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Best Places To Visit In The Middle East  
User currently offlinesw733 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6324 posts, RR: 9
Posted (4 years 1 month 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 4393 times:

Hi Everyone:

I travel to the Middle East fairly frequently, to Muscat, for work...however, I have never yet had free time to check out areas nearby, except for a stop in Dubai once. Later this year, I will have such an opportunity, as I plan to take 5-7 free days after my work in Muscat.

So I ask the experts of A.Net - where should I go? I am not looking for a ton of excitement, but places with friendly people, interesting sites (historical or modern), and a relaxed atmosphere would be ideal.

Thanks in advance for all of your help - this is one area of the world that I am fairly inexperienced with!

30 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineracko From Germany, joined Nov 2001, 4857 posts, RR: 20
Reply 1, posted (4 years 1 month 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 4355 times:

Tel Aviv/Jerusalem? It doesn't get more historical than Jerusalem. I would stay in Tel Aviv and take a day trip or two to Jerusalem.

You won't get a relaxed atmosphere in Jerusalem, but Tel aviv is the very opposite, very modern, relaxed, a great city.


User currently offlinePanHAM From Germany, joined May 2005, 9376 posts, RR: 29
Reply 2, posted (4 years 1 month 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 4348 times:

Tel Aviv was the immediate reaction form my side as well. I'll be there on biz from Sunday to Wednesday next week again. Great place to be. Bit problematic to get there from MCT however.
 



E's passed on! That parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker!
User currently offlinedetroitflyer From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 391 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (4 years 1 month 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 4331 times:

There are a ton of places to go in Oman,

check out Wahiba sands, The turtle place (near sur), and of course Sohar. There are tons of remote villages that have wadi bashing activities and such.



Boiler Up!!!
User currently offlinenighthawk From UK - Scotland, joined Sep 2001, 5153 posts, RR: 33
Reply 4, posted (4 years 1 month 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 4315 times:

Beirut is supposed to be really nice. Has anyone been there?


That'll teach you
User currently offlinesw733 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6324 posts, RR: 9
Reply 5, posted (4 years 1 month 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 4308 times:

Thanks for all the feedback so far! I must say I am leaning towards Beirut, if I can find decent airfare out of MCT. I too have heard great things about it and would like to check it out.

Quoting detroitflyer (Reply 3):
wadi bashing

Definitely something I would like to do as well.


User currently offlineracko From Germany, joined Nov 2001, 4857 posts, RR: 20
Reply 6, posted (4 years 1 month 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 4294 times:

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 2):
Bit problematic to get there from MCT however.

Somehow I forgot about that issue.   Maybe to Amman and from there by bus though?


User currently offlineSOBHI51 From Saudi Arabia, joined Jun 2003, 3475 posts, RR: 17
Reply 7, posted (4 years 1 month 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 4285 times:
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Why not Egypt? Great history, nice places to stay and more stable than Beirut. and more flights


I am against any terrorist acts committed under the name of Islam
User currently onlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 17502 posts, RR: 45
Reply 8, posted (4 years 1 month 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 4269 times:

Quoting racko (Reply 1):
Tel Aviv/Jerusalem?

I thought TLV looked like a downtrodden 70s Miami, and the Bauhaus architecture wasn't doing it any favors. The vibe/people seemed nice but I was struck how dated it looked. Jerusalem obviously is loaded with things to see.



E pur si muove -Galileo
User currently offlinephotopilot From Canada, joined Jul 2002, 2738 posts, RR: 18
Reply 9, posted (4 years 1 month 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 4264 times:

Petra, Jordan would be my first choice.

User currently offlineoa260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26981 posts, RR: 57
Reply 10, posted (4 years 1 month 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 4257 times:

Quoting nighthawk (Reply 4):
Beirut is supposed to be really nice. Has anyone been there?

Yep  Beirut With BMI Business Class+Lounges / Lots Pics (by OA260 Aug 5 2010 in Trip Reports)

Highly recommend Beirut.


