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Top Trip Memories

  • Exploring the Pyramids of Giza and Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt.
  • Visiting the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace, both stunning examples of Ottoman architecture in Istanbul, Turkey.
  • Seeing the ancient city of Petra in Jordan.
  • Bargaining for exotic souvenirs like hand-painted tagines or leather handicrafts in the souks of Marrakech, Morocco
  • Taking a Nile River Cruise and exploring the surrounding areas.
  • Riding a camel and camping in a Bedouin tent in the Sahara Desert of Tunisia.
  • Hiking North Africa’s highest peak, Jebel Toubkal, Morocco’s High Atlas, and along the way meeting the Berber people along the way.
  • Scuba diving in Ras Mohammed National Park off the coast of Egypt.
  • Touring the Old City of Jerusalem, where multiple histories, religions, and cultures intersect
  • Visiting Shiraz, the City of Roses, known for its poetry and vineyards, and the close by ancient city ruins of Persepolis in Iran.
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Tour Tips

  • Traveling with a tour company will ensure safety. Your guide will know exactly where to go and where to avoid, as well as be a good liaison between you and the local culture.
  • Many of these countries require complicated visa guidelines, so find a tour operator that can arrange visas for you. It will save you a headache and you’ll avoid any costly mistakes.
  • War and conflict may be a concern in this region at the moment, but do not rule out these beautiful destinations. Check travel warnings before your trip. You will often find that these countries only have conflict in small or surrounding areas and that tourism is not affected.
  • Both men and women should dress conservatively. Besides respecting the local culture, long loose pants and sleeves are great protection from the sun.
  • Anti-American sentiments are most often more political than personal. Locals are known to be gracious and accommodating. The cultures of this region value hospitality and kindness towards visitors very highly.
  • Make Israel the last stop of your Middle East tour because some Muslim nations may restrict your access if they see Israeli stamps in your passport.
  • Do not seek out or go to political demonstrations. Though it’s tempting to be in the middle of the action, it is seriously dangerous.
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Middle East Travel Reviews & Ratings

4.7 out of 5



959 Reviews

  • Excellent 718
  • Great 236
  • Average 23
  • Disappointing 2
  • Terrible 0

Rating Details

  • Value
  • Guide
  • Activities
  • Lodging
  • Transportation
  • Meals

Tour Reviews

A week in Jordan

A Week in Jordan

March 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
Thoroughly great trip!! This was my first Exodus trip and I decided to share a room. I did not regret this once, as my room mate was lovely and this added to the experience and meant there was no quiet time in my room waiting for dinner. There were 20 of us, which was initially worrying, but it all worked out very well, as we all got on brilliantly. There were 10 solos and 5 couples (including friends that had come together).
I am deliberately going to leave out the obvious places because you can read about them in the other reviews. I loved the boat trip on the Red Sea (for the scenery as much as for the snorkelling). I was surprised by the extent of Jerash - 2 large ampitheatres as well as many other sights. The citadel in Amman and the views from there were great. The Jordan people were so friendly at the Citadel and the sound of the call to prayer rising up from the city was great.

Zuhair was very friendly and he organised us very well. I don't think we quite realised how much work he was putting in behind the scenes as it appeared effortless.

As it has been said in other reviews, it was freezing in Wadi Rum in February. Don't hesitate to ask for as many blankets as possible. I was freezing and I was wearing a woolly hat, scarf and many of my clothes. Don't forget to look at the stars in Wadi Rum - only some of our group did this.
If possible, do try to walk to the Monastery in Petra and to the High Place of Sacrifice.
You can email Exodus beforehand to find out the age of the group and how many solo travellers are in the group. I did not do this but I would on my next trip.

