Uncharted Backpacker

Category - The Middle East

Shibam and the Hadhramaut Valley – Yemen

Shibam, Yemen

As the hours begin to lead up to it all, my mind starts to race. Traveling to Yemen is something I’ve always wanted to do, but because of Yemen’s war and political strife, it seemed an impossible task. Now, as I sit in a haze of hookah smoke in a Salalah cafe with a shady permission form from one of the governments in Yemen, I am finally going. After all the months of research and bureaucracy that I had to fight through to plan this adventure, the time to cross from Oman to Yemen has finally arrived. Just then, a beat-up van pulls up and a dodgy looking Yemeni driver peers out the window and says with a crazy look in his eyes “ready to go to Yemen!?” Read More

Oman Travel on a Budget Guide

Oman, Middle East

Mention Oman and the mind of a traveler will conjure up images of Arabian Palaces, impenetrable forts, stunning mountains, lush oasis’ and hospitality that is deeply rooted in Omani culture. One thing that the average traveler won’t think of is cheap Oman travel. Alas, it is now possible! After spending three weeks in the country in search of cheap hotels, food, and sights I can tell you this. Oman is definitely possible to travel on a strict budget. However, it is a country that takes precise planning ahead to be able to do so. Follow this guide, as Arabia is waiting! Read More

10 Tips for Female Travellers in the Middle East

Tips for Female Travelers, Middle East 

The longer I journeyed through this area of the world the more I felt a sense of deep respect, protection and curiosity from the locals. The landscape and climate is pure perfection, mountains, beaches, vast dessert planes and plenty of sunshine. But as I walked through the narrow streets in my hijab and a loose fitting, floor length cloak I became enthralled with the wonders of the middle east. You see, the colourful fabrics strewn in front of the shops mixed with the purifying smells of Frankincense and the distant sound of the call to prayer ringing across the entire city, made it easy to fall in love. Entering foreign territory always seems a little unsettling at first, but, as a female, travelling to this corner of the world is a completely unique experience with plenty of hidden gems.  Read More

A Traveler in Sana’a, Yemen – Sana’a Guide

Sana’a, Yemen

Nowhere has ever captured old Arabia like Sana’a. The smell of spices and meat cooking over charcoal in the old city souq, the enchanting melody of the call to prayer encompasses you as it rings out in every direction, locals prefer to wear turbans and the abiyah compared to western fashion. Sana’a will with no doubt take you to that Lawrence of Arabia dream you fantasize about. A city with such deep historical significance retains all its character despite the current circumstances. Now it’s not uncommon to hear airstrikes alongside the call to prayer, locals swapping their traditional outfits for military gear, and the entire city cut off from electricity and water; but politics and war aside, Sana’a still retains its charming self, a true authentic traveler’s paradise. Read More

Journey through Yemen – Yemen’s War and Travel

Sanaa Yemen
What brings a traveler to places like this? Is it the desire to be so far from other travelers and achieve an authentic experience, or is it the thrill of stepping into the forbidden and unknown corners of the world?

When it comes to Yemen, I found my attraction drawn from its plethora of historical sights and its splendid natural beauty. But if I am to be one hundred percent honest with you the tremendous lure in coming to conflict areas like Yemen are the people. Yemen’s people are unlike anywhere I have ever been. Their hospitality is contagious, they smile even when there are airstrikes happening blocks away and no matter who you are, or what you believe in, they will be your lifelong friend.

This is what makes all the pain, all the danger, and all of the after effects worthwhile in venturing into finding the truth for yourself. This is Yemen, true Arabia.
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Detour through Iraq: Kurdistan, Iraq

Iraqi, Kurdistan

For almost my entire life Iraq has meant war. From the so-called threat of weapons of mass destruction to the media constantly reporting about Bush senior’s gulf war grudge against Saddam. What the media and all those with preconceived notions of the country tend to leave out is the history, Iraq’s incredibly diverse people, some of the most beautiful landscapes in the Middle East. As I looked down a snow capped mountain valley from a medieval castle, it’s hard to believe everything I have heard and seen about this stunning nation. This is Iraq!

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Iran – Breaking Stereotypes, Tehran and Esfahan

iran

Tehran, Esfahan – Iran 

Mention to anyone back home that you are venturing into Iran and you will receive negative responses. “Why would you go there? It’s dangerous,” or “Iran is full of bad people,” were some of the comments I received from others when I decided to visit Iran. Iran is a nation of many things, but bad people and dangers are not among them. Traveling to Iran has been a dream of mine for many years. Now, finally, I had received my visa in Istanbul and crossed Turkey to the Iranian border, in Dogubayazit, to visit the nation so many people in the west fear. Read More

Jordan Travel Guide

Cathedral at Petra

Why Travel to Jordan?

Jordan sticks with you. Long after you leave its borders this country will draw you back. It could be the spirit of the Jordanian people or its stark beautiful countryside. T.E Lawrence crossed the treacherous deserts of Arabia to find himself here for this same reason. From the ancient mysterious carved temples at Petra to the red sand dunes of Wadi Rum, Jordan becomes an addiction. Jordan also happens to be one of the safest places in the Middle East. Jordan has a small but beautiful coastline teeming with marine life. After delving into Jordan’s spectacular natural scenery take in the ancient carved temples of Petra or the Roman city of Jerash and to finish off in the urban streets of Amman modern day Jordan so you can experience The “New” Jordan. Traveling here will get you a good taste of what the Middle East has to offer. This is the land of true Adventurers, so just as Lawrence had done you too should come to Jordan and see for yourself why he held this country and its people so close to his heart. Read More