I'm planning to go to Syria, Jordany and Lebanon next year. I was wondering if there's any problem about going in those countries on my own. I'm a canadian girl of 25 years old. I've been to Turkey for a month recently and I didn't have any problem. I loved it and I want to visit more of the Middle-East countries, but I want to make sure if it's safe to go on my own. Thank you!
Melissa, I was in Syria last year during august/september. I spent 3 weeks working in a tiny village in the north of Syria, and then I travelled through most of Syria for about 10 days by myself. I found it was fine to travel alone. I didn't know the language (except for a few key words), but if you use your common sense, it'll be fine. Since you're travelling alone, I sugget that you dress conservatively (no deep necklines, cover up to your elbows, and trousers no shorter than mid-calf). I came across a lot of stares, and sometimes some obvious inappropriate/unpleasant comemnts (you can tell by tone and facial expressions of ppl), but ignoring them pretty much does the trick. If you are interested in seeing the country and learning about a different culture and ppl, it's definitely worth it. 90% of the time I loved being in Syria and met some really beautiful and kind people there. I also always kept a hotel card with me in case I got in a cab for the address.
I hope this helps a bit. If you have any questions let me know, -snip-. good luck and have fun! carla.
[ Edit: Sorry, no personal contact details in the forum please. Use MC instead.... ]
Just dress conservatively and try not to show your ankles/knees or shoulders. It would be advised that you cover your head. Middle Eastern countries are normally safe and they're friendly to tourists. You might get the odd stare here and there once in awhile. You might want to stay away from Lebanon for the next few months due to the instability of the government.
I'm sure you'll be fine!
I think Lebanon is off of your list now In case the situations gets back to normal in the next months (which I doubt) and you still want go to Lebanon, take your fanciest and most fashionable clothes and your high-heels if you don't want to stand out of the crowd in Beirut. The capital is a very catwalk for men and women alike.
But if you go to more rural areas (no matter if muslim or christian), I recommend more conservative clothes. But the people there are used to western style dressed women. You don't need a burka.
With the region as unstable as it is, I would reconsider going to Syria too. Syria has always treated Lebanon as part of Syria. If Israel invades the country again, it could mean war between Syria and Israel. Both Syria and Israel have a bone to pick over the Golan Heights and the issue has already come up between them when Israel fired some rockets into Syrian territory at the start of this latest outbreak of violence.
Consider going to Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, the Gulf countries or Iran instead. I'll be going to Iran in less than 4 weeks and I wouldn't do that if I didn't consider it safe right now. As you can see with Lebanon, this can change pretty fast though, so watch the news.
Personally I would give all the countries around Israel right now a big berth, so my vote goes to Morocco because it is far enough away from the trouble. Flights to Morocco are really cheap with easyjet from the UK. Tunisia is also great, there are some cheap charter flights available from Europe. Tunisia is easily combined with a trip to Italy and Malta, as there are ferries between the countries.
I've been very keen on visiting the lost city of Petra, looks like I'll have to wait a while & see what happens.....