Broke A2 student wants to go to Damascus Watch

southpaw.24
Badges: 0
#1
Report Thread starter 9 years ago
#1
As the title would suggest, I am a broke (well, almost) A2 student. I'm applying for Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies at various universities, but I've never been to the Middle East before.

(Please don't send replies to this saying it's stupid choosing Middle Eastern Studies if you've never been to the Middle East - what if it turns out you find the culture way too different and then you'll regret it - 'cause with respect, I've heard it all before and you can't change my mind.)

I would really like to visit the Middle East, particularly Damascus because I have heard that it is an absolutely fascinating and beautiful place. Also although I speak no Arabic at this stage, I am taking AS French, so an Middle East country where French is widely spoken is a bonus.

Now the dilemma: I have no money. OK, so I have a tiny (emphasis on tiny) amount, but not enough for first class plane tickets followed by a luxury hotel. If I can get the costs low enough, my friend says she would love to come, and my parents won't let me go by myself, which is another reason why my trip has to be as cheap as possible.

Does anyone know of a way of getting to Damascus from the UK and spending at least one week (but preferably two or three) there on an absolutely miniscule budget? I have a feeling I may not be able to afford to fly there, so I am more than happy to take some really long train ride across Europe or something if that's the cheapest option.

Any suggestions/advice would be much appreciated!

southpaw.24
0
quote
reply
Kiwiguy
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#2
Report 9 years ago
#2
(Original post by southpaw.24)

Any suggestions/advice would be much appreciated!

southpaw.24
Start selling your arse off. I mean litually..
0
quote
reply
Blátönn
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#3
Report 9 years ago
#3
(Original post by southpaw.24)
As the title would suggest, I am a broke (well, almost) A2 student. I'm applying for Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies at various universities, but I've never been to the Middle East before.

(Please don't send replies to this saying it's stupid choosing Middle Eastern Studies if you've never been to the Middle East - what if it turns out you find the culture way too different and then you'll regret it - 'cause with respect, I've heard it all before and you can't change my mind.)

I would really like to visit the Middle East, particularly Damascus because I have heard that it is an absolutely fascinating and beautiful place. Also although I speak no Arabic at this stage, I am taking AS French, so an Middle East country where French is widely spoken is a bonus.

Now the dilemma: I have no money. OK, so I have a tiny (emphasis on tiny) amount, but not enough for first class plane tickets followed by a luxury hotel. If I can get the costs low enough, my friend says she would love to come, and my parents won't let me go by myself, which is another reason why my trip has to be as cheap as possible.

Does anyone know of a way of getting to Damascus from the UK and spending at least one week (but preferably two or three) there on an absolutely miniscule budget? I have a feeling I may not be able to afford to fly there, so I am more than happy to take some really long train ride across Europe or something if that's the cheapest option.

Any suggestions/advice would be much appreciated!

southpaw.24
Sure I'll go with you, but you'll have to find 'alternative means of payment' *winkwinknudgenudge* :cool: .
0
quote
reply
Pandabär
Badges: 11
Rep:
?
#4
Report 9 years ago
#4
Why not go to Damascus later?
I think Easyjet fly to Morocco, which is a hell of a lot cheaper! Damascus is stunning, but I'd save it for your 'year-abroad' destination, as flights are much much more expensive.
0
quote
reply
southpaw.24
Badges: 0
#5
Report Thread starter 9 years ago
#5
(Original post by Blátönn)
Sure I'll go with you, but you'll have to find 'alternative means of payment' *winkwinknudgenudge* :cool: .
I asked for advice, not pervy comments.
0
quote
reply
Kiwiguy
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#6
Report 9 years ago
#6
(Original post by southpaw.24)
I asked for advice, not pervy comments.
Yeah, but in TSR asking for "Help and advice" = Pervy comments..
0
quote
reply
southpaw.24
Badges: 0
#7
Report Thread starter 9 years ago
#7
(Original post by Kiwiguy)
Yeah, but in TSR asking for "Help and advice" = Pervy comments..
Oh, my bad.
0
quote
reply
Blátönn
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#8
Report 9 years ago
#8
(Original post by southpaw.24)
Oh, my bad.
Oh, yes you are . . . *winkwinknudgenudge* :cool:

