Iraqi Kurdistan - Situation update
Replies: 52 - Last Post: Sep 1, 2013 10:24 PM Last Post By: NewWave
Jul 4, 2013 11:07 AM
15It doesn't matter if the south is safe or not, you won't get a visa. The Kurdish visa is only valid for travel within the KRG (Kurdish Regional Government) controlled area. You cannot leave the KRG area and enter Arab controlled Iraq. You need a different visa. And those visas are "impossible" to get.
As for other stuff to see in the general region, there are reasonably priced flights to Cairo (Egypt Air), Beirut (MEA) and Dubai (Fly Dubai). In Dubai you can connect fairly cheaply to a bunch of places.
Jul 4, 2013 11:14 AM
16Good point for the visa Fluffy_bunny. I didn't think about that...
From Dubai, which countries would you recommend? I've lately been in Sudan, Eritrea, Xinjiang China, to get an idea of places I'm fond of. I saw you've been in Yemen - I'm dreaming to go there but I know I still have to wait a couple of years...
Jul 4, 2013 11:39 AM
Jul 4, 2013 11:48 AM
18I feel I have to respond to your question (post 14) "is all the south or Iraq unsafe"?
Yes it is all unsafe, and I would not expect a seasoned traveller to ask such a question.
Kirkuk and Mosul (next to Kurdistan autonomus region) are particularly prone to violent sectarian crime and political motivated bombing.
Jul 4, 2013 11:59 AM
19As for which combinations you can do with the Kurdistan autonomus region, the best thing would be to go by bus transport to turkey. From there you have a lot more (turkish) airlines that fly with cheap prices, eg Pegasus airlines. Diyarbakir airport for example is within few hours from the Ibrahim Khalil border (though you may spent several hours to cross the border going to turkey, on the other direction things are much faster).
Or you can travel through the east of turkey that is in itself a prime travellers destination, to georgia (batumi) and continue visiting Armenia. But you donot wrote if yoiu already visited the caucasus states.
Jul 4, 2013 2:24 PM
20Sorry for my naive question; I know Mosul & Kirkuk are highly unrecommended - Dhi Qar, Qadisiyah, Missan, Wasit or Bassorah are not listed as unsafe as northern iraq on government/diplomacy sites, which are usually pretty much radical.
Within the border countries, I had the chance to visit Syria, Iran, Jordan, but I've never been in the caucasus states. From my short experience, I don't know which one of them could be an interesting destination. Thanks for your recommendation about Georgia & Armenia.
I'd love to visit Saudi Arabia but it sounds a nightmare to get a visa (only professional), and very difficult for a woman.
Jul 4, 2013 2:35 PM
Jul 4, 2013 2:41 PM
22There is so much to see in the Caucasus countries, I'd highly recommend a visit. If you go back into Turkey from Iraq, it takes a really long time because of security. Also, be careful about bringing in things with the Kurdish flag or that say Kurdistan on them. They search your belongings, although they aren't specifically looking for those things and it's normally a quick open, put their hand in and that's it, so you could probably get away with a keychain or T-shirt or something but be cautious about it.
I'd recommend going early in the day since if you get into Silopi late, you may not find any buses going elsewhere, although sometimes you can just go out and find a bus on the road and see if they have space, that's what I did last time. Each time I've crossed from Iraq to Turkey it took about 3 hours at the border.
They can be kind of rude on the Turkish border crossing too, most of the people working there are monolingual, I had to translate for some Kurds last time, and very inefficient, totally different from the Iraqi side which has a nice modern border station.
Jul 4, 2013 9:52 PM
(new wave) Diyarbakir does not have international flights but flights to Istanbul are very cheap and you can also get a very cheap connection to many inernational destinations. For example I had a search on october Pegasus airlines flights from Diyarbakir to Stockholm with 140 euros, to Sarajevo with 100 euros one way.
As for the caucasus states there are three of them Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaidjan. But Armenian border is closed to both Turkey and Azerbaidjan.
So one has to go (from Kurdistan autonompus region) this way:
Duhok, Batumi, Tbilisi, Yerevan, Tbilisi, Baku.This is the easiest way. Or the opposit way equally easy: Erbil-Sulimany, Tabriz(Iran), Baku, Tbilisi, Yerevan, Tbilisi.
There is also a much more complexed way from the Iran Armenian border.
A two weeks (minimum but still nice) travel through the three countries is highly rewarding.
Jul 5, 2013 2:07 AM
Jul 5, 2013 6:28 AM
25Naxchivan is not worth the effort and expense of the Azerbaijani visa.
Jul 5, 2013 1:58 PM
26I didn't think there were international flights, I've been to the Diyarbakir airport but I couldn't really remember.
Is it that hard to get an Azerbaijani visa or is it just for Naxchivan? I know it's a really sensitive area. Last time I visited Baku you could get one on arrival but I know that's changed since then but I didn't know if it was difficult to get one, like if you needed an invitation or to show itinerary etc. or just expensive.
Jul 5, 2013 2:02 PM
Jul 6, 2013 11:19 PM
28Hi there again.
New wave I am sorry that you seem not reading what I wrote:
" Diyarbakir does not have international flights but flights to Istanbul are very cheap and you can also get a very cheap connection to many inernational destinations."
And the airlines to look for cheap connections is Pegasus flying through Istanbul Sabiha Goccen airport.
As OP is in france my search for october gives tickets from Paris-Orly with only 150 euros one way.
As for the caucasus region visas Georgia and Armenia are very easy so a travel includig Georgia Armeniaa, autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan and (possibly one week in) eastern Turkey is easy to organise and as from my experience very rewarding.
If you want to add Azerbaidjan the best thing is to fly directly there in Baku from Paris France (try again Pegasus). You can easily arrange a visa in France and you avoid the logistics of the Azeris checking your travels in Armenian territorries.
I think I gave you enough informotation the rest is to make your plans according to your personal travel interests. Last word: personally I dont even know why you still interested in the very unsafe rest of Iraq, and why you think about Naxchivan while this is of very limited travel interets, but if there is a pressing need to go there you can still try...
All the best.
Jul 7, 2013 4:35 AM
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