It is not often that you hear an Arab friend say "I'm visiting Morocco this summer" or "my next trip will be Lebanon, I hear they have great stuff going on there."
It almost always feels like if you're an Arab, you automatically know what other countries in the region have ... so no need to waste your savings there. Let's instead pay $150 for visas (which aren't always guaranteed) and their papers, and around $500-$600 for a roundtrip ticket to Europe; let's not mention your hotel bill and stay there.
Think about your neighboring countries, for once. Dubai isn't the only city worth visiting; think outside of the box, while remaining in the vicinity of your own region. Here are just eight destinations you should probably consider this summer:
1. Ras Shaitan, Egypt
South Sinai is home to a piece of heaven where you can sleep in tents or huts while surrounded by nature, sea, and starry skies. Ras Shaitan is a dreamy, private destination, especially for camping and meditation lovers, who can effortlessly become one with nature there.
Some of the main activities in Ras Shaitan are mountain climbing, desert safari, snorkeling among colorful corals, and spending relaxing evenings around campfires with Bedouin-style meals.
2. Wadi Mujib, Jordan
3. Baatara Gorge, Lebanon
The Baatara Gorge Waterfall - also known as the Baatara Pothole Waterfall or Balou Balaa - is located in the village of Balaa in Tannourine, Lebanon.
The gorge, which has three connected bridges that allow an accessible walk for tourists and visitors, encompasses a waterfall that drops about 255 meters into a natural sinkhole - especially after the snow melts in March and April.
4. Amphitheater of El Jem, Tunisia
The gladiator arena of Tunisia, an architectural masterpiece offered by ancient Rome where brutal gladiator battles used to take place, is a slice of Italy in the region. It's modeled after the Colosseum in Rome, though the latter still holds the title of the largest Roman Amphitheater in the world.
Located in the town of El Jem, 210km south of Tunis, this UNESCO World Heritage site is a breathtaking European experience not far away from home.
5. Tetouan, Morocco
Located at a strategic spot at the bottom of the Rif Mountains and near the Mediterranean Sea, Tetouan is one of the most beautiful cities in Morocco - and yes, it rhymes with the ever-famous Chefchaouen city.
The Spanish themed façades painted in white gives the city a serene and calm aesthetic, but doesn't witness an overflood of tourists. It's also an UNESCO World Heritage site and has tons of activities to do and sites to discover.
6. Bimmah Sinkhole, Oman
Located in northern Oman at the Hawiyat Najm Park, Bimmah Sinkhole - also known as Dibab Sinkhole since it's near Dibab city - is known for its vibrant turquoise hues and was formed by the natural process of limestone erosion over the years.
The sinkhole is inhabited by small fish that "nibble on people's toes" so it's actually a perfect spot for a simple spa treatment.
7. Shali Fortress, Egypt
A mud-brick fortress located in the center of Siwa oasis that goes back to the 13th century where Siwans used to live, a walk to the top of the fortress grants a full view of the oasis and its surroundings.
Known for its curative potentials, some of the activities that could be done there are taking a healing dip in the Kegar well, swimming in the water springs, cycling around the oasis, and, of course, camping in the area's beautiful nature.
8. Al Wathba Fossil Dunes, Abu Dhabi
When one thinks of the UAE, shopping trips and luxury items automatically come to mind. But, there's a whole lot going on in the country than its massive malls and record-breaking buildings.
There is an infinite number of adventures that could be explored in the Emirati nation. A scenic car ride to the Fossil Dunes located near Al Wathba Wetland Reserve is one option. While you're there, maybe take a hike amongst the abandoned villages near Ras Al Khaimah. If you're one to take up challenges, maybe consider rock climbing while you're at it.