10 Best Countries to Visit from Dubai in the UAE

The UAE is a surprisingly rich country. As a regional venue full of oil barons and royal checks, the UAE is just as comfortable as a few other places on Earth. With its glorious office tower and beautiful living quarters, Dubai is a real oasis. Located in the Persian Gulf, the city is home to the world's tallest building, 828 meters of Burj Khalifa. The distance from this marvel of engineering is equally impressive for modern architecture.

The United Arab Emirates attracts visitors with its iconic buildings, its picturesque places and its vast deserts, which in turn are also the perfect backdrop for a romantic adventure or a photo shoot before or after the wedding. Dubai presents thousands of unforgettable scenarios, dream spaces and structures with stunning views of the sea or the city.

You can’t compare the beautiful parks and gardens like, for example, Vienna. They have astounding gardens, in the middle of the city, they are part of the landscape, not something you have to drive for 20 minutes and pay to see. And a very tacky design. You want nice beaches? Mediterranean, Caribbean, Asia, Miami are better. Amusement Parks? Orlando, Florida, they offer more value to your investment. Shopping? USA too.

Arab World? Middle East offers a better experience. It’s not as sterilized as Dubai, you have to “dirt your feet” but it’s more authentic.

Top Countries to Visit from Dubai in UAE

Check out the best countries to visit from UAE.

1. Mongolia

Mongolia, at the eastern end of the steppes of Central Asia, far from the sea, is a jewel of steppes and forests, remote mountains and arid plains. In autumn and spring many migrating birds come to Lake Ugii in the Uvurkhangai province.

Travel through the Karakorum, the lakes and virgin forests of Tsenheriin, Ulaanbaatar, with the overflowing nature of the Siberian region of Lake Johsvhol and ride on camels through the immeasurable Gobi desert sleeping in the typical "gers" yurts.

You can travel there for days without meeting a living soul. By riding on horseback or Jeep the immense distances of this plateau altitude, we can see antelopes, wolves, horses in freedom, yaks, camels, lakes by the hundreds, isolated villages, warm camps of yurts, the Siberian taiga and the Gobi desert.

Staying between two comfortable ger camps, you’ll venture deep into Mongolia’s vast steppe and mountain landscapes in search of Pallas’s cats and snow leopards. You might even spot native wonders like the Asiatic ibex, Mongolian gazelle or the Siberian jerboa.

Wild camels, bears, lynx, snow leopard or even argali are among the largest occupants of this huge territory, not to mention the emblematic horse Prjevalski. The small fauna is not rare either. Throughout the territory the most observant of you will be able to observe sable, marten, beaver or even otter, living testimony of the good health of the Mongolian natural environment and in particular of its fish-rich waters.

From the capital, Ulaanbaatar, almost mandatory entry point in Mongolia, you can go in all directions and experience an absolute freedom. It is true however that it is interesting to acclimatize a few days to take the time to visit the Gandan Monastery, the Museum of Mongolia or the museum of natural history.

Karakorum is a city located west-southwest of the capital Ulan Bator, about 5 hours drive. Kharkhorin will serve as a base to visit the magnificent Erdene Zuu monastery, built in 1586 by a nomad prince, surrounded by 108 sacred stupas. Huge stone turtles surround the monastery. Located northwest of Ulaanbaatar, the Monastery of Bliss is a Buddhist holy landmark in Mongolia. This Gelugpa Buddhist center is located in a steppe, surrounded by hills, not far from Mount Buren Khan.

Altai Tavan Bogd National Park is located in the far west of Mongolia. Grouping on its territory the 5 sacred mountains of the Altai, the highest point of this park, Mount Khuiten, culminates at 4374 meters above sea level. The park includes high mountain areas with glaciers and glacial rivers and then a mid-mountain area located at about 2500 meters above sea level. In addition to rich and opulent flora and fauna, you will also find petroglyphs depicting hunting scenes and numerous animals.

