Although Medina is the second Holy City in the Islamic world, and has got too many historical and religious sightseeings, It is strictly not allowed for non-Muslims to enter Medina since it's considered 'haram' or a forbidden holy area.
At the entrance of Medina, there're checkpoints where Muslims and non-Muslims are checked and sorted. You may ask, how would they know if you're one. For your information, you'd be holding your resident visa (iqama) which would tell the difference. They'd ask to show your iqama. The green iqama is for Muslims, and the red iqama is for non-Muslims. If yours is red, then, they'd ask you to drive the other way that goes to either Yanbu, Qassim, Riyadh or wherever.
If you're coming through the airport, it's located in Medina but outside the 'haram' border. If you're on a transit or short-stay, you can be accommodated in Le Meridian Hotel which is outside the haram border if you're not Muslim.
Once I was on a trip to Medina and surround areas with a college group. There were two non-Muslim teachers. Then the tour guide asked, 'where are the non-Muslims?'So they could directly to the hotel where they could be accommodated, and the rest would go to visit the Mosque. Never take it personal, it's just the way it is.
Unlike the Grand mosque in Makkah where it`s open 24 hours around the clock,the prophet`s mosque closes it`s gates after the (isha) night prayers,then re-open about half an hour before the (fajr)dawn prayers.
If you wish to do additional night prayers(Kiyam al layl)then try to go to bed as early as possible then wake up at 3:00am,head to the mosque for reading Quran and praying until the Azan (prayer calls)is announced.
For those ladies travelling with their kids,and wishing to enter the prophet`s mosque for prayer,they will be guided to pray at the left side of the ladies gate,this is the ladies with kids section.
If you are alone or with older female daughters,they will be allowed to enter the inner right part of the mosque,this is to provide more relaxing atmosphere.
My 7 years old son was not allowed to enter the ladies section at all.Instead he went with his father to the male`s section to pray and visit the prophet`s tomb.
When you`re entering Al Masjid Al Nabawi(prophet`s mosque)you will be searched by security,in the females sectoin,you will not be allowed to enter with any mobile that has a camera eiteher,they will keep it for you in a locker until you finish your payers,then you can take it back out when you leave.
I sneaked my cam in my pocket to be able to snap a shot or two,from inside my bag :-s
Taking photos inside al Haram is strictly NOT allowed. You'd see the sign as you approach the mosque. If you're really interested to take pictures since inside architecture is stunning, make sure your camera doesn't make a noise when clicking or flashing, or better to shoot photos with a camera cell phone. Otherwise, kiss your camera good bye if you're caught up, believe me.
There're security at the gates on the way inside the mosque checking bags; women and men.
All the pictures taken on my page for al Haram photos were taken long time ago when photography used to be permitted.
Because Medina is a religious spot, there are lots of pilgrims in and out which increases the vulnerability of facing robbers and beggers.
During prayer time, while people are busy praying, robbers can run away with your bag or empty your pockets.
If you intend to give something to beggers, make sure you don't pay attention, otherwise, you'd be surrounded by zillion beggers.
During one of my prayers at the Masjid al Nabawi, I did the "as salaam alaikum warahamatullah" with the imam, rather than waiting for the imam to finish, and doing it after. I felt like I was the only one in the masjid who did this.
Afterwards this Arab gentleman started yelling at me in Arabic. Good thing I didn't understand him, and that it was early in the morning.
It's a minor thing, and each madhab has it's own way to pray, although the differences are miniscule. Despite this, to avoid stupid hassles like the one I experienced, just do everything like the Saudis do.
On Fridays, the banks and other government offices are closed.
On the last days of Ramadaan, the population of Medinah increases beyond imagination so to get a place to read salaat inside the Prophet's Mosque one needs to be there hours before the salaat.
Due to pushing and the emotion people experience, my sling bag ripped, fell off my shoulder, and could not be found in the immense crowd. Hours later it arrived at the 'lost property' and thankfully everything was still there. So store all valuables in your pockets or leave it at the hotel.