Discover Middle East & Turkey
The imperial crossroads of history and urbanization.
You’re at your desk on a busy work day, daydreaming of getting out for a while, travelling to a new city, exploring new cultures, people. “The world is your stage”, as Shakespeare once said. But where to? We’re spoilt for choices and yet there are a few destinations that are a must visit in one’s lifetime.
For those who’ve never traveled to the Arabian continent, the Middle East is like a pearl oyster, with jewels that are timeless, beautiful and rich in history. For those who live in this part of the world, it’s time to explore more. Each jewel is unique from the other, offering you a zest of flavourful experiences that come with an old-world charm and the new world wonders.
If you’ve lately been thinking of trying a new destination, here are our top 5 picks on destinations in the Middle East & Turkey that one must tick off their bucket list.
Some call it the city of dreams, some the city of skyscrapers. While the city is a sight of awe, not many know of the roots that built its foundation. The Dubai you know today, was not many decades ago a land of the locals, of deserts and camels, of fishing communities and pearl harvesters. Moulded by the country’s visionary leaders who took a leap of faith, the city shaped itself to be an innovation capital of the world.
Travel to Dubai today, and the city’s plush architecture, iconic establishment and luxurious entertainment will leave you mesmerized. Yet, walk into the older neighbourhoods and you’ll see another flourishing world, one of local souks (bazaars), dhow boats, narrow lanes lined with spice markets, and authentic Emirati cuisines. Moreover, the city is home to over 200 nationalities, making it a multicultural hotpot of experiences. Dubai surprises you in every way, and that is the beauty of the city.
Best time of the year to visit: November to March
Nestled peacefully amidst mountains on one end, and azure waters on the other, Muscat is a delightful treat to the eyes. The city to many is a calm oasis in the dessert, offering residents and travelers a peek into its history with its picturesque forts and museums, and an impression of its future with an opera house, flower filled parks and rising entertainment and business prospects.
Choose to laze on crystal-clear beaches or take a dive in the beautiful coral reefs with turtles, walk past the colorful souks or admire beautiful arabesque windows on your leisurely strolls, whatever you choose to do, Muscat is a escape from the ordinary.
Best time of the year to visit: November to March
If you’re looking for an unwinding and peaceful getaway, tuned in with shopping sprees and a fantastic nightlife, Manama is your destination. This historically delivered civilization is a cultural mix of rich history and a contemporary lifestyle.
The city is also the financial capital of its country, one that illuminates at its skyline, adorned with beautiful skyscrapers and iron steeples. Al Manama, as its officially known, means the city of rest, but ironically the city never sleeps with a vibrant nightlife and yes, interestingly, night shopping avenues.
Best time of the year to visit: December to February
A city where alcohol is a taboo and the mingling of sexes is minimal, doesn’t quiet seem like the most ideal holiday destination. But those who’ve visited Jeddah before, think otherwise. Along with its picturesque corniche, unrivalled entertainment, and urban cafés and restaurants that offer some of the world’s most delicious cuisines, Jeddah is a melting hotpot of cultures.
Once the crossroads of pilgrims and traders, walk through the souk streets of Jeddah today and you will see the legacy of travelers who’ve explored the city for hundreds of years. On the other hand, the country is opening its doors to modern economy, inviting tourists to enjoy sports, entertainment and leisure activities that were never heard of in the region before.
Best time of the year to visit: Late May to September, mid-November to February.
The silver line between the East and the West, a city of two continents, of the old world and of the new. What makes Istanbul awe-inspiring is not merely its artistic laden architecture or bustling urbanization, but how one city acts as the gateway to centuries of history, emotion and strength.
As beautiful as the country, are its people. Land in Istanbul and while the city would seem foreign to you, the people imbue familiarity and a sense of comfort. At every corner, a story reveals itself, either of the past or the present. Not to forget, if you’re a foodie, gear up for a gastronomical fiesta with cuisines that will delight your senses. Right from its Byzantine churches embellished with vibrant mosaic and its bustling streets, to its breathtaking palaces and serene gardens, Istanbul is truly a Mediterranean retreat.
So, what are you waiting for? Wrap up the year with amazing memories from a memorable getaway. And if you’re planning to take off to any of the five destination listed above between October 15th 2019, to January 15th 2020, here’s a holiday deal you absolutely cannot miss out on - https://www.ascottmea.com/promotions/ascott-festive-fifty