Monday, July 27, 2009

Recent travel notes

Some very helpful travel tips from Jo, who was in Iraq in June:

Getting in from Iran at Haj Omran border crossing, no problem, is open to foreigners and visa on arrival for Kurdistan and the other way round no problem either, but need Iranian visa in advance. Possibility to take 1 or 2 minibuses(10000 Rials) from Orumiyeh bus terminal to Piranshahr (or like i did via Oshnavieh first one left at 6:00am then on to Piranshahr after a one hour wait 5000 Rial each, less than 1 euro total ) and hitch with trucks to the border from there, not far less than 10 KM or take a taxi for the last bit ( but i did see a few minibuses waiting on the iranian side of the border, maybe possible) or there are quite a few direct buses, 35$, from Orumyeh to Erbil. I got a free ride from Piranshahr to the border on one of these luxury liners but don't count on it, a friendly guy at the bus office smuggled me on. From Piranshahr they wanted still 30$ to Erbil! To Erbil from the border post you can hitch with Trucks or take a (shared) taxi to Erbil, 15000-20000 Dinar. It cost me 20000 as I took 2 different cars...

Erbil Hotels i stayed at the Al Zhur hotel look for the Shahraban Tourist Hotel sign on the corner, its opposite, nice tea house next door, and ok internet up the stairs next door too, you called it Al Thur, in the 4 bed dorm for 7000Dinar, had attached bath and satellite TV, have been in much worse. But not for everybody. My 2 room mates were older men from Baghdad and I went with one of them to Slemani, really nice and sheperded me around and put me on the minibus to go to the center of Slemani. The Yezidi managers were really friendly. There is a great BBQ stand out in front with delicious liver on a stick, 5000 dinar for 4 with a plate of salad, not bad. The textile museum in the Citadel of Erbil is very good and free. Around it, north, are some burned down mansions and some restored ones and some abandoned ones which are lovely to explore [I agree! - bpi]. Everything else is off limits really, lots of military presence in the citadel.

Erbil to Slemani took a Minibus, called Coaster, skirted the suburbs of Kirkuk, on the outer ringroad, never entered, but at the checkpoint I had to get out across the road to be questioned. a little risky maybe to cross there in so obvious a target. But went well, took 3.5 hours and cost 8000 Dinar.

Slemani got off at the big crossroads before the turnoff that gets you to the garage ( between Malik Mahmood Ring Road or 60 meter circular and Salim street), has a huge new overpass running over the crossroads (a traffic circle) took a minibus 350 Dinar to the center of Slemani(along Salim St) got off at the municipal park.

Slemani hotels asked around and found a real rough little cheapy (love them) the Salahudin, 3000 Dinar for a dorm bed ( no attached bathroom, toilet at end of corridor and shower costs extra if I understood right, haven't tried it yet. No sign, only in Arabic, up a little all white staircase white and red sign over the door, just 5 meters south of the red sign for Paris or Peris Internet, can't miss it. It's on Kawa st, northern third, just after the crossroads with Mawlawi St. First hotel I checked was hotel Sheren or Sherin Hotel just 50m south of that crossroads on Kawa St. 100m north of the Salahudin Hotel.

No comments: