After 88 days of 90 allowed days in the UAE, it’s time to leave. Jonas and I chose Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan as the next place to go during this pandemic with limited choices. Follow this post for the coming days to see how things are going. Also, the latest date is always on top. Use the table of contents to skip to the date you want to read about. This is a semi-live blog that I’ll update throughout the journey. I’ll add photos once I’m back on my laptop. Wednesday, 28th of April: Arrived in Bishkek Too sleepy to writeContinue reading
Caucasus + Western Asia
Here you’ll find all the articles and short posts I’ve published about hitchhiking and hospitality in the Caucasus + Western Asia. I traveled in countries such as Georgia, Armenia, Iran, and Turkey mostly in 2014.
- Georgia: my best friend whom I met at university comes from Georgia, so I visited there for the first time for New Year’s in 2012/2013. Then in summer 2014, I hitchhiked from the Netherlands to Tbilisi in five days to attend her wedding. After that, I traveled back and forth to Georgia from Armenia and Abkhazia, living in Tbilisi’s Vake Park with a band of cool people and absolute weirdos.
- Armenia: I visited Armenia twice in 2014. Once with a Polish friend on a short trip, and once on my way to Iran.
- Abkhazia: I visited this disputed territory after getting travel permission in Zugdidi. It was a strange place, but also incredibly beautiful. I had a lot of fun at Stalin’s Dacha and in Gagra.
- Iran: after picking up my visa in Armenia, I hitchhiked around Iran for 28 days in October/November 2014. These were some excellent times!
- Turkey: I’ve been to Turkey four times, of which twice with my family. The last two times I was there speed hitchhiking through to get to that wedding on time. The second time, after Iran, I had more time to explore between Van, Batman, Hatay, Mersin, Northern Cyprus, Ankara, Eskişehir, and İstanbul.
Because of the top-tier hospitality in the Caucasus + Western Asia, I’m longing to return pretty much every day I’m feeling a little uninspired.
On the 21st of April, 2021 we visited Al Mahatta Museum in Sharjah. The nearby King Abdul Aziz Street is the former runway of Sharjah’s old airport (RAF Sharjah). There’s an Abandoned Airport in the Middle of Sharjah You might already know that I really love visiting abandoned airports. Same for abandoned aircraft, which you can often find there. So when Jonas told me that there’s an abandoned airport right in my favorite city in the UAE, I knew I needed to go. The thing is, Sharjah’s appetite for growth already devoured this airport’s runway whole. It has been thisContinue reading
This article contains both a story of how we managed to visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Fujairah (as non-Muslims) as well as actionable tips. We visited on Wednesday the 7th of April, 2021. To skip forward to the how-to, click here. UAE Mosques that Allow Non-Muslim Visitors There aren’t that many mosques in the UAE where non-Muslims can enter. The most famous ones are in Dubai (e.g. the quite commercialized Jumeirah Mosque) and in Abu Dhabi (also called the ‘Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque’). On our journey from Dibba Al Fujairah to Fujairah City, we made a stop atContinue reading
Events in this story happened on Thursday the 1st of April, 2021. From Fujairah, Jonas and I visited the Omani exclave of Madha for the second time. Then we continued onward and visited the second-order enclave of Nahwa within the Madha exclave. This is how we did it. Click here to find a vital route map and for our tips on how to visit Madha and Nahwa. Why Are Madha and Nahwa Exclaves? A brief history: back in the olden days, there were many rivaling sheikhdoms in this area. The ruling clans relevant to this story are the Al QassimiContinue reading
When I arrived in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), I couldn’t find any good maps of the borders between the seven emirates. There are plenty of good maps of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, but nothing about the lesser-known emirates such as Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah, and Fujairah. I wanted to give them some attention in this post. All these emirates have their own rulers and their own borders. These function like state borders. They’re inherited from the predecessor country before 1971, called the Trucial States. During this year’s (2021) National Day, the UAE will celebrate itsContinue reading
On the 25th of February, 2021, Jonas and I traveled from Sharjah City to Manama in the United Arab Emirates. Manama is an exclave of the Emirate of Ajman. To travel there, we needed to take a bus from Sharjah’s bus station to Masafi and disembark halfway. We also visited the town of Al Dhaid in the Emirate of Sharjah. Doing the Research on Manama During our stay in Sharjah, we visited the Al Jubail bus terminal to figure out how to travel to Umm Al Quwain. During this exploratory trip, we also learned that this is where bus 116Continue reading
During our stay in Sharjah, we decided to take a day trip to Ajman (pronounced: ADZH-man). This was our third emirate out of seven. Even though it’s the smallest emirate, I think Ajman has enough to offer for a couple of days, depending on one’s interests and ‘disposable’ income. We visited Ajman on Monday the 22nd of February, 2021 on this 4.6-kilometer long walk. Sharjah to Ajman Our accommodation in Sharjah is only about 10 kilometers away from Ajman. Even though we prefer to stay in each emirate a couple of days, we couldn’t really find a good reason; theContinue reading
This is a diary-style post about what we did during our two weeks in Dubai before moving on to Sharjah within the United Arab Emirates (UAE). I tried to make it a bit informative if you’re traveling to Dubai, but I usually don’t write about cities that are already well-written about. Everything written here happened in 2021. Jonas had already visited Dubai for three days back in 2010 and told me it was a very misunderstood place. Saturday 30th January: Sleep Sunday 31st January: Walking to the Waterfront Monday 1st of February: Supermarket Time Tuesday 2nd of February: Downtown DubaiContinue reading
You know I’ve been ruminating on it. But after 339 days, it’s finally time to leave Malaysia. We’re traveling to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This is a semi-live blog that I’ll update throughout the journey. I’ll edit in photos once I’m back on my laptop. The Weeks Before Departure to Dubai On the evening of the start of ‘MCO 2.0’, Jonas and I were smoking shisha at Chimney Hookah Café in Johor Bahru (JB). We’d just made the most of our last day without stay-inside-order and we finished it off with a banger. One thing had beenContinue reading