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Middle East Recommendations and Raves

Court

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  • Added on: May 10th, 2005
This is a new thread full of Middle East information. It is to be used for Middle East-specific tips, advice and recommendations ONLY. As a content-rich thread, we do not want any back-and-forth or questions. Please direct all questions via Private Messages (Click on "Go" in the left hand corner, select "My Space" and then "Private Messages") to the poster. You can also issue a PM by clicking on the poster's name and selecting "Private Message". Any post that does not contribute relevant information will be deleted. Examples include: responses to previous posts in the thread and questions. The information can be on any city, region or country in Middle East. Enjoy!
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Court

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  • Added on: May 10th, 2005
In the Dead Sea region of Israel, you can take a cable car up to the top of Masada. However, if you can handle the climb and the heat, its definitely worth the hour-long trek up. The earlier in the morning the better, due to the intense heat of the afternoon.
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JamieAnn

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  • Added on: May 11th, 2005
If you are ever in Palmyra, Syria be sure to stop by Zanubia-Leather in the southsouk. It is a family run business and it is a good place to stop and chat with locals while drinking flower tea.
Jamie

jennathan

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  • Added on: August 20th, 2005
Personally, I LOVED Dubai. It was my first exposure to the Middle East. There are parts (near the creek) that typify the 'Arabian' feel you'd expect in the Middle East. However, near Jumeirah Beach, it's entirely different. The Arabian Gulf is just beautiful...especially if you're at an area where you can see the Burj-al-Arab. There is definitely something about this architectural gem that you truly can't take your eyes off of. This area is also extremely international. Well, almost all of Dubai is, for the most part. You will meet people who have moved there from all parts of the world. I went on a mosque tour at the Jumeirah Mosque. It was a great way to learn about Islam and what it's really about (vs. the radicals we hear about on the news). I would also suggest to have a taxi driver take you out to the camel farms. I did this right before sunrise and it was one of best memories!
On another note, after all I heard about the gold souks, I was a little bit disappointed. I guess I expected something just a bit different than what it was. I was more into the spice and textile souks.

basmith4

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  • Added on: January 13th, 2006
quote:
Originally posted by jennathan:
Personally, I LOVED Dubai. It was my first exposure to the Middle East.

I have got to agree that Dubai is a nice intro to the Middle East. It is like the Singapore of the Middle East. For a once in a life-time opportunity I strongly recommend a dinner at the Burj-al-arab. It cost five of us US$120 each for a main and two bottles of wine (plus we got a bonus free entree - something about problems in the kitchen); but the food was totally awesome. For the ladies, the handbag soug is probably worth a look. I was travelling with three females who at a genuine interest in collecting 'beautiful things'. The hot tip is to ask to see the 'special bags' in the 'special' back room.

basmith4

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  • Added on: January 31st, 2006
A few days ago I went on a day trip to Bosra in southern Syria. I currently live in Damascus and just wanted to have a look around Syria. I am not a big fan of looking at 'old rocks and stones'; however, very interested in the culture - past and present.

I was very impressed with the Roman Theatre in Bosra - it is a very worth while visit. It is free standing (unlike most that are built into hillsides) and has a citadel build around it.

The trip down took us about one and a half hours to drive from Damascus(you can also catch a bus or taxi for a very cheap price).

We found a very good guide called Zachary for about US$20 (this is probably expensive for Syria; but we were not interested in haggling for a better price after a particularly social evening the night before). He owns a shop/cafe/bar close to the entrance of the Citadel and made us one of the best Arabic coffees I have had since I moved over here.

If you are travelling from Jordan this would be a great stop on route to Damascus as it is just over the border(althorough it is a little off the main highway).

phi

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  • Added on: February 21st, 2006
Three incredible, just incredible places/experiences in the middle east:
1. Petra (Jordan) - it may be touristy, but my god you can see why. And it's big enough not to feel touristy, even if there are tour groups around. Once you get away from the famous bits and just start walking up and up into the rocks you get to some wild, free, red places - lie on a rock basking in the sun. It is fabulous. Easily the single best 'place' I have ever visited.
2. Qatar's inland sea. Hard to get to, but once you do it's just rolling sand dunes (accessible only by 4WD in convoy, with their tyres almost flat to give them a wide footprint), and a deserted little beach from which you can dive with swarms of incredibly beautiful angelfish.
3. Fuwairit, on the coast of Qatar (north/east of Doha). This place is tiny - just a beach and aquamarine sea. But we camped out here and lit a fire, and smoked a shisha and wow, the stars were incredible. And then, on the edges of the circle of firelight we saw all these shadows ... wild camels, come to see what we were up to.
... where i've been is where i'm coming from ...

World Traveller

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  • Added on: March 1st, 2006
Phi, you forgot to mention Baalbek, in Lebanon, the oldest and most preserved Roman ruins in the region.. Smile

pouri

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  • Added on: March 4th, 2006
My advice for Women if you are travelling to IRAN. . . IRAN is a beautiful place to visit, my warmest wishes to everyone who is visiting here. .
as for clothing. . one of the best compliments I've ever gotten whilst living here was from an old medical school friend of my husbands, he said that, normally you can tell the foreigners straight away because they dress stupidly in long baggy shirts and stuff, but with Allie, you can't tell at all, she has a nice scarf and lovely manteau, she looks like she has been doing this her whole life.

