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Just back from Syria, loved it and felt safe at all times

london
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Just back from Syria, loved it and felt safe at all times

I am just back from a week in Syria (26 March - 4th April). I just wanted to share how great it was. I saw a lot of advice on the internet telling me not to go and I am so glad I did not listen to it...

We did the "classical" tourist route: Damascus / Aleppo / Palmyra, stopping along the way at Krak des Chevaliers, Malooula, Apamee, St Simeon, Ain Dara, Qalat Jaber-Assad Lake, Resafe...

People were so friendly everywhere we went... nature and culture/history are breathtaking... food is delicious and cheap. I have been lucky to travel a fair bit in my life (5 continents, 40+ countries) and I must say this is my best trip ever.

Regarding safety as this would be what most people have in mind: We saw no sign at all of the demonstration reported on TV. During our stay Foreign office advice was to stay clear of Dera and Lattakie (who are outside the main tourists roads), which we did and so did not experience any issue. Unlike most western cities, you can wander in the streets of the old city in Damascus and Aleppo alone at night and feel 100% safe.

We met people backpacking on public transport and they did not experience disruption (apart from the two cities mentioned above). Nobody we spoked to felt unsafe at any point.

Being a bit more well off than we used to we decided to hire a private driver for the week. This allowed us to see the sites at our own pace. It is not that expensive and you can share with others if you want to lower the bill. And for those really worried about safety, that means you are always in a local safe hands and hospitality is indeed sacred there.

We went through http://www.mytrip-syria.com/ , a local agency set up by a lovely mix couple, Saqer who is Syrian married to Salina from Switzerland. They can arrange driver, hotel, guide and typical tourist tour as well as more unusual experiences: hiking trip (St Simeon...), night with the Bedouin ...

So please go there and enjoy ! It is a wonderful country !!!

Sarah

Umayyad Mosque
Sacred & Religious Sites
Souq al-Hamidiyyeh
Flea & Street Markets, Points of Interest & Landmarks
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Omayad Mosque
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Iceland
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1. Re: Just back from Syria, loved it and felt safe at all times

Thank you, I was waiting for a post like this. Going in 3 weeks from now

Fremantle, Australia
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2. Re: Just back from Syria, loved it and felt safe at all times

Hi everyone

Thanks to all the TA advice on the forum as all postings gave excellent suggestions and helped with our travel plans. Like jfaivre, we too visited Syria (mid March) and thought it was one of the most exciting travel destinations. Our adult daughter travelled with us and often stayed at another hostel/hotel to us. She felt very safe going back to her accommodation at night. We all felt safe, found it easy to get around, people were friendly and hotels and food superb- all at a great price!

We also hired a car/driver for some of the travels and it was so convenient. Our driver (organised via the hotel) had very good English, was a safe driver and terrific sense of humour.

East Midlands...
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3. Re: Just back from Syria, loved it and felt safe at all times

We have just returned yesterday ( 6/4/11) from 17 days in Syria, 10 days travelling on our own (by public transport) and the latter 7 days with a guide/ driver.

We felt perfectly safe in all of the main tourist areas. We joked that the only time we felt unsafe was in trying to cross the road in the larger cities, which needs a degree of confidence we did not initially have!

We encountered several large (and very noisy) pro government demonstrations . Being a little cautious, and having taken heed of the foreign office travel advice, we held back and did not get involved. We did notice however that they usually had a loud but benign atmosphere, and were being watched by large crowds of local people, including mothers and young children.

In the last couple of days we did travel with our guide and driver to a couple of areas slightly off the main highways. These were to sites just outside Deraa and Lattakia. On these journeys we encountered several armed check points, but our driver dealt with these confidently and efficiently and we were not at all troubled by them. This experience would in no way deter us from travelling, but would, I think, caution us to stay in the main tourist areas, unless in the company of an experienced guide/ driver

We were met with a warm curiosity from many of the people we met. Like jfaivre, I would say this was our best trip ever.

I will write a trip report later, but have posted this to reiterate jfaivre's message about feeling safe.

4. Re: Just back from Syria, loved it and felt safe at all times

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