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Back from Lebanon :)

Singapore, Singapore
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Back from Lebanon :)

Marhaba habibis. I've just returned from an amazing 8 days in Lebanon. Here's what I did:

Signed up for three tours with Nakhal Tours (www.nakhal.com) -- these guys are very good, and I'd strongly recommend them. I went with them to The Cedars/Qadisha Valley, Tyre/Sidon/Maghdouche, and Baalbek/Aanjar/Ksara Winery. All three tours went ahead without any problems. They pick you up from, and drop you off at, your hotel once the tour's done. The lunches were most satisfying as well.

Now as for safety: I never felt threatened by anything in Lebanon (except when I got into random mini-troubles with the police but that's another story). Going to Baalbek/Aanjar in the Bekaa Valley was not an issue either. Sure, it's Hezbollah territory but as some have pointed out, it's probably one of the safest areas in the country. Same goes for the south of the country. But as always, keep track of the news out of the country. The Daily Star is a good option.

Beirut itself is party central. You need to see for yourselves how the Beirutis live it up -- I felt ugly walking the same streets as some of them (OK, maybe I exaggerate but it's true that a large number of them are image-conscious). Do note that you can't go anywhere near the government area in downtown Beirut because it's cordoned off by security personnel. If you want to visit some of the churches and possibly the only synagogue in Beirut, you can't. I tried, at several checkpoints. They simply refused. And yes, don't take photos of the Holiday Inn. I did this too, which is why I got into a bit of a situation with a police fella. Apart from that, Beirut is quite walkable and has some awesome cafes and bars.

So yes, Lebanon is safe, Lebanon is gorgeous, and Lebanon stole my heart.

What are you waiting for? :)

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1. Re: Back from Lebanon :)

Good to see you had a good time! When you say you couldn’t go near the government buildings, to you mean the ones surrounding the clocktower downtown? Those ones were fine to walk past and photo when I went.

Which hotel did you stay at? Any good?

Cheers

Jamie

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2. Re: Back from Lebanon :)

>>> you can't go anywhere near the government area in downtown Beirut because it's cordoned off by security personnel.

Just like Jamie, I had no problem with these last year.

>>> If you want to visit some of the churches and possibly the only synagogue in Beirut, you can't.

Was not the case last year, too, for sure - I did visit some in downtown Beirut.

>>> What are you waiting for? :)

Vacations. And more money.

Thanks for your report! :) Nice memories, as always....

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Singapore, Singapore
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3. Re: Back from Lebanon :)

Hey guys. Yea the one around the clock tower was accessible, not the Grand Serail though. I'm guessing it's cos of Chattah's assassination in December.

Jamie, I couchsurfed for a few days and then went to Le Duroy hotel. It's a lovely place very close to Pigeon Rocks in the Raouche area, and about 7-10 minutes by foot to the start of Hamra Street.

I'm still mentally and spiritually in Lebanon. It really feels as if I'm simply sailing through the hours at work. Doesn't help that I was introduced to a heartbreaking Arabic song on the day I left. :(

Keval

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Le Duroy Hotel
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Beirut, Lebanon
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4. Re: Back from Lebanon :)

Thanks for the good report and especially for mentioning the safety in the Bekaa Valley (The Baalbeck temples and Anjar ruins).

Best regards

Singapore, Singapore
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5. Re: Back from Lebanon :)

Gaby, the Bekaa Valley was very safe. At some point, I think the people in my tour bus may have forgotten we were in Hezbollah territory. :)

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6. Re: Back from Lebanon :)

Hi fellow countryman!

Which airline did you took to Beirut?

Did you get a visa on arrival or obtain a visa before hand?

Did you take any shared taxis or public buses to places outside of Beirut? I am considering taking shared taxis or buses to navigate outside of Beirut but afraid language will be a barrier

rgds

voxz

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7. Re: Back from Lebanon :)

hey voxz, i flew malaysia airlines to dubai and then flydubai to beirut. total was 900sgd cos there was a promotional fare on MH (bought it long before the 370 situation by the way).

visa is on arrival so don't worry about it.

as for taxis, there are the shared ones and 'private' as well. i don't know arabic or french either and got by with english. it shouldn't be a problem. :)

Edited: 4:13 am, April 04, 2014
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8. Re: Back from Lebanon :)

Hi voxz,

As Keval already mentioned you don"t need to speak Arabic or French to tour Lebanon

If you are on a budget you can take a shared

taxi or bus from Dora roundabout to Jounieh Byblos and Tripoli and from the Cola intersection to the Baalbeck temples

For an English speaking driver cum guide you can visit Nakhal www.nakhal.com or O Club www.oclub-lb.com

Good luck in planning your itinerary

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Jounieh
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Mount Lebanon Governorate, Lebanon
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Mount Lebanon Governorate, Lebanon
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North Governorate, Lebanon
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Bekaa Governorate, Lebanon
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9. Re: Back from Lebanon :)

My boyfriend needs to go to Lebanon in May this year to take care of his dad who lives there. Where his dad lives is safe but we've heard about car bombs and kidnapping at Beirut airport. Does anyone in Lebanon know about the current situation in Beirut? I can't get in contact with his dad (he's in the hospital right now) and I need to know if it's safe for my partner to travel there before we book the ticket. Any help is appreciated, thank you

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10. Re: Back from Lebanon :)

The International Civil Aviation Organisation has last week denied such news of people being kidnapped at Beirut airport

All tourist attractions are safe to visit

The region south of the Litani River exluding Tyre is a restricted area due to the presence of the UNIFIL and requires a written permission to be toured and visited otherwise all archaeological and tourist attractions are safe to visit.

Good luck in planning your trip

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