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Ramada Beirut Downtown
Ramada Beirut Downtown - dream vacation

Mina El Hosn Chateaubriand St, Beirut

Four Seasons Hotel Beirut
Four Seasons Hotel Beirut - dream vacation

1418 Professor Wafic Sinno Avenue, Minet El Hosn, Beirut

Le Commodore Hotel
Le Commodore Hotel - dream vacation

Commodore Street, PO Box 11-3456 Riad El-Solh, Beirut

The Republic of Lebanon (Arabic: ?????) is a small country (10,452 km2 or 4076 sq mi in area with 3.7 million inhabitants) within the Middle East region with its capital being Beirut. It has a long coastline on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and shares a long land border with its much larger neighbour Syria to the north and the east, a much shorter (and currently "hot") border with Israel to the south.


Lebanon can be divided into five regions:


Many cities in Lebanon have English names which are significantly different from their Arabic names; the Roman versions of the Arabic names are given in parentheses below.

  • Beirut - the capital and largest city
  • Baalbek - a Phoenician and Roman archaeological site
  • Byblos (Joubeil) - another city with plenty of remains, castles and museums
  • Jezzine - main summer resort and tourist destination of South Lebanon
  • Jounieh - known for its seaside resorts and nightclubs
  • Sidon (Saida) - plenty of medieval remains
  • Tripoli (Trablus) - still unspoilt by mass-tourism
  • Tyre (Sour) - has a number of ancient sites, including its Roman Hippodrome which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Zahle - capital of Bekaa Valley

Other destinations

  • Batroun— an old city on the Mediterranean shore, with a city center offering many restaurants, cafes, bars, and nightclubs.
  • Bcharre - Surrounded by mountains, it's a gateway to the Cedars of God forest and Cedars ski slopes.
  • Ehden - mountainous town with beautiful scenery and some sights. It's home to Ehden Nature Reserve.
  • Barouk - Famous for its cedar forest.
  • Jeita - Known for its Grotto
  • Kadisha Valley - You can visit the home of the (now deceased) Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran.
  • Beiteddine - Famous for its palace.
  • Deir el Qamar - Traditional village in Chouf district.
  • Baskinta - Village at the foot of Mount Sannine.
  • Qornet El-Sawda - Highest peak in the country.
  • Mzaar Kfardebiane - Known for its skiing slopes.
  • Qaraoun - Known for its lake located in the Beqaa Valley.
  • Kefraya - Known for its vineyards.
  • Brummana - A traditional town often considered a summer resort with pleasant weather, spectacular views of Beirut and a good nightlife.
  • Al Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve - This 550 km2 (210 sq mi) natural reserve offers hiking tracks among millenarian Cedars. Accessible from Niha, Barouk, Maaser el Shouf, Ain Zhalta and Aammiq.



The country is marked by two mountain ridges that run parallel to the Mediterranean coastline. The Mount Lebanon ridge is close to the sea, and is cut across from north to south by transverse valleys and canyons. The landscape is mostly mountainous and sometimes very rugged, with steep cliffs and gradients. Streams are frequent and provide ample resources for cultivation and natural vegetation.

The AntiLebanon runs parallel east of the Mount Lebanon ridge, and forms part of the border with Syria.

The Bekaa valley, with ample flatlands traversed by the Orontes (Nahr al-Aasi) and Litani rivers, runs between the two ridges.


Lebanon has a long and complex history since the Neolithic age. The most important Phoenicians cities (Byblos and Tyre among others) were founded here and have been thriving since then. The area was under the sphere of influence of Egyptian, Mesopotomian, and Persian ancient civilizations. Lebanon has a rich heritage of Hellenistic and Roman monuments, including among others the temples of Baalbek and Tyre. After the Byzantine and Umayyad rule (which left behind the ruins of Anjar), the area of today's Lebanon was conquered by the Crusaders and the Mamluks, with many significant monuments (fortresses and places of worship) scattered over the country, and notably in Tripoli. Four centuries of Ottoman rule (1516–1918) with significant degrees of autonomous rule were ended with the creation of the French Mandate after WWI. Lebanon became officially independent in 1943. Three decades of growth were crippled by a long civil war (1975–1990), which ended with a power-sharing agreement and a complicated process of reconciliation and reconstruction. Political tensions and regional conflicts (such as the July 2006 war and the ongoing civil war in Syria) have affected the country, which remains nevertheless resilient.


