Lebanon

Lebanon

“If Lebanon wasn’t my Country, I would have Chosen it to be my country” – Khalil Gibran

Iconic Beirut

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Getting In

  • Visitors may transit via two land border crossings: Aboudeih in the north with Syria and via Masnaa approaching Syria towards Damscus in the east.
  • Visitors may arrive via plane through Beirut–Rafic Hariri International Airport
  • Visas and Passports are required for all visitors. Citizens of most nations (including the US) can receive a Visa on Arrival valid for one month upon arriving at their port of entry. Check your status here.

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Money

  • Lebanon is not a cheap country. Eating out will cost a lot, but with a smart approach, you can eat delicious food cheaply and spend the night in safe and affordable places. Be aware that tipping 10% – 15% is expected, but may already be included in your bill.
  • The Lebanese use two currencies: the Lebanese Lira and the USD. You can use them interchangeably as you wish throughout the country, but expect to receive back Lira as change. Expect the majority of establishments to indicate price in USD.
  • ATMs throughout the country are reliable and will provide both Lira and USD.

$1USD = 1500LL

$22 for a meal at a mid-level restaurant.

$9 for a fast-food combo meal.

$520 monthly rent for a studio apartment. (Expect double in city centers)

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Climate

  • Lebanon has a Mediterranean climate: with long, hot, dry summers, and short, cool, wet winters.
  • Temperatures range from 5C – 10C in the winter, and 18C – 40C in the summer.
  • Expect snowfall in the Mount Lebanon mountain range. Skiing is possible in the winter.

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History

Lebanon has an ancient history dating back to pre-Biblical times. Modern Lebanon received it’s independence from France in 1943. The country suffered a civil war from 1975 – 1990, and has since enjoyed relative stability. Current instability stems from the Syrian civil war, but has not intruded dramatically – though tensions remain high.

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Need to Know

  • Arabic, French, and English are spoken – in that order. You cannot expect to rely solely on English.
  • Lebanese citizens are roughly 40% Christian and 54% Muslim, and 5% Druze.
  • There is no border crossing between Lebanon and Israel. You may be denied entry if you have an Israeli stamp in your passport. Few, if any direct flights arrive from Israel.
  • The country – and region in general – is friendly for vegetarians.

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Warnings

  • While Lebanon is relatively stable, there are areas that warrant extreme caution. Border towns including Tyre and Tripoli should only be visited with guides, and refuge camps should be avoided at all times. The Baalbek region bordering Syria should only be visited during the day with trusted guides, if at all.
  • Incidents do still occur, and caution should be exercised at all times. Hezbollah and other militant and extremist groups do operate within the country. These groups are typically more concerned with border disputes than tourists.

We recommend reviewing safety guidelines by various state departments: – we make no guarantees to your safety!

US State Department -Moderate to High bias, with moderate levels of broad information. We advise checking against other sources to confirm veracity of statements.

British State Department – Low bias, and very thorough information. We recommend checking with the FCO for tourist warnings.

Australian State Department – Moderate bias, but with thorough information. We advise using as an additional resource for tourist warnings.

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Explore

We spent 6 days in Lebanon: 3 days in Bcharre and 3 days in Beirut

Bcharre:

Getting from Beirut to Bcharre
Bcharre and the Qadisha Valley
Cedars of God
Qadisha Grotto

Beirut:

Nejmeh Square
Wooden Bakery
Lebanese Coffee at Urbanista

Also see:

Monthly Roundup 16
Lebanon Travel Videos