Food is more expensive than I thought, presumably due to the reduction in value of the pound

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Sand and rocks

Petra & Wadi Rum Trek

February 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
It was only after my first few steps into the desert that I remembered how much I dislike walking on soft, moveable sand, but I guess that is to be expected in the desert! The chef worked miracles to produce huge portions of tasty food, seemingly out of nothing. The downside at the camp sites (for three nights) was the lack of a mess tent and somewhere to sit comfortably (we sat on cushions in a square around the fire, with no back support), and the toilet facilities: ladies to the left, gents to the right, dig your own hole and cover it up with sand. Ironically the longest day of the whole trek was the tour of Petra (20km). This is a hugely impressive place, tombs and houses hewn out of the solid rock and approached through a narrow canyon. We were taken past/into all the main sites, then returned by way of the High Place of Sacrifice, from which you get a stunning view of the whole site, but the downside was being constantly hassled by people trying to sell you things, and having to leap out of the way of passing pony and trap combinations, and passing camels. The hotels in Amman and Petra were fine, although it would have been good to know that the one in Amman was 'dry'
The highlight of the trek for me was the two hour scramble to the rock bridge near the top of Jebel Burdah (which the trip notes had implied was a brief scramble at the end to get to the bridge), returning the same way. Seeing and hearing about various aspects of Lawrence of Arabia's life was very interesting too. And the Turkish bath in Petra/Wadi Moussa is highly recommended!

We trekked for 50km in a strange, lunar landscape, with a very knowledgeable and entertaining guide, Zuhair Alzou'bi, who was a fantastic story teller, a great skill to have when you are sitting found the camp fire at night with nothing else to do. I have nominated him as tour leader of the year.

Don't go if you don't like sand! Personally I much prefer mountains, but the trip was a last minute replacement for a trek through the Simien mountains in Ethiopia and I'm glad I did it for the experience of the desert it gave me

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February 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
The guide Zuhair was so very knowledgeable and open about Jordan its history,people and culture so the trip was mosr enjoyable thanks to his input.
Walking and camping in the desert and the ancient city Petra.

Superb. Careful of and attentive to his charges' needs and capabilities. Nothing was too much trouble for Zuhair, our enjoyment of all Jordan had to offer was his objective.

Be prepared for the long bus journey to the Seven Pillars of Wisdom and the return journey Petra to Amman.

This trip was my second choice( the first Ethiopia had to be cancelled ...state of emergency ) but I am so glad I didn't miss it !

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An amazing trek in beautiful scenery.

Petra & Wadi Rum Trek

February 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
This was a trip arranged at very short notice as my trip to the Simien Mountains in Ethiopia was cancelled. I viewed it as a consolation prize but it turned out to be the exact opposite. The desert scenery was stunning, the walking was pitched at the right level and the itinerary was superb. The icing on the cake was that the whole group was lovely.
I loved the desert scenery. I was expecting sand.... but I got beautiful imposing sandstone mountains and rocks which looked strangely like melting chocolate in places. So, the most inspirational part of the trip for me was the day spent scrambling up the hills to a rock bridge where a bit of a climb enabled me to stand on the bridge to make the most of the views. I also slept outside with amazing clear sky's full of stars.

He was superb. Very knowledgable about the history and culture of Jordan but also had an amazing ability to check out how the group were feeling. He made the trip run very smoothly.

You may wish to take a little more money than the trip notes advise. All meals were usually less than 15 dinars, but with snacks and tips I spent £150 altogether. Not a lot for a week away, but if I had wanted to buy presents (I didn't) I could have been left short of cash. Be aware that debit or credit cards are not widely used at all.

Two things to look out for -
1. I hate animals at any tourist sites as they are rarely well treated. This was evident in the desert with the camels having sores around straps and fixings and with one camel having barbed wire around it's neck. The same went for the horses at Petra who were worked too hard. If you're an animal lover you will need to look away sometimes. I know the culture is different to the British way of life, but informing local people that you won't use the service unless they treat the animals well may eventually have an impact.
2. The desert was covered in litter and plastic bottles. Jordan may not have a recycling policy but tour companies may wish to collect obvious litter at the camps in order to make it more comfortable for people as well as protecting the environment.

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Petra Wadi Rum Trek

Petra & Wadi Rum Trek

February 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
A great intruduction to the Wadi Rum Region of Jordan with the added bonus of visiting Petra.
Walking in the desert and Petra.

Really nice guy , strugelled a bit with being assertive with his team.

Wild camping is exactly that - wild ; not glamping. So if you need running water and bathroom facilities this trip is not for you. On the other hand if you enjoy stepping out under the stars , book your place.

New tents are needed and the scouting out of camp sites ahead of the group arriving would be beneficial. One camp was in a sorry state , foul smelling garbage and broken glass .

