15 Useful Tips for Traveling to Iraqi Kurdistan
The thought of going to Iraq is not something that would cross many people’s minds. What could someone like about Iraqi? You would leave many people in shock! But, I can confidently tell you that when I went to Kurdistan, it was fulfilling. What you hear from people or see in the news doesn’t give the true picture of the tourist destinations, culture, and the people of Iraqi. Having first-hand experience is important.
In most cases, what’s on the ground could be different. There are awesome touristic places to visit; great towns that are not identified with bullet marks. Most regions are very safe for tourists or voyagers.
What to Know About Iraqi Kurdistan
Iraqi Kurdistan is situated in the northern part of Iraq. As a town, it’s small and located between Iran and Turkey. Surprisingly, it was never ruined in 2003 when the war hit the country. It is currently a semi-autonomous region with its peculiar government and a solid military, which has effectively protected the area from ISIS.
The locality is covered with great landscape with mountains, canyons, and waterfalls, unlike the southern part in Iraq. Kurdistan has very lively and prosperous cities. This was surprising for me, as my trip over there was made out of curiosity. I am glad it didn’t kill me. It’s a place I would advise travelers to include in their travel bucket list. Besides investing in a translator Kurdish to English, below are my 15 important and valuable tips for those who would wish to travel to Iraqi Kurdistan.
I know you’re probably pondering whether Kurdistan is a haven. You’ll be delighted to know that most tourists have given positive feedbacks on safety over there. This is primarily because it’s in the North. Also, its stout military has been able to fortify the town successfully. As a semi-autonomous area, it is isolated from main Iraq. One prominent thing that you will notice is the availability of checkpoints from one city to the other. It’s a safety measure employed by the military to know who is on the road and avert any threat from ISIS to the town.
There is an allowable free 30-days visa for EU citizens. Other countries that enjoy the privilege include; the USA, Canada, and a few countries in Asia and South America.As an advantage, get your Visa on arrival. The application process for citizens from other parts of the world could be dreary. It’s vital to note that you cannot use your visa to go to Iraq. The visa is strictly for Kurdistan and nowhere else.
What About a Travelling Insurance?
Very few insurance companies cover travelers visiting this town, so you should try and get one that will cover you. You will probably have to pay a higher insurance premium than usual.
The People in Iraqi
The Kurds form the greatest population in Kurdistan. Don’t be confused. They’re not Arabs. The people in this town are special, and that’s what makes it an amazing place to visit. The Kurds have a strong cultural and religious belief. They love foreigners and are very hospitable. Simply outstanding!
Kurds speak Kurdish. It’s a blend of Turkish and Iranian Farsi. While they also comprehend Arabic, most people will rather not speak it. There is animosity between the Arabs and the Kurds. You can use translators to help you understand what people are saying or communicate with the locals.
Spirituality and Religion
Most Kurds are Muslims. Though, I wouldn’t call them staunch Muslim because there is a lot of freedom. The level of conservativism cannot be compared to the other Islamic States. Additionally, there are few Christians and other minority religions.
Kurdistan is Hot!
When you travel during the summer, you may experience very extreme weather. There is a cold season, but it is very short-lived. I advise that you visit the region during spring or autumn since the temperature will be balanced. Put, avoid July and August if you loathe the heat and travel around March or April.
Kurdistan offers value for money when it comes to accommodation. There are very nice and quality hotels like Soran, Kristal, and Babylon.
Smoking Free Zone
Smoking is allowed almost everywhere in the town; in restaurants, hotels, streets, you name it.
Kurdistan has a great landscape. Here is a list of some places you can visit:
- Rawanduz Canyon. You can go hiking
- Driving on the great Hamilton road
- Goyje Mountains
- Gullan Park and Byara Shrines
See, it not as bad as you thought. I hope these tips will be useful as you plan. If you need a new destination to explore and enjoy its environment, then go for Iraqi Kurdistan.