Travel Stories from Around the World – Middle East

Below you will find stories written by travellers on their experiences in the Middle East. If you would like to submit your own stories for this region, click here.


Afghanistan | Iran | Israel | Jordan | Kuwait | Oman | Saudi Arabia | Syria | Turkey | United Arab Emirates | X-country | Yemen

I’ll Have Another Guinness, Thanks
After traveling in so many alcohol-restrictive Islamic republics, even a remote possibility of having a Guinness solidified Billy Hussain’s decision to go to Afghanistan.

Before the Russians invaded, Afghanistan was a country on the "overland trail". Mr Ginger shares his memories of chaikanas, Chicken St and buzkashi games.

The Game of Buzkashi
Buzkashi is an ancient game of horsemanship, played with skill and daring. However, the rules are unwritten and anything goes in this sport.

Magical Mashhad
Rouposh? Check. Bedsheet? Check. Long underwear? Check. K is ready to say her prayers.

Anger Against America
Out of all her travels, American K has rarely received a warmer welcome, nor such sympathy for Sept. 11, than in Iran. She was even given a press pass for the anti-American demonstration.

How Can This Be Israel?
Sean O’Reilly pondered the media’s portrayal of Israel as unsafe after spending ten days eating splendid food, meeting wonderful characters and walking safely wherever he went.

On the Road to Nowhere: 12 Hours in the West Bank
Conor Purcell attends a funeral march of a Palestinian martyr, rams an Israeli tank and gets a pint in Jerusalem, all in the same day.

Carrying God’s Baggage
Mona Manuel was part of a Birthright Israel trip. It was a vastly different experience than her first trip to Israel.

The Scuds and I: A Ten-Year Retrospect
Gerry Schwartz had meant to go on a Kenya safari after visiting friends in Jerusalem. Then the Gulf War broke out while he was in Israel.

Facing God Alone
The harsh reality of being a solo female traveller in Israel.

This Jordan Doesn’t Play Basketball
The Treasury, which once captivated Indiana Jones, has another fan in Lee Abbamonte.

Vast, Echoing and God-like
Wadi Rum is simply one of the world’s most picturesque and inspirational deserts. Philip Blazdell draws on its strength to this day.

The Terrifyingly Friendly Land
Stacy Ashworth doesn’t know why Jordanians are so much kinder and friendlier than everyone else in the world, but she’s glad for it.

Reflections on Jordan
The amazing ancient city of Petra and a unique experience with a Bedouin family.

A Photographer in Kuwait
Stephen Whelan tries to show the real Kuwait through his photography, even though it is forbidden.

Chador Etiquette
Christine Michaud thought she would make herself invisible by donning the standard female dress in Kuwait. She succeeded in making herself the centre of attention.

Biking in Oman
Hit the road with an 1100km motorcycle trip from Dubai to Muscat and back.

Saudi Arabia
Balad: The Soul of Jeddah
M. Ahmed Nagoor travels to the heart of Arabian Nights territory and manages to avoid the bandits, making a new friend along the way.

Shopping in Saudi
Paul Dixon found his trips to the supermarket to be one of the few times he could move freely amongst the women of the male dominated desert kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

A Woman Can’t Go to the Middle East
Alison Block’s experiences of solo travel in the Middle East proved wrong the warnings of her family and friends.

A Day with the Assassins
It was a good day for Graydon Hazenberg: ruins, history, crime, politics, a whiff of sex – par for the course in the land of the Assassins.

Five Days in Syria
Tanks at the border and spies in the hotels, but Syria is friendly and safe.

Assad’s Syria
One week turns into three in this Middle East gem.

Shop ‘Till I Drop in Istanbul NEW!
If you’re gonna shop in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, you better learn how to bargain like a pro.

Turkish (Bath) Delights NEW!
Justine Merrill offers some suggestions for making less of a fool of yourself while naked in a Turkish hamam.

