I am looking to travel to the ME in September but as I only have a month I am going to be limited as to the countries that I am going to be able to visit.
I was thinking of probably starting in Bahrain and then visiting UAE then Oman and then onto Saudi in to Jordan, possibly Syria. I would like to visit Israel too. From there go to Egypt and if possible get a flight to South Africa and then a flight back to home, the UK.
Is this possible in the time I have or is it wishful thinking? I dont mind if it is a little rushed as long as I get to see the main sights...
Any help would be much appreciated... Thanks
i have just returned from 2 weeks in syria and jordan, which was just enough to fit the main sights in and i could easily have spent double that time for this trip. I'm not sure how long the other places you mentioned would take, but it might be a little rushed if you are trying to cover everywhere in a month. Also bear in mind that Saudi Arabia is very hard to get a visa for (I believe), unless you are on an organised tour or you are applying for a business (or Hajj) visa.
don't forget that if you have an Israeli passport stamp you will not be able to enter Syria.
hope this helps a little.
[ Edit: Edited on Mar 31, 2007, at 4:15 PM by bex76 ]
Thanks alot Bex...
I think it is best to cut the number of places down... I jsut wanted to get a good view of the M.E. as there is sooo much history there...
I have also been made aware of the Israeli stamp situation, but I was informed that if you ask the customs they are usually willing to stamp a separate piece of paper rather than the passport...
Aaah well, we'll see how it goes...
It does seem rushed. I would limit it, to 2 countries, at the most.
I dont think foreigners are allowed, into Saudi, unless they have work permit, for there. But maybe that rule has changed?
well I def wanted to see Syria, Jordan and Egypt, so may be i'll limit it too these three.
I was thinking of Saudi as I would need to cross it from the southern tip of the peninsula to get to Jordan... But I think foreigners, muslim or non-muslim are allowed into Saudi as millions of foreign muslims visit Saudi every year, you jsut need a visa. The only places I know that are off limits for non-muslims are the 2 religious cities, Mecca and Madinah.
I heard Jordan has some really nice historical sites though...
3 is better, than the long list u originally had.
But no need to see everything, on one trip.
U will likely live another 60 years, so u can surely visit the Middle East again.
[ Edit: Edited on Apr 2, 2007, at 1:19 PM by Mel. ]
Syria, Jordan and Egypt are all great places to visit - I reckon a week each in Syria and Jordan and a fortnight in Egypt is the absolute minimum to get a decent look at these countries.
Thanks Mel and Magy.
Magy, that is what I was just thinking...a week in each with a fortnight in Egypt should do. Some good preparation and homework always helps!
The Saudi visa situation:
There are three ways for a (male) non-muslim foreigner to get a visa to KSA. (If you are an unmarried female not accompanied by relatives forget it.)
1) Business visa, usually requires that you work in KSA.
2) Transit visa, driving a car you bought from the gulf area to Jordan.
3) Tourist visa for an expensive guided tour
For an independent budget traveller, the transit visa is the most attractive. It is also very hard to get.
For a month in the ME, I really recommend combining two countries out of the following: Iran, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon. Since you intend to return to the ME, I do not recommend that you visit Israel unless you will be getting a new passport soon. (I'm very well aware that it is quiet right now in Israel and that the opportunity to visit is just too great a temptation.)
Any two neighbouring countries can easily be combined. My personal recommendation would go to Syria and Jordan, but it is also a cost issue. (Flights UK-Damascus and UK-Amman are relatively expensive, around 270 GBP from London with THY.)
With a bit of rushing, you could do Lebanon, Syria and Jordan or Turkey, Syria and Jordan. If you are really determined, you can also do the great classic overland tour from Istanbul to Cairo, but then you won't be seeing much of the countries at all.
My time recommendation:
Jordan: 1 week
Egypt: 2-3 weeks
Lebanon and Israel: 2 weeks
Turkey: 3 weeks
Iran: 4 weeks (you will get only 2 week visa though)
I've just read in my Syria guidebook that as of last year the Israeli authorities will generally not stamp a piece of paper for you - you have to get your passport stamped.