Haji Festival tour, Saudi Arabia
  • I have a client that is interested in joining a tour that was a part of
    the HAJI FESITVAL in Saudi Arabia. He is travelling by himself and I have
    no idea where such a tour would exist and thought that you might be able
    to point me in the right direction?
  • Hi Janelle

    Your client is most likely referring to the festivities which follow the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha. The Hajj is a pilgrimage made by Muslims to Mecca in Saudi Arabia and Eid al-Adha happens the day after pilgrims descend from Mount Arafat. It is known by many names, one of which is the Hari Raya Haji (festival of the pilgrimage)

    Eid al-Adha should fall on or around 8 December 2008 and only Muslims may enter the city of Mecca.

    Unfortunately a recent development in the Hajj travel world means you are advised to book your own pilgrimage and not trust supposed Hajj tour operators.

    Your client is advised to seek out other devotees at his mosque community and source a chartered group trip, of which there are plenty at this time of year.
  • Assuming your client is Muslim, have him contact the Saudi Embassy. They'll be happy to provide him with information about visiting the Holy Places, whether during Hajj or for an Umra (sort of a mini-Hajj that can be done at any time of the year). If he's not Muslim, then there is very little likelihood he'll get a visa unless he's going on business, has an invitation from a Saudi national, or from a relative living in the Kingdom. Tourist visas in the usual sense just don't exist for Saudi Arabia. I spent six years in the country and, although I'm loath to recommend it, it IS a very, very interesting place -- it coould easily be on another planet, it's so utterly different from anywhere else.
  • For some time, I have been interested in seeing the ruins of trains/railways blown up by Lawrence of Arabia and the Arabs during WWI. I undrestand that there are sites in northern Saudi Arabia where one can go to see these. See link below:

    http://xrdarabia.org/2009/02/06/rebirth-of-the-hijaz-railway/

    I have friends who have worked in Saudi Arabia and they tell me not to go - its too dangerous and lawless in some parts of the desert, so they claim!

    I also understand that Saudi authorities are reluctant to show these relics off as its an embrassment to them i.e. being controlled by the Ottoman Empire for so long.

    Can you offer any advice on any possible visit?

    How sad that relics of a major front in WWI are left to rot away when they could open Saudi Arabia up a little to the the outside world?
  • Leek500 - this is a fascinating question and would make a good topic for the forum. Please post this as a new discussion as this will increase your chances of getting quality replies. Good luck with your enquiries.

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