Travel to Northern Iraq – Episode 293

categories: asia travel, middle east travel

The Amateur Traveler talks to Anil Polat who blogs under the name foxnomad about a recent trip to Northern Iraq.

Anil is out to visit every country in the world which might lead him to visit a country before some others would deem it safe. Anil did not travel to the green zone but traveled in the Northern or Kurdish region of Iraq. Anil’s trip was made all the more interesting as he is ethnically Turkish.

Anil says:

Honestly that was one of my concerns before going. I did not know how people would respond to me if people would not like me being there. The whole idea of a Kurdistan in Northern Iraq is a very controversial topic in Turkey to say the least. And also I had some security and safety concerns just because of the location. However, people were very friendly to me and it was a much more normal experience than I was expecting.

right click here to download (mp3)
right click here to download (iTunes version with pictures)

Show Notes

Anil Polat
What It’s Like To Travel In Northern Iraq
A Digital Pocket Guide On Visiting Northern Iraq: Part 1
A Digital Pocket Guide On Visiting Northern Iraq: Part 2
A Picture of the Arbil Citadel in Iraq
The Monument Of Halabja Martyrs In Iraq
Traveling Around Iraq With Wandering Earl
The Thrill Of Traveling To Iraq
A Chinese Bar, Shisha & Sexy, Sexy In Iraq
Is Traveling In Northern Iraq Safe?
A Taste Of Eating Out In Iraq
A Mosque In Sulaymaniyah, Iraq
Gallery – Erbil, Iraq
Gallery – Halabja, Iraq
Citadel of Arbil
Deutscher Hof International
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
‘Free at last’: South Sudan is world’s newest nation


Statue of Liberty closes this fall for one-year revamp

The next global trade war
Cheap flights allow for prostitution at Amsterdam airport

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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

5 Responses to “Travel to Northern Iraq – Episode 293”



Just a quick clarification – there are no US/Western chain hotels anywhere in Iraq. In this part of the world, it is common for local hotels to use names like Holiday Hotel/Inn, InterContinental, Sheraton Hotel/Inn, etc to make them appear to be connected to a western brand. Northern Iraq is beautiful! Just be careful!

Sam Oppenheim


How exciting! I would love to visit also someday. Glad you had a safe time and felt your experiences topped many other countries. I suspect that “restaurant” was a brothel, or a front for some illegal activities other than just flirting. Are there other bars or is drinking highly regulated?



Hi Sam, I suspect the same though still curious I never got the definite answer :/

As for bars, there aren’t many at all in general. The Christian part of Erbil, Ankawa, had quite a few and in Sulaymaniyah there were *many* liquor stores and questionable restaurants as notable exceptions. Alcohol was very inexpensive surprisingly enough and many people were drinking openly in that city in particular.

Adolfo Salgueiro


I was catching up on my Amateur Traveler podcasts now that I started exercising again and I heard about Northern Iraq. It was a fascinating episode and your guest did a wonderful job taking us to this place, one that many of us will never visit.

He mentioned he was in a quest to visit every country in the world and that he had been in 42 so far and expects to be completed in seven years. My question is: Who finances his projects? I would love to to something like that but won’t have the resources if I don’t work and I won’t have the time if I work.

Thanks for the podcast. I enjoy it tremendously.

Aventura, Florida



Hi Adolfo, it’s all self-financed. Most of my income comes from selling advertising on my blogs and my 3 ebooks.

I would suggest first defining a travel goal and then working backwards from that to how you can finance it. This is what I did; before I was blogging full time I was traveling around the world as a computer security consultant. Some professions travel easier than others but there is always a way to manipulate a system to work for you.

Good luck and if there’s anything I can do to help feel free to get in touch any time.

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