The Middle East is a fascinating region of desert-covered landscapes, vibrant coastal resorts and ultra-modern cities, all shrouded in evocative ancient legends. Some are biblical and historic lands with iconic places of worship drawing pilgrims from across the world. Others are mysterious and exotic. All beckon to be explored.
All-inclusive holidays in the Middle East will take you on a journey of discovery, from the glittering skyscrapers of Dubai to the desert wadis of Jordan and the Dead Sea coast in Israel. Middle Eastern countries are full of fascinating stories to discover among the ancient ruins and monuments of the region.
Why we love the Middle East
- The Middle East offers a stunning mix of ancient and ultra-modern, evident in cities like Dubai, Tel Aviv, Qatar and Bahrain.
- Shopping is a dream, whether you’re bartering for traditional souvenirs in markets or purchasing the latest fashion and high-tech items in modern malls.
- History – including Biblical history – is around every corner.
- You can see so many World Heritage Sites, like the city of Petra and Wadi Rum in Jordan, Al Zubarah in Qatar and Masada in Israel.
- Museums are exceptional throughout the Middle East, from The Louvre Abu Dhabi to Bahrain Fort.
- The weather is glorious, the food is fantastic, and seaside resorts abound. Try out the world's longest zipline in Ras Al Khaimah in northern UAE!
Our Middle East holiday packages will suit couples looking for an exotic holiday, families keen to explore off the beaten path, friends who want a shopping getaway and romantic honeymooners who wish to be swept away on a magical Arabian carpet ride. Start your travel planning now and browse our unbeatable deals!
Your magic carpet ride is about to begin. Our exciting, fun-filled travel guide will ensure you get the most out of your Middle East tours and travels. Here, experiences are diverse, offering the perfect blend of ancient and modern. Step back in time to when camels were the only transport in the desert and visit places you’ve only read about in religious texts, like Bethlehem and Masada. If it’s modernity you’re after you’ll find it here, too, from the vibrant nightlife in Tel Aviv to Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi, and one of the world’s highest skyscrapers, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
Things to do in the Middle East
- Discover historic sites of biblical importance in Jerusalem.
- Sail down the Nile River in Egypt exploring ancient tombs and temples.
- Watch a Formula One race in Abu Dhabi.
- Go dune bashing outside Qatar on a desert safari.
- Explore the ancient city of Petra, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, in Jordan.
- Experience an authentic Bedouin safari in the desert.
- Spend time at Bahrain’s most religious site, the Al Fatih Mosque.
- Enjoy the vibrant nightlife and beaches in Tel Aviv.
- Bargain for traditional items at a choice of local markets.
- Shop till you drop in the largest mall in the world, in Dubai.
Let us take you to this exciting, exotic part of the world on the holiday of a lifetime. Browse our Middle East packages and book your trip with Thompsons Holidays today.
Getting there & getting around
- There are regular flights from South Africa to most major Middle Eastern destinations. You may need to catch a connecting flight from another city or country.
- Make use of public transport to get around: taxis and buses are popular.
Language & phrases
- Arabic, Hebrew, Kurdish, Persian and Turkish are widely spoken. Check specific destinations for more information.
- English is spoken in most cities.
- Depending on when you visit, lightweight clothing for summer, warmer layers for cooler weather.
- Most Middle Eastern countries are quite conservative, so pack accordingly: longer shorts for men, long trousers or skirts for women and scarves to cover your head and shoulders.
- Comfortable walking shoes.
- Sunscreen, lip balm, hat and sunglasses for summer holidays.
- Mini first aid kit and regular prescription medication.
- Hand sanitiser and insect repellent.
- Travel adaptor.
- Support the local economy. Buy local food and souvenirs.
- Avoid single-use plastic; rather take fabric shopping bags with you and use refillable water bottles (when local drinking water is available).
- Respect each other's cultures and customs.
- Always have a map (or app) on hand, especially when travelling at night.
- Be safety conscious: don’t display cash or valuables. Leave jewellery and expensive watches at home.
- Keep your belongings safe – use the hotel safe for passports and valuables.
- Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist.