Iraq Group Trip 2022

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Baghdad, Iraq
Iraqi Marshes
Iraqi man in Baghdad, Iraq
Iraqi man in Baghdad market
Shrine in Karbala, Iraq

Overview

Dates: October 6 - 13, 2022

10-12 spots available on a first come, first served basis!

Reserve your spot now!

Our 8-day tour of Iraq will be a comprehensive deep dive into the country. You'll be exposed to Iraq's rich and storied history, culture, cuisine, and of course, Iraq's wonderful people.

You'll travel with Doug as well as highly experienced, professional Iraqi tour guides.

The tour will cover:

Baghdad, Babylon, Karbala, Najaf, the Iraqi Marshes, Samarra, Mosul, and Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan.

 

Itinerary

DAY 1 (Oct 6)

Arrive to Baghdad International Airport, pre-arranged transfer to hotel, rest, and meet up with the team.

If time permits, afternoon tour of Baghdad, including the statues and monuments of the Arabian Nights, Firdos Square (where Saddam statue was torn down in 2003), Tahrir Square, and the Martyr's Monument.

Iraqi group dinner.

Overnight: Baghdad

DAY 2 (Oct 7)

Early start with a traditional Iraqi breakfast of kahi & geymar.

Explore Baghdad's Old Town, visiting several local markets including the Al Safafeer copper market, antique market, Souq al Sarai, and the famous book market, Al Mutanabbi Street.

Visit historical & cultural sites including Madrasa Mustansiriyah school and the Clock of Qishla. Stop for coffee or tea at one of Baghdad's famous cafes, Oum Kalthoum Cafe or Shabandar Cafe.

If time permits, visit the Ziggurat of Dur-Kurigalzu, one of the best-preserved ancient Sumerian temples.

Take in the sunset & view of Baghdad at Taq Kasra.

Famous Iraqi Masgoof fish for dinner (substitutions available).

Overnight: Baghdad

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DAY 3 (Oct 8)

Early morning journey to the legendary city of Babylon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. See the rebuilt Ishtar Gate, the original walls of Babylon, procession street, the foundations of the real Ishtar Gate, Babylonian temples, the famous Lion of Babylon statue, the maze, the northern & southern palaces, and the place where Alexander the Great passed away.

Explore one of Saddam Hussein's many lavish palaces, this one built in the 1980s and overlooking the ancient city of Babylon.

After lunch, drive onward to Karbala, one of the holiest sites in Shia Islam. Spend the evening there, taking in the grandeur of the golden shrines of Imam Hussein and Abbas. Mingle with locals in the busy area between the two shrines, sample local sweets, and more.

Overnight: Karbala

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DAY 4 (oct 9)

After breakfast, drive from Karbala to Najaf. Stop off at the largest cemetery in the world, Wadi al Salam, where millions of Shia Muslims are buried near Imam Ali.

 

In Najaf, visit the golden dome of the Holy Shrine of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib. Enjoy the shrine and the markets surrounding it.

After lunch, drive onward to Nasiriyah. Stop on the way to visit the Great Ziggurat of Ur, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the former capital of Mesopotamia during Sumerian times.

Overnight: Nasiriyah

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DAY 5 (oct 10)

Early morning departure to Chibayish for an incredible Iraqi Marshlands experience. Start with breakfast with a local family at their home, then embark on a boat tour of the breathtaking marshes, one of the largest marsh ecosystems in the world and possibly the inspiration for the biblical Garden of Eden.

 

See the water buffaloes and other wildlife, take a swim in the water, and spend time with the local Marsh Arab people who have adapted to life on the water over centuries.

Enjoy a meal of local fish and sip tea in a typical Al-Mudheef reed house.

In the evening, head back to Baghdad.

Overnight: Baghdad

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DAY 6 (Oct 11)

After breakfast, head to Samarra to visit the Great Mosque of Samarra and its iconic twisted minaret. Climb to the top of the minaret for a fantastic view of Samarra if you're feeling brave - not for the faint of heart.

 

Visit additional sites in Samarra including the shrines of two imams, time permitting.

In the afternoon, drive to Mosul, one of the largest and most diverse cities in Iraq. Have dinner at one of Mosul's many fantastic restaurants.

Overnight: Mosul

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DAY 7 (oct 12)

Tour Mosul, including the Old Town, which was ISIS's last stronghold, and was heavily damaged during the battle for Mosul. Visit the Christian Syriac church where Pope Francis held mass during his visit to Mosul in March 2021.

Visit Mosul Castle and take in the view of the Tigris River and the city. Visit the Al-Nuri Mosque and its famous minaret, and explore how this vibrant city is rebuilding after ISIS occupation.

Enjoy a Mosuli lunch, then head onward to Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan. Explore the beautiful Citadel of Erbil and downtown Erbil.

Overnight: Erbil

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DAY 8 (oct 13)

Explore more of Erbil, try the local Kurdish food, and mingle with the locals (as flight schedules permit). Prepare for departure from Erbil International Airport.

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Inclusions & Price

Included:

  • 8 nights lodging (shared double rooms)

  • 3 meals per day

  • Airport transfers

  • All tours, tour guides, entry fees

  • Ground transportation throughout the tour

Excluded:

  • Flights

  • Visa (see more info)

  • Travel insurance

  • Tips for guides/drivers

  • Souvenirs, snacks, etc.

Price: $2,200

 

How to join

There are limited spots available on this trip!

 

To join, send an email to dougbarnardtrips@gmail.com.

A $600 deposit will be required to reserve your spot. Deposit is non-refundable in lieu of extraordinary circumstances.

 

Visa information

Iraq offers an easy visa on arrival scheme for citizens of the US, UK, EU, Switzerland, Canada, Russia, China, South Korea, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.

The visa process will be completed upon your arrival to Baghdad International Airport. The visa on arrival costs around $75-80 USD (subject to change), and must be paid in cash (USD only).

If you are not eligible for a visa on arrival, please contact us to discuss options for obtaining a visa.

FAQ

Who should come on this trip?

Anyone and everyone is welcome on this trip. Iraq is a beautiful country with so much to offer visitors, however there are a few things to keep in mind. Tourism in Iraq is relatively new. As a result, our plans may change with little notice, and our trip might not follow the above itinerary absolutely perfectly. Of course we'll make every attempt to visit all of the sites mentioned on the itinerary, and we guarantee it will be a phenomenal experience regardless. Those interested in joining us on this trip should come with an open mind and be ready to immerse themselves in a culture that may be very different from their own. There will be light physical activity involved throughout the trip (climbing stairs, monuments, etc.), but nothing overly strenuous. Temperatures in October in Iraq typically average around 92° F (33° C).

Is Iraq safe?

Iraq today is a very different place than it was just a few years ago. The country is now relatively stable, and it has been visited by thousands of tourists in recent years. Throughout the duration of your trip, you will be accompanied by experienced American and Iraqi guides. If you have more specific questions about safety & security in Iraq, get in touch with us.

Who are the guides?

The tour will be led by American and local Iraqi tour guides.

Doug Barnard is an American traveler and YouTuber who first visited Iraq in August 2021. He has significant experience traveling throughout the Arab world. See his experience in Iraq on his YouTube channel.

Hussein Rasheed is a professional tour guide from Babylon, Iraq. He has led guests from all over the world on tours throughout Iraq, sharing with them his immense knowledge of Iraq's history, culture, and customs.

Are Iraqis friendly to foreigners? What about Americans?

Iraqis are some of the friendliest and most hospitable people on earth. You'll likely be blown away by the kindness and generosity that normal Iraqis will offer to complete strangers. Meeting the Iraqi people is one of the best parts of visiting Iraq.

While Iraqis' views on the American government and recent history between the two countries may vary, the vast majority of Iraqis will treat American visitors wonderfully. Any negative opinions held of the American government won't be directed towards individual citizens.

What's the best way to get to Iraq?

Depending on your point of origin, you'll likely transit through Istanbul, Doha, or Dubai. We can help you find good flights and even link up with other trip participants before your flight to Baghdad, if possible.

The trip will begin in Baghdad and end in Erbil. Participants should book arrival flights to Baghdad International Airport and departure flights from Erbil International Airport.

Have more questions? Email dougbarnardtrips@gmail.com and we'll get back to you ASAP!