The people of Lebanon comprise a wide variety of ethnic groups and religions, with the majority split between Christian (Maronite, Greek Orthodox, Greek-Catholic Melkites, Armenians, Protestant, Syriac Christians) and Muslim (Shi'a, Sunni), Alawites, and Druzes. There is a large number (over 250,000) of Palestinian refugees in the country, which fled their homeland in 1948. There is currently also a very huge number of Syrian refugees and displaced persons due to the ongoing conflict in Syria. The population increases in the Summer months (June to September), due to the large influx of returning members of the Lebanese diaspora and Lebanese citizens working abroad.

People are generally very easy-going and welcoming. Many people are multilingual and highly educated, particularly in Beirut and its suburban areas. Attitudes and behaviours tend to be more conservative in the Bekaa Valley and rural areas of the North and South.


Lebanon has a temperate Mediterranean climate, with hot, humid summers and cold, wet winters.

Summer is usually the most popular time for people to visit, as there is virtually no rain between June and August, and the temperatures ranges between about 20-30°C (68-86°F). However, there can be occasional heatwaves with the temperature rising, and generally, it can be very, very humid along the coast line during the summer months. It is somewhat dryer and somewhat cooler in the mountains, and many Lebanese tend to visit and vacation in the mountains during the summer if they wish to escape the heat and humidity of the coastline.

Autumn and spring are also good times to visit, with a bit more rain, but without the tourist crowds attracted in summer, and also with considerable less humidity.

Snow falls for a large part of winter in the mountain regions that form a large portion of the country, and there are numerous ski resorts. However, the coast is still relatively mild, with maximums rarely falling below 13°C (55°F), although it can fall much lower than that and has on many occasions.

Time zone

Lebanon is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), and observes daylight saving from the end of March to the end of October.


Lebanon has a number of both Christian and Islamic holidays. Holidays that are observed by the Lebanese Government are indicated in bold letters.

  • New Year's Day (January 1)
  • Armenian Christmas (January 6)
  • St. Maroun's Day (February 9)
  • Prophet Muhammad's Birthday (variable according to the Islamic calendar)
  • Feast of the Annunciation (March 25)
  • Good Friday (Catholic) (variable according to the lunar calendar)
  • Easter Sunday (Catholic) (variable according to the lunar calendar)
  • Good Friday (Orthodox) (variable according to the lunar calendar)
  • Easter Sunday (Orthodox) (variable according to the lunar calendar)
  • Labor Day (May 1)
  • Liberation Day (May 25) (anniversary of the liberation of the South from Israeli occupation in 2000)
  • St. Elias' Day (July 20)
  • Assumption of Mary Day (August 15)
  • Ramadan (variable) (variable according to the Islamic calendar)
  • Eid al-Fitr (variable according to the Islamic calendar)
  • Eid al-Adha (variable according to the Islamic calendar)
  • Ashura (variable according to the Islamic calendar)
  • Independence Day (November 22)
  • Eid il-Burbara or Saint Barbara's Day (December 4)
  • Christmas Day (December 25)
  • New Year's Eve (December 31)

Get in


Citizens of Turkey get a free 3 month visa that can only be renewed before one month passes since their entry.

Citizens of: EgyptSudanTunisiaMorocco - AlgeriaLibyaYemenSomaliaDjiboutiMauritania – the Comoros - Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast get a free one month tourist visa provided they have a two way traveling ticket, a hotel reservation/place of residence and USD2,000 (The cash conditions can be exempted if you get the visa from the Lebanese embassy beforehand).

Citizens of Thailand (and several other countries not otherwise listed in this section) cannot get a visa directly at the airport or at a Lebanese embassy. Instead, a visa needs to be arranged by a Lebanese sponsor in Lebanon through the General Security head office in Beirut. This is a convoluted process that can take months, so start early. Visas issued this way are valid for 1 month but can be extended until 3 months at General Security once in Lebanon.

