Lebanon Travel Tips
VisaVisitors from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan can enter Lebanon without visa provided that they have a valid passport, an address in the country, and a return or onward tickets. Tourists from Turkey, EU member states, US, Canada, China, Singapore, South Korea, New Zealand, Japan, Malaysia, Egypt, etc. can apply for a visa on arrival at any port of entry if there is no Israeli stamps or visas on their passports. Citizens from other countries should apply to the Lebanese Embassy for a tourist visa.
The consumption level in Lebanon is not very high. The price of an ordinary meal is around 5 to 15 dollars and the cost for a single room in youth hostel is about 20 to 40 dollars. The average spending in a good coffee shop is about 10 to 15 dollars. Credit cards are in common use in the country. ATMs can be easily found in cities, making it convenient for tourists to withdraw cash.
AccommodationMany international hotel brands, such as Intercontinental, Holiday Inn, and Crowne Plaza with high quality can be found here, and the fee is high. Local boutique and family-run hostels which offer comfortable and clean rooms with private bathrooms are good choices with low accommodation fee and good service.
FoodMezze is a kind of traditional food in the country, usually consisting of a selection of small dishes served before the main course. “Fast food” is offered in roadside shops, such as falafel, maqali, and shawarma sandwiches. Manaqeesh which is similar to pizza and knefeh, a kind of breaded cheese, are traditional breakfast of the locals. Al Sultan Brahim, located in Minet El Hosn Street, Downtown, Beirut, is a well-known restaurant which serves local dishes.
ShoppingBeirut, the capital of Lebanon, is a shopping paradise. You can buy new-style and trendy fashions put on sale in Paris only a few days ago. Gold jewelry of different styles is also for your choice and the price is cheaper than neighboring countries. Aishti Shopping Center in Beirut is a high-end place for tourists to buy products of luxury brands such as Dior, Bvlgari, and Prada. With good shopping environment, the center is an ideal place for visitors to relax in restaurants, beauty salons and SPA houses. If you want to buy traditional art crafts, Sidon Souk, a typical Middle East bazaar, is a wonderful choice. Identify the silverware carefully before buying, in case it is copper plated with silver.
FestivalsThere are many traditional festivals in the country, some of which are related to Islam and Christianity. Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr are important Islamic festivals while Good Friday, Easter and Christmas are Christian holidays. For Lebanese, Independence Day is the most memorable holiday which is celebrated on November 22th with a military parade and a day off for all businesses and schools. If you visit the country during the celebration of holidays, you will fully experience the local customs and see traditional religious ceremonies.
Phone Call and InternetThere are many stores that sell temporary SIM cards and top-up cards all around the country, but you are advised to buy them in official shops authorized by MTC and ALFA. MTC also offers a GSM card. Roaming fee is required for international calls. The telephone signal in Lebanon is unstable, so phone calls often drop or cross lines. Internet access in the country is not easy, because the internet speed is slow and the fee is high.
Power SupplyThe voltage of Lebanon is 220 V with US plug. You’d better bring a plug adaptor.
Do’s and Don’tsLebanon is a country with many different religions, so you should respect the locals’ faith and try to do as them do. Here are some tips for you:
·Take off your shoes before entering a mosque and female tourists need to wear a headscarf.
·Tip for driver or tour guide is necessary.
·Don’t go to places labeled as military zones.
Useful NumbersCalling Code: +961