INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL GUIDE
Planning a trip undeniably comes along with the feeling of excitement for the trip yet to be experienced. Contrarily, apprehensions also stick up to the mind, while thinking about an impeccably planned and perfectly experienced trip. Planning a memorable trip, especially an international one, demands your major investment in doing homework for the worth-visiting locations you plan to visit, the financial budget requirements to be fulfilled along with the visa process, and the calculation of sufficient time to be spared for the trip in the most suitable time of the year. Doing so pays off in big ways by making you experience a life-time memorable trip but the undeniable fact about it is that it is the most time-consuming contribution while planning a trip and can be a reason- you postponing when going on a trip. Isn’t it so? But not anymore, as TripKarao, the most reliable travel companion, has come up with a reliable and detailed international travel guide which provides all the relevant information ‘you’ would be needing for an amazing international trip.
That enormous piece of territory often overlooked as a whole and, usually, only seen as the land of the greatest and most beautiful deserts, endless bazaars of spices and the warm welcome of the Bedouins. The Middle East is composed of 14 different countries that differ massively from each other, have boundaries and share borders. Middle East is a safe place to travel to, but I also want you to see the huge natural and cultural contrast between countries and the relevant role they have in our history.
- Iraq (Iraqi Kurdistan )
Located in the north of Iraqi Kurdistan, only 10km away from the Turkish border, Amadiya is a lovely, very photogenic village located on the flat top of a mountain, which has no less than 5,000 years of history. From the Assyrians to the Persians, as well as several Jewish and Christian communities, dozens of different civilizations and religions have left their footprint in this historical place. Today, Amadiya is a Muslim Kurdish village, surrounded by the most striking mountain scenery, characteristic from northern Iraq and one the most beautiful places to travel in the Middle East.
Esfahan is Iran’s most amazing city and its mosques, composed of giant domes and mind-blowing ceilings with extravagant geometrical forms, are the most impressive buildings in the Middle East, without any doubt. Being one of the most historical cities in the region, Esfahan has always been home to a large community of scholars and prestigious intellectuals and its importance and influence in this part of the world was often compared to Athens and Rome. Today, as per Iranian standards, Esfahan is a surprisingly modern, clean and vibrant city where some of the most educated and brilliant people in the country live.
Everything here is very old. This is the first thing the hotel receptionist told me on the day I arrived in the city. Damascus is indeed one of the most ancient cities in the world – probably the oldest country capital – established in the second millennium BC, and capital of the Umayyad Caliphate from 661 to 750, one of the most important caliphates ever, extending from Spain to Iran. My favorite place in Damascus was Umayyad mosque, an outstanding mosque which passed from being a Jupiter Temple during the Roman era to a Christian basilica dedicated to John the Baptist and then one of the largest mosques in the world. Today, Damascus is a safe city and, fortunately, the Old City has remained like that during most of the war.
Extending from Western Europe to North Africa and the Middle East, the Roman Empire was the greatest empire that has ever existed. Today, most of its ruins, some of them in relatively good condition, are major tourist attractions that receive hundreds of visitors every day. Outside of Rome, the ruins of Baalbek are among the most impressive, not only due to their dimensions and good preservation, but also because you are likely to have the ruins to yourself as, here, we are talking about Lebanon, one of the most off the beaten track destinations in the region, where you can experience the greatest Roman ruins like nowhere else, hence one of the best places to travel in the Middle East.
Stretching from south Oman all the way to the Yemeni border, Dhofar’s coastline may differ significantly from what you expect from an Omani beach. Vertiginous cliffs, turquoise-blue waters, and empty, epic beaches characterize the beaches of southern Oman, barely discovered by the average traveler, who tends to stick to the northern part of the country. If you are into wild, random camping and road trips, in the Middle East, it doesn’t really get better than this.
- Saudi Arabia
Unfortunately, very little is known about Saudi Arabia but, given that this is the home of Mecca, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Saudi is filled with ancient and historical places, and one of the best examples is Al Balad, the old part of Jeddah, established 1,300 years ago as the gateway for Muslims on their way to Mecca, mostly arriving by sea from Africa. Today a UNESCO World Heritage site, Al Balad is a lively area filled with colorful facades and, by far, the most beautiful Old City from all the Gulf Monarchies.
- Jordon, Israel and Palestine
Today, Jerusalem is part of Israel but, if Palestine ever becomes an independent state, East Jerusalem, which is mostly inhabited by Arabs, will be the capital of the country. Being one of the most important places for Christians, Muslims, and Jews, Jerusalem is a city that has perfectly combined tradition and history with a 21st-century city, meaning that you can stroll around the old city and its historical sites for days and, at the same time, enjoy the endless nightlife, food scene, and modernity of the new part of Jerusalem. Jerusalem is one of those cities that are worth spending several days in.
Occupying territory in both Israel & Palestine and Jordon, the Dead Sea is the lake with the highest salt density in the world and also, the lowest point on Earth, 430 meters below sea level. Such is the high concentration of salt that animals and plants can’t live in it, hence the name. Swimming in the Dead Sea is totally fine and, due to the high density of the water, sinking is almost impossible. I’ve only been to the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea and, along the coast, there are several hotels and resorts where you can chill on their beaches and have a mud bath.
- United Arab Emirates
Around 500 years ago, a group of Bedouins tapped underground, freshwater recourses to cultivate dates and, as a result, several villages and settlements appeared in the area, which we currently call Liwa, the birthplace of the Nahyan family, the current ruling family of Abu Dhabi and the UAE. Since then, and over the years, the cultivation of dates in Liwa has been a key factor in the region’s economic development Liwa is located in the south of UAE, next to Saudi Arabian border and on the edge of the Empty Quarter, a huge desert spread across UAE, Yemen, Oman, and Saudia Arabia and considered the largest (continuous) sea of dunes on Earth, whose end can’t even be seen from the furthest horizon. In addition, in Liwa you can also find the only real Bedouins in the UAE and the Moreeb dune, one of the highest dunes in the world (300m).
Dahab is a lovely touristic beach town inhabited by Bedouins in the Sinai peninsula, which is considered the most backpacking-friendly place (and probably the only one) in the Middle East. For decades, Dahab has attracted travelers from all over the world for having some of the best diving in the country. In Dahab, one comes for two things: either scuba diving or doing literally nothing, as it has this laid-back atmosphere that consists of going to the beach, smoking weed and eating at the several seafood restaurants.
In case you’ve never heard of it, Bahrain is a tiny country (one of tiniest in the world actually) located in the Persian Gulf, between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and Manama is its capital. To make it short, Bahrain is the only Arab Gulf Monarchy that has run out of petrol, or at least, can’t rely on the petrol income anymore. In desperation, looking at alternative ways of gaining income, Bahrain became the party place in the Middle East, where concerning prostitution, alcohol, and parties, in general, are more permissive than in any other Gulf country. Connected to Saudi Arabia by a bridge, every week, thousands of Saudis cross the border to have fun and enjoy a relative level of freedom. Besides, this is the only place in the Middle East where I’ve seen two homosexuals making out in the middle of the street. Manama is also home to many Western expats, who hang out in a popular area called Adliya, which has plenty of bars and wall paintings and makes one forget that he or she is in the Middle East. Bahrain is, unequivocally, one of the most surreal places to travel and visit in the Middle East.