Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Umrah Travelogue - Part 2

King Abdul Aziz International Airport (Jeddah's Hajj Terminal)
This airport is frequently used to handle pilgrims who are taking part in Hajj and umrah.  I departed from Malaysia in the morning and arrived in the Jeddah's airport in the evening. The flight will usually last between 8 to 9 hours and the time zone in Saudi Arabia is about 5 hours later than Malaysia.

The most common problem that people will face at this airport will be the attitude of the immigration officer. It has been cited by many blogs including by my friends, and they have warned me in advance, that you should expect delay for several hours at this airport.

In my own experience, I was stuck at the airport for more than 5 hours. The immigration officer keeps on talking to themselves and intermittently close the counter without any proper explanation, and later ask the people who has been waiting for the past few hours to move on to the next counter.

Despite there were only two flights that arrived in the airport at that time, the immigration officers took about 5 hours to process the passengers from these two flights. Just imagine the situation when they are handling thousands of Hajj pilgrims during Hajj season.

Personally, I took this as a test to measure my patience. Let us hope that this situation will be improved in the future. 

view of the airport with it's unique design of the roof

Madinah al Munawwarah
After the delay at the airport, we travelled to Madinah via chartered buses. The journey took us about 6 hours with a stop in the middle of the travel for dinner. Madinah is located about 400km northeast of Jeddah. By this time, all of us were already sleep deprived and tired. Most of us were asleep during this journey.

Image taken from Google Map

The picture above shows the location of the hotel in comparison to the Prophet's Mosque. Most of the hotels are located to the north and west side of the Holy Mosque. I stayed in one of those hotels and it was within walking distance to the Holy Mosque.

The Baqi cemetery is located to the southeast of the Holy Mosque. This is the cemetery of the Prophet's companion.

I will take more about Madinah in the following post...