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RTW Trip, Advice and Suggested Countries?

Travel Forums Round the World Travel RTW Trip, Advice and Suggested Countries?

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1. Posted by joshuag (Full Member 16 posts) 7y


I'm planning a RTW trip (so exciting) and I'm going alone (damn scary!)

I would really appreciate some suggestions on some interesting countries/places to go to. I already have some almost definite destinations including Japan, China, India, Egypt, Greece, Spain and Russia. If I'm not too jaded by the end, I'd also like to do South America, particularly Peru and Brazil.

Time is not an issue and budget-wise I'm confident I can do between 12 and 18 months if I "keep it real" and do most of my travel terrestially (I don't mind trains or buses) and I plan to stay at backpackers and hostels, splurging on decent hotels only when I need to take a break.

Can someone suggest what they feel are some must-see countries/destinations in Asia, North Africa, Middle East and Europe that I should visit along the way (and why). Duration in each country is not a issue, I am totally flexible. This is mostly a voyage of adventure and discovery so nearly anything goes (though not too crazy, for instance Afghanistan, Iraq and the Gaza strip can wait a few years)

My only restriction is trying to get a decent chunk of summer time in Europe, so I will do Asia first then work my way West hopefully ending up in Europe by the summer of 2010.

Thanks in advance.

2. Posted by Lesya (First Time Poster 1 posts) 7y

Would you like to visit Ukraine? I can give you detailed information about this country

3. Posted by joshuag (Full Member 16 posts) 7y


Yes, I had thought of Ukraine, but I must confess my primary reasons for going would be somewhat morbid (in some people's eyes)

I've read some people have been allowed to visit the Chernobyl nuclear power station and surrounding towns and I've always been fascinated about the incident so that would be my main reason for going.

Of course if I was in Ukraine, I would also like to see other parts of the country, particularly around Kiev.

Problem is that New Zealander's need visas to get into Ukraine and getting one doesn't look like a trivial matter, especially if I don't know exactly when I'll be there - by the time I'm in Europe it will be mid-to-late 2010 (hopefully Ukraine and NZ sign an agreement before then)


4. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 7y

If you are headed for Egypt and Greece how about the classic overland trip from Egypt to Istanbul and Greece via Jordan and Syria? That would be a good ME experience. This route is pretty well-trodden by backpackers, thus there is good infrastructure for travelling on a budget there. It is also relatively safe and inexpensive. You'd need about 3 months to do it if you don't rush it. Highlights would be Abu Simbel, Aswan, Luxor, Cairo and the Sinai in Egypt, Wadi Rum and Petra in Jordan, Damascus and the Crusader Castles in Syria, Cappadocia, Istanbul and the West Coast (Ephesus) in Turkey. Best time to go would be in winter, December or February would be perfect for hitting Egypt and then making your way north.

The only potential problem would be the visa for Syria, that could give you a bit of a headache. Usually you are supposed to get it in advance. But according to the latest information you can get in if you just turn up at the border and have some patience - the border guards will fax your details to the ministry of interior and if they get the ok from above you'll be given a visa and let in. If it doesn't happen - well, go back to Egypt and then fly from there to Turkey or Greece.

But if you want places that a bit more off the beaten track I would strongly suggest Iran and Oman.

Recent unrest aside, Iran is usually a very safe place to travel to. It is also relatively unique in the Middle East because the Iranians are ethnic Indoeuropeans, not Arabs. And yes, it does make a difference! The feel of the country is totally different to say Egypt, incredibly beautiful and with lots of things to see and do. Inexpensive too. Highlights would be Isfahan, Shiraz, Yazd and Bam. By the time you are ready to hit Iran the unrest might have gone and it might again be safe to go there.

Oman would be another place to go to. Best place to fly into would be Dubai and then overland to Oman with bus. Oman is pure magic, almost untouched by the droves of package tourists and backpackers alike. It is an intrigueing mix of tradition and modernity. Downside is the high cost of going there. Oman is known as the "Switzerland" of the Middle East, very stable but also with high prices for travelling around. I haven't been to Oman, but from what I know the prices for travelling there are similar to travel in Europe if not higher due to the lack of budget options.