Okay, I'm done.
0
quote
reply
oxymoronic
Badges: 17
Rep:
?
#9
Report 9 years ago
#9
I agree with trying Morocco... I've been looking at flights recently and you can get there for around £70 with easyjet at the moment (I'm looking at going at the start of Jan) otherwise, look at other places where the low cost carriers fly and then just book a plane with them and get out of the touristy areas. Egypt for example, or Tunisia, will have lots of package holiday tours which you can just book the flight part seperately, then once you're there you can go off and do your own thing quite easily, just because you book a flight with a package holiday company it doesn't mean you have to partake in anything else they offer. Otherwise I guess your other option is to book a flight to somewhere like Tel Aviv with easyjet (not sure when they're actually starting this route though) and then working your way to Syria from there, although I know nothing about how feasible this would be to do as I've never travelled in the Middle East... some users on here have though, so they'd be able to tell you more about it.
0
quote
reply
nearlyheadlessian
Badges: 15
Rep:
?
#10
Report 9 years ago
#10
(Original post by oxymoronic)
Otherwise I guess your other option is to book a flight to somewhere like Tel Aviv with easyjet (not sure when they're actually starting this route though) and then working your way to Syria from there, although I know nothing about how feasible this would be to do as I've never travelled in the Middle East
Erm that would be sort of dangerous. The Syrian border is all but closed. They wouldn't even let the OP back out of the country if they had an inckling that they were on their way to Israel (airlines tickets and such like). It appears that if you do want to fly to Tel Aviv, you're advised to get a multi entry tourist visa for Syria, enter through Lebanon and leave through Jordan. I gather the best place to reenter Israel is at the border between Aquaba and Eilat (in the very south of Israel) but then you have a long way to go to get back to Tel Aviv.

Likes other have said, anywhere in North Africa is going to be cheaper and easier to arrange (even if it's not quite what you're looking for).
0
quote
reply
beefmaster
Badges: 2
Rep:
?
#11
Report 9 years ago
#11
(Original post by southpaw.24)
As the title would suggest, I am a broke (well, almost) A2 student. I'm applying for Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies at various universities, but I've never been to the Middle East before.

(Please don't send replies to this saying it's stupid choosing Middle Eastern Studies if you've never been to the Middle East - what if it turns out you find the culture way too different and then you'll regret it - 'cause with respect, I've heard it all before and you can't change my mind.)

I would really like to visit the Middle East, particularly Damascus because I have heard that it is an absolutely fascinating and beautiful place. Also although I speak no Arabic at this stage, I am taking AS French, so an Middle East country where French is widely spoken is a bonus.

Now the dilemma: I have no money. OK, so I have a tiny (emphasis on tiny) amount, but not enough for first class plane tickets followed by a luxury hotel. If I can get the costs low enough, my friend says she would love to come, and my parents won't let me go by myself, which is another reason why my trip has to be as cheap as possible.

Does anyone know of a way of getting to Damascus from the UK and spending at least one week (but preferably two or three) there on an absolutely miniscule budget? I have a feeling I may not be able to afford to fly there, so I am more than happy to take some really long train ride across Europe or something if that's the cheapest option.

Any suggestions/advice would be much appreciated!

southpaw.24

Don't book a flight to Tel Aviv then go to Syria, you will be barred entry by the Syrian government (and many other middle eastern countries) for having gone to the Palestinian Occupied Territories.

I went to Damascus in the summer so if you have any more questions hopefully I can answer them (and I will be back from next june for at least a year)

French is not as widely spoken in Syria as you might think, it is in Lebanon, but it was a language of the oppressor so I chose not to speak it when I was there.

If you are goign to go I would say go for at least a month so you can enrol on a course at the university and maximise your arabic learning experience,

The cheapest way to get there is to fly to Istanbul and then get a bus to Damascus. The bus takes 30 hours but is really cheap and easy (if a bit annoying).

Accommodation wise just turn up!

I know it sounds stupid, but just get to Dimashq then make your way to the old city, and ask the first westerner you see where they are staying and work your way from there. Pretty quickly youll find yourself a cheap room with other westerners.

Alternatively look in some shop windows in the old city and families offer rooms (especially for girls)

any other questions feel free to ask.

P.s when are you planning on going there?

Ahlan wa Sahlan
0
quote
reply
Lell
Badges: 16
Rep:
?
#12
Report 9 years ago
#12
Flights to Damascus=expensive. But you can get reasonable accommodation while you are there-the Damascus Hostel seems nice, I didn't stay there when I went, but visited with a friend who knows the owners, they were very friendly and helpful.

