Iraqi Kurdistan tour April 2018

Our first tour of 2018 to the Iraqi Kurdistan region.

  

Despite current issues in Iraq and Syria, this region still remains perfectly safe to visit. Check out this blog from one of our past clients.

This price includes:

- Iraq visa (issued free on arrival at the border)
- 3 star central twin hotel accommodation
- all road transport in Turkey and Iraq
- tours and entry fees
- experienced English speaking Kurdish guide
- accompanied by Western guide throughout the trip
- all breakfasts

Not included:

- Lunch and dinners
- Flights to Diyarbakir (prices start at €295 from Europe)
- Turkish visa (can be obtained online in advance for £10)

Rooms are on a twin basis and if you are travelling alone we will allocate someone for you to share with if possible. To have your own single room there is an additional cost of €242.

 

Dates Tour names Price
22 April-29 April 2018 Iraqi Kurdistan tour TOUR FULL!
13 October-20 October 2018 Iraqi and Turkish Kurdistan tour from 1082 €
21 October-28 October 2018 Iraqi Kurdistan tour from 1082 €

Payment methods.

A £150 deposit is taken on booking and can be made by credit card (via Paypal) or bank transfer.

Balance is due 8 weeks prior to departure.

22nd April 2018

Arrive at Erbil airport

Transfer to hotel before the group meets in the evening to go for street food and mix with locals.

23rd April

After breakfast we will take a tour of Erbil.

Early in the day we will see old Erbil visiting the ancient Citadel, the Kurdish Archaeology Museum, the Mound of Qalich Agha and Erbil FC stadium.

Afterwards we will see modern Erbil, visiting parks, malls and shopping areas.
Evening spent at leisure around Erbil.

Drink in one of the tea houses around the city square before heading for dinner at one of Erbil's many restaurants.

Head out to the Christian Ainkawa area later for food and drinks at a bar or club.

24th April

After breakfast we travel out onto the famous Hamilton Road.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest engineering feats of the 20th Century, the road was engineered by Kiwi, Archibald Hamilton between 1928 and 1932.

The road snakes through incredible scenery, from gorges, canyons, rivers, lakes and mountains. We will stop along the way at Bekhal Waterfall, Gali Ali Bag Waterfall and also pass through the towns and villages of Shaqlawa, Harir and Soran.

In the late afternoon we will head to Pank Resort, a holiday destination for both Kurdish and Arab Iraqis. As well as breathtaking panoramic views there is also the chance to use a self drive rollercoaster! Afterwards we have the option to head to the Korek Mountain ski resort with a 15 minute cable car ride to the top.

Afterwards we will return to Erbil.

25th April

After breakfast we will travel to Sulaymaniyah.

En route we will visit the Qshla of Koya Citadel and the beautiful Dokan Lake where it is possible to take a boat ride. Afterwards we stop for lunch.

Upon arrival in Sulaymaniyah we take a sombre visit to Amna Sukhara, also known as the 'Red Prison'. This was the former Northern headquarters of Mukhbarat (the Iraqi Intelligence Service) and was used by Saddam Hussein's regime for imprisonment and torture of Kurds.

Within the prison is a beautiful memorial made from 182,000 mirrored pieces and 5400 lights. Each piece of mirror signifies each Kurd killed by Saddam's regime and the lights for each Kurdish village destroyed.

Evening spent at leisure.

26th April

Today we will visit the town of Halabja. On March 16th 1988, the town was subjected to the worst cases of genocide in Iraq's history.

Over a period of 5 hours, chemical weapons were used against the civilians of Halabja with 5000 killed and up to 10,000 injured.

We will visit the Halabja Monument Museum before driving North to the Ahmed Away waterfall, close to the Iranian border.
Afterwards drive back to Erbil and spend the evening at leisure.

27th April

Today we depart for Duhok, visiting the Yezidi heartland of Lalish en route.

28th April

After breakfast we depart Duhok and visit the city of Aqrah. Here we visit the Citadel built on top of a mountain. Afterwards we visit Shanidar cave - the site where 10 Neanderthals were found buried, dating from up to 65000 years ago.


We later return to Erbil where we spend our final night before departure the next morning.

29th April

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Is Iraq safe?
Our tours are based strictly in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

This area is a separate entity to Southern Iraq and is perfectly safe for tourists. Kurdish Iraq was unaffected by the 2003 war and has since seen massive economic development taking place. The Kurdish region has a great deal of autonomy with its own government, army, police force and secure border. Foreigners are made to feel very welcome in this region.

Outside of Kurdish Iraq remains extremely dangerous, but our tour keeps well away from these regions (and furthermore, a separate visa is required to enter this part of Iraq). There have been no incidents with foreigners since prior to the 2003 Iraq war.

Despite issues with ISIS in the region during mid-late 2014, they were pushed back from the Kurdish border and the Peshmerga have kept the lines strong and are continuously pushing back further. Bombs are extremely rare in the Kurdish region, but on the occasion that they do happen they have been targeted at government offices and police stations. We monitor the situation daily and would reevauluate the tours should security in the region decline. Please check with us for a current update on the situation.

Is it required to follow the Islamic dress code?
This is not required but it is advised to dress reasonably conservatively. Women do not need to wear a head scarf but they should bring one for entering mosques.

Is alcohol allowed?
Alcohol is allowed but not widely available.

Are credit cards accepted?
Credit cards are not widely accepted and there are not many ATMs available. It is advised to bring cash with you (US Dollars are the preferred currency).

Is internet available?
Wifi is available at all hotels throughout the tour.

Which flights can I book to get to Diyarbakir?
Turkish Airlines and Pegasus fly to Diyarbakir from Europe with prices ranging from £250-£350. The flights involve a change in Istanbul.

There are also a few options to fly into Erbil, but these prices are much more expensive, usually around the £500-£600 mark. We recommend the Diyarbakir option as you then get to see the Northern area of Kurdish Iraq as well as Kurdish Turkey which is very seldom visited by tourists.

Booking