Khongor Dunes is unique you will soon realize when you will face this unlikely landscape. Indeed, the transition between the different natural spaces is abrupt and radical. From a green horizontal extent, you will pass to a wall of sand. The mineral of the dunes and the vegetation of the steppe will confront and assemble in a unique way to the world. Many Mongols come here to listen to the singing dunes. The wind on the sand makes these dunes sing and offers an amazing sight beside which it would be a shame to pass.

The Yol Valley is a narrow gorge bearing the name of the host of these places, the bearded vulture. You will enter an atypical area with a gorge sometimes so narrow that only two people can pass! Located east of the Gobi Desert, the mineral dominates all the space, the shade that the canyon had to offer in summer is welcome and the wind blows there often engulfing in the vein that the canyon offers.

The Mongols have been nomadic travelers for millennia. Despite urbanization, steppe traditions are still alive and well. Even in the cities, most of the inhabitants live in a yurt, a large white felt tent that can move easily, always arranged in the same way. A hike will take you to Shireet Lake, without a doubt the most beautiful in the region. Surrounded by volcanoes and coniferous forests, Naima Nuur Park is stunningly beautiful.

On the back of a camel, go for a memorable walk in the sand dunes of Elsentasarhai. Territory of breeders, the sumptuous landscapes formed by the canyons of the Orkhon and its verdant steppe make this valley of the Orkhon a must-see site to discover. Naadam Festival is a type of traditional festival in Mongolia. Locally the festival is also called Eriin Gurvan Naadam.

Every family you visit would offer you a cup of tea. Most probably you wouldn’t like it. You might have lactose intolerance. But do not refuse the cup! You can sip a little bit and its perfectly ok to put the cup on the table. You don’t have to finish it. If you refuse, they would have to offer you something else, like airag, fermented horse milk. Milk tea is much easier to drink than airag.

The host might offer you a snuffbox. Do not refuse it. You might hate snuff tobacco, but take it, open a little and smell it. Return with right hand.

Some provinces such as Khovd are famous for watermelons and melons. So you can get plenty of those in the markets.

Do you love birds? Do you think carrying big binoculars and long lenses is a fun way to spend your vacation? If yes, welcome to Khar Us National Park, second largest fresh water lake in Mongolia. Its located in one of the most western parts of Mongolia, Khovd province, 1500km from capital Ulaanabatar.

Because the lake is not deep and has a lot of marshes, its has designation of RAMSAR (wetland of international significance). Some of the birds include: Black-throated Divers, Arctic Loon, Red-crested Pochard, Swan Goose, Relict Gull, White-headed Duck, Pallas’s Fish Eagle, Dalmatian Pelican, Great Cormorant, Great Sand Plover and Great Egrets. There is also some Przewalski horses in the area.

2. Lebanon

Casinos, nightlife, beaches. Lebanon has a reputation among Arab countries of being the most European country both in terms of attitude and fashion. Beirut is just a perfect example of that.

Lebanon is at the eastern-most point of the Mediterranian Sea. Before planes the country was a major trading port and gateway to Asia, the Middle East and Africa. It is also the only country in the region with snow even in the summer on the top of its highest mountain - Mt. Hermon which has an elevation of over 9200 ft. The word Lebanon comes from an arabic word that means ‘white’.

3. Iran

No, you wouldn’t have thought of that one. Despite its political reputation, it is home to ancient civilizations, and if you don’t think you like Muslim architecture, Iran’s monuments are often covered with turquoise which makes them fabulously beautiful. Iran is one of the culturally rich country and to the attractions such as skiing, gastronomy, architecture, museums, and more!

As is evident by tourists who visit and are warmly welcomed every year. Tourists who visit Iran, whether it be Iran’s ancient historical sites or just walk around the modern cities, always film themselves and create memorable vlogs. It has a lot of sites dating back to BCs and has a lot of UNESCO world heritage sites! Mount Damavand, the highest volcano in Asia is in Iran.

