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  #16  
Old 4 Oct 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemuli View Post
Thanks for the great post! Is it possible to get to Iran via northern Iraq? At least googlemaps shows a road from Rayat to Iran.

http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...rak-info-53793
(see the sentences just on top of the last picture )
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  #17  
Old 4 Oct 2011
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Thanks for opening my eyes to the prospect of travel in the north of Iraq, I wanted to see Baghdad, but I guess that is out of the question, but I will certainly try for the north via Turkey next year

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  #18  
Old 4 Oct 2011
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THis might be a stupid question but when people talk about southern vs. northern Iraq...what is the deliniation? how far south is considered "southern iraq?" is it roughly 1/2 and 1/2....is baghdad the "midpoint?"

thanks!
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  #19  
Old 5 Oct 2011
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Hi

I thought I would write a more detailed trip report on Iraq seeing as though there's a few of you dudes going! Hope it helps,

So first off in reply to questions

Jpyrek - it's not half half but barely a third, take. Look at the map of Iraq on google maps and draw an imaginary line from the west of Musul from the Syrian border and draw that line Over the top of Musul and then Under Irbil and then continue to the eastern border... That's the north! Musul is Not included!

Pan European - the roads.... Well yeah they are certainly doable, it's just every so often you suddenly ride over that scratched road surface which can make your front tire wobble, also some of them are pretty battered due to heavy military movement, finally there's a lot of road works going on from ukranian companies and so you will have to do a few little stretches of off roaring.... But certainly you will be fine on your bike.... If you came through turkey you will be prepared!

So visiting Iraq... I wouldn't bother going if your hoping for beautiful scenery as you will find more of that in turkey... Also there is no point if your going for bragging rights like 'dude I just totally went there' as it certainly is not dangerous and exciting in that sense.... Despite the worries that your family will push upon you when you reveal your plans!
I would only go if your interested in experiencing Kurdish culture, customs and to experience their unique level of hospitality... And their love for over landing motorcyclists!

that said and done
The tukish border.... I would tackle VERY early or VERY late as it gets busy and the Turks push... On the Turkish half... Obviously ride straight past the three miles of turcks, and even when exiting the Kurdish half always ride to the front of the que as you will be there for hours
The Kurdish half is very easy, there's a few photocopies and stuff but you won't hand over any money at all and someone will help you all the way...
You will get stopped by loads of soldier dudes.... But all they say is welcome to Kurdistan... A tipnis when in turkey... Do not call it Kurdistan but north Iraq. When in north Iraq call it kurdistan


Take USD as they are king, take plenty of it too, don't worry about getting Iraqi Dina IQD before you enter just USD... You can pay for anything with USD, taxi, petrol, fruit, whatever no matter how small and they will give you the change in IQD. I stopped checking the exchange rate after 20 times as I realized how honest they were. Money changers are everywhere or there are banks. Banks tend not to accept or deal with anything other than USD or IQD... There is an ATM in Erbil in the sheriton but I was told it wagon off and the one ATM I did find didn't accept foreign cards... Go prepared with USD

Petrol....
In GBP -
England = 15
turkey = 18
Iraq = 3

So, there are three main cities, Zakho, Dohuk and Erbil.

Zakho is right near the border and an easy place to hang out, tiny city and easy to navigate. It's a good place to sleep if youv just arrived in Iraq and want o get your bearings and also if your leaving early, sleep there and then d the border at first light. If you visit Zakho, ride into the centre and you will reach the main roundabout, on this roundabout there is a shop front in the shape of a huge green apple, you can't miss it! I think it's called the apple bar. If you have just arrived definitely go there. The owners name is Sarbast and he speaks pretty much perfect English and is super helpful! His apple bar sells fresh fruit juice, I had a lot and he wouldn't let me pay, he also put my bike in his front drive way for the night which is gated and locked, so that i could stay in a cheap hotel and not worry about the bike. He took me for a drive around the city at night too. He can help with most things and is a really nice dude

