Just like its culture and the attractions that you can find, the Middle East is home to a varied landscape. As you would expect, the desert landscape is the primary source of curiosity among its visitors. The Arabian Desert, which is where Dubai is located in, is one of the main deserts in the area.
As vast as the desert landscapes are in the Middle East, there are also several mountainous ranges. The Al Hajar Mountains in Oman is one of the main mountain ranges in the region. Meanwhile, the Zagros Mountain is a long mountain range that spans three countries: Iran, Turkey, and Kurdistan.
Other must-see landscapes in the Middle East are rivers, plains, valleys, and plateaus.
Middle Eastern cuisine is one of the most sought-after cuisines on a global scale. Known for its rich, aromatic and healthy dishes, it has a flavour that appeals to people of all ages and backgrounds.
When you travel to the Middle East, below are some of the most popular dishes to try.
- Hummus – There is probably no other Middle Eastern dish that is popular worldwide than this. It is a chickpea spread that is traditionally served with pita bread.
- Halloumi – This type of cheese is derived from goat and sheep milk. It is best served grilled.
- Falafel – Another classic from the Middle Eastern cuisine, falafel is available in a wide range of meat. You can also have a vegan version using chickpea or vegetables.
- Ghanoush – If you love hummus, you will love ghanoush too. It has the same consistency as hummus does but this one is made with eggplant.
- Shawarma – This is another must-try dish from the Middle East. It is also best served wrapped in pita bread.
Are you looking to explore the Middle East? Below is a list of top tourist attractions that you cannot afford to miss:
- United Arab Emirates – The UAE is home to a rich selection of tourist attractions for travellers of all types. Some of the must-see attractions are the Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, and The Dubai Mall.
- Israel – Israel is considered to be the home of the holy land. You can expect a wide array of cultural and historical sites such as the Masada National Park, Dead Sea, and Mount Zion.
- Saudi Arabia – Saudi Arabia is a desert country that is teeming with sightseeing and cultural experiences. Make sure to visit Masjid al-Haram and Madain Saleh.
- Jordan – Jordan is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the Middle East. Among the top destinations are the ancient city of Petra, Wadi Rum, and the Roman Theatre. The ancient city of Petra is the most popular tourist destination in the country. It is an ancient rock-cut city that was built 2,000 years ago.
- Qatar – Qatar is a peninsular country with a diverse landscape and plenty of tourist attractions to offer. When in Qatar, it is a must to visit the Souq Waqif, Doha Corniche, and the Museum of Islamic Art.
- Lebanon – Lebanon is a country noted for its vibrant nightlife, mountainous regions, and cultural traditions. For the best of Lebanon, make sure to explore the Qadisha Valley, National Museum of Beirut, and Temple of Bacchus
The Middle East imposes a few regulations and customs that are not observed elsewhere in the world. This is mostly due to the strong ties with Islamic beliefs. Here are a few things you need to know:
- The high season in the Middle East is from December to February. The holiday season, in particular, is when most cities get crowded and prices are sky high.
- The shoulder season is from March to May and September to November.
- Bargaining is allowed in some countries but not all. Learn about each culture before you attempt to haggle.
- There is a widespread of ATMs in the Middle East, especially in the major cities. This is important to know as many countries are still cash reliant.
- Tipping is expected in many countries in the Middle East.
- Flying is the best way to travel in the Middle East. There is no rail network and the buses are not the most comfortable.
- Make sure to pack the right items for the weather in the Middle East. You need sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, and warm clothes.
With this information about the Middle East, you are all set to go. It is important to note, though, that there are several conservative countries in the region. These include the countries in the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, and Egypt. On the other hand, Israel and Turkey are the most relaxed when it comes to clothing. But this can vary largely from one country to another so it is best to pack modest clothes.
There is also a general rule that women should never wear clothes that show off too much skin, legs, cleavage, and arms. You will be expected to cover up when you enter sacred places like mosques and temples.
For your own safety, travelling on the road at night is not encouraged. It is also important to stay vigilant whenever you travel. The Middle East is largely a safe place to travel, but there are a few publicised problem areas.
And finally, always check the travel warnings (if any) on your intended destination before booking your flight. This could void your travel insurance.