Add it with its rich history and uniqueness, you are bound to get an unique experience for sure! Iran’s historic capital city was Esfahan. Ladies will have to cover (but they want to promote tourism and a simple shawl on your head will do). It is better to take an organized tour.

Darband, which in Persian is translated as the door to the mountain, is literally a place to leave behind the bustle of the city to be able to look out to nature. It is full of small cafes and restaurants and is an ideal place to spend an evening.

There are lots of things to do in Iran. From musical concerts, art galleries, cinemas, sightseeing, mountaineering, skiing, Persian Gulf boat rides/tours, basically almost all the touristy stuff one does everywhere else in the world. It’s just that Iran has snow in the north, deserts in the central-east, sea to the north and south, mountains, and large modern cities. So Iran is an entire world on its own. At the same time it also has ancient sites, at the same time as it has new and modern infrastructure.

To obtain the visa before the trip you must have completed an application form, have the authorization code, two passport photographs. Keep in mind that the passport does not have an Israeli stamp. The Iranian hotel offer is varied and for all budgets. In cities such as Kashan or Yazd it is common for old mansions to become hotels.

Travelers can also find shelter in the old Caravanserais, the accommodations that were built along the silk route. Tourists are always welcomed warmly, in a broader sense by tour guides, to restaurant owners, etc. But they are also many times welcomed into the private homes of Iranians on a much more personal sense, because that is how Iranians are to foreigners and have always been.

In the restaurants find different varieties of the tasty Persian kebab, served as a skewer and served with fresh bread. Chelo Kabab is, hands down, the most popular dish among Iranians. It has many versatile types, all of which are tremendously delicious.

You definitely wanna try Koobideh, Sultani, Bakhtiari, Bonab, etc. It is noteworthy that the majority of them are made using lamb, chicken and sometimes beef. Many different flavors and spices could be added to the food. By the way, a fried tomato seems to be inseparable from Chelo Kabab in Iran. The Bademjan, a stew of eggplant and tomato, is also another dish of the most common, as well as the Tahchin, a kind of crispy rice.

Gheimeh is a type of slightly dense stew which is had with rice. The ingredients are small lamb pieces, split peas, onions, potato slices, and tomato sauce. Various spices as well as a very special kind of lemon (not even Indians know about it!) are added in the meantime, which magnifies the delicious taste of the combination. And you have to prepare a sufficient amount of rice of course. Don’t forget to put a chopped raw onion in the side!

Although not everyone can afford a Persian carpet or beluga caviar, being native products, they are cheaper. In a more modest price range (although do not expect bargains), Iranian pistachios and saffron are products that enjoy a great reputation. Another typical product is the printed fabrics or qalamkar of Isfahan, which can be found in the bazaars of the city.

Iran also has many beautiful Armenian churches, and generally beautiful Iranian architecture and it was worth mentioning. Holy Savior Cathedral is an Armenian Apostolic church located in Isfahan, Iran. The interior is so beautiful and masterfully crafted that it deserves to be mentioned. In Iran alcohol is forbidden, so you better get used to the idea that there will be no fresh beer after a long day of travelling in Iran.

The fabulous ruins of Susa (Shush) comprise a castle, an acropolis and the remains of a palace, as well as the nearby and impressive ruins of Shushtar. Travelers walking through the old town of Shushtar (city of Juzestan province) are attracted by a nearby ripple coming from the eastern part of the city.

400 years ago, Iranians built a mosque with acoustics by using math and called it Shah (Emam) mosque. There is a small square directly under the pinnacle of the dome. When you stand on this square and talk, it will echo your words several times. If you step more than 30 centimetres off the square there is no more echo.

The dome of Soltaniye is the tallest brick dome and the first double-wall dome of the world, built between 1302 and 1312 AD. The skylights of the dome act as a sundial. If the light comes through the hole in the main dome, it is noon. The light coming through big windows shows the time of the day in hours while the light coming through small windows shows the time in minutes!