User currently offlineBA6590 From UK - England, joined Jul 2007, 132 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (4 years 1 month 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 4255 times:

Quoting oa260 (Reply 10):
Highly recommend Beirut.

Highly recommend it too, lived there for 4 years before moving to the UK....Great night life, friendly people, great beaches, beautiful women....what more could you ask for  



"Never forget, the higher we soar, the smaller we appear to those who cannot fly" - Nietzsche -
User currently offlineClassicLover From Ireland, joined Mar 2004, 4636 posts, RR: 23
Reply 12, posted (4 years 1 month 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 4252 times:

Jordan, without a doubt!

I had a brilliant time there - lovely people, great food! Petra is amazing, among all the other things to see and do. Strongly recommend looking into it!



I do quite enjoy a spot of flying - more so when it's not in Economy!
User currently offlinesw733 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6324 posts, RR: 9
Reply 13, posted (4 years 1 month 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 4239 times:

Cairo, Beirut and Petra...hmmmm, wish I had more time!

Thanks for all the responses, this is going to be TOUGH!


User currently offlinewingman From Seychelles, joined May 1999, 2261 posts, RR: 5
Reply 14, posted (4 years 1 month 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 4230 times:

From my Jordanian friend who has been urging me to visit the region for 10 years now...Beirut, Damascus and Petra of course. I would also add Israel and Turkey if I had the time and money. Sounds like a full month minimum to hit all that. You could whirlwind the first 3 in seven days but you know how that goes, you won't remember a thing. Best to spend all seven days in one place and make it a quality visit that you'll remember for a lifetime. Have fun.

User currently offlinerwSEA From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 3104 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (4 years 1 month 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 4223 times:

Cairo definitely does not fit the "relaxed atmosphere" criteria, but the people are friendly and the sights are amazing (I mean come on, it's the Pyramids and King Tut!). I think 5 days would be perfect to see Cairo and maybe do a day or two to Alexandria (easy by train). The prices will be cheaper than what you're used to back home as well.

I have heard that Syria, particularly Damascus and Palmyra, are absolutely amazing. I think Syria and Beirut are next on my Middle East wish list.


User currently offlineSurfandSnow From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 2865 posts, RR: 30
Reply 16, posted (4 years 1 month 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 4215 times:

Quoting sw733 (Thread starter):
Muscat

I was most impressed with Muscat, though I felt as though I was able to see almost everything in one day. Very relaxed and friendly though, and tons of historic forts, etc. to see! And the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort was probably hands down the nicest hotel I've ever stayed at!

Quoting sw733 (Thread starter):
Dubai

Well worth a visit, if only to see the interesting modern architecture. You can easily beat the heat at Wild Wadi waterpark, or even Ski Dubai! However, it's not relaxed, nor is it friendly.

Quoting sw733 (Thread starter):
I am not looking for a ton of excitement, but places with friendly people, interesting sites (historical or modern), and a relaxed atmosphere would be ideal.

I'd say Jordan would be your best bet. Amman is a very laid-back city, and the Abdoun area is clean, safe, and very friendly. There are historical Roman ruins mixed in with modernity, and you can always escape to the Dead Sea or Petra to see some really fascinating stuff. Then you have the beach down in Aqaba.

Personally I loved Istanbul and Cairo, but it doesn't sound like those hectic metropolises would be your cup of tea.



Flying in the middle seat of coach is much better than not flying at all!
User currently offlineJasondn From South Africa, joined Nov 2007, 207 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (4 years 1 month 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 4208 times:

I seem to have similar interests as you and I am from South Africa living in Kuwait!

Here's our list of places to see and do before we leave the Middle East:

1 - Sharm El Sheikh (Egypt)
2 - Jordan - no so much Amman as more the Dead Sea, Petra and Aqaba (Monte Carlo of Middle East)
3 - Beirut
4 - Cairo
5 - Hurghada (Egypt)
6 - Istanbul

Also check out Wataniya Airways from Kuwait - really good and quite well priced! They fly out of the biz jet terminal and have brand new A320's.


