't mentioned "Saudia Taxi" The Best provider of taxi service in saudi arabia

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huraira khan
huraira khan
Oct 04, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

thank you so much for your information for <a href="www.almadinahtravels.com/"> umrah package from USA 2023 </a> your website its useful and helpful for everyone

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farizan hamid
farizan hamid
Sep 08, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you for yr info.

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