Rasht: This northern Iranian city could be somewhere in Eastern or Central Europe locked in between the hills of the Baltic Sea, but again it’s in the Middle East. It’s located in Iran’s most greenest region Gilan.

Iranian food is pretty amazing. Every region, city and village in Iran has its own specialties, often dishes that are not made anywhere else. Fezenjan is prepared with pomegranate molasses and walnuts. This dish is traditionally served with duck, but more often with chicken. Rice is typically accompanied by a little saffron brewed and mixed with some of the rice, then added to the top.

It is also typically accompanied by Tahdig, which can be bread, rice or potato slices put on the bottom of the pot to cook to crisp, then rice on top of it. Barbari bread rises a little, has small traces of egg on it, and is very delicious and crispy. Then there's the Lavash flatbread which is now famous all around the world. This bread is prepared very fast and baked quickly. Typically used as a wrap or for smaller portions of bread.

There's Taftoon bread which is the more prepared brother of Lavash bread. It has more texture and substance, and is much tastier than Lavash. And then there's Sangak bread, the king of all breads, which is a whole grain wheat bread with a lot of substance and is baked in stone ovens over a few thousand tiny stones (the stoney texture). This is more expensive and also larger, typically about $1 PPP.

An Iranian bread portion would typically involve half (or one full) Sangak or Barbari, or 2-4 Taftoons or a few Lavashs, but usually only one of them. Gheymeh is a very famous and popular Iranian dish, served with saffron rice, is a curry made of a few lamb (or beef) cubes, sautéed with small-chopped onions, fried potatoes, yellow split peas, dried limes and tomato paste, plus the typical Iranian spices.

Ghormeh Sabzi (literally Gourmet Vegetables), is probably the most popular Iranian dish. It is a mixture of vegetables that are hard to find outside Iran, all chopped down and sautéed slightly, then mixed with red beans and meat cubes. Ash Reshteh (a type of noodle soup) is also a very famous, typically vegetarian dish. It's ingredients are a particular noodle, a mix of vegetables, chickpeas and beans. It is typically decorated with curd and fried chopped onions.

This dish is very common in northern areas of Tehran, among the mountain cafes, as it is served hot and is very tasty. And then there is Abgoosht (literally meat juice/water meat), a very tasty and popular Iranian dish. This dish is very flavorful and simple, but is a little hard on the stomach so is not frequently eaten.

Goosht Koobideh (literally beaten meat) consists of lamb and chickpeas cooked patiently in water for hours (or an hour in a pressure cooker), with a considerable amount of fat attached to the meat, which will dissolve in the water over time. Half a potato is added later, and sometimes a tomato as well to the pot.

The water is first separated from the rest of the ingredients, and then some good bread is cut down by hand piece by piece, and added to the meat-water, creating a mixture called Tilit. At the same time, a mighty warrior will mash the rest of the ingredients (the top bowl in the image) in their separate bowl, into a mixture called Goosht Koobideh.

Doogh (a kind of diluted salty yogurt drink) is also drank with Abgoosht frequently. And then there are Kebobs (called Kabaab in Iran). Kabobs do not have a strange flavor and are consumed by almost everyone in Iran. Since meat is a little expensive in Iran, Kabobs are a kind of a delicacy (specially the lamb ones).

Kabobs are made in all shapes and types, but the most famous three are Joojeh Kabob (literally chicken kabob), Koobideh (lit. mashed) which is made with ground beef and/or lamb, and Barg which is made with beef or lamb tenderloin. Koobideh, the least expensive of all kabobs. It has a good amount of fat in it when ground, and requires a master kabob maker to make it look intact and taste good.

It is common to find Koobideh that is not very well made, and that would not be the best thing to eat. That's why even though thousands of Koobideh places exist in Iran, in every neighborhood only a few are popular and enjoy long queues! Joojeh Kabob, typically served with grilled whole tomatoes, is made of marinated chunks of chicken breast or leg. It can be consumed either with bread or rice or even on its own!

Barg is the expensive kind of kabob, made of lamb tenderloin. It is the most tasty, the most tender, and the most pricey of all kabobs. For example, if a rack of Koobideh costs $5 PPP, and a rack of Joojeh costs $8 PPP, a quality rack of Barg might cost between $15 PPP and $40 PPP. Kabobs are typically consumed with onions and fresh vegetables as sides.

4. Syria

The Umayyad square is the most distinctive scene of Damascus. Mount Qasioun overlooks the whole city. The temple of Jupiter, built during the ancient Roman era is right across from the Umayyad mosque. Bab Sharqi, translates to eastern gate is one of the 7 gates that enclose the old town.

Al Hamidiya market is a historical covered market in the old town. It dates back to Roman times. It was named after an Ottoman sultan. The holes in the ceiling are actually bullet holes that were pierced by the machine-gun fire of French planes in 1925 during the french mandate of Syria. Khan As'ad Pasha is a beautiful public resting spot in Damascus. It was built during the Ottoman era. It perfectly reflects Syrian architectural style.

Most people don’t know about the world’s largest restaurant as it’s in the most unexpected place; Damascus. It’s called Bawabet Dimashq which translates to Damascus gate. It served different types of cuisines including Indian, Chinese, Iranian, and, of course, Syrian and Middle Eastern cuisines.

It had 6 themed sections and many decorative features such as waterfalls, fountains, replicas of famous archaeological ruins in Syria, and a big children’s playground. It had the potential to serve 6014 guests all at once. It occupies 54000 square meters. The kitchen itself is 2500 square meters. During the peak times in the summer there would be around 1500 employees to serve the customers that could reach up to more than 4000 at once.

The restaurant’s kitchen was said to resemble a mini production factory. The equipment and the preparations’ dynamics made it possible for each chef to serve up to 30 of the popular dishes such as hummus in one minute which means a plate was filled every 2 seconds.

Even though it was quite successful back in the day, it has been closed since 2012 as the area was affected by the armed conflict and was occupied first by the opposition fighters and later by the military forces who used the abandoned restaurant as a base for their operations. There are a few restaurants in that area getting refurbished and might re-open soon.

So, who knows? The biggest restaurant in the world might be open to the public again soon. Damascus used to receive a lot of tourists during the summer, especially from Arab Gulf countries since its weather is cooler and it’s a cheap tourist destination.

5. Israel

Israel is not an unknown place but people who have never visited don’t have a clue about how Israelis are very open-minded and how Israel is really a modern country where you find tech hubs, and many trendy places in addition to the historical monuments. Tel Aviv is more similar to Miami or Barcelona than any other city in the Middle East, and Jerusalem also has interesting places to visit.

You might not think a city in the Middle East as safe, but Tel Aviv is as modern as they come. This beachy city is perfectly located in Israel and just a few hours from everything you could want on a trip. Hiking in the north, desert in the south, small towns and shuks (markets) and beautiful sites along the way. Their train system is also incredibly easy, making solo travel that much more enjoyable.

A blend of modernism and art is what makes Tel Aviv your next destination. Tel Aviv is a city that grows on you. The lady in black would have been a Gothic model turned immigration officer, with enough number of piercings, rings and bracelets, all in black, beyond counting. She was one piece of art. Tel Aviv will be for sure referred as the Art capital of the world in times to come.

Religious tourism is, by far, the main reason for tourists who usually travel to Israel. Keep in mind that during the trip you will have the opportunity to see places that are part of one of the cradle of humankind. Jerusalem, Israel’s capital and one of the most ancient cities in the world, holds deep religious significance for all monotheistic faiths, and the labyrinthine alleyways in the old district are packed with religious sites and mind-boggling history. It is a very spiritual city.

