Guide Lonely Planet Middle East (Multi Country Travel Guide)

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As usual the maps are extremely accurate which, being a half-pigeon self-navigator, is a very important factor for me! With regards to lodging, no other book is tailored towards the budget traveler as much as LP is, an Yes!! With regards to lodging, no other book is tailored towards the budget traveler as much as LP is, and this isn't even one of their 'shoestring' versions! Without the blue book we would have spent substantially more then we did on accommodations! Food of course is almost impossible not to find though, for those few times when you're looking for something specific, LP usually could nail it down!

As far as sites go, there is plenty of room for additional info but that's why we carried other color books. LP can guarantee to get you there an usually has better information than any other source regarding logistics. Finally, I have never enjoyed a history section as much as the one in this book. For years the Middle East, its history, conflicts and current events have baffled me. The few dozen pages in which this is all explained shed a remarkable light on the whole situation for me.

Sure, it's definitely a condensed version, but one that you won't find in any history book or news article! This is definitely a worthy investment if you plan on visiting any of the included countries, or, are just looking for a sneak peak into the Middle East! Mar 30, Jim rated it really liked it. The writers do a wonderful job of bringing the area to life, both with overviews of the history, geography, etc.

I'm going to miss this book Feb 22, Mohammed Rashid rated it it was amazing.

One of the most excellent books written. Everything about is great and its quite striking that LP managed to include the long forgotten and abandoned Libya in its copy. Worth reading and absolutely good but the two new versions however are dowdy. Feb 06, Strawberryberry added it. This book was pretty interesting and informative. Nov 13, Sara rated it really liked it. Usual Lonely Planet awesome-ness! My one criticism is that a better map of Beirut would have been very helpful. Sep 02, Cherie added it Shelves: travel , non-fiction.

Good for ideas about going to the Middle East--think I'm going to stick with my original plan of Turkey, Egypt and Morocco. It did not have UAE, so I have to look into that too! Jan 24, Huntleynh rated it really liked it. Always plotting my next trip. Need to get to Lebanon before it goes into chaos too. Shannon Olsen rated it really liked it Jan 12, Jerrodm rated it liked it Jun 18, Lynn rated it it was amazing Jan 10, Craig Ums rated it really liked it Nov 03, Fabrizio Venegas rated it liked it Aug 21, Great suggestions.

Did you take the buses across the border for each country? How was it? Challenging or fairly straightforward? I did the bus from Nairobi to Lamu changing in Mombasa , was long but interesting. Not sure if this was the case when you made the journey — but in any case, all other bor crossings are totally possible by bus — just remember to have the right visa stuff sorted in advance and that this is Africa!

Thank you for all this info! Sounds fantastic. How much would you estimate to need to budget for the 6 week version? I would stay in hostels Thanks. Hi Sage, thanks for your comments. Like Sage, above, I wonder if you could give us a rough budget estimate for a trip of that length, say combining the Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania itineraries? Staying in hostels, keeping things generally on the cheap with accomm, transport and food? Beers a couple of dollars, ditto local bus rides. Safaris and adventures activities like whitewater rafting etc are going to be hundreds of dollars.

Touristy spots like Jinja are going to be pricier than places which are more rural, for example in the south of Tanzania. These are great itinerary ideas. I found it easy to read and follow. I hear Tanzania and Kenya attract a lot of tourist and getting to enjoy the best of both is a dream. Kenya, I hear, is great for people looking for a good mix of city nightlife and nature. But if you just want to immerse yourself with the beauty of the wilderness and get to enjoy pristine beaches then Tanzania is your place.

Hi Ana, so great to hear you are thinking of travelling to Africa soon and delighted to learn that the itineraries seem to have given you some good pointers — thanks for the kind words. Kenya and Tanzania are amazing — both actually boast pristine coast and amazing safari opps.

Middle East travel guide

How much does it cost you to travel all 4 places in Africa for 6 weeks?? All expenses excluding Airfare. All these things will drastically influence your budget. Maybe if you can be a bit more specific I can help. Thanks Steph. Your email address will not be published. Vegetarians: Not really a problem, but can be an issue if menu is in Arabic. Expect to pick bits of meat out of couscous in worst case. Intro : Sights wise Morocco pales in comparison to Egypt, nevertheless it's a remarkable place to visit.

