I was referring to the attire that I wore when travelling to the two Holy Cities.
On departure day.
The abaya/robe is just soooooooo pretty and amazingly cool to wear despite the outside heat.
However, travelling from KL to Jeddah is no laughing matter. That’s a good 9 hour flight not including idling time before and after. You need something comfortable to wear underneath that hijab and long flowing abaya. Something snappy to go to airplane’s toilet…
Medina Al Mukarramah as seen from the plane as it descended.
My phone camera could not capture the beauty of the moon that I saw that night. It was so beautiful.
Just outside of the umrah/hajj arrival hall.
What’s in the closet?
Lots of long sleeves inner t shirts, tights, track pants, socks, disposal panties, robes that do not have front opening, head coverings or instant hijab. Malaysian and Indonesian ladies use “telekung” for prayers. I had two sets of this for our 7-day trip. As laundry is pretty expensive in these two cities, you may want to bring a few more if you stay longer. It is comfortable and prayer compliance.
Abayas with front opening/buttons are pretty too but may distract you when it keeps snapping open as you sit on the floor or take long strides. Unless you are apt at wearing the long scarves around your head, bring instant hijab. Beautiful abayas can be bought at the souk. Some shops are offering SAR40/piece for any design. Grab those for you. Maybe a few more for gifts.
Uniglo should be your best buddy for travel t shirt. They are light, comfortable and reasonably priced. It comes with long sleeves too. I wore track pants underneath the abaya for ease of movement. Tights or casual pants from Marks & Spencer or Zara is good too. Whatever brand that you like, make sure it is breathable and comfortable. I had my leopard print tights underneath the cream coloured abaya as I circled the Kaabah 7 times. My running pair of Sketchers was a real great help to move about, travelling, walking the long airport corridors, climbing the various mountains during the ziarah/visits to holy sites. Try climbing Jabal Rahmah in slippers and you will end up with extra pedicure bills when you come back. You will still need a pair of comfortable sandal/slippers to flip flop around.
On some days, I would have a couple of pairs of socks thrown in the tote bag together with a plastic bag. When the time comes to make a quick dash to the mosque, I could just slip on the socks and place the slippers in the plastic bag for hygiene purposes.
Two things you must remember when choosing the correct attire here. It must be loose, covering your entire body (not provocative) and comfortable for walking. Trust me, you will have a lot of walking. Either back and forth from hotel to the mosque, or when you want to explore the surrounding vicinity. The building blocks surrounding the Nabawi Mosque are built in grids. The entire grid is made up of various classes of hotels – from 1 star to 5 star. Medina’s weather was a bit cold at the we were there. It was the end of the year so it was considered as winter. The night could be around 15C and the mornings might be a tad chillier than that especially with the wind factor.
One thing glaring about the area where we stayed was the lack of cafes or restaurants. Not even food stalls. There was only one shawarma stall nearby the hotel. We had a meal at the Movenpick cafe. About SAR99 later of two shawarmas, an Americano and a latte later, we were not very happy with choices of eating places.
Ok. I digress.