You can sign up for a guided tour of Jerusalem, an excursion to see the Masada fortress and the Dead Sea or a trip to Bethlehem, or focus only on a trip to the Dead Sea. And another alternative would be to sign up for a 7 day tour of the best of Israel from Tel Aviv, visiting Jerusalem, Caesarea, Haifa, Tiberias, Nazareth and other prominent places in the country.

Inside you can move freely even in a rental car, although you must first request authorization from the Israeli authorities to access the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority. You will only have free access to this area, without prior authorization, if you are going to visit the religious enclaves of Bethlehem and Jericho.

The Ein Gedi nature reserve is part of the eastern end of the Judean desert, in Israel. It is located on the shores of the Dead Sea, near Masada, and includes two small valleys of Arugot and David through which water flows throughout the year as well as four springs. This high availability of water in such an arid environment favors plant and animal abundance.

Israel is not Thailand or Mexico, but if you’re not accustomed to hot stuff, be wary. Many street vendors sell really hot food, and everyone loves the headless chicken dance people do once bitten by a Yemen hot sauce. Fusion is the local specialty, so try as many restaurants as you can, you will not regret it.

There’s a great selection of dishes for vegetarians, vegans, lactose intolerant, Gluten-free, diabetic-friendly and tree-nut allergy safe dishes - just be clear when ordering about food restrictions.

Kibbutz Degania Aleph is the first kibbutz ever. It is located on the Jordan river, just as it flows out of the Sea of Galilee. There are several Kibbutzim (plural for kibbutz) that are are worth visiting.

Do not arrive during Sabbath hours unless pickup is arranged for you. Public transport is almost non-existential during these hours. The trains and buses do not run. Community taxies called Sheruts may or may not run. Most of the shops remain closed. It’s even hard to find something to eat. The Sabbath is observed from Friday evening until Saturday sunset. There are other Jewish holidays too that are like Sabbath. So check the dates before you travel.

6. Jordan

Bekam Hada? - you must have figured out what this means if you're going to Jordan. And if you haven't, not to worry! Petra is absolutely stunning! Elaborately carved into the rocky surface as early as the 5th century BC in a gorgeous desert, this site is nearly equal to the Taj Mahal. There is a reason nearly 40,000 people combined have written reviews on Petra with an average rating of 4.9, something extremely rare for Google or TripAdvisor.

Petra is one of the world’s most incredible archaeological sites. Petra is also one of the New Seven Wonders of the World that can be visited by car or bus from Amman. To Reach Petra you have to walk through a gorge for around 1.2 km. Petra's most impressive monument is Ad Deir Monastery which is scenically perched above the city in the Petra Hills.

Petra, the rose-red city was carved entirely in canyon walls back in 300 BC and was inhabited all the way till late 800 AD. After being abandoned and forgotten for nearly a millennia, it was rediscovered back in the 1800s. You might remember it in scenes from Indiana Jones, Transformers, Mummy Returns, Alladin, Sindbad, etc.

Aqaba is situated on the tip of the Red Sea on the Gulf of Aqaba. It is known for its pristine sandy beaches, clear waters studded with marine life. It’s a great place for water sports. Try parasailing, water skiing, and fishing and enjoy it with friends or family. You can also visit Wadi Rum, Jerash, Madaba, Ajloun Castle during your visit to Jordan.

Wadi Rum is a valley cut into the sandstone and granite rock in southern Jordan. It is a protected area and famous for its stunning desert landscape, spectacular sandstone mountains, desert valleys, canyons, dunes, arches. It is also known as the valley of the moon. Wadi Rum has been used as a filming location in Lawrence of Arabia, Prometheus, The Martian, Star Wars and other movies.

Dead Sea has the most salty water on the surface of the earth. It is 60 times salty than a normal ocean. Dead Sea salt is 8.6 times saltier than any sea or ocean water; no water on earth that nears its salt make up, not even, Lake Assal in Djibouti; Garabogazkol in Turkmenistan; and McMurdo in the Antarctica.