User currently offlineClassicLover From Ireland, joined Mar 2004, 4636 posts, RR: 23
Reply 18, posted (4 years 1 month 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 4205 times:

Quoting SurfandSnow (Reply 16):
I'd say Jordan would be your best bet. Amman is a very laid-back city, and the Abdoun area is clean, safe, and very friendly. There are historical Roman ruins mixed in with modernity, and you can always escape to the Dead Sea or Petra to see some really fascinating stuff. Then you have the beach down in Aqaba.

Everyone should visit Petra and the Dead Sea once in their lifetime. The Dead Sea is seventeen different kinds of amazing to swim in   Not been to Aqaba yet, I hear it's great though! Can't wait to go back to Jordan actually!



I do quite enjoy a spot of flying - more so when it's not in Economy!
User currently offlineSW733 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6324 posts, RR: 9
Reply 19, posted (4 years 1 month 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 4162 times:

Quoting SurfandSnow (Reply 16):
Istanbul
Quoting Jasondn (Reply 17):
Istanbul

Love Istanbul. I've been there before and plan to go back this winter. But true Middle East (and perhaps Egypt) is more what I am looking for. So, I am going to decide between Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan depending on how good of a price I can get from Muscat to there.

Thanks for everyones help!

[Edited 2010-08-18 19:52:56]

User currently offlineBA From United States of America, joined May 2000, 11153 posts, RR: 58
Reply 20, posted (4 years 1 month 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 4155 times:

I love Beirut and Istanbul. By far my favorite cities in the Middle East. Damascus is also nice and is a good day trip from Beirut.

Cairo is also definitely worth visiting.



"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
User currently offlineoa260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26981 posts, RR: 57
Reply 21, posted (4 years 1 month 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 4133 times:

Quoting BA (Reply 20):
and Istanbul. By far my favorite cities in the Middle East. Damascus is also nice and is a good day trip from Beirut.

I love Istanbul also , Id love to go to Damascus. How do you get their from Beirut? Overland?


User currently offlinePanHAM From Germany, joined May 2005, 9376 posts, RR: 29
Reply 22, posted (4 years 1 month 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 4118 times:

Quoting racko (Reply 6):
Somehow I forgot about that issue. Maybe to Amman and from there by bus though?

I'd take LCA or ATH to connect

 



E's passed on! That parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker!
User currently offlineSOBHI51 From Saudi Arabia, joined Jun 2003, 3475 posts, RR: 17
Reply 23, posted (4 years 1 month 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 4106 times:
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Quoting oa260 (Reply 21):
How do you get their from Beirut? Overland?


That is the best way, avoid summer weekends as borders stops can take a really long time. I deal with a great taxi driver if needed i can provide info.



I am against any terrorist acts committed under the name of Islam
User currently offlinePlymSpotter From Spain, joined Jun 2004, 11655 posts, RR: 60
Reply 24, posted (4 years 1 month 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 4102 times:

Be sure to visit Aleppo too if you are going to Syria, the citadel there is an often forgotten treasure on the scale of the Pyramids. Nearby San Simeon is also very much worth a visit, and you can continue overland from there to Turkey, which is much cheaper to get back to UK/Ireland from.


Dan  



...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
25 Post contains links and images ramzi : My vote goes for Beirut. The atmosphere in that city is outstanding. Best to visit early or late in the summer, this way you avoid excess heat but ca
26 flanker : Beirut used to be nice. I go to Istanbul every chance I get. I love that city. I also tell people to go to Egypt if they get the chance. Everything is
27 Post contains links and images oa260 : Well I wanted to go with my friend but he wont go to Syria. Politics and all that I didnt see many tourists other than loads from the Gulf states whe
28 Post contains images ramzi : That's why I said early or late in the summer #1 destination for two years in a row, first time by the NY Times, I'm guessing its safe to say it stil
29 BA : Yes, it takes 2 to 3 hours on average depending on traffic and border crossing times. Beirut IS nice.
30 directorguy : Here are my 2 cents: 1. Dubai-It's close to Muscat, and you'd be able to fit in all the major sights in 5-7 days. 2. Cairo-The largest Arab city is al
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