Solo Tourism in Iraq, with Chloe Jade

You may know a few things about Iraq, but typically tourism would not be one of the main things that you might think of. Well, travel influencer, writer, and content creator Chloe Jade (@chlooooejade on Instagram) is here to change your mind. 

We caught up with Chloe after she had been traveling as a tourist in Iraq only two weeks prior. Although one might think it was difficult to visit Iraq, Chloe said she found it quite easy to get a visa. This is primarily due to the fact that the Pope visited in March 2021. After his visit, the country opened up a Visa on Arrival program for over 40 nationalities. 

What you might not know about Iraq

  • There are two main parts of Iraq, the North (Kurdish part, sometimes referred to as Kurdistan) and the Central and Southern part (referred to as Iraq, or Southern Iraq). Kurdistan has its own visa, but can also be accessed via land border using a standard Iraqi visa.
  • Following Saddam Hussein’s rule and then the American occupation it was seen as a dangerous country, in the last few years the country has made huge efforts and put an emphasis on safety. 
  • Also referred to as “the cradle of civilization”, the first civilization, the Sumerian period, existed in Iraq.
  • There are pyramids, ancient structures dating back to 2000 BCE, and even beautiful nature to be found in Iraq.
  • Iraqi hospitality is some of the best in the world.

Safety 

We asked the burning question on everyone’s mind, does it feel safe traveling in Iraq? Chloe mentioned that she felt very safe the entire time…“there were a good amount of checkpoints, but they really made me feel safer than anything. Even though they can sometimes be a pain, it’s nice to know that the government is doing their job.”

Traveling as a Woman

Chloe said she felt no different as a woman than she would have as anyone else traveling in Iraq. In fact, she felt like she may have even had better treatment because of it. She met with locals her entire trip who welcomed her as if she was an old friend. Showing her what the amazing country had to offer and helping her along on her trip. 

“I think it’s really important to remove this stigma that traveling as a woman is any different than for anyone else. Sure, situations can arise where a woman is targeted, but I think this can happen to anyone else as well, regardless of your gender. The important thing to keep in mind while traveling is to stay diligent and feel out people’s vibes. Usually, you can get a good idea of whether or not someone has good or ill intentions.”

What you can see in Iraq

There are many historical and religious sites you can find in Iraq, Chloe gave us a list of must-see locations:

  • Baghdad 
    • Mutanabbi Street
    • Safafeer Copper Market
    • Al-Shaheed Monument
    • Alatraqchi cafe 
    • Al Kadhimiya Mosque
    • Tahrir Square 
  • Day Trip outside of Baghdad
    • Dur-Kurigalzun (west of Baghdad)
    • Taq Kasra- Ctesiphon (south of Baghdad)
  • Samawa
    • Malwiya mosque 
  • Karabala
    • Al Hur Shrine
  • Najaf
    •  Imam Ali Holy Shrine
  • Hillah
  • Ishtar Gate
  • Ancient City of Babylon
  • Site of the Tower of Babel 
  • Saddam’s summer palace
  • Nasiriyah 
    • Uruk 
    • Ziggurat-Ur
  • Basra
    • Abu- Al-Khaseeb
    • Al Basrah Al Qadimah (Old Basra) 
    • Al-Chibayish marshes

Should your next trip be to Iraq?

If you are someone who loves to travel, then Iraq might be a wonderful destination for you. There are plenty of local tour operators as well who take trips to Iraq if you aren’t comfortable traveling independently. 

From what we’ve seen on Chloe’s Instagram, it is definitely not a destination that should be your first trip out of the country. However, someone who is somewhat of a seasoned traveler should definitely put this on their wish list. 

Follow along with Chloe Jade’s quest to visit every country in the world on Instagram (@chlooooejade) where she has a following of over 77,000. Plus, check out her website and blog at www.chloejade.co

Bryan Smith

Bryan Smith has lived all his life in San Francisco and is currently a Senior Reporter. He has outstanding journalistic background. For the past 10 years, he has been breaking news stories and creating engaging content. He has been a leader in setting San Francisco's news agenda and reporting on the state for national audiences.

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