The sea is located between Israel, West Bank, and Jordan has a 423-meter or (1,388 feet) surface and shoreline areas; below sea level making it, earth’s lowest elevation. The Dead Sea is the lowest point on the surface of Earth. It is known as the Dead Sea as no one can live in, no fishes, seaweed or plants. No single life lives in the water because of high concentration of sodium chloride.

The best part about the Dead Sea is come what may, you'll float nevertheless, thanks to its salty waters. The salt content of the water increases water density, which makes floating humans possible. No drowning, no sinking. The mineral content prevents pollens and allergens in the atmosphere, which help reduce ultraviolet rays; more important, the higher atmospheric pressure make the sea have specific health effects.

You can see the sparkling crystal salt clusters. These clusters are mineral salts. The salts have power and therapeutic qualities which are used in local spas for various body massage. Don't miss out a massage from the Dead Sea salt that will help you rejuvenate. There are a couple of ground rules though. DON'T shave before entering the waters (salt, it's gonna burn) and don't attempt to swim - just relax, float and grab a newspaper while you're at it.

And you have to wear your shoes while swimming because the ground is incredibly rocky, it hurts your feet to walk on it. And if you have any open wounds, hard luck! And do not stay in the sea for more than 20 minutes because it gets really itchy/ burns after that. However, if you do it right, it is a wonderful experience. You float like you're on top of a raft, except without one. It's magical.

It appears to have formed in a rift - a part of the earth where one tectonic plate pulls away from the other. Usually, such rifts fill with water from the sea, but the Dead Sea is totally isolated from the nearest large bodies of water.

The surface of the sea is about 1,400 feet below sea level, making it much deeper than any other similar depression, such as Death Valley in California (which has mountains between it and the Pacific Ocean). Not only that, the Dead Sea is about 900 feet deep at its deepest point, making it deeper than the two other notable inland salt lakes, the Caspian Sea and the Aral Sea.

However, because of diversion of its water source, the Sea of Galilee (which is actually a fresh water lake), the Dead Sea is slowly shrinking.

Does Jordanian food make vegetarians suffer? The moment you step into a meat lover's paradise, that's the first question that comes to your mind. What if I find just meat everywhere? As a vegetarian, do I have any good options? Or do I have to stack up on food from home? Relax. There aren't just good vegetarian options that are lip-smacking delicious!

The two best times to visit Jordan are spring and fall, as the temperatures are most pleasant at those times of the year. Between November and March, rainfall abounds. In winter, it gets very cold and it can even snow. In any case, it is advisable to find out about the climatic differences between the regions. Although the temperature in the eastern desert is mild in summer, the southern desert can be very hot.

7. Afghanistan

Afghanistan is home to some exciting history. Buddhism is probably no where as old and evident as it is in Afghanistan. The remains of the 53 and 37 meters tall Bamiyan Buddhas, the thousand year old and 70 meters high Minaret of Jam, the magnificent fort of Herat and the Blue Mosque of Mazar-e-Sharif top the list.

You won't be disappointed with a culture represented by aesthetic handicrafts, comfy carpets, beautiful pottery and a hospitality that frankly can get too annoying but only because it is too abundant. Afghanistan is largely mountainous and rocks do tend to get fearsome and beautiful in that part of the world.

The lush green valleys of Kunar and Nuristan are unsafe for visitors but Salang, Hazarajat and Badakhshan continue to mesmerize visitors. Afghanistan is home to the most amazing natural lakes of the world. Just ask for Band-e-Amir and be there. You won't regret it. People can be interesting everywhere but what Afghanistan can offer is a rather diverse set of many different types of people.

You can interact with a chatty Kabuli in the capital who might be so nice you couldn't trust him. Then you could be in Parwan where your Tajik host will present you super spicy pancakes while bragging about his adventures and wars. You could hang out with a nice Pashtun fellow who could feed you so much food that you wouldn't be able to move.