Other countries that I can highly recommend would be Morocco and Tunisia. They could easily be added at the end or in between the Europe part of your trip. (See Schengen visa restrictions for the Europe part of your trip.) Morocco can easily be reached by ferry from Spain and with budget flights from Germany and the UK. To Tunisia there is a ferry from Sicily, Italy and some charter flights from the Benelux countries, Germany and Austria.

But if you want to dip further into Africa than those countries, may I suggest checking out Mali, Senegal or Ghana?

[ Edit: Edited on 22-Jul-2009, at 02:23 by t_maia ]

5. Posted by joshuag (Full Member 16 posts) 7y

Thank you very much. This is exactly the kind of advice I was looking for.

In fact I already had my eye on Turkey and Morocco so the land route via Jordan and Syria looks very adventurous and Petra does look amazing.

I would have to get a visa to Syria at the border, but like you said, if it doesn't work out, just go back to Egypt and hop from there. So from Turkey I could take a zig-zag anti-clockwise path through Europe, through to Spain and then Morocco.

By the way, do you know what would be the best way to enter Jordan from Egypt? From air or sea? Obviously I wouldn't want to go overland through Israel otherwise Syria would not let me in.

Thanks again.

6. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 7y

Ferry from Nuweiba to Aqaba, it is the only way if you want to go overland. Flying from Cairo to Amman is also possible, but it costs a fortune.

[ Edit: Edited on 22-Jul-2009, at 23:21 by t_maia ]

7. Posted by joshuag (Full Member 16 posts) 7y

Thanks t_mania.

That ferry does look like the best option, plus I'd get to see the Sinai Peninsula which looks absolutely fantastic.

There's something about Middle Eastern deserts that I find just plain fascinating.

P.S. I really love Google Earth, a few years ago it would have been far more difficult to put things into perspective.

8. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 7y

One more thought: if you cannot get the visa for Syria the best choice of action would be IMO to cross into Israel from Jordan. You could spend the time you planned for Syria in Israel and then fly from Tel Aviv to Istanbul. From what I know there are cheap charter flights from Tel Aviv to Turkey, this would work out a lot cheaper than flying from Cairo. (That is if you aren't bothered by the Israeli entry stamp.)

9. Posted by joshuag (Full Member 16 posts) 7y

Thanks, that is another good option.

I guess I wouldn't be worried about the Israeli visa in my passport since Syria is the only country in my travels that doesn't allow it. I can always get another passport if I decide to travel to one of the other 15 odd countries that also don't allow it.

Another question, I figure you'd know since you're from Germany and a seasoned traveller, in your opinion, what would be the best order to visit the following countries between Greece and Spain:

I want to go to Hungary (Budapest), Austria, Italy (Rome), Germany, France, Netherlands (Amsterdam).

I'm still researching which would be the best cities/sites to visit in each country, I just know I want to go to them.

I'll probably end up making my way back to the UK from Morocco via Spain because chances are that's the best place to fly back home to NZ from.

(Ideally I'd do every country in Europe but time and money would probably make that impossible)

10. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 7y

I want to go to Hungary (Budapest), Austria, Italy (Rome), Germany, France, Netherlands (Amsterdam).

That would be more or less the order in which I would go unless I could get some good deals on flights or special offers on train tickets. Budapest-Berlin for example can be done with easyjet for 29 EUR and ryanair covers a bunch of routes via HHN Hahn airport, if you can get cheap flights Italy-Paris it might make more sense to go Italy-France-Netherlands-Germany.

I'm still researching which would be the best cities/sites to visit in each country, I just know I want to go to them.

3 months in Berlin is all you need of course. Berlin has got it all. ;)

Seriously, ask your questions in the Europe forum. You'll get a more varied response there including recommendations for some smaller cities that you might have overlooked otherwise.

I'll probably end up making my way back to the UK from Morocco via Spain

Ryanair and some other budget airlines fly for cheap from Morocco to the UK and to Germany.

BTW, have you looked at the Schengen visa rules yet? You are limited to 90 days for the whole Schengen Area which is pretty much most of Europe.