All you need is a manteau and scarf, they can match, be tight and sexy (if you're in the cities), match the color of your eyes, be see-through, whatever.

FORGET THE CHADOR. You will look like a moron and nobody will care, they will only come to laugh at the eager foreigner looking like a d**khead. Only wear if you want to go to MOSQUE

You are from YOUR culture, and everybody respects that, wear YOUR clothes, jeans are a *must* BUT put the mantoo and scarf over it, you will not only feel comfy and sexy, and not weighed down, but you will have fun and everyone will love you.

kevin mc donald

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  • Added on: April 11th, 2006
If anyone is interested in travelling in Lebanon then Chateau Beaufort is one of the more spectacular Crusader castles in the area, although not as well preserved as Krak de Chevalier (mainly due to the more modern armies fighting over it since 1982) it has amazing views over the surrounding area. The Roman Hippodrome in Tyre (made famous in Ben Hur) is also well worth a vist as it is virtually empty for most of the time.
Like most sites in the middle east it is impossible to walk around any historical area here without stumbling over pottery from all ages.
I hope to drive to Petra next month, travelling through Syria and Jordan, if anyone has an idea of travelling times from Damascus to Petra I would appreciate it. Anyone needed advice on travel in Lebanon or Israel can contact me as I have just compleeted 12 months in Israel and will now serve 12 months in Tyre, South Lebanon.
Regards
Kevin

2wanderers

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Location: Edmonton, Canada

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  • Added on: May 8th, 2006
The Dana Tower Hotel, Dana Village, Jordan.

Our three night stay in Dana, at the tower hotel was one of our highlights of Jordan (and better than anything we did in Egypt). The village is amazing, a partially inhabited place that probably hasn't changed much since it was built in the 15th century. Some houses are still in use, and do have things like electricity and satellite tv, while others are falling down. All are made out of mud and stone, and feel like stepping into some crusader movie set (indeed, part of the town was being used as a movie set for some Italian biblical movie while we were there).

The hotel itself is wonderfully friendly, the cost of 16JD for a double/10JD for a single includes a feast for dinner, and a slightly better than usual breakfast. Lunch costs 3JD per person. If you're cheap and pack in your own food, you can stay on the roof for 1JD or in a dorm for 2JD.

DubaiLover

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  • Added on: October 29th, 2006
Hi, Ilove Dubai since 1992 and hope to stay here as long as Ican. Life is easy and even lazy.Now a days is turning cosmopoliten and more than 80% of the population are Christian and is becoming very western.
http://shopping-in-red.blogspot.com/

dustlm

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  • Added on: November 4th, 2006
I have to agree that Masada is a must-see for Israel. Swimming in the Dead Sea is also a lot of fun. Palmyra in Syria is great...if you go there, check out the museum in the closest town (sorry, can't remember the name off-hand). The museum has a rather cool embalmed mummy there that you can see up close and personal. Also, if you do go there, it's good to know that the security guards will let you explore the "closed" sections of the museum if you slip them a little cash.

The other highlight for me in Syria was Craq des Chevaliers, one of the largest and best-preserved crusader castles left in the world. It is truly spectacular!

Cryinmercy

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  • Added on: November 25th, 2006
Definitely Al-Bass in Southern Lebanon (Tyre- or Sour to locals), has the best hippodrome I've ever seen.

Wonderer Lon

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  • Added on: June 30th, 2007
Beaufort Castle in south Lebanon. I'll agree the views from the fort are awesome... but if you are traveling thru the middle east there are better preserved. The history of this Fortress shows that it has mostly been destroyed by warfare over the centuries... the Turks blew a large portion of it up in the 15th cent. Also was most recently used as a observation post by Isrl and Hzbla so was bombed many times. Also recent frighting positions are still in place from the last occupiers. There is an interesting tour board posted outside the walls, announcing "The Zionist Outpost of Beaufort" and gives recent pictures of attacks on the fort. Overall the place has a nice view but can not a real sense of the history due to neglect and damage. Stop in if in the area but don't make an extra effort. Also very close to southern security zone.



quote:
Originally posted by kevin mc donald:
If anyone is interested in travelling in Lebanon then Chateau Beaufort is one of the more spectacular Crusader castles in the area, although not as well preserved as Krak de Chevalier (mainly due to the more modern armies fighting over it since 1982) it has amazing views over the surrounding area. The Roman Hippodrome in Tyre (made famous in Ben Hur) is also well worth a vist as it is virtually empty for most of the time.
Like most sites in the middle east it is impossible to walk around any historical area here without stumbling over pottery from all ages.
I hope to drive to Petra next month, travelling through Syria and Jordan, if anyone has an idea of travelling times from Damascus to Petra I would appreciate it. Anyone needed advice on travel in Lebanon or Israel can contact me as I have just compleeted 12 months in Israel and will now serve 12 months in Tyre, South Lebanon.
Regards
Kevin
cheers


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