Ramadan 2023 in UAE: Demand for Umrah surges by 65% ahead of holy month

How to travel by air or bus, cost of all-inclusive packages, documents needed; all you need to know


SM Ayaz Zakir

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Published: Mon 6 Mar 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Mar 2023, 1:27 PM

Umrah operators in the UAE have recorded a massive surge in the pilgrimage ahead of Ramadan, with a nearly 65 per cent increase compared to previous months. With nearly a hundred trips by bus every week, demand for the Umrah pilgrimage is rising before and during the holy month. “We have recorded a massive rise in the numbers of residents travelling to the holy city of Makkah for Umrah,” said Shebin Rasheed from Bait al Ateeq Haj services based in Makkah with a subsidiary office in Sharjah. The agency facilitates Umrah and the Haj for residents in the country.

Each Umrah operator says there are nearly 50 pilgrims travelling by flight every week and many more by bus. “Over a hundred buses depart from different parts of the country to Makkah every Wednesday. Each bus can accommodate nearly 50 passengers,” said Jaffer Pulappatta, who facilitates groups for the Umrah pilgrimage.

By this calculation, over 5,000 people travel from the UAE to Makkah every week by bus. “We facilitate nearly 50 people going for Umrah every week. So there are other agencies too, and the number of people travelling this season is massive,” said Pulapatta.


Operators say that an increase of nearly 10 to 15 per cent in pricing is expected in the first two weeks of Ramadan.


Umrah aggregators are offering attractive packages to fulfil the pilgrimage. However, they say that due to heavy demand, the prices of these packages are increasing every week. “Currently, a package for Umrah costs about Dh4,000 on average. We cannot expect the same rate next week as the accommodation availability and tariffs fluctuate,” said Pulapatta.

By Air

Multiple airlines cater to Umrah travel as they are authorised to access the Haj terminal in Jeddah.

A five-day package:

>> Costs currently Dh4,000 (approx)

>> Three days in Makkah and two days in Madina.

>> Includes three-star accommodation, transfers, visa, air tickets

>> Food excluded in the package (Can be included at an extra cost)

>> Five-star accommodation can be availed at an extra cost based on availability and proximity

By Bus

A 10-day package:

>> Departs from Sharjah, Dubai and Al Ain

>> Single journey travel time is between 20 hours to 25 hours with a total of 3 to 4 stops

>> Costs currently Dh1,800 to Dh2,000 (approx)

>> Three-star accommodation

>> Food is excluded

>> Five days in Makkah and three days in Madina

>> Three times food while travelling on the bus

“Food preferences are different for every pilgrim. So we have not included that in the package,” said Pulappatta.

Aggregators say that the accommodation is provided within the proximity of the Holy Kaaba in Makkah and Masjid Nabawi in Madina.

Aggregators also mentioned that visa costs of Dh700 would be eliminated for those with a valid Umrah visa or Saudi Multiple entry visa.

Wearing Ihram

Ihram is a sacred state where a Muslim must enter to perform the Haj (major pilgrimage) or the Umrah (minor pilgrimage).

Rasheed said that Ihram is worn by the pilgrims travelling by bus just before entering Miqat point (it is a principal boundary at which Muslim pilgrims intending to perform the Ḥaj or Umrah must enter the state of Ihram). “The bus will stop at a Miqat point for the pilgrims to change to Ihram,” said Rasheed.

For pilgrims flying to Jeddah, it is advised to change to the state of Ihram before departure. “However, if one wants to change later, they can go during the flight. The pilot will announce before reaching the boundary of Miqat,” added Rasheed.

Documents to carry

>> Visa

>> Passport

>> Vaccination certificate (not mandatory, advisable to carry)

>> PCR certificate (if not vaccinated)

>> No age restrictions for Umrah, operators say

>> Yellow fever vaccination is required


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