3 mins

5 things I wish I'd known before visiting Iraq

Wanderlust's intrepid editor-in-chief, Lyn Hughes, has recently returned from a trip to Iraqi Kurdistan. Here's what she wishes she'd known before visiting

What you need to know before visiting Iraqi Kurdistan (Lyn Hughes)

1. Conservative clothing

It’s a tolerant region, but it's still wise to dress modestly. Women don’t need to wear a headscarf, but should carry one for visiting religious sites. You will need to take your shoes off at the Yezidi temple and in mosques.

2. Working hours

Office hours are 8.30-2pm, Sunday to Thursday. Fridays and Saturdays are great picnic days. Kurdistan has plenty of holiday days too, as they recognise both Iraq’s national holidays and traditional Kurdish holidays too.

3. Not totally T-total

Alcohol is available in some of the hotels and restaurants, and there are bottle shops where you can buy beer and wine for picnics. However, be sensitive to drinking openly; for instance, your hotel may not allow it on the premises.

4. Socket struggles

Plug sockets vary – some rooms may only take the two-pronged type, others three. Some hotel rooms have both! Take an adaptor to be sure.

5. Culture vulture

It’s worth swotting up on Kurdish history and culture before you go. Iraqi Kurdistan is very much Kurdistan first, Iraq second.

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