When people think of the Middle East, they tend to think of two extremes—Either they’re test driving Lamborghinis in Dubai, or they’re getting kidnapped and killed in Syria. The truth is that the Middle East is so much more diverse than this and most countries can be safe, fun and even cheap to visit.
Read below to see the top reasons why the Middle East should be back on your radar.
History and Architecture– Maybe this one doesn’t appeal to everybody, but if you’re a bit of a nerd like me, you’ll enjoy seeing some of the world’s most important historical sites. From the Dome of the Rock (one of the most important sites in three separate religions!) to Petra, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, there is a wide range of religious and cultural history here that can appeal to everyone.
Food– If you’re a meat lover, the Middle East will be paradise to you! But even as a vegetarian, there’s a lot to love. The pastries here are plentiful and incredible, and street vendors offer an amazing opportunity to get affordable, authentic, and delicious delicacies.
Cost– Budget backpacking vacations are the new big thing, and the tourism sectors of the Middle East are quickly developing to serve this interest. From bike rentals that cost US$2 for a whole day in Jericho to street food that costs mere cents, many Middle East countries are places where you can afford to splurge a bit on your tourism experience. Even Palestine is starting to see affordable hostels popping up throughout the West Bank to support growing demands for tourism there.
People– The people you meet here are friendly, hospitable, and eager to share their culture with you. Even as a single female traveler (like me!), don’t let negative stereotypes scare you off. If you’re looking to connect with friendly locals, learn from knowledgeable shop owners and make friends with beautiful, generous people, then much of the Middle East is perfect for you.
From Jordan to Jerusalem, the Middle East has a wide range of activities for any traveler (yes, they even have nightclubs there) that go beyond the stereotypical camel ride and Burj Khalifa. For travelers who love history and culture, consider themselves foodies, or simply want an off the beaten path experience unlike any other, the Middle East can be a safe and fun place to visit.