This Expedition is currently closed for applications.
Trip dates: January 2021. Total of 8 days / 7 nights.
Day 1: Road to Duhok
We begin the day nice and early for the two-hour drive to visit Saint Hormizd Monastery churches built into the mountains in Alqosh, where monks used to hide in caves. Alqosh is technically part of the Iraqi province of Mosul, but is de facto in the autonomous region of Kurdistan.
We then head to Lalish, the most sacred town for the Yazidi people. Yazidis are very endogamous and unique, and while being ethnically Kurdish, they differentiate themselves greatly in terms of religion with the Sunni majority in Kurdistan. Yazidism is a separate monotheist religion that can only be found in these northern regions of Upper Mesopotamia. This minority has been persecuted and oppressed for centuries.
Khanis, the craddle of civilization in Kurdistan. A settlement built by Assyrian King almost 3000 years ago.
Sleep in Duhok.
Day 2: The Road to Amedi, the city in the sky.
We will visit Saddam’s ruined summer house and currently a peshmerga (local kurdish fighters) camp. A good chance to meet first hand a few of the heroes that overthrew the IS.
From there, we’ll head to Amadiya to see its beautiful old mosque, the synagogue ruins and the ancient gate built in 2nd century BC.
We’ll finish the day exploring Shanadar Cave, a prehistoric wonder where neanderthal bones and utensils have been found.
Overnight in the town of Soran.
Day 3: Exploring Hamilton Road
Hamilton road widely regarded as one of the greatest engineering feats of the 20th Century, the road was engineered by New Zealand-born Archibald Hamilton between 1928 and 1932. The road snakes through incredible scenery, from gorges, canyons, rivers, and mountains. We will stop along the way at Gali Ali Bag Waterfall, old Hamilton road, Rawanduz canyon, Bekhal waterfall, korek mountain ( cable car) and pank resort.
While exploring these northern Iraq mountains we’ll head to Akre Town and visit Khanzad castle.
Day 4: The road to Sulayimanyah.
Visit the town of Koya to see the ruins of the old caravansary and ancient bazaar. From there, we’ll explore Qshla Castle Dokan Lake.
To finish our day of exploration, we’ll head up to Goyja mountain at sunset to see amazing view of Sulayimanyah city and the spectacular scene of Kurdistan’s second largest city by night.
Overnight in Sulayimanyah city.
Day 5: The road to the Iranian border.
We take the one-hour drive to Halabja, scene of the mass chemical attack on the Kurdish people, perpetrated by the Baathist regime, and we’ll visit the monument of Halabja and the mass cemetery.
We head to Zalm village, the last village in Iraqi Kurdistan before the Iran border, and previously, the front-line in the Iran-Iraq war. We’ll stand a few metres away from Iran visit a very beautiful nearby waterfall.
In the afternoon, we’ll visit the Grand Mosque and enjoy some free time in the market in Sulayimanya.
Sleep overnight in Sulayimanyah city.
Day 6: Sulaymaniya.
After breakfast, we visit the Red Prison, the infamous building where Saddam’s regime imprisoned thousands of Kurdish civilians, exposing them to the worst tortures. It’s been turned into a museum full of exhibits about the strife of Kurdish people as well as the war with the IS.
After that, we’ll explore the city and make our way back to Erbil. Overnight in Erbil.
Day 7: Erbil
We’ll wander the city of Erbil, capital of Kurdistan, from the stunning Jalil Khayat mosque to the ancient citadel of Erbil, one of the oldest settlements in the World, with some evidence of occupation dating back to the 5th millennium BC.
In our itinerary, we will also cover Minaret Park, Shanadar Park, the mesmerising Old Bazaar and the bustling money exchange Street.
Farewell dinner in the Old City and overnight in Erbil.
Day 8: Fly out of Erbil.
Last morning. Free time in Erbil to buy some souvenirs and fly out.
The trip includes:
Personal logistics guidance: assistance with booking and navigating the logistics of your trip from your home country to Kurdistan.
Transportation: all local transportation in our tour is included.
Accommodation: 7 nights in double occupancy at 4-star hotels. Single-occupancy available for an extra 200 euros.
Breakfast: Breakfast will be included in our hotels.
Entrance fees: All entrance tickets are covered.
The trip doesn’t include:
Insurance: Your usual travel insurance may won’t cover you in Iraq, so you might need to cover your risks with special insurance for this trip.
Flights to Kurdistan: International flights to Iraqi Kurdistan aren’t included.
Visa: if applies based on your nationality. For most countries, Iraqi Kurdistan is visa free.
Lunch and dinner: food is deliciously tasty and very cheap in Kurdistan, so we offer the flexibility of everyone being able to choose their order. We’ll have daily stops for lunch and dinner.
PCR tests: You will likely be requested a PCR upon departure. The cost is around $50.
Discretional purchases: Your personal expenses, souvenirs, or purchases are not included.
VERY IMPORTANT! If you want to be one of the few fortunate people selected for our Iraqi Kurdistan Expedition make sure to:
- Understand the destination and the risks involved.
- Send me your travel resume and your background (nationality, the city you are based in, age…) on the contact email as I will be doing a vetting process.
- Make sure the dates work for you!
- There are no current COVID travel restrictions to visit Syria but a test will be required for the group’s safety prior to visiting.
- This is a one time opportunity, but make sure you’re responsible enough to understand what it entails. If you have any doubts, just email me on the contact below.