Three-month visas are free for nationals from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and Jordan. Other nationals can obtain a 15-day visa for LBP25,000 (USD17), or a three-month visa for LBP50,000 (USD35). These visas are single-entry; nationals of many countries can also obtain multiple-entry visas (USD75 valid for six months). The 48 hour free of charge transit visas (valid for three calendar days) are still issued, but only if you enter by land and leave via the airport or vice-versa.

Visas can be obtained at Lebanese embassies and consulates in other countries, or upon arrival at Beirut airport and other points of entry for some nationalities.

A free one month valid visa, renewable till 3 months, is granted to the citizens of these countries who are coming for tourism: Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados,Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bhutan, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Macau, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Romania, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Samoa, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkey, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, United Kingdom, USA, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.

For more information, visit the General Security page.

An updated visa requirements text can always be found on the visa to Lebanon page [1].

By plane

Beirut International Airport (BEY), is located 5 km (3 mi) south of the city centre) - Middle East Airlines [2] services daily to Abidjan, Abu Dhabi, Accra, Amman, Athens, Cairo, Cologne, Copenhagen, Dammam, Doha, Dubai, Frankfurt, Geneva, Istanbul-Atatürk, Jeddah, Kano, Kuwait, Lagos, Larnaca, London-Heathrow, Milan-Malpensa, Nice, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Riyadh and Rome-Fiumicino, Warsaw-Ok?cie.

In addition the Airport is served by foreign airlines

For flights from the United Kingdom try Turkish Airlines [12], Cyprus Airways [13] or Czech Airlines [14]. These three airlines are often cheaper even than MEA or BMI direct from Heathrow. Czech airlines are consistently the cheapest bet from Manchester.

By bus

Buses leave Damascus every hour and typically cost 400 or 500 SYP. The trip is normally 4–5 hours, depending on traffic at the border. Note that when leaving Syria, you must pay an exit fee of 550 SYP and must acquire a Lebanese visa on the other side of the border (48 hrs Transit Visa is free, 15 day Transit Visa is LL25,000 (US$17), single-entry 30 day Tourist Visa is LL50,000 (US$34), payable in Lebanese Pounds only. Money changers can exchange currency, typically with a $1 exchange fee).

By taxi

Taxis leave Damascus for Lebanon.

By ship

Reaching Lebanon by ferry is quite a challenge, the only regular passenger ferry is a twice-weekly service from Tasucu, just outside Mersin, Turkey to the northern city of Tripoli by Akgunler Denizcilik. Apart from that single passenger ferry, only way of reaching Lebanon by sea is by cruise ship or - for the more adventurous traveller - freighter travel.

Get around

Lebanon is a small country and it is possible to drive from north to south in under 3 hours. The main means of transport are service taxis, bus and car.

By taxi

The majority of travelers use service taxis to get from place to place. "Service" taxis often operate like buses on set routes between towns and cities, though they can be hired to visit other places with some negotiation. Depending on the type of vehicle, each taxi carries between 4 (inside metropolitan areas) to 6 (longer distances) passengers, who share the fare between them. The Fare is 2000 LL (Lebanese lira) which is about $1.33 for short distances of a couple of Kilometers/miles, and increases depending on both distance to be traveled, traffic on that specific road and of course, like everything in Lebanon, persuasion/negotiation skills. A private Taxi ride, without having to share with other passengers is similar to a "Service" Taxi, in that the same pre-negotiation is required to determine the fare, and as a rule of thumb it costs a minimum of 10,000 LL (6.66 US$). A word of advice, never get in a taxi or "service" without agreeing on the fare first.

Taxis and "service" taxis are basically the same, and the mode of operation depends on the availability of passengers and their demands. The majority of "service" taxis in Lebanon are 1975 Mercedes cars that roam the streets searching for passengers using their car-horns. Newer car models working as mainly "service" taxis are appearing on the Lebanese streets with nevertheless the same price tag as their elder sisters.

All types of public transportation vehicles in Lebanon (taxis, buses, mini-vans and even trucks) can be recognized by their Red-colored licence plate.

By bus

City link bus routes are available and cheap. Most buses for north Lebanon depart from the Charles Helou Station (east of downtown), while most buses to regions south or southeast of Beirut (including Damascus and Baalbek) depart from the Cola "Station" (which is really an intersection adjacent to the Cola bridge\overpass).

By train

There has been no passenger rail service in Lebanon since before the Civil War.

By car

Car rental is relatively expensive in Lebanon compared to elsewhere in the region. Reasonable, if not exactly cheap rates can, however, be found with perseverance and negotiation and - once you have your rental - fuel is easy to get. Be warned, however, that fuel is not cheap, with fuel prices being among the most affected by inflation.

Lebanon's roads are generally in quite poor condition and Lebanese drivers are not known for their caution. Exercise extreme caution when driving in Lebanon. Note that even in central Beirut, even in areas undamaged by the Israeli assault, there can be massive potholes on busy multi-lane roads.

Driving in Lebanon should be considered an extreme activity for Western drivers accustomed to safe driving. Street names are virtually non-existent. Mountain driving is particularly hazardous, often involving 1-car roads in 2 way streets. Traffic, especially in major cities like Beirut and Tripoli, and on the highway from Beirut to Kaslik, can be extremely crowded and time-consuming, turning a normally 20 minute trip into over an hour during peak times.


See also: Lebanese Arabic phrasebook

The official language of Lebanon is Standard Arabic and the native language Lebanese Arabic, which is similar to (but not indistinguishable from) the Arabic of Syria, Jordan and Palestine.

Almost all Lebanese speak Standard Arabic, while many people also speak French and/or English. While French is the first foreign language of most people, English is also widely spoken. Street and place signs are in both Arabic (first) and French (second), because of Lebanon's period as a French mandated territory after the First World War. Generally, signs and outdoors are written in at least two languages, Standard Arabic and French and/or English.


Lebanon is a country rich in natural scenery from beautiful beaches to mountains and valleys. Lebanese people take pride that Lebanon is one of the few countries that gives you the opportunity to go skiing in the morning and going to the beach in the afternoon (although it is impossible to actually do that because of traffic). Keep in mind that this is only actually possible for a few days in the year, usually in the few days when winter shifts to spring and/or summer shifts to autumn

Beirut Downtown Visitors from all around get astonished by the beautiful downtown. At Place de l'Etoile, tourists can enjoy a delightful meal or a cup of coffee at the outdoor cafes. In addition to those, the capital provides other restaurants and hangouts that people of all ages can enjoy. There are also many nightclubs, bars, cafes, and restaurants, catering to a diverse amount of styles and budgets.

Baalbeck Roman Temples in the city of Baalbeck are among the largest and most beautiful Roman ruins.

Al Bass Archaeological Site, Tyre, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the largest and best preserved Roman archeological sites in the world. The site is made up of a huge Necropolis, a massive monumental arch leading to a Roman Road, alongside which there is an excellent example of an acqueduct as well as the largest and best preserved Roman Hippodrome found to date.

Jeita Grotto Jeita Grotto is nominated to be one of the new Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Jeita Grotto is the jewel of tourism in Lebanon offering to its visitors 2 fabulous grottoes. It is a source of attraction for whole the families wishing to discover a mysterious world in the heart of the earth. The “Touristic Site of Jeita” gathers all elements of nature such as stone, water, trees, flowers, air and animals in a venturous environment and with a touch of Lebanese cultural heritage. It is one of the most impressive and interesting natural sites in the world.

Beiteddin One of the most authentic Arabic architectural jewels is the palace of Beiteddine. This historic monument comprises two large courtyards: the “midane”, a vast rectangular place for visitors, and a smaller one for the royal private apartments, with a magnificent fountain in its centre.

Qadisha Valley (Holy Valley) Located in north Lebanon, the “Holy Valley” spreads from Bcharreh to the coast. Classified under UNESCO's world heritage, it is full of countless caves, chapels, and monasteries.