Dohuk is my favorite, bigger than Zakho and smaller than Erbil. Nothing to do there specifically but the people are very cool. There is a hotel called zozik easy to find down the main street, the manager speaks English and let's you wheel your bike into the hotel reception, 20 USD a night include breakfast. Dohuk the bazar is interesting to see, I'd recommend the shisha smoking cafe, just sit in one or a tea shop for two minutes and someone will come and speak to you in English, one of three types of people, either they have studied English, they have lived in an English speaking country or they worked for the us army as a soldier, security, special forces dude or if they're young then they were an interpreter.
From Dohuk you can do excursions to al amidayah which is a village onto of a mountain and a nice ride

Erbil... A big city, people are busy and have that big city mentality.... There's a citadel there but nothing interesting.... Not really much point in visiting. But if you do then you have to go past Musul, and for the love of god don't end up there. There's checkpoints blocking it off so don't worry.... You will ride in close proximity though.... It's about a three hour ride.... Be prepared for countless military stops.... Super friendly soldiers, police that all want photos and close to Erbil you can sometimes get nasty sandstorms.... A tip.... When asked which team you support in kurdistan say Barcelona!

Leaving.... Kurdish side is pretty straight forward... I think you need a ticket which costs 25 dollars, a yellow piece of paper, I saw every vehicle buying one.... But I managed to get through without one, (I'll explain how in the blog)...As I pulled in, two huge helicopters were getting ready to take off, with all the guns attached... Have never seen that at a border before... I think it was yank as they were wearing aviator shades! The turkish side is a pain in the arse!

About half an hour checking through my gear, another half an hour as they wanted identification and the narcotics officer was adamant that there is another form of ID OTHER than my passport... Despite me telling him continuously there isn't.... Then an hours interrogation in a booth with a million questions....

Bang! You just visited northern Iraq!

I have a ton of photos and more details on the stories, people and experiences in Iraq if anyone is interested.... Or bored
Www.middleeastoverlander.blogspot.com

Andy
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  #20  
Old 5 Oct 2011
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1/3! Hardly, that "north" is like 10% of the country (and that is generous!)

That is such a shame...might as well just say Kurdistan...aaaaaaand then the rest of Iraq.

There is so much cool stuff to see in Iraq and it is a shame that the situation is what it is right now. Glad to see you went though...and hopefully I'll be able to as well.

Ideally I think it would be neat to go from Turkey into Iraq...bypass Mosul and then do some secondary roads into Jordan. Probably completely assinine, but we can dream.
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  #21  
Old 6 Oct 2011
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Thanks Tarzan for the detailed write up, very interesting reading.

Well, OK, bragging rights is probably my main goal ( ) but also I am thinking maybe to go into Iran from North Iraq on my way east, it should be doable if I can find some info on the eastern border crossing.

I like the idea of meeeting friendly locals, do you recall any pubs in the area or is it an alchohol free state?

I will check out your blog right now for further info

Cheers
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  #22  
Old 6 Oct 2011
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Thanks for these precious info, Andy, you're much better than the best of the paper guide books!
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  #23  
Old 6 Oct 2011
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Hih

Hey guys, glad you found it interesting Nd helpful!
I will st up the next more detailed bit on the blog probably tomorrow

Take it easy

Andy
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  #24  
Old 28 Oct 2011
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when i was there in mid sept. , i got as far as shoman around 30kms from the iranian border, i was told by the military not to travel any closer to the border as it wasn,t safe.
I wasn,t asked for any money on the way through the kurd./ turkish border.
I also found the kurdish people to be very welcoming and generous not only in kurd. iraq , but also in south eastern turkey, i was overcharged at one fuel station in Dohuk ,by around 50% though.
There are some really beautiful mountains in the eastern part of the country,but accomadation is not that easy to find ,away from the towns and cities.
Please don,t travel there expecting everyone to buy you lunch and welcome you like a long lost brother, you may be disappointed........
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  #25  
Old 1 Nov 2011
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I went through Kurdish Iraq this Summer, crossing the region, coming from Iran and continuing into Turkey.
I had been in contanct with Jake from the US, who went there earlier this year with his brother and who gave me valuable tips. Like him, I took a smaller road in the north. Roads were sealed all the way, sometimes a little bumby, but all in all I was suprised how good the roads were.

My route on Google Maps:
Iraq - Google Maps

The security situation seemed stable , but I think these thinks can be deceiving. In August and there were Turkish air strikes and artillery in Kurdish Iraq and PKK bombings in Turkish towns. Just a couple of weeks ago there was another escalation of the conflict, when Turkey attacked up to 100 km inside Iraq. BBC News - Turkey steps up offensive in Iraq after Kurdish raids

The landsscape was fantastic, people were incredibly friendly, but this is also the case in the Kurdish regions in Iran and Turkey. I wouldn't say Kurdish Iraq is a must see, but I would definitely recommend visiting the Kurdish people and region somewhere.

Regarding the border crossings:

Iran into Turkey at Zakho/Silopi went relatively smooth. I had to visit a few offices on the Kurdish side, but people were always friendly and helpful. No costs etc. The Turks very superficially searched my bags, i.e. opened them and took out one or too things. There was a very long line, but I was allowed to ride by on my bike. Immigration and customs went smoothly, they do it in little booths next to the vehicle.

Iran into Kurdish Iraq at Piranshar/Rawandiz: Very easy on the Iranian side. Very friendly, all done in five minutes. The Kuds didn't really know what to do with me and I had to get various stamps, but everybody was incredibly friendly, maybe the friendliest border crossing I've had. I didn't use my carnet and was given a sheet that I then had to show again when I exited into Turkey. No costs. No visa required for me (German), and I think all EU citizens (?). You get 10 days.

I will post GPS tracks and some maps later today.

Cheers,
Julian
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Last edited by eljulian; 1 Nov 2011 at 15:03. Reason: typos
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  #26  
Old 3 Nov 2011
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Here's the tracks and two maps I took pictures of.




Attached Files
File Type: zip Kurdish Iraq.zip (66.8 KB, 13 views)
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  #27  
Old 3 Nov 2011
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It is no heaven

Iraq is two parts: South and North. South is Arab, North is Kurdish. Even there is a Shiita part (good relations with Iran).

It is not heaven anywhere.

It is not about being Turkish, Arab or Kurdish.

Kurdish people are more emotional. How you behave them, they reply same to you. They used to live in villages and countryside. But we can't say they are less civilisized. We can say they can fight well and some can be rude. Definitley they like foreigners.

I don't wan't to have stereotype about people and nations, only try to explain what I know.

I have many Kurdish friends, many very good, some normal, some bad. Same like all of us. My good Kurdish friends are very good people indeed. Similar to Germans, if you have a good German friend, he/she is your good friend forever. Just like Kurdish people. One point: they never forget! Good or bad.

They can be poor but they are generous.

About country, haven't been to Iraq yet, planning to give a visit. I know it is not dangereous in Erbil and Sulaimania. But not everywehere. Extra attention is needed in most parts as still many bombs burst in the streets.
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  #28  
Old 6 Nov 2011
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Im writting from Iraq!

So Guys and Gals, I am here in the heart of Kurdistan and I came on the Hubb just to tell you, you have to come here and visit. The hotels arent that cheap (in fact last night I got two rooms, a kitchen, a bathroom and a living room (too much rooms) for $40. I left my bike outside with luggage just locked to the bike which could easily be cut off.

As a single female travelling alone, I feel super safe and would even camp on my own. Trust the people they love and respect everyone.

The only pain is the the police check points - but they are really nothing!
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  #29  
Old 8 Nov 2011
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Goodonya danielle, way to go, watch out for scuds!
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  #30  
Old 28 Nov 2011
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Crap, why didn't I go there?
I just passed there, Turkey and Iran. I was thinking about it (visiting the Kurdish region) but we didn't do it. Next time I'm in the area for visiting Syria and Jordan for example, I will definetely go there.
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