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Travelling alone in the middle east... Watch

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    Hi,
    Just wondering if anyone here has done it, and your experiences? I have family in the middle east and have been to Lebanon and Syria, and Saudi Arabia. But I've never actually travelled around them properly. I've seen some of the sights with family, but my family are all pretty religious and I reckon there's a huge part of the those countries I haven't seen.

    Wondering whether you have travelled solo through them, what you saw, what you did, how you met people? I don't think there are hostels there. I'm not really worried about safety - especially since I can speak arabic (fluently enough in the Syrian and Lebanese dialect).

    I should add that I've travelled alone before, but more on the touristy routes - across Europe, Thailand and east Australia - so a view on how travelling around the middle east would differ to that would be nice .

    Cheers!
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    Difficult to travel about without a car, you rely on tours to get about. Tours are not done for one person (unless you pay lots) consequentially they may not always run & you may miss some sights.

    There are plenty of hostels, you won't have a problem finding places to stay.

    Public transport is almost non existent, although you may find it easier seeing as you speak Arabic.

    Beggars are much more difficult to deal with. They will not go away if you ignore them. They will not go away if you ask them to. They will only go away if you pay them.

    Bargaining is a lot harder, again speaking Arabic this should be easier for you.

    I met people on tours mostly.
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    (Original post by BillyM)
    Hi,
    Just wondering if anyone here has done it, and your experiences? I have family in the middle east and have been to Lebanon and Syria, and Saudi Arabia. But I've never actually travelled around them properly. I've seen some of the sights with family, but my family are all pretty religious and I reckon there's a huge part of the those countries I haven't seen.

    Wondering whether you have travelled solo through them, what you saw, what you did, how you met people? I don't think there are hostels there. I'm not really worried about safety - especially since I can speak arabic (fluently enough in the Syrian and Lebanese dialect).

    I should add that I've travelled alone before, but more on the touristy routes - across Europe, Thailand and east Australia - so a view on how travelling around the middle east would differ to that would be nice .

    Cheers!
    When they come for you tell them you're from an important family.
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    (Original post by Ewan)

    Beggars are much more difficult to deal with. They will not go away if you ignore them. They will not go away if you ask them to. They will only go away if you pay them.

    .
    Give beggars money if you want to, dont give it to get rid of them as if one sees that you gave it away a lot more will come. Try to give it in secret
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    If you go to kuwait, don't speak arabic unless its necessary, always speak english because they'll respect you more, and this only goes for the airport, though I recommend not to speak arabic anywhere unless you can speak the kuwaiti dialect.

    same for saudi arabia and the rest of the gulf i'd say
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    (Original post by Ewan)
    Beggars are much more difficult to deal with. They will not go away if you ignore them. They will not go away if you ask them to. They will only go away if you pay them.
    Yes, that particular beggar will go away - and when the other hundred beggars see you give them money, they start begging you as well! What awful advice!
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    Dont worry man it will be just fine
    i would recommended going to these countries which i will explain why
    Bahrain - very lovely and small country , has the biggest city center in the gulf , biggest indoor waterpark and a great big resorts and spa's
    Qatar and UAE are just wonderful you will have loads of fun as transport is cheap as food and anything you need
    if you have any question in your mind just ask
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    Gulf is ****, unless you want to see Pakistanis getting slapped for no reason.
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    i went in the summer with some mates

    went to Qatar, Dubai, Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman, and it was fab!

