The Middle East constitutes primarily of western Asia, parts of northern Africa, and southeast Asia. It consists of Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. It is a great vacation spot if you avoid the dangerous areas and follow the rules. Whether you travel to experience mouth - watering cuisines, rich cultures, ancient architecture, or to marvel at beautiful landscapes, the Middle East takes the cake.
Beautiful landscapes. Great food. Historical sites.
Certain areas can be dangerous.Warm climate.
The countries of the Middle East include Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Each country has its own flavour and charm. If you want to watch history speak for itself, go to Egypt and listen to the stories the pyramids of Giza have to tell. Connect with history while exploring the ancient temples. Israel will give you the chance to have a completely religious experience with its magnificent monumuments.There are many archaeological sites to explore while visiting Israel. Jordan is a treat for any tourist, since it has a lot to offer. It sets a beautiful example for the beauty that lies in ancient architecture. You would also get a chance to snorkel in reefs of the Red Sea. For all the food enthusiasts, Jordan gives you the opportunity to eat like a king. Oman encapsulates the beauty of the desert, the mountains, and the beaches.You can also visit some of its caves, or go scuba diving in its fresh waters. Saudi Arabia is popular for its coral reefs, diving sports, sand dunes, and historical sites.Turkey has some of the best bazaars and ski resorts. The United Arab Emirates doesn't forget to make an impression with its mordern architecture. It is home to the world's tallest building, Burj Khalifa.It is one of the richest countries in the middle east and hence, provides the most luxurious experience. Yemen proudly flaunts its palaces and museums.
The Middle East offers a variety of accomodation options. In countries like Egypt and Israel, hostels are available for backpackers. Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Jerusalem have some of the most beautiful yet expensive hotels. In Egypt, one could spend a few nights on a cruise ship navigating through the Nile river. Additionally, negotiating to lower the price isn't uncommon in the Middle East.
The people of the Middle East are very family oriented. In their traditional societies, one would often find extended families living together. The predominant religion of the Middle East is Islam which can be divided into Shi'a and Sunni. However, Israel's major religion is Judaism, making its culture differ from the other Middle Eastern countries. The Middle Eastern countries place a lot of importance on religion. There are three language families - Semitic ( ex - Arabic, Hebrew, and Aramaic), Indo-European ( ex - Kurdish, Persian, and Armenian), and Turkic ( ex - Turkish and Azeri).
Even though the Middle Eastern countries have an assortment of dishes to drool over, there are some common ingredients that they share. Some common ingredients include olives, sesame seeds, chickpeas, mint, honey and pita bread. Coffee is the most common beverage in this region along with Arak (an alcoholic beverage). The Middle Eastern cuisine has been influenced by its settlers, making its food even more exquisite. Common meats found in this region include mutton, lamb, and chicken. You wouldn't find pork here due to religious reasons.
Make copies of your travelling documents. Bring a two pinned adaptor to charge your electronic devices.Avoid drinking alcohol. Wear a money belt to avoid pickpocketing. Respect the culture of each country you're visiting.
The night scene in the Middle East is not present everywhere due to the Islamic views against alcohol consumption. The nighlife is mostly present in countries like United Arab Emirates Bahrain, and Morocco. One could find nightclubs, bars, and venues featuring live music. You will most probably not find alcohol during the days of Ramazan.
Suvenirs to bring back from the Middle East include Arabic attars (perfume oils), Persian rugs, gold jewellery, ceramics, copper and brassware, woodwork, woven rugs and cushions. Bargaining is common in this region. You will find some flee markets and small shops over here selling items at a reasonable price.
The people of the Middle East don't hold back when it comes to celebration. Whether it is to commemorate their art and culture or to honour their religious beliefs, Middle Easterners leave no stone unturned. In the Palestine International Festival, artist from Spain, China, and UK perform drum ensembles, dances, and orchestra recitals. Israel is not far behind when it comes to appreciating the performing arts. Jerusalem doesn't fail to enamor its audience through their jazz concerts, operas, classical music recitals, ballets, and theatre performances. To honour all the foodies out there, Dubai's Specialty Food Festival have chefs create gourmet dishes, and the guests try to guess them while being blindfolded. All the art lovers wouldn't want to miss Abu Dhabi's Art Festival featuring various art exhibiions, workshops, street performances, and poetry readings. Some of the religious festivals of the Middle East include Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year), Hanukkah Ramadan, Eid, and Day of Ashura.
Water - borne diseases can be a problem so drink bottled water only. Make sure to be up-to-date on routine vaccines including measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot. Besides that, one should get vaccinated for Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid, Meningococcal vaccine, Cholera, and Rabies.
Middle Easterners dress conservatively. Public display of affection is frowned upon. It is polite to leave a little food on the plate at the end of the meal; otherwise, it implies that the host hasn't fed you sufficiently.It is considered impolite to refuse coffee that is being offered. It is suggested to leave a tip for the waiters, bag packers, parking valets, housekeepers etc. Cab drivers don't expect to be tipped but rounding off the bill is a nice gesture.