At the Majid Al Haram,,there are many wheel chairs for the elders or those who can not walk(to preform al Sa`i).
The wheel chairs are for free,but if you want to hire someone to push it for you,it will cost you around 30 Riyals(less than 10$).
You can find them lined up at the back of the Masjid (Mosque).
I was quite surprised to see the Pilgrims Enquiry office.
These are actually located around the Harem area in Makkah on the central ring road area and main through fair. These are a bit like Tourist Information offices.
Although a word of warning, most of the employees dont speak very good English or other languages bar Arabic. They are also closed during certain hours so be sure to check their opening times.
Yes, unfortunately even here in Makkah, there are scammers or those with nothing better to do but to try and cheat you. Normally the scammer will start to make conversation with you about how he/she works so hard to make a living. How they ran into misfortune. That their pay is very low. They might even tell you about their 11 daughters who need to get married off. What ever the excuse its really a judgment call on the individual.
If you encourage what is clearly a fraud you will only make it worse, but what if its a genuine story? I think common sense and instincts are required at all times.
Be wary of people of all backgrounds, especially during peak seaons.
During peak times the crime rates can be higher. Its unfortunate that in a place as holy and as rich as Makkah you still have beggars and thieves doing their rounds.
Always carry a strap on wallet belt (utility belt) or secure form of carrying device. You will be surprised how clever and professional most of the thieves are. (hopefully you wont experience it).
The wallet belts can be bought for around 10 - 15 Riyals and highly recommended for general traveling too. Be sure to hide the belt under neath your garmet. DONT wear them like Batman belts - the thief will probably run off with it too!
With regards to Beggars - be careful who you give money too. Some of them get state funding already and are encouraged (wrongly) by their peers or husbands to beg to make more money. Use your common sense.
The only water you can drink which is safe and in fact full of benefits is the Zam Zam spring water from the wells of Zam Zam in the harem.
Do NOT drink normal tap water... it will more than likely give you stomach problems, unless you are unfortunate (or fortunate) to already come from an "already immune to" bad water area. Europeans and Americans just wont be able to accept the local tap water.
Make sure you carry bottled water with you at all times and preferably fill it with natural Zam Zam water. (which is scientifically proven now to contact many benefits).
While Mecca is a holy place, the corruption of the world is starting to infect it. One thing I was warned about while shopping at some stores was not to take any money or valubles with me while making tawaf around the Kaba. One man told me that some people came to Mecca specifically for the purpose of robbing people while they were busy in their religious duties. Thus, it is best to leave large amounts of money and valubles in the hotel room, which often have safes inside them.
Remember this when you go shopping in the markets, try to do it so that you have enough time to go to the market, and return to your room and then be able to go back to the masjid for prayers.
The Outsider or First Timer in Mecca is Easy To Get Lost in Masjidil-Haram. Coming From One Entrance and Depart From The Others , Coming Out....Mecca From The Difference View...Spent Half Day Looking For Hotel.
Even though this is the most religous place on earth for muslims it is still a place where you find a lot of beggars who you feel you should help but most of them are in that situation for a reason (especially the beggars with no hands) some of them are unfrtunate as they have had injuries from working in factories which make them unable to work but their are a lot of thieves whose hands have been cut off for thieving who are begging.
I spoke to a few locas and they told me that the beggars should stay away from the holy Mosque but some of them com inside and hassle the prayers which is unacceptable but luckily the saudi governmetn and security forces are good in taking them outside of the mosque grounds.
If you do give money then please make sure that you dont show them all your money as other beggars will start chasing you all the way back to your hotel as which is what happened with my mother, they start getting aggressive until you give them all your money which is not on, this was the only time i was angry while in teh whole of saudi which was unfortunate as it is a beautiful place spoile d byt a few
This will be the second sign to remind you that only muslims are to enter the Holy City.beyond it is the check point,now you can see the exit more clearly on the right hand side.