Lessons in Language and Culture
While attempting to speak Turkish, Iain Morris learns the language of Hollywood and showbiz is universal.

Markets, Mosques and Muezzins
Escaping the carpet salesman, Iain Morris wanders through the markets and mosques on the outskirts of Istanbul.

On the Edge of Europe
Iain Morris wanders through the streets of Istanbul – but not in search of a carpet.

My First Hamam
Doug Stine visits a Turkish hamam and has an other-worldly experience. He returns to the streets of Ankara a new man.

Hello, yes please?
Paul Cook drank gallons of apple tea as he refined his haggling techniques in the carpet shops of Istanbul.

The Carpet Men of Istanbul
Catherine Mojsiewicz found Istanbul’s carpet sellers switched from sales to seduction in the blink of an eye. Then back again if they though they might actually have a sale on their hands.

Alternative Turkey
Turkey did not turn out to be like Rick Barr expected. It wasn’t a place stuck in the past and in fact it had a history of sophisticated and progressive civilization.

Turkish Smells
Olive oil is the bloodline of Turkish cuisine and Rachel Kaufman believes it’s the reason she had been in Turkey one and a half weeks and already smelled like a Turk.

Yes Mustafa, There IS a Santa Claus
Campbell Smith contends that Santa does not live at the North Pole. In fact, all of our ideas of Christmas must be re-evaluated because Santa is actually Turkish.

The Lycian Way
Hiking a short portion of the Lycian Way, Paul Sentobe found deserted beaches, breathtaking mountains and enough ruins and monuments to have any budding archaeologist salivating with historical intrigue.

Murdered on the Orient Express
Julie Reimer decided to take the famous train from Bulgaria to Istanbul. Fortunately, Istanbul offers many charms to compensate for her experience getting there.

Sufi, So Good
Paul Sentobe found Üçagiz, on Turkey’s southern coast, to be a great base from which to explore many nearby Lycian ruins.

An American Redneck in Istanbul
Jay Winfrey came to Turkey to be beat down with confusion. He wanted complete sensory overload. He got it all in the first couple of hours.

Good Sign for the Future
Leanne Currie-McGhee was amazed and touched at the outpouring of sympathy and support from all those she met in Turkey after the tragedy in the US.

Running with Kurds
All Kartini wanted to do was get some medicine for her dodgy tummy. She ended up in a political rally and Kurdish language lesson.

Turkish Hospitality
Serendipity brings good and bad, but mainly good, to Kartini Abdul Rahman.

Trippin’ in Turkey
When Kartini nervously takes to the trail, the wisdom of a good guide wins out over her lack of back-country know-how.

Vegetarian Yemek in Kebabistan
Eating vegetarian is possible in Van and Istanbul, says Kartini Abdul Rahman, but expect confusion and laughter as appetizers.

The White Dove of Peace
Andrew Walker heads off the tourist trail, and finds himself surrounded by great people and hospitality.

Joe’s Trip to Turkey 2001
This time Joe is a guest of Fez Bus and gets to explore parts of Turkey he’d never seen before.

Joe’s Trip to Turkey 2000
Returning to Turkey with Fez Bus finding different places to explore plus some old favourites.

Joe’s Trip to Turkey 1999
Around Turkey with Fez Bus during the time of the earthquake.

United Arab Emirates
An Interesting Walking Style
Christie Eckardt’s experience leads her to believe that tight undies are a must for traveling in the Middle East.

Eastern Promise
Brian Matthews went to Dubai on the spur of the moment, but was happy to leave without having caused an international incident.

Women & Islam: Tales from the Road
Melissa Vinitsky discusses what it’s like to be a western woman travelling through Islamic countries, based on her own experience.

Buses and Fun, Fun, Fun
A 48 hour journey from Beruit to Istanbul using local transport has it’s share of characters.


The Big Bulge
In Yemen, a country of 17 million people and 70 million privately owned guns, Kelly Sobczak had the time of her life.

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