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Old Mar 6, 12, 3:06 am   #1
 
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BAH, KWI, DOH for Young, Solo Female?

Hi all, I'm planning to go to Bahrain (Manama), Kuwait (Kuwait City), and Qatar (Doha) soon. As a young, solo female traveler, I have been getting a lot of responses when I tell people my plans. I think I'll be perfectly fine, but the worried responses I've been getting have me wondering if I'm the ignorant and naive one.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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Old Mar 6, 12, 4:04 am   #2
 
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You'll be perfectly fine. Just be as cautious as you would be anywhere in the world when travelling as a single women.
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Old Mar 6, 12, 5:35 am   #3
 
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All three places are fine. I would advise to dress appropriately i.e. dress as anyone would in Seattle or London but not as in Pattaya. Respect the no alcohol rule in Kuwait. And absolutely no traces of recreational drugs in any part of the Gulf.
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Old Mar 6, 12, 8:18 am   #4
 
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If you dress like the average woman in London, you will attract a lot of attention.
Wear long trousers or a long skirt (not tight fitting) and ensure your shoulders are covered.
In Kuwait if you are driving keep your eyes straight ahead at traffic lights. Do not make eye contact with the driver next to you otherwise you are likely to be followed.
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Old Mar 6, 12, 9:25 pm   #5
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I would echo the comments above. Dress conservatively, respect the local culture and take the same kind of care you would in any other major city.

If your plans aren't finalised, I'd recommend including Oman as well if you can.
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Old Mar 6, 12, 11:57 pm   #6
 
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The good news is, these are three of the safest places in the world (especially Kuwait and Qatar) -- it's unheard of for a foreign tourist to be hassled in any way.

On the other hand, these are not the most exciting places that I would recommend for vacation. Bahrain had a lot to offer, though I understand that it's a bit less open after the uprising last year.

I would probably visit the UAE or Oman before I'd go to any of these places.
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Old Mar 7, 12, 9:03 am   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mecabq View Post
The good news is, these are three of the safest places in the world (especially Kuwait and Qatar) -- it's unheard of for a foreign tourist to be hassled in any way.
I'm not sure how Kuwaiti men can tell the difference between tourists and expats, but I know of plenty of cases of foreign female residents (European, Asian, and Middle Eastern) being hassled when out by themselves driving, shopping, etc.
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Old Mar 7, 12, 9:19 am   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muscat View Post
I'm not sure how Kuwaiti men can tell the difference between tourists and expats, but I know of plenty of cases of foreign female residents (European, Asian, and Middle Eastern) being hassled when out by themselves driving, shopping, etc.
Define "hassled." Yeah, sure, men can ogle, catcall, etc., but I don't believe that there is any significant threat of physical contact. That is unheard-of.
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Old Mar 7, 12, 4:48 pm   #9
 
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Thank you everyone for the reassurances and advice!!

No drinking or drugs here, so I should be okay with that. I thought I already dress conservatively, but I'll try to be even more conservative with shoulders and legs covered to my ankles. I do have an abaya and niqab - does that help or hurt things? I'm guessing it does not make a difference because I'll still be a solo female anyway.

I won't be driving, but I assume taxis are fine to take... I did have to talk a taxi driver in the UAE out of kidnapping me because he thought I looked like his dead little sister but I assume that was a singular case of the crazies.

dunk and mecabq, I've already been around the UAE (and will be there again this trip) but haven't been to Oman. I was planning to squeeze in Muscat on this trip as well, but sadly I doubt I'll have the time to. Your recs for Oman seem to indicate I'd find it much more interesting than Kuwait or Doha, so I'll instead plan to go on my next visit to the region - this way I can spend more time there.
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Old Mar 8, 12, 2:12 am   #10
 
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Of course another great place to visit is Jordan though a little further away from the Gulf region. On one of my trips there I took a taxi to visit Damascus for teh weekend - but sadly this is not recommended these days.
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Old Mar 8, 12, 6:04 am   #11
 
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Some more advice from BBC. Though this is more for lone female reporters nevertheless the clothing advice is good.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17288577
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Old Mar 8, 12, 12:04 pm   #12
 
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I would say that Oman was 1000x more interesting than Kuwait. Haven't been to Doha yet.
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Old Mar 8, 12, 12:32 pm   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jahason View Post
Some more advice from BBC. Though this is more for lone female reporters nevertheless the clothing advice is good.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17288577
I have just read that article and thought I'd post it. You beat me to it !
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Old Mar 8, 12, 1:53 pm   #14
 
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csdf Everyone's so enthused about Oman! I'm definitely looking forward to going there next time I'm in the Middle East. I'm only doing a couple days each in Kuwait and Qatar but I'll make sure to spend a while exploring Oman.

jahason I'd love to do Jordan/Lebanon/Syria! Beirut has always been high on my travel wishlist, but business is in UAE so I'm exploring this area first. I'll also wait until things settle down in Syria... Thank you (and dunk!) for the article. I thought it was all good advice and I've shared it on the Women Travelers board as well.
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Old Mar 9, 12, 3:06 am   #15
 
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There is one other option though I personally have no experience of it and only read about it on Flyertalk - Kish Island, Iran. Its close to UAE, flights are cheap and I believe no Iranian visa is required. I hear it's one of these places that you go to experience but the attractions are not such that you want to go back repeatedly. and getting a flight may not be that easy. Many expats go there to renew their UAE visas.

There are inexpensive packages to Shiraz from UAE or Oman, which I hear is a place worth visiting. But then you do need an Iranian visa.

Just posting this for the sake of completeness.
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