Editor’s note: This post was written before the current war in Syria. Personally, we feel that it’s a shame what is happening in Syria, as the people there deserve a better life than what they have been given.

A great deal of negative stereotypes are floating around about the Middle East, specifically Arabic and Muslim countries. Mass media in the United States and Europe often paint a picture of Middle Eastern extremism. We were curious to find out the truth, and during our trip around the world, we spent several months in the Middle East. One of the countries we visited was Syria. We were there for three weeks, and yes, it is extreme.

Extremely Friendly.

Because the U.S. Dollar is so strong against the Syrian Pound, we found ourselves much wealthier than our Syrian counterparts. Despite this, the local people treated us as if we were the guests of honor to be looked after and taken care of – and they were not after our money. We were invited into homes for lunch, given free food at restaurants, and taken on free tours of historic sites. All of these acts of kindness were by local people who wanted to show us how proud they are of their country, their hospitality, and their culture.

The United States recently lifted the travel warning for Syria in hopes of improving the governmental relationship. Tourism, in the meantime, is growing. With world class historical cities like Damascus coupled with amazing crusader fortresses and beautiful desert landscapes, Syria has more to offer than just a week’s vacation to sit on the beach and eat hummus. We toured ancient souqs filled with exotic merchandise, climbed mountains to reach historical forts with stunning views, admired the clear waters of the Med, and blazed our way through ancient Roman ruins in the desert as only Lawrence of Arabia could.

Our three weeks in the country left us with fond memories and a promise to return.

Check out the travel costs for Syria here on BudgetYourTrip.

A delivery in the souq of Damascus
The souq of Aleppo
The courtyard of the mosque of Damascus
In the market
The mosque of Aleppo
Baklava in the souq of Aleppo, Syria

Author: Bryan

Bryan has visited exactly one more country than his wife, and she won't let him forget it! Also an avid photographer, he enjoys entrenching himself within the local culture in order to learn more about the people of a place. He is the co-founder of Budget Your Trip, as well as a web and software developer with a passion for many other things. You can follow him on Twitter at @budgetyourtrip or on Instagram@budgetyourtrip.

2 thoughts on “Syria: Extreme Friendliness”

  1. Looks great. Do you know the best way to get to Syria from Europe in terms of a good rail/sea route?

    1. The border crossing with Turkey (between Antakya and Aleppo) is the smoothest place to cross from our experiences and our discussions with other travelers. You’d have to take a bus from Istanbul to eastern Turkey and you can cross the border there. Supposedly there was a train, but it was more complicated. The bus system in Turkey is very good, so that would be far easier. The Syrian visas are cheap and available at the border (for citizens of most countries) or you can get them in advance for slightly more money. The official statement from the Syrian government is that you must have a visa before you arrive, but unofficially they will give you one at the border. We did this and so have many others. You may have to wait several hours at the border while they process you, however. Have a great trip!

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