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No Buses in Nothern Iraq

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No Buses in Iraq

I left the front door of the Gara Hotel in Duhok with my full pack upon my back and Chaya at my side. We wanted to either venture north to a little mountain town called Amadiya or east to Arbil. The provincial capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, Duhok, is not a big city, and we thought that we could find a bus out of town with little difficulty.
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Wade from Vagabond Journey.com
in Duhok, Iraq- March 31, 2009
Travelogue Travel Photos –Travel Guide
Click on map to view route of travel.

That is until we found that there are no inter-city buses is this part of Iraq. Every single person that we asked said the same thing:

“No bus, take taxi.”

With this news, Iraq became an exponential more expensive country to travel in. It will cost between $30 and $40 each time we travel between cities here. This is a lot of money.

I checked and cross checked the possibilities of public buses running between cities in northern Iraq, I went to two different mini-bus lots in Duhok, I asked in the streets, and I found a bilingual Iraqi-American who also asked around for me. All results point to the same place:

“No bus, take taxi.”

So we paid nearly $30 to take a taxi to Amadiya one hour away, and did not see one single public bus along the highways.

I asked many people why this was, and the only answer that I received besides a shrug of the shoulders and a stale “We use to have buses” was this simple explanation:

“There are not enough people wanting to travel to need buses.”

I have been to plenty of places far more primitive than northern Iraq, but rarely have I stumbled through places that seemed so isolated within themselves. Perhaps the people here simply became so use to not going anywhere that staying put has become a convention.

It seems as if the people who regularly travel between cities in northern Iraq have their own vehicles. There are plenty of private trucks and cars in this region.

I am told that there use to be buses that crossed the northern expanse of Iraq, but not anymore. The taxis have taken over the inter-city travel in this part of the country, but it is my impression that the people here do not travel too far away from their homes anyway. I suppose having to pay $20 to get anyway is a major deterrent to traveling. Or at least it is for us.

Our travel budgets have been increased greatly. Iraq is now going to cost us around $45 a day. Finding out information like this on the fly is part of the “joys” of traveling off of the conventional track.

No Buses in Iraq

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Filed under: Bus Travel, Iraq, Middle East, Transportation

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 76 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3054 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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