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TRAVELLING


Jeddah And On To Makkah

There are legal formalities to be completed and paperwork to be done at Jeddah airport, and they will take a lot of time! To put things in perspective : Makkah, which is usually the first stop after Jeddah for most people, is a mere fifty miles from Jeddah. You will, in all likelihood, spend as many as eight to twelve hours completing formalities and travelling in a bus to cover this distance. Be patient. There is not much you can do to speed up the process.

After going through a maze of procedures, paperwork, customs and immigration, travel coupons for internal travel within Saudi Arabia will be attached to your passport and you will be escorted to government buses for your journey to Makkah. At this time, your passport will be taken away. Do not expect a receipt; none will be provided. The passport will be kept by the Muallim assigned to you by the Saudi government, and you will next see it again at Jeddah airport the day you leave for home! You will be issued a picture-ID card in Makkah by your Muallim in lieu of the passport. Take good care of this vital document until your passport is returned to you.

The bus will take you first to the Hujjaj Reception Center on your way to Makkah. After your papers are checked once again over an indeterminate period of time, you will be taken to your muallim's office in Makkah. There you will be issued a plastic bracelet or some other form of a document with the name, address and the telephone number of your Muallim printed on it. Be sure always to have it on your person. If you ever get lost or are in an accident, the bracelet/document will be your passport to the right people. Without it you may face tremendous difficulties in returning to your place of residence. Your will be taken to your residence in Makkah.

Once you put your belongings safely away, and finally settle down, you will be ready to go to Masjid ul Haram for Tawaf ul Qudoom!

Travel Within Saudi Arabia

Travel within Saudi Arabia is highly restricted. As a pilgrim, your travels will be limited to the cities of Makkah and Madinah, to the tent cities of Mina and Arafat, and to Muzdalifah. Inter-city travel (for example between Makkah and Medinah) will require you, to inform your Muallim's office twenty four to forty eight hours before the projected time of your departure. You will travel by government bus using one of your travel coupons. You may also be able to travel by taxi at an additional cost to you. In either case, your passport will be handed over to the Saudi bus/taxi driver (a non-Saudi driver is not acceptable) by the Muallim. The driver will personally hand the passport over to the relevant Saudi authority at your destination. At every such exchange of the passport, request to see the document in order to ensure that it really is yours! You do not want to reach your destination only to discover that someone else's passport has been inadvertently substituted for yours! This can happen. Be pro-active, alert and informed of everything that is happening at all times.


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