EDIT: DO NOT BOOK YOUR FLIGHT VIA TEL-AVIV. That was pretty crappy advice, the Syrians won't let you in if they see evidence of travel to/via Israel and they do check your passports, mine was checked in London and in Syria.
0
quote
reply
Aack
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#13
Report 9 years ago
#13
Damascus? This isn't Bible times, love.
0
quote
reply
beefmaster
Badges: 2
Rep:
?
#14
Report 9 years ago
#14
(Original post by Lell)
Flights to Damascus=expensive. But you can get reasonable accommodation while you are there-the Damascus Hostel seems nice, I didn't stay there when I went, but visited with a friend who knows the owners, they were very friendly and helpful.

EDIT: DO NOT BOOK YOUR FLIGHT VIA TEL-AVIV. That was pretty crappy advice, the Syrians won't let you in if they see evidence of travel to/via Israel and they do check your passports, mine was checked in London and in Syria.
I would say not to go with the Damascus Hostel, it might be ok while your finding cheaper accommodation, but from the prices on the site I would say its a complete rip off. you can do much better than that.
0
quote
reply
ellingham
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#15
Report 9 years ago
#15
(Original post by oxymoronic)
I agree with trying Morocco... I've been looking at flights recently and you can get there for around £70 with easyjet at the moment (I'm looking at going at the start of Jan) otherwise, look at other places where the low cost carriers fly and then just book a plane with them and get out of the touristy areas. Egypt for example, or Tunisia, will have lots of package holiday tours which you can just book the flight part seperately, then once you're there you can go off and do your own thing quite easily, just because you book a flight with a package holiday company it doesn't mean you have to partake in anything else they offer. Otherwise I guess your other option is to book a flight to somewhere like Tel Aviv with easyjet (not sure when they're actually starting this route though) and then working your way to Syria from there, although I know nothing about how feasible this would be to do as I've never travelled in the Middle East... some users on here have though, so they'd be able to tell you more about it.
what you did with your screen name, i see it :ahee:
0
quote
reply
oxymoronic
Badges: 17
Rep:
?
#16
Report 9 years ago
#16
(Original post by nearlyheadlessian)
Erm that would be sort of dangerous. The Syrian border is all but closed. They wouldn't even let the OP back out of the country if they had an inckling that they were on their way to Israel (airlines tickets and such like). It appears that if you do want to fly to Tel Aviv, you're advised to get a multi entry tourist visa for Syria, enter through Lebanon and leave through Jordan. I gather the best place to reenter Israel is at the border between Aquaba and Eilat (in the very south of Israel) but then you have a long way to go to get back to Tel Aviv.

Likes other have said, anywhere in North Africa is going to be cheaper and easier to arrange (even if it's not quite what you're looking for).
Interesting to know for later travels ... as I said, I have no idea about the Middle East in terms of which borders/countries you can go through and which ones you can't to get to other places, so thought I'd throw it out there as then someone would be able to say whether that was a feasible idea who actually knew!
0
quote
reply
Haft_Hasht_Shish
Badges: 1
Rep:
?
#17
Report 9 years ago
#17
The cheapest route would be to fly easyjet to Istanbul, coach ride to Dimashq (via Aleppo possibly).

It sounds really complicated but very easy in practice. Just make sure you're ok with the hours involved sitting on your butt. Its going to be around 28+ hours. I done it via Iraq and it took 24 hours from the furthermost part of Kurdish Turkey to Istanbul...my limbs were numb (although the coaches are pretty darn good compared to the rubbish you get here)
0
quote
reply
Haft_Hasht_Shish
Badges: 1
Rep:
?
#18
Report 9 years ago
#18
(Original post by beefmaster)
I would say not to go with the Damascus Hostel, it might be ok while your finding cheaper accommodation, but from the prices on the site I would say its a complete rip off. you can do much better than that.
^ To OP: He knows Sham pretty well so take his advice/knowledge.

How's things going mate? Still focused on AUB?
0
quote
reply
beefmaster
Badges: 2
Rep:
?
#19
Report 9 years ago
#19
(Original post by Haft_Hasht_Shish)
^ To OP: He knows Sham pretty well so take his advice/knowledge.

How's things going mate? Still focused on AUB?

yeah things are going good..still doing arabic and history, and its becoming very hard now. Applied for AUC and AUB so hopefully i get one ofthem!

you planning any more trips out to sham?
0
quote
reply
Lell
Badges: 16
Rep:
?
#20
Report 9 years ago
#20
OP-I should also add, you don't have to go to the Middle East before starting your studies- I have a few friends doing Arabic/ Middle Eastern studies (hence my visit to Syria) and they hadn't been before starting.
0
quote
reply
X

Reply to thread

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

Have you ever experienced bullying?

Yes (223)
78.52%
No (61)
21.48%

Watched Threads

View All