The world is a vast, varied, and wonderful place. Or, at least, it can be when you know where to look. Travel enthusiasts have long pegged the Middle East for being one of the unique regions to explore on the planet. Images of Petra, Damascus, and the Great Pyramids of Giza likely all spring to mind when talking about the Middle East. While those travel destinations are no doubt filled with wonder, they aren’t the only places that you can go to in the region. Today, we will be highlighting a handful of incredible travel gems that you can find while exploring the Middle East. Pack a hat and a visor; you’re going to need it.
Hidden Travel Gems of the Middle East
The Middle East is a vast and textured area filled with countless people, cultures, and landscapes to explore. To give context to how varied the Middle East is, consider how different Dubai is from Egypt’s Great Pyramids. You will get two vastly different experiences when traveling to those areas. With that being said, we aren’t going to spend our time treading over the same ground that millions of tourists before us have walked. Instead, we are going to set our sights on something new, interesting, and more rewarding. Grab your sunscreen; you are going to need it while you are out and seeing the world.
1) Haraz Mountain Villages & Socotra Archipelago in Yemen
Did you know that Yemen is one of the first places in the world where coffee was considered a delicious beverage? It’s true! According to historical records, Sufi monasteries in Yemen were the first to collect and blend coffee beans into a drinkable beverage, way back in the 15th century. While we are a long way off from the invention of coffee, the Haraz mountains are still possessed of beautiful history, both natural and human-made. Spend some time visiting Al-Hajarah Village to get an amazing view of the surrounding area. When you’re done there, head to the Socotra Archipelago to tour some of the most beautiful sights in all of the Middle East. You’ll be floored by the beautiful islands, wildlife, and natural wonders. Bring a camera, too; you’re going to want to set one of these pictures as your Profile photo, trust us.
2) Bedouin Oasis Camp in Ras Al Khaimah
Ras Al Khaimah is the northernmost Emirate in the United Arab Emirates. While Ras Al Khaimah, also called RAK, is looked over in favor of the more famous Dubai, you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you skipped out on visiting the area. Ras Al Khaimah is ruled over by the prosperous Saud Bin Saqr al Qasimi, known for his savvy economic policies. In fact, the publication known as Arabian Business gave an award to Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi for his work. If you really want to get in touch with the work done in the area and the cultural roots of the Emiratis that live there, spend some time at the Bedouin Oasis Camp in RAK. This camp will give you an up-close and personal look at the cultural roots that permeate through the UAE. You’ll spend time underneath the beautiful starry sky while immersing yourself in a fascinating and refined desert safari. You’ll get food and entertainment that is intrinsic to the area’s people while also learning about how they live their lives. The experience is perfectly suitable for adults and children alike, bringing the entire family along for this enlightening trip.
3) Baatara Gorge Mountain Trail in Lebanon
If you feel adventurous, you need to head to Lebanon to experience any one of their numerous mountain trails. Known locally as the Darb Al-Jabal Al-Lobnani, the Lebanon Mountain Trail will give you a close look at how the region actually is. There are more than 75 towns and communities along the trail, along with the natural wonder intrinsic to the area. You’ll see massive forests, soaring mountains, beautiful rivers, and numerous monasteries and holy shrines. The Baatara Gorge is our favorite location on the LMT as it offers one of the most unbelievable sights on the planet, the Cave of Three Bridges. This unreal cave features a massive drop that showcases three separate, tiered bridges. Diving deep into the gorge is a beautiful waterfall that will leave your eyes wide with wonder and your jaw lax with amazement. The best time to see the Gorge is in March or April. Don’t walk on the bridges, even if you think it looks safe. The bridges are incredibly slippery, and a fall will lead to certain death. If you stay safe, you’ll leave with memories that will never be far from your mind.
4) Tataouine & Dougga Located in Tunisia
Alright, if you are a pop-culture nerd like us, you’ll need to head to Tunisia. Why do you want to go to Tunisia? In 1976, the Hotel Sidi Driss was used as the backdrop for the iconic planet of Tatooine. You know, the home of a guy named Luke Skywalker? Matamata is located in Southern Tunisia, and it is famous for its structures that incorporate giant underground troglodytes. Once you see the town, you’ll know that you’ve landed in a Universe far, far away. When you are done getting your Star Wars to fix in, you can head to Northern Tunisia to enjoy Dougga. Dougga hosts an incredibly scenic road that ends with eye-popping historical sights. You’ll want to spend time taking in the colosseum and acropolis that is local to the area. If you thought that Athens had iconic historic structures locked down, you wouldn’t want to miss Dougga.
The Middle East is filled with pure wonder. You can look in any direction, so long as you have a heading, before finding yourself somewhere amazing. Use our tips as a jumping point for your research. Bring a camera, stay safe, and see the world!