Fancy a holiday in Iraq? With the first scheduled domestic flight taking off in Dec 06 from London Heathrow to Iraq; is Iraq becoming safe for adventurous backpackers? What are your opinions on its tourism future?
BBC News claims that "You might think he would be starting to despair by now. But the head of Iraq's tourism board, Ahmed al-Jabouri, is a confident man.". I hear that northern Kurdish Iraq is quiet different from the rest of Iraq, with little of its troubles. Here there are many attractions, although some are considered "bad taste". i.e. places of execution under Saddams rule. However, with his recent execution; is their a new begining for Iraq tourism and would you ever go?
Unfortunately I think it's still too dangerous to go. Even in the Kurdish North, I think I read of bombings. I would like to visit the Kurdish part, it looks greener and the people look and dress more exotic. The rest of Iraq also looks quite interesting, the Mosque, the people and culture. Also the pyramid and the tower.
> would you ever go?
Yes - but not for the time being!
I've just spent a week in northern Iraq, in the Kurdish-controlled region, which is quite safe.
For more, info, see http://www.backpackiraq.blogspot.com/
Fantastic website, thank you very much for all the information. As you state; there is hardly any information about travel in Northern Iraq. Its great to hear from a traveller who has actually been there lately! Much appriciated
I travelled in to northern iraq 2 years ago wanting to visit erbil and sulemania mainly. i was backpacking with a friend comming overland from turkey through ibrahim khalil. I dont want to sound like a scare mongerer because i believe that the north of iraq is safe and i would go back again. everyone that i met was lovely.
however i was arrested without charge at the border, (i am a white "christian" UK passport holder) litteraly as i was having my passport checked, and taken to a holding cell. i spent one nigh in detention in Ibrahim Khalil and another night in Dohuk jail. the following day i was taken to Erbil where i was taken to a propper jail. just like something out of an amnesty internatilnal brochure - 50 people to a cell, torture etc.
I spent three weeks there in medeival conditions and under interrogation until i was miraculously and completely by chance discovered by the red cross who allerted the US army who came to rescue me. Read the whole story at www.chrisafir.com
Having lived through this ordeal and come out the other side unscathed (if you dont count the lice and scabies) i am very pleased to have had the experience and opportunity to see what life in an iraqi jail is like for the 1000s of men and boys who, like me, were arrested without charge on trumped up charges of terrorism and then left to rot.
dont let me put you off going there, it hasnt put me off. It is a beautiful country and i wish that i had been able to see more of it...i just thought that i would share my experiences with you
>Would I go?
Yes - but not yet!
I just hope Bush doesn't invade anywhere else before I get there!
I was in Iraq in 2004... not as a backpacker! anyone thinking of going there soon must be out of their mind, it is NOT safe, and probably won't be for years!! especially for westerners, going there is asking for trouble!!
I would have to be paid at least $10k a month
I would go to Kurdistan - just check out the LP Thorn Tree Middle East branch, there are LOADS of people going....
LP founder Tony Wheeler went last year, there's a blog up somewhere on the LP website from him.........
It's a big wide world, so many places to see that we'll never get the chance to visit them all. There are other places with similar terrain as well. Final answer? Nah, certainly not now. Even with my looks and Islamic background, I'm not eager to go visit anywhere south or east of Turkey nor North of Mali and east of Morocco for a while. Even if the local government is cool, we're targets for a lot of nonsense I want no part of. Too many other places to go... IMO.
I am in Iraq right now and I would NOT recommend any westerner to come here. The danger of kidnapping and catching a stray bullet (much less one aimed at you) is way to high for comfort. I am not just speaking of Baghdad. There is a civil war going on with people getting killed everyday all over the country. Some areas are more active than others but it is dangerous everywhere.
I've just posted an Iraqi Kurdistan Travelblog; As you'll see if you read it, a suicide bomb exploded while we were there. Safe or not? Although the locals were as shocked & saddened as we were, you have to accept that the risk is there. If you check out Lonely Planet's Thorn Treee you'll see plenty about the proposed Turkish intervention too.