Byblos also known in Arabic as "Jbeil", is an ancient Phoenician city that had been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its touristic attractions include a medieval castle and a Roman amphitheater, as well as many seaside cafes and restaurants serving fresh seafood.

Anjar is a city in the Beqaa Valley with many local restaurants where you can enjoy the unique Lebanese cuisine. The city is home to the unique ruins of an 8th-century Umayyad city.



The Lebanese people have had to adapt to the political turmoil. Lebanon is easily the party capital of the Middle East. Beirut features many different and distinct nightlife neighborhoods, such as Gemmayze district, mostly full of bars and restaurants, or the Monot Street which features nightclubs and bars. Lebanon is also known for it's open-air nightclubs such as Sky Bar, White, and Iris. Greater Beirut is a sleepless city, as the great majority of it open 24 hours a day.

Lebanese nightclubs are widely diverse, as one can find both the "oriental" and "occidental" style, and in some cases, a mix of both.

Lebanon also has a huge beach party scene having exquisite beaches and beach resorts such as Sporting Club, Oceana, Laguava or Edde Sands and Janna Sur Mer. However, these places are not cheap, and can be very expensive, especially for the budget traveler.


  • Lebanon Mountain Trail (LMT) - 350-plus km national hiking trail extending from Al Qobaiyat in the north to Marjaayoun in the south. The Trail is not well marked and it is recommended that you get a guide because you will get lost. The guides can be expensive but it is worth talking them down on price. If you do decide to go alone, the country side is populated and you are never very far from people. This is by far the best way to see wild Lebanon!


Lebanon has six ski resorts with groomed slopes, catering to skiers and snowboarders of all levels. Beyond the ski-able domains await you kilometers of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails waiting to be explored; Lebanon has something for everyone. Each of the ski resorts has a different flavor.


Lebanon is one of the oldest sites of wine production in the world and today enjoys a burgeoning industry producing award-winning wines for export throughout the world, mainly in the UK, Europe and the United States. Wine Tasting is an absolute must with any visit to Lebanon. Below are some wine producers in Lebanon for you to keep an eye out for: - - * Chateau Musar [15] - * Chateau Ksara [16] - * Chateau Kefraya [17] - * Domaine Wardy [18] - * Vin Héritage [19] - * Chateau Fakra [20] - * Domaine de Baal [21] - * Chateau Nakad [22] - * Massaya [23] - * Domaine des Tourelles [24] - * Clos Saint Thomas [25] - * Cave Kouroum [26] - * Clos de Cana [27] - * Nabise Mont Liban [28] - * Enotica - * Chateau Khoury [29] - * Couvent St. Sauveur



The Lebanese currency is the Lebanese pound, denoted by the symbol "?.?.?, " or "LL" (ISO code: LBP). Its value is kept stable relative to the US dollar, with a value of about LL1,500 to US$1.

Lebanese pounds and US dollars are accepted almost everywhere, and it is common to pay in dollars but receive change in pounds (in which case, make sure you don't get short-changed).

Bills used are LL1000, LL5000, LL10,000, LL20,000, LL50,000 and LL100,000. You may find two forms of LL1000 and they are both accepted.

Bills not used are LL1, LL5, LL10, LL25, LL50, LL100, LL250, LL500.

There are LL250 and LL500 coins. LL25, LL50 and LL100 coins are virtually never used.

Money transfer

You may transfer money from/to Lebanon through Western Union. For more information about locations offering Money transfers you may contact BOB Finance - Bank of Beirut Group on the number 1262 from inside Lebanon or +961-5-955262 from outside with 24/7 Customer Service Support.


See also: Middle Eastern cuisine

Lebanon fosters exquisite cuisine ranging from a mezza of vegetarian dishes such as tabouleh, fattoush, and waraq ainab to delicious dips like hommos and moutabal.

Must haves include Lebanese barbeque such as shish tawouq (barbequed chicken) - usually consumed with garlic, lahm mashwiye (barbequed meat), and kafta (barbequed seasoned minced meat).

A full meal at a local restaurant can cost as little as 15 us dollars (22500 LL) depending on where you go, though more expensive options can also be found.

