I had the great pleasure to visit Kurdistan/Iraq in September 2011. I booked the trip through a Swiss travel agency and I travelled with Halwest around the country. I loved it and I want to see more. It has been one of my most wonderful trips. And this was also because of my guide Halwest, who gave me the feeling to be in safe hands. He took any occasion to show me his beautiful country and he opened my eyes for the population, the food, customs and life in general. Unforgettable!
This past May (2012) I have spent a great week in Kurdistan, Iraq, traveling with "The Other Iraq Tours." Though I was told this region of Iraq is quite safe, I found it even better. I have found it prosperous and stable. My two guides, Pedro and Balin, were very knowledgeable and answered all my questions to my full satisfaction. Both went past their duties to make me understand their country.
The Other Iraq Tours is just that.... Who would think Kurdistan (northern Iraq) has such dramatic and stunning scenery ! Balin, our guide, was proud to share his culture and historical sites. Soo much to experience and enjoy. Kurds are quite hospitable and delightful. Always, I felt safe and did not even consider being in Iraq as dangerous. A road less traveled, although worth the effort.
It's not every day you get to visit a country that's been in the headlines this much. Although I knew I wasn't going to be roaming the streets in a flak jacket…I wasn't quite sure what to expect and was a little nervous. I think travelling here (Kurdistan) did what travelling is well known to do: it broadened my mind. Meeting the people in any country… makes a place more real., I look back and think it was a damn fine thing that I got the chance to.
The Other Iraq Tours are an extremely professional company with a high level of personal service and a great attention to detail, doing everything possible to ensure a successful visit to a fascinating part of the world, and making it accessible and enjoyable for visitors. Kurdistan has great potential as a destination, and The Other Iraq Tours are superbly placed to be able to show travelers the best it has to offer.
The (TOIT) Guide, Balin, was excellent. The owner Col Harry Schute took the time the first evening to thoroughly explain the history and current situation of Kurdistan. Invaluable!
Kurdistan! It’s a real miracle, if you think of the awful conditions of the rest of Iraq. In Iraq all you can find is war and destruction, one of the worst and most dangerous countries in the world, then you cross the border (to Kurdistan), you are always in Iraq but in a completely different place, safe, rich, peaceful, you can go everywhere without problems and dangers. Think of the differences between Erbil and Mosul… here peace and welfare, there death and despair… and they are in the same country and so close! Kurdistan should be a model for the rest of the world, and it’s really incredible that in western countries nobody speaks about it, it’s like Kurdistan doesn’t exist.
Visitors can tour significant cultural landmarks like Erbil’s citadel, which dates to the Assyrian empire, and the site of the Battle of Gaugamela, which ended in the defeat of the Persian king Darius III by Alexander the Great and led to the fall of the Achaemenid Empire. The biggest lure is the opportunity for authentic cultural encounters.
I just wanted to thank you for a lovely visit to Iraq. Balin was a terrific guide. He is deeply knowledgeable, very customer-oriented, flexible, and resourceful. He was a pleasure to be with. I was more than surprised that he chose to tour with me instead of being home for the birth of his first child. That is truly going above and beyond! In any case, I had a terrific time. I still hope to visit other parts of Iraq someday
In the last two months, more than 65,000 Arab, foreign, and Kurdish tourists have visited tourist sites in Erbil province.
The [Kurdistan] region has become a model of economic management, tolerance and progress ... and boasts an enviable reputation as an oasis of stability and security.
How to visit "The Other Iraq?" The Other Iraq Tours offers year-round sevices with flexible packages. The Other Iraq Tours has done so much to influence the growth of the fedgling tourism sector and has brought groups to the Kurdistan Region from the USA and as far away as Australia. The feedback from these groups has been overwhelmingly positive.
The people of Kurdistan are very kind; everyone here wants to talk to foreigners. What the newspapers and TVs say about Iraq, car bombs and killing every day, it is not what it looks like, Iraqi Kurdistan is very safe.
When I was told that we are going to Kurdistan, I asked where Kurdistan is. Now I see the Kurds are a big nation without a state.
I'd like to thank you, Harry and of course Balin for looking after the group so well during our visit through Kurdistan. Your personal attention to detail, kind hosting of dinner, and your and Harry's connections within the KRG went a long way to ensuring the success of the trip.
The group left Erbil impressed with the hospitality and kindness of the people, the fascinating history and above all the incredibly beautiful scenery, particularly around Rawanduz.
The longer you stay with these people, the more you hear just how grateful the Kurds are to the men and women of United States. Walking down the street in any other part of Iraq could be fatal. Not so in Erbil. Since March 2003, neither a single coalition soldier nor foreigner has died.
Try to imagine a peaceful and stable Iraq where business is booming and Americans are beloved. Now open your eyes as 60 Minutes takes you to a part of Iraq which fits that description: it's called Kurdistan.
…the most remarkable thing about this northern city is that it is quite normal. The situation in Kurdistan, a region of northern Iraq where about 4 million Kurds live, is so detached from the rest of the country that Kurdistan describes itself on the Internet as The Other Iraq.
The people are starting to call Kurdistan “The Other Iraq”. Kurdistan has a shocking degree of stability & prosperity.