LEBANON

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Lebanon Guide

Don't assume everyone in Lebanon is Muslim. 61% of the population are Muslims and 37% are Christians.

Lebanon is on Eastern Standard Summer Time (GMT +3). It’s 1 hour ahead of Paris, 2 ahead of London, and 7 ahead of New York.

A visa is required to visit Lebanon, unless you are from Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates.

You can obtain a free 1-month visa upon arrival at Beirut International Airport, or at any other port of entry along the border. Visas are renewable for 3 months.

For more information, view Visa Guide.

All unvaccinated travelers older than age 12 arriving in Beirut must take a PCR test in the country from which they came within 48 hours of departure. Travelers whose PCR test results have not come back must not go out in public; if they test positive, they must contact the Ministry of Health and follow the Ministry’s guidelines. 

Source: U.S. Embassy in Lebanon

Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport (BEY/OLBA): Is the only operational commercial airport in the country. It’s located about 5 miles from the city center in the southern suburbs of Beirut.

This airport serves as the center for Middle East Airlines and Wings of Lebanon.

For more information, check the website.

Many of the large cities in Lebanon employ international car rental services like Avis, Hertz, Budget and Europcar. That being said, car rentals are one of the more expensive modes of transportation in the country.

Buses are more popular and relatively inexpensive. They operate on a ‘hail-and-ride’ system. Generally, they run from around 6 AM to 7 PM daily. Visit Busmap for a detailed map of the various bus routes.

It’s important to be careful and safe while visiting Lebanon.

A good portion of the population is made up of refugees. Refugee camps are known to be violent and hostile to outsiders. So if you don’t have to be there, there’s really no reason to go.

Areas around the borders are also best avoided, especially the far south, near Israel.

That being said, many solo female travelers report feeling safe while in Lebanon. In fact, Beirut is considered to be a great destination for young women looking to explore. As long as you’re aware of your surroundings, you should have nothing to worry about.

On the coast of Lebanon, which includes Beirut, Tripoli and Tyre, the climate is Mediterranean.

Winters are mild and rainy, averaging around 14°C (57° F). Between December and January, precipitation rates are at an all-time high.

Summers are hot, but somewhat tempered by sea breezes. The temperature averages around 30° C (86° F).

The inside of the country, which is occupied by mountain ranges and valleys, has a much more continental climate.

Winters can reach to around -1° C (31° F), but summers are usually the same of about 29° C (85° F).

Arabic is the official language of Lebanon, but English and French are also widely used.

Here are some basic phrases you should know:

Hello: Mar7aba

How are you?: Kifak (to a male) or Kifek (to a female)

Good Morning: Saba7 el khayr

Goodbye: Ma3 el saleme

Sorry: Esef (for a male) or Esfe (for a female)

Thank you: Chokran

You’re welcome: Tekram

 

 

The Lebanese have a proud tradition of hospitality. That being said, here are some general rules to follow during your stay:

  1. It is best not to cross your legs with your ankle on your knee as it is offensive to point one’s foot at another person.
  2. Men in Lebanon rarely swear in the presence of women.
  3. When invited to a person’s home, it is customary to bring a gift, such as cakes or sweets.
  4. On arrival, greet people in the order of their age, beginning with the oldest.
  5. You should accept tea or coffee when it’s offered, as this shows that you’re enjoying the hospitality.
  6. Hosts commonly urge their guests to have multiple servings of a meal. Serve yourself less on the first helping, so you can go back for more.
  7. Meals are seen as social occasions, and therefore, it’s considered rude to leave directly after eating.

For more information, click here.  

Lebanon’s currency is the Lebanese lira (LL), also known as the Lebanese pound (LBP).

US dollars are a second currency, and higher-end establishments rarely quote prices in anything else.

You might receive change in a mixture of the two currencies.

ATMs are widely available, but credit cards are accepted in most hotels and restaurants.

Tipping is widespread in Lebanon, and should be around 10 to 15% of the service fee.

Lebanon operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz. There are three associated plug types: C, D and G.

Type C has two round pins, type D has three round pins in a triangular pattern and type G has three rectangular pins in a triangular pattern.

Your converter should look like one of these:

Type C ConverterType G Converter

Though it’s officially proclaimed safe to drink, many Lebanese won’t drink the tap water. Instead, stick to drinking water from the bottle.

WiFi can be found in many places around Lebanon. Most restaurants, hotels, cafes, or offices have free WiFi, so just ask for the password.

That being said, the internet is known to be slow, and there are often short disruptions and outages.

One of the most popular transportation services in Lebanon is Uber.  That being said, it only offers services from Beirut.

Here are a few others you can check out:

Careem App: This service allows you to digitally set a location, pick a cab type and ride.

Flugen Rides (App): Links you to all the cab drivers nearby who have completed Kunhadi’s Road Safety Training Program and are certified for their responsible driving.

Carpolo App: This newer service provides community based car-sharing. Payment is completed through a point system.

Homosexuality is an arrestable offence in Lebanon.

On the positive side, more and more judges in Lebanon are arguing against Article 534, which is slowly paving the way for decriminalization. That being said, Lebanon is not considered a safe place for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

For more information, click here.

Lebanon is still working on becoming a sustainable, eco-friendly country in order to protect its land, people and heritage.

The country is known for its abundance of natural beauty, from the Mediterranean Sea to the cedar forests in Shouf Biosphere Reserve, and all the way up to the snow-capped peaks of Mount Lebanon.

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JST CITY GUIDE:

A TIMELINE OF LEBANON'S HISTORY

The Temple of Bacchus serves as a place for worship and becomes the cornerstone of ancient civilizations in Baalbek.

Temple of Bacchus
Fred Nassar on Unsplash
9000 BC

The natural landmark known as ‘Pigeon Rock’ is formed as the result of an earthquake.

Raouche Rocks
Ramy Kabalan on Unsplash
1202

Lebanon becomes a part of the Ottoman Empire.

Map of Ottoman Empire in Palestine

1516

Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet is published.

The Prophet by Gibran

1923

Lebanon is under the administration of Free France.

Nicolas Sarkozy
FACEBOOK Nicolas Sarkozy
1942

The flag of Lebanon is adopted. It features a green cedar, just like from  the Epic of Gilgamesh. The ‘Cedars of God’ are thought of as divine, and were used to build Gilgamesh’s great city.

Cedar Needles
Adam Kring on Unsplash
1943

The ancient Roman ‘Berytus’ Baths inside the city of Beirut are discovered.

Beirut
Nabih El Boustani on Unsplash
1968

Israel invades Lebanon.

Israeli Flag, Jerusalem, Israel

1982

The Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque, affectionately referred to as the ‘Blue Mosque’ is completed.

Beirut Blue Mosque
Credit to “Live Love Beirut” on Facebook
2008

A team of 350 people work to create the world’s largest bowl of tabbouleh, weighing a staggering 4,324 kilograms (9,532 lbs 12 oz).

Tabouleh
Image by Firas Hassoun from Pixabay
2009

JST GUIDES: