You have made me happier than you ever know Shayan! Maybe I will see you again before too long.
Back in Ireland I will tell everyone how interesting - and safe! - your country is and will encourage people to visit.
"I joined my groups this month in Kurdistan and Iraq; I shared a very short part of their trip though it was extremely memorable. The 13 people in Kurdistan and the 12 in Iraq have been a collection of some of our nicest clients. I enjoyed meeting Douglas Layton, our lecturer in Kurdistan whose input in terms of knowledge and passion for the region contributed significantly to the success of the tour."
"I wanted to thank again for the incredible Kurdistan trip you organized. This trip was a dream come true for me. Thank you so much
"What made this trip so special was the historical and current commentary provided by Dr. Douglas Layton. His knowledge of and experience with Kurdistan helped me understand Iraqi Kurdistan and its people. The chance to meet local people and see Kurdistan recover was a lifetime experience."
We’re back home. Thanks very much because the tour has been a great success. I have 100% satisfaction for Shayan and the driver. Both are great professionals. Also services: hotels, restaurants, minivan, there were no complaints and all were above guest expectations!
The itinerary was very well conceived and organized, with full days and perfect time management. Everything worked perfectly even considering the changes due to Covid. The choice of the hotels was excellent and our tour guide was absolutely fantastic.
The driver and Shayan, our Guide were absolutely professional and the minivan was totally clean all the time and the hotels were perfect.
We greatly enjoyed experiencing Kurdistan and seeing all the wonderful sights! Our outstanding guide provided excellent information about the historical sights plus gave us a true feel for the people living in the various towns and rural areas. The hotel accommodations were good and their food was exceptional. We strongly recommend this trip!
I wanted to tell you how impressed I was with all your arrangements during my tour of Kurdistan, I cannot think of any way you could have given me a better insight into this fascinating region. Please convey my heartfelt thanks to my wonderful guide and driver. I hope that they enjoyed my company as much as I enjoyed theirs. I have appointed myself as your unofficial, unpaid promoter and hope that my friends take my advice and contact you.
Sal Lavallo Visited All 193 Countries in the world. Conde Nast asked him 193 Questions.Question #5. Ever intentionally miss your flight? “I enjoyed my time in Iraqi Kurdistan so much that I stayed twice as long as I expected.”
When Shannon Stowell, CEO of the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), took his 17-year-old son to Iraqi Kurdistan, for example, he found little information on the destination available online.... Because of this, he turned to Explore Mesopotamia, an on-the-ground operator and ATTA member.“I strongly recommend building a relationship with a reliable tour operator — one with a well-known reputation and a history in the destination,” Stowell said. “The other option is to go yourself and become an expert in the region, but that will also likely end up with finding a good operator who has years in business, a solid risk-management plan and experience working with international travelers.”
I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for a wonderful experience when I visited Kurdistan last week. We were very fortunate to have Abdallah as our guide, and he was excellent. This was my second visit to Kurdistan, and am very fortunate to have had the services of Abdallah on both occasions. Not only is his knowledge of the area excellent, but his personality made our tour even more memorable. Spending time with him was an absolute pleasure.
Oh MY God… what a BEAUTIFUL book (Kurdistan Tour Guide) … amazingly arranged and fantastic photos… good quality printing… I want to really get back to Kurdistan very soon! Thanks a MILLION!
Iraq doesn’t exactly top most travelers’ wish lists. But Shannon Stowell, president of the Adventure Travel Trade Association, says it should.
Stowell was to spend a week in northern Iraq (Kurdistan) and didn’t know what to expect. “There’s so much tension in the region and Americans aren’t always the world’s favorite guest,” he says. His friends and family had concerns, and voiced them. Despite his apprehension, kind and hospitable Kurds welcomed him. “The people were so gracious and warm that I felt nothing but care and trust,” he said. “I played pool with strangers, walked through the markets, shared tea and meals, crashed a wedding, rode a cliff-edge roller coaster, and even got a shave from a street barber with a straight razor,” he says. “That’s trust.” When Shannon visited Kurdistan with his son, he chose Explore Mesopotamia to handle the tour.
I had the great pleasure to visit Kurdistan/Iraq in September 2011. I booked the trip through a Swiss travel agency and I travelled with Halwest around the country. I loved it and I want to see more. It has been one of my most wonderful trips. And this was also because of my guide Halwest, who gave me the feeling to be in safe hands. He took any occasion to show me his beautiful country and he opened my eyes for the population, the food, customs and life in general. Unforgettable!
Thank you on behalf of David and me for taking such good care of us during our recent tour of some of the highlights of your homeland. We loved every moment and appreciated all the information you shared with us over those nine days. If only we could start all over again!
How patient you were, how efficient (all that checking in at hotels, for example, was made quite painless for us - and all the meals that just appeared without any effort on our part - and the delicious picnic.....). One thing we particularly enjoyed was having flexible time in places: stopping by the butcher's 'shop' by the side of the road last Friday, hopping off the bus to shop for baskets (now proving very useful in the home), an unscheduled lunch at the Zhe Cafe - all that and very much more made our holiday truly special.
We do hope that in the not too distant future, you and your family will be able to spend restful and relaxing time together. You are such a good ambassador for your country - we will not forget you, or Kurdistan!
Very best wishes from Switzerland.
The Other Iraq Tours (now Explore Mesopotamia) is just that.... Who would think Kurdistan (northern Iraq) has such dramatic and stunning scenery ! Balin, our guide, was proud to share his culture and historical sites. Soo much to experience and enjoy. Kurds are quite hospitable and delightful. Always, I felt safe and did not even consider being in Iraq as dangerous. A road less traveled, although worth the effort.
It's not every day you get to visit a country that's been in the headlines this much. Although I knew I wasn't going to be roaming the streets in a flak jacket…I wasn't quite sure what to expect and was a little nervous. I think traveling here (Kurdistan) did what traveling is well known to do: it broadened my mind. Meeting the people in any country… makes a place more real., I look back and think it was a damn fine thing that I got the chance to.
Visitors can tour significant cultural landmarks like Erbil’s citadel, which dates to the Assyrian empire, and the site of the Battle of Gaugamela, which ended in the defeat of the Persian king Darius III by Alexander the Great and led to the fall of the Achaemenid Empire. The biggest lure is the opportunity for authentic cultural encounters.
Kurdistan! It’s a real miracle, if you think of the awful conditions of the rest of Iraq. In Iraq all you can find is war and destruction, one of the worst and most dangerous countries in the world, then you cross the border (to Kurdistan), you are always in Iraq but in a completely different place, safe, rich, peaceful, you can go everywhere without problems and dangers. Think of the differences between Erbil and Mosul… here peace and welfare, there death and despair… and they are in the same country and so close! Kurdistan should be a model for the rest of the world, and it’s really incredible that in western countries nobody speaks about it, it’s like Kurdistan doesn’t exist.
The Other Iraq Tours (now Explore Mesopotamia) is an extremely professional company with a high level of personal service and a great attention to detail, doing everything possible to ensure a successful visit to a fascinating part of the world, and making it accessible and enjoyable for visitors. Kurdistan has great potential as a destination, and The Other Iraq Tours is superbly placed to be able to show travelers the best it has to offer.
The Kurdistan region has become a model of economic management, tolerance and progress ... and boasts an enviable reputation as an oasis of stability and security.How to visit "The Other Iraq?" The Other Iraq Tours (now Explore Mesopotamia) offers year-round services with flexible packages. It has done so much to influence the growth of the fledgling tourism sector and has brought groups to the Kurdistan Region from the USA and as far away as Australia. The feedback from these groups has been overwhelmingly positive.
In the last two months, more than 65,000 Arab, foreign, and Kurdish tourists have visited tourist sites in Erbil province.
When I was told that we are going to Kurdistan, I asked where Kurdistan is. Now I see the Kurds are a big nation without a state.
The people of Kurdistan are very kind; everyone here wants to talk to foreigners. What the newspapers and TVs say about Iraq, car bombs and killing every day, it is not what it looks like, Iraqi Kurdistan is very safe.
Try to imagine a peaceful and stable Iraq where business is booming and Americans are beloved. Now open your eyes as 60 Minutes takes you to a part of Iraq which fits that description: it's called Kurdistan.
The longer you stay with these people, the more you hear just how grateful the Kurds are to the men and women of United States. Walking down the street in any other part of Iraq could be fatal. Not so in Erbil. Since March 2003, neither a single coalition soldier nor foreigner has died.
...the most remarkable thing about this northern city is that it is quite normal. The situation in Kurdistan, a region of northern Iraq where about 4 million Kurds live, is so detached from the rest of the country that Kurdistan describes itself on the Internet as The Other Iraq.