Travel in the Middle East

Travel in the Middle East includes places like Dubai

The Middle East is diverse and varied. Its influence from many different historical movements and civilisations makes it richly diverse and intricate. The region is a mix of traditional and contemporary. Beyond the cities, there is a vast range of mighty rivers, grand deserts and green landscape of exceptional beauty.

Great civilisations and religions were born and raised in the Middle East. It is home to some of the world’s most significant cities, making it a fascinating place to travel. With dramatic landscapes and extraordinary people, it is a place of discovery and adventure. If you are travelling to the Middle East during Ramadan, expect lavish festivities and thrilling celebrations, especially in cities like Dubai

There is something here for every type of traveller, from camel trekking through the desserts and discovering ancient ruins, to navigating your way through winding streets or sunning yourself on a glamorous beach. There are many treasures in the Middle East for the keen explorer.

Each country is unique

Travel in the Middle East can be a life-changing experience

The Middle East Region is made up of a multitude of countries, each with their own unique history and culture. Many countries will also have their own religious practices and languages. Much like travelling to Europe, Romania is very different to Spain; you wouldn’t expect to find the same culture, traditions and surroundings. While some things may not vary too much from country to country, other things will be quite different depending on where in the Middle East you are.

Dress

One of the best things you can do when travelling to the Middle East is to show respect to the local culture. This can be done by dressing conservatively. You don’t necessarily need to wear a hijab or any specific type of clothing for men or women, but it does mean covering up. Both men and women should try and engage in conservative dress. Most people are often too polite to say anything about how you choose to dress, but it shows disrespect and insensitivity towards the culture.

Don’t refuse hospitality

It may seem strange to visitors, but it is considered incredibly rude to refuse an offer of hospitality. If you’re out and about and decide to do some shopping, upon entering a shop, if you are offered a coffee don’t refuse it. It doesn’t matter if you plan to make a purchase or not, the kindest thing you can do is accept the simple and friendly offer of hospitality. Similarly, you may be invited out to eat or to dinner with members of the community. You should attend these as it is polite, and also it is a great experience and you are guaranteed delicious and traditional food.

Expect a lack of alcoholism

Islam has traditions against the ingestion of alcohol by followers of the faith. Therefore, don’t expect your Muslim hosts to hit the bar or have a glass of wine with dinner. Due to the number of tourists, more alcohol is now readily available throughout the Middle East, but it is still not an embedded part of cuisine and culture like it is in France.

Completely unique people

Middle Easterners are some of the warmest and most welcoming people on the planet and visitors should reciprocate that hospitality. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking everyone in the Middle East is the same either, you will meet Muslims, Arabs, Jews, Christians and so many other people. The vast majority of people are likely to exceed all your expectations- in the most pleasant of ways. Being able to meet a vast range of new people and sharing in what they have to teach you is one of the best parts of travelling to a Middle Eastern country.

Author Bio – Laura Browne works for the charity Islamic Help that creates projects to help orphans in the Middle East. She helps them to achieve sustainable Livelihoods, water and sanitation and is involved in many development projects.

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