    Two of my friend are arabs, so they spoke the lingo, but tbh especially in the Dubai, Qatar and Bahrain nearly everyone speaks english anyway. Luckily I can speak Hindi and Punjabi so bartering was easy... because its basically 'bro, im speaking your language, give me a discount'
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    (Original post by SomaliMan)
    Gulf is ****, unless you want to see Pakistanis getting slapped for no reason.
    loool oh come on its not that bad... somalis love hating on arabs :confused:
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    (Original post by SomaliMan)
    Gulf is ****, unless you want to see Pakistanis getting slapped for no reason.
    you really didn't go to the right place did you
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    Watch your head.
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    (Original post by Memo100)
    loool oh come on its not that bad... somalis love hating on arabs :confused:
    Everyone hates 5awal 5aleejis, i'm gud with the Masris, Shamis, Lubnanis etc.
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    Go to Syria, Jordan, Egypt its better, the people are real, and you can see some propper culture/
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    (Original post by Cicerao)
    Yes, that particular beggar will go away - and when the other hundred beggars see you give them money, they start begging you as well! What awful advice!
    Have you even been to the Middle East? This is not India or Cambodia we are talking about. In Egypt especially the old sites always have someone inside. They will follow you around speaking to you in broken English then claim to have 'guided' you through the site. It's not a nice experience & happens a lot. Usually I'd be the last person to pay beggars but this seems to be the only way to get rid of them.

    I never had any problem inside towns & cities, just old sites.


    (Original post by SomaliMan)
    Give beggars money if you want to, dont give it to get rid of them as if one sees that you gave it away a lot more will come. Try to give it in secret
    Inside sites, there are never more than one beggar & it's enclosed.
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    (Original post by Ewan)
    Difficult to travel about without a car, you rely on tours to get about. Tours are not done for one person (unless you pay lots) consequentially they may not always run & you may miss some sights.

    There are plenty of hostels, you won't have a problem finding places to stay.

    Public transport is almost non existent, although you may find it easier seeing as you speak Arabic.

    Beggars are much more difficult to deal with. They will not go away if you ignore them. They will not go away if you ask them to. They will only go away if you pay them.

    Bargaining is a lot harder, again speaking Arabic this should be easier for you.

    I met people on tours mostly.
    There is so so much public transport throughout the Middle East. Micro Buses go everywhere you could possibly want to go!

    I travelled around the whole Middle East on my own and never had to go on a tour to visit any of the sites.
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    (Original post by beefmaster)
    There is so so much public transport throughout the Middle East. Micro Buses go everywhere you could possibly want to go!

    I travelled around the whole Middle East on my own and never had to go on a tour to visit any of the sites.
    Yea I thought this would be the case as I caught a few when I got stuck in some off-the-beaten-track locations. I just think they're unknown to most tourists, anyone I spoke to seemed to have no idea. For example when I wanted to visit the ancient desert castles in Jordan I couldn't find any other way to see them.

    Again perhaps its different if you've lived there & spoke Arabic? Lonely planet certainly does not speak of these mini buses. (they write about buses which take you from city to city but that's it, and they need to be big cities).
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    (Original post by Ewan)
    Yea I thought this would be the case as I caught a few when I got stuck in some off-the-beaten-track locations. I just think they're unknown to most tourists, anyone I spoke to seemed to have no idea. For example when I wanted to visit the ancient desert castles in Jordan I couldn't find any other way to see them.

    Again perhaps its different if you've lived there & spoke Arabic? Lonely planet certainly does not speak of these mini buses. (they write about buses which take you from city to city but that's it, and they need to be big cities).
    Yeah lonely planet is generally poor when it comes to the Middle East. The best way to get around is just go to a bus station and ask around (even just by saying the destination)

    I can speak Arabic (although I am not a native speaker) and I guess that makes it some what easier. But if you look hard enough and ask locals (or the people working in hostels) you can find the public transport and it costs a fraction of the price of booking a tour. Also you get to meet many interesting locals on your travels that you would not on a tourist bus.

    OP: if you need any more information get in touch!
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    (Original post by Ewan)
    Have you even been to the Middle East?
    I've been to Egypt (twice) and Jordan, but thanks for making assumptions based on my disagreement with your terrible advice.

    Sounds like you have no travel smarts at all, no offence.
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    (Original post by Memo100)
    If you go to kuwait, don't speak arabic unless its necessary, always speak english because they'll respect you more, and this only goes for the airport, though I recommend not to speak arabic anywhere unless you can speak the kuwaiti dialect.

    same for saudi arabia and the rest of the gulf i'd say
    In Kuwait..the Kuwaitis would love to communicate with foreigners in english rather than showing off their own tongue.
    Being an Indian here for 17 years of life and still not knowing how to communicate in Arabic fluently is a proof !!
 
 
 
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