A Mazari Uzbek will break the Pashtun man's record by feeding even more to his Yakhshi/Good friend. During the trip you will constantly see faces ranging from a light brown Indian or probably even a Greek or Italian to one who looks like a Chinese, a Kazakh, a Pakistani, or even an ambiguous race like yours truly. You will encounter people who might sound like Iranians or Indians, Central Asians or even Turks.

8. Tajikistan

Tajikistan is a landlocked Central Asian republic, a bit bigger than Greece. Its Soviet-style capital, Dushanbe, lies on the confluence of two rivers, in the backdrop of high mountains. Speaking of mountains, Tajikistan is one of the world’s highest nations, on average. With an average elevation of 3,180 metres, only Bhutan and Nepal surpass it.

The many mountain ranges of Tajikistan make it arguably one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Hiking into the mountains along the path of a beautiful river with a sublime shade of blue, listening to the gushing sound of water is quite therapeutic.

The Saratogh river forms Iskanderkul, named after Alexander the Great after his stay at the lake. It is a mountain glacial triangular shaped lake due to congestion of waters in the mountains and the outflow of the lake is in the form of a very turgid river named 'Iskander Darya'

Many of its tourist destinations are in the Fann Mountains, such as Iskanderkul Lake. Iskanderkul means Lake of Iskander, with Iskander being the Persian name for Alexander the Great.

While it might seem like a remote, backwater country, Tajikistan is home to some seriously impressive engineering feats. Along the Vakhsh, you can find the towering Nurek Dam - 300 metres in tall, it’s the world’s second-tallest dam. It has a concrete core beneath about 54 million cubic metres of rock and earth.

In the soaring Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan, you can find the world’s longest glacier outside the polar regions. Named Fedchenko Glacier, its extends over some 77 kilometres, and is over a kilometre deep in some places. It was discovered in 1878, but never really explored until 40 years later, as part of a German-Soviet expedition. The glacier gets its name from Alexei Pavlovich Fedchenko, a Russian explorer who never actually went there.

9. Yemen

For the Romans, Yemen was Arabia Felix (happy Arabia). Gilgamesh came in search of eternal life. Noah threw his ark here. The Queen of Sheba ruled the territory, and the incense trade brought incredible riches. The One Thousand and One Nights aura of its capital Sanaa in the west has multiple layers, colors and drawings.

There are the mud skyscrapers in the east, the beautiful mountains of the north, the unusual and fantastic landscapes of Socotora in front of the south coast. The traveler can tour the cities like sand castles of the strange and beautiful Wadi Hadramaut, where once giants wandered and scorpions flanked the entrance to the underworld.

The city of Shibam, known as the Manhattan of the desert, is one of the highlights of the valley. The former capital of the ancient kingdom of Saba is considered the most beautiful archaeological attraction in Yemen. Currently, the immemorial domains of the Queen of Sheba are home to Bedouin tribes. One of the most fascinating areas of Yemen is the province of Marib, which was the famous kingdom of Saba.

Rising steeply in the humid coastal plains of the Red Sea, the Jabal Haraz mountains of steep slopes have been for centuries a cultural stronghold that protects the heart of Yemen.

10. Iraq

1500 acres of graves, millions of buried dead, this is Wadi-us-Salaam. World's largest and probably the oldest cemetery has graves from Noah's times and what look like houses are actually family pits where members of the same family are buried. This town of the dead lies parallel to the surprisingly modern and bustling holy city of Najaf in Iraq.

Despite its size, it's the city's neighbourhood graveyard where you will find advertising billboards and souvenir shops mostly selling a special kind of moonstone called Durr-e-Najaf. It is a clear stone that is believed to be formed by raindrops being trapped in the sands of Najaf for years.

Take out your passport and visa and get going.
Kalyan Panja