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Top Tour Operators and Travel Companies

Middle East Trips & Tour Advice

While the Middle East has been plagued by turmoil in Syria and Iraq, there are still many countries welcoming to visitors. Turkey -- most of which is located in Asia -- is by far the most visited destination, though Dubai and the United Arab Emirates are increasingly popular. Egypt, situated mostly on the African continent, is often included in the Middle East as well, and is rebounding in tourism. Israel and Jordan share a peaceful border and offer unforgettable attractions. A good tour operator can take you safely to this fascinating region, so filled with history and architectural wonders. 

Though the news focuses on the conflicts surrounding the Middle East, many of these countries are safe and welcoming to visitors, though always make sure you have the right precautions in place. These countries are home to hidden treasures from ancient ruins to culinary gems, to enrapturing landscapes. While countries like Turkey, Egypt, and Israel have been top destinations for travelers for years, others have not gotten the attention they deserve. These less visited destinations, like Iran, for example, are great for getting off the beaten path exploring away from the tourist crowds.

History and Ancient Ruins

The Middle East is known to hold the Cradle of Civilization, the fertile strip of land between the Tigris and Euphrates river in modern day Iraq in which some of the most ancient and powerful civilizations were born. Though these ancient civilizations like Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, and Persia have collapsed, the entire region is dotted with their impressive legacies. Of course, you have the legendary Egyptian pyramids, still standing proudly over the desert where they have existed for thousands of years. In Iran, you can explore the elaborately carved tombs and palaces of the ancient city of Persepolis, whose earliest remains of date back to 515 BCE. Israel is also home to hundreds of ancient sites, many in the holy city of Jerusalem.

Arts and Culture

This region is also home to cities and caravansaries through which the Silk Road passed, circulating ideas and cultures from the Far East. Some cities are among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. From the 8th to the 13th century, this area was a goldmine for Islamic arts and culture. While Europe was in its dark ages, the Middle East was experiencing a vibrant Golden Age, where academic pursuits, art, and music flourished. With cultures that created such lush fabrics, intricate embroidery, tempting spices, and strong fragrances, you can easily see how the European Orientalist movement of the 19th century was inspired by the region’s beauty and mystery.

This rich cultural heritage is still thriving in cosmopolitan cities like Tel Aviv, Tehran, and Istanbul, where history and modern culture merge. You can kick off your shoes and sit down on Turkish rug to smoke a nargile (water pipe) and listen to a musician perform long musical improvisations influenced by melodies from Greek, Persian, Arabic and Romany music.

Culinary Traditions

Wandering the souks of Marrakech or other cities, the fragrances slow roasting meats and spiced dishes will stop you in your tracks. Middle Eastern food often shares the same ingredients as Mediterranean food, one of the world’s most healthy diets, and not to mention, most delicious. Culinary traditions vary from country to country, but you can savor dishes made with pomegranates, dates, pistachios, olive oil, honey, mint, and a wide array of fresh vegetables and meats. Try the thick coffee and syrup-sweet baklava in Turkey, the halawa, a sesame paste sweet in Egypt, and an aromatic tagine in Tunisia.


Each country in the Middle East offers unique outdoor experiences. For many, the grandest experience of all is camping in the Sahara desert. In Jordan, take a tour with a Bedouin tribe, riding a camel through the desert that stretches for miles all around you. In the evening, share a meal and mint tea with your hosts under the stars in a traditional tent. You can also go on a trekking tour in the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco, stopping along the way to visit tiny local villages hidden within the slopes.

The Dead Sea in Israel is a great place to heal your tired feet. Because of the high level of salt, you float effortlessly, while your body is healed through sea salt and nourishing minerals. 

In Turkey, you will find the most bizarre natural landscapes of Cappadochia. Comprised of many valleys you can navigate, this region is dominated by “fairy chimneys”-soft stone tower formations that jut out from the ground. For hundreds of years, locals have been carving them out and using them for everything from a house to a hotel, a church, and even an entire monastery. Wander the valleys and explore ancient cave churches from the 9th century, with vivid frescoes of biblical scenes.

Related Guides


Iran, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia


Petra, Jordan; Dead Sea, Jordan; Istanbul, Tukey; Karnak, Egypt; Pyramids of Giza, Egypt; Burj Khalifa, U.A.E; and Many More

Top Activities:   

Exploring Ruins & Archaelogy, River Cruises and History Sightseeing

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