The Qamishi Travel Guide – Rojava 2024


For the uninitiated Qamishi is the capital of Rojava, or as it should be called the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria. Should you visit, can you visit and what can you do here? This is the Qamishi travel guide.

While probably not known to that many people, Rojava is currently the most interesting experiment in left-wing direct democracy in the world. Getting here is not very easy, with their being quite literally no tourism industry.

If though you do manage to get here you will find a bustling place with enough to offer with regards to eating, sleeping and indeed drinking too.

You can read bout Rojava here.

How to get to Qamsihi

Getting to Qamsihi will involve traveling to Erbil in Kurdistan before needing to cross the border into the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria. This involves getting multiple permissions, but does not involve you “exiting” Iraq, or getting stamp.

You should not simply try to cross this border, or you will simply be turned away. I have known this to happen to many people (not me).

After you do cross into Rojava you will ideally be metby your local contact from where it is three hours from the border to Qamishi City.

To learn about how to visit Rojava in 2024 click here.

Qamishi Travel Guide to hotels……

There is no point beating around the bush here, hotels in Qamishi are really not all that good, nor is there that much capacity. We ended up at a street that had 3-4 hotels on it, all of which were mostly full and did not offer great rooms. Our initial night was spent at the Al Sofrae, which was fairly loud and only offered triple rooms with a big plugged in AC unit, not ideal with the frequent power cuts.

When it comes to hotels in Qamishi one should be realistic and respect the limitations faced in the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria.

On the next night though we took ourselves to the best hotel in Qamishi, which shall get its own article later on. This was the Al Burj which not only had great rooms, but also a rooftop bar and a top restaurant. I was really happy with this and it shall get its own article….

Eating in Qamishi

The choices for dining in Qamishi are relatively varied, although it is not exactly Dubai. Most food here is of Syrian and Iraqi type cuisine, with things like shawarma and falafel being good and plentiful. We actually got to discover the best shawarma restaurant in Qamishi which shall be covered in another article.

Regarding street food Qamishi again we will delve more into this in another article, but the focal point for this is at the amazing Qamishi markets where all manor of street food are offered.

Qamishi travel and nightlife guide

Is there a Qamishi nightlife scene? Quite simply yes there is, with part of it due to the fact that in the summer this city is hotter than the sun. Therefore even at midnight people are out selling their wares, food shops are open and yes one may buy alcohol….

Alcohol and the party is of course and much like Erbil centered around the Christian quarter. Rojava here has a progressive system whereby Christians can practice their own culture. Therefore Assyrians \(link external) can sell beer, with there being multiple shops.

The best bar though is the 11th floor hotel where we were staying, the Al Burj Qamishi . They offer a plethora of drinks that include Lebanese beer, like I had in Beirut as well as even shots. For reference I was drinking a bottle of beer and a shot of vodka with it setting me back just under $7.

But there was more, with the obligatory shisha, not to mention the best overview of Qamishi available anywhere within the city. This though was largely where it stopped, with tradition and the reality of being a post-conflict zone limiting the scope of party scene within the city.

Qamishi travel guide – Getting out

From Qamishi it is around 4-5 hours from Raqqa, the biggest city within the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria. This has to be done by car as the Syrian train network has not been working here since the beginning of the civil war.

Technically it is possible to get to Assad ran Syria, but this is not an option realistically for tourists in Qamishi. The same can be said for Turkish ran Idib. This leaves two options, the Rojava border with Turkey, which is very difficult, or simply returning to Iraqi Kurdistan.