Excellent marketplaces dot cities; colourful palaces, mountains, beaches, friendly locals plus the usual band of con-men, hustlers, beggars, and pushers notwithstanding this is an excellent gateway into Africa. It has been spared the political and religious violence of much of the Arab world, remaining one of the safest places in the region. So if you are holidaying around Spain and Portugal and have a little more time on your hands you can't go wrong with paying a visit down south to Morocco. Tangier and Teutouan are fairly dodgy plenty of cons and ripoffs however are the only way to get to Morocco other than flying in.

Money : ATMs readily available as are exchange booths and banks. Notably in towns with ferry connections to Europe, don't pay for anything in Euros or Dollars and let anyone who asks for them typically taxi drivers know that you will pay in Dirhams. Basically any quote not in Dirhams should be treated with suspicion. What To Take : Poker face and the ability to be diplomatic and as good a knowledge of French as you can muster.


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Three-month visitor's stamps can be extended by Immigration or Bureau des Etrangers in most large towns. Getting Around : An excellent train network covered by Interrail pass which is the preferred option and far less cramped and stressful alternative to local buses. A bus network that takes care of where trains can't travel to. You can find luxury buses between towns usually run by CTM, Supratours and smaller companies. Shared taxi services grande taxi also operate between towns; fares are fixed and shared equally between passengers.

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Grande taxis are often the cheapest way of travelling between towns and cities in Morocco, but unless the Grand Taxi is full you will have to pay for all the unsold seats you'll find that sometimes drivers head off assuming the 'rich' tourist will cover the whole cost. Renting a car or bringing your own is also a valid option as the main roads are top notch. Locals : Generally nice people - are times you will have to say no without hurting feelings. Impress them with your knowledge of French and Islam though explaining why you're not a Muslim even though you know the five pillars may be tricky.

Hustlers are aggressive and when getting tours or transportation make sure that you agree on a rate and insist the price is set in stone they will try to weasel out extra from you. Stand firm. Ignore hustlers who feign anger at you telling them to get lost. Other Travellers : Southern Spain sells overpriced package tours of the Northern tip of Morocco Tangiers, Teutouan, Spanish Ceuta and Melilla which attracts mostly gullible middle aged tourists.

Other than that there are the usual band of European, Aussie, and Kiwi travellers with a sprinkle of American and Canadian tourists looking for a good time and to get high. Since the Casa incident Morocco has been free from such incidents and tourist are returning again in numbers.

Weather : Boiling in the summer in the interior, but the coast is manageable. Son't under estimate the need for a good sweater in winter and for a wetsuit if surfing Essaouira or any other Atlantic Ocean resort where the water can be quite cold.

Middle East (Multi Country Travel Guide)

Health : Be vigilant about bottled water make sure it's sealed and drink a lot of it. Stay away from salads and melon.

Media :. Some English bookstores. American Movies play in theatres. Food : Epicurean delights of Brochettes, tajines stews , fish, pastilla baklava with pigeon , harrira lentil soup and cous-cous chased with mint tea. Almost unbearably sweet tea and coffee is the order of the day throughout the country. Vegetarians : Lots of Cous-cous and omelettes harrira and vegetable tajines might be flavoured with meat stock. Hassle and Annoyance Factor : As with Egypt a notable factor. Having to bargain for almost everything can take its toll.

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Local poisons for the body: Kif powder made from the dried flower of the female cannabis plant is easy to find and you can be offered any time. Cultivation of kif is tolerated to some extent in an area of the high Rif mountains, where it constitutes the main cash crop of the local farmers. Chefchaouen is where you are the least likely to get ripped off or turned into the police.

The famous Moroccan hashish world renown and many travellers never get beyond the Rif mountains where it's mainly grown. Hashish is so cheap in the mountains that when backpackers arrive there they act like they have broken into the sweetshop. Majoun marijuana in candy form is known for inducing paranoia and dehydration. You may be inspected upon your return to Spain as Morocco is the Colombia of Europe. Alcohol : wine is not too bad. Beer is below average. Local bars as opposed to those in posh hotels tend to be dark, gloomy, and attract alcoholics and a slightly dodgy crowd.

Intro: You could forgive Tunisia for being more 'tourist' than 'traveller' friendly. The country has made quite some efforts to attract and try and attract back after terror attacks and political upheaval and become acceptable to the European package holiday hordes and has a lot to offer in return, notably it's location right on the continent's doorstep, glorious beaches, French language, compact size and monuments.

Nonetheless it's okay to be a tourist and those who want to travel around the country rather than stay put in one beach resort will find fairly good transport links, much to see and above all a compactness and lack of hassle fairly unique in North Africa. Considering this and given that at least on paper Tunisia has so much to offer, some might feel slightly let down. Others will be more than happy to perfect their French, not to have to travel too far from home and be able to see so much in a small space of time. There are many resort towns which exist almost entirely for tourists whom have largely deserted them , which can get prohibitively expensive for those looking to find on-the-spot cheap accommodation at the height of the high season.

Some minor hassles do exist and lone female travellers might have the odd reservation, but it is a far cry from the situation in Morocco or Egypt. Then again you will find plenty of crowds as in Morocco or Egypt, but not really the same backpacker circuit. Matmata , El Jem 's colosseum, Kairouan , Tunis' medina and many other of the country's medinas.

Sidi Bou Said , ruins at Dougga and Cap Serrat in the north for some less crowded and laid back beaches. Package tourists although tourists numbers are far from pre-Arab Spring hights. Package resort towns such as Hammemet. Inflated prices in high season and temperatures in mid-summer. Transport and again crowds in far south. The Sahara is better experienced elsewhere if you want to appreciate its tranquillity. Visa strategy: Free for most on arrival at all major airports and crossing points. Typical tourist trail: Most visitors tourists stick to one of the main resort destinations such as Jerba or Hammemet.

Travellers normally head from entry in Tunis to the South, Tozeur, Matmata and around with a few stops on the way in places such as Kairouan and Sousse as a base to visit El-Jem and others. What is for sure is a visit in mid-winter will be colder than you expect and a visit in mid-summer will be hotter. The Sahara and the south really bake in summer months and becomes fairly unpleasant. Getting around : Great, cheap and efficient public transport - a reflection on how much more developed Tunisia is compared to other North African countries. Mini-buses called louages depart regularly when full from various points in any major town.

On the whole you never have to wait too long for a departure. You might have to hop from one to another if wanting to travel right across the country and frequency is much greater in the morning. Normally you pay when you leave the vehicle apart from in large towns which have much more organised stations and you pay in advance. Prices are very reasonable and there is never a problem with over-charging. If you do find problems getting a departure say holiday period or late in the day it is possible to charter a taxi, but you will need a few people to get the per person price down.

For long-distances, buses will be better as they depart to a time-table. Be warned that departure points vary depending where you are heading and a town might have a bus station and several louage stations - finding the right one and understanding the system takes a little time if your French is not great. Language: As with Morocco and Algeria, French is spoken, which you will need to master a few phrases in order to travel. Apart from the epicentres of tourism in the country, English is rarely spoken or understood. Tourist factor: Without a doubt Tunisia receives a huge number of tourists, and being quite a small country with limited destinations this is extremely notable.

Without knowing exact figures you could consider for every one independent traveller there are 10 package tourists or well-heeled French or Italian independent travellers, many of whom come with their own 4x4 to experience the desert. Costs: Fairly on a par with the rest of the region, if not a little more expensive than Morocco and certainly more than Egypt, but still good value. Money: ATMs plentiful in major towns. Of course in small places like Matmata there are no banks so a little emergency EUR, as always is worthwhile holding, notably if crossing by land.

Locals: Generally indifferent and used to tourists. However most visitors are not backpackers. Accommodation: There is minimal accommodation specifically aimed at backpackers, but plenty of cheap places to stay. Although the range, price and availability do vary from town to town and in the epicentres beach resorts of the summer peak, expect very limited budget accommodation. Inland away from the beach you will find plenty. Lack of heating in the winter and air-con in the summer in cheap places is a little painful.

A basic breakfast is normally included in the price of a room. Books: You will find some English language books and guidebooks in the biggest book stores of Tunis.