Lebanese "fast food" is also available as sandwiches offered in roadside shops, such as shawarma sandwiches (known in other countries as doner - or gyros in Greece). Shawarma is rolled in Lebanese thin bread. Various barbequed meat sandwiches are also available, and even things such as lamb or chicken spleen, brains, lamb bone marrow or lamb testicles can be served as sandwiches.

Breakfast usually consists of manaeesh which looks like a folded pizza, most common toppings being zaatar (a mixture of thyme, olive oil, sesame seeds), jebneh (cheese), or minced meat (this version is more properly referred to as lahm bi ajin).

Another traditional breakfast food is knefeh, a special kind of breaded cheese that is served with a dense syrup in a sesame seed bread. It is also served as dessert.

Lebanon is also very famous for its Arabic sweets which can be found at leading restaurants. The city of Tripoli, however, is considered to be "the" city for Lebanese sweets, and is sometimes even referred to as the "Sweet Capital" of Lebanon.

International food chains are widely spread across the country. Italian, French, Chinese, and Japanese cuisines, as well as cafe chains (such as Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, etc.), are particularly popular across the country, with a higher concentration in Beirut and the urban sprawl north of the capital.


Lebanon's wines have an international reputation. Grapes have been grown since antiquity, and the vineyards, largely in the Bekaa Valley, produce the base wine for distillation into the national spirit Arak, which, like Ouzo, is flavoured with aniseed and becomes cloudy when diluted with water. Arak is the traditional accompniment to Meze.

But the grapes have also historically been used to make wine. This used to be predominantly white and sweet, but the soldiers and administrators that came to administer the French mandate after World War One created a demand for red wine, and large acreages were planted especially with the Cinsault grape. Over the last 20 years these have been supplemented with the most popular international varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.

Wineries often offer wine tasting and are very welcoming. The highly individual, old fashioned, Chateau Musar, is based at Ghazir, 15 miles north of Beirut, and trucks in the grapes from Bekaa. In Bekaa itself, wineries include the large Kefraya, Ksara, the oldest winery of all, Massaya, a fashionable new producer in Tanail, and Nakad in Jdeita, which like Musar has stuck with an idiosyncratic old fashioned approach. Kefraya, in the West Bekaa region, also has a nice restaurant attached and the region itself is beautiful to pass through.


Lebanon is full of hotels, with a range in price and quality, from $10/night to many hundreds of dollars per night, and the quality ranges just as much. Many international chains, such as Intercontinental, Holiday Inn, and Crowne Plaza, can be found here, as well as local boutique and "mom-and-pop" style hotels, as well as low quality budget hotels.

The best way to save money if you are staying for a long visit is furnished apartments or all-suite hotels, as they come with cleaning and other services.


A handful of private schools, such as the Lycée Français (several branches over the country), the Collège Protestant Français, Collège Saint Joseph Antoura,Lycée Abdel Kader, Collège Notre-Dame de Jamhour and Collège Elysée among others follow the official French curriculum. The official French Baccalaureate exams can be taken in Lebanon.

Some schools (such as "ACS") teach English as a first language and follow the English curriculum.

Beirut is also home to one of the most prestigious schools in the region, the International College (IC) which teaches both French and English as first languages among many others. Furthermore, IC offers a variety of baccalaureate programs such as the French, Lebanese, High School, and International Baccalaureate (IB).

The American University of Beirut - AUB is considered the best American university in the Middle East. The teaching language there is English. Other anglophone private universities are: Antonine University - UPA | Notre Dame University - NDU | Lebanese American University - LAU ...

Some private universities have French as the main teaching language. Université St.Joseph - USJ is one of these, it is an old and respected institution in Lebanon, and probably offers the best price/quality ratio among private universities in the country. It is the private university which has enrolled most of the Lebanon students as well as foreign students from other countries in Middle East, Africa and Europe. Other francophone private universities are USEK and Balamand.

The Lebanese University is the state owned / public university and is the largest learning institution in the country. It offers virtually free tertiary education.


MTC Touch [30] Mobile phone operator offers a GSM card for $15 including a $10 credit (The START plan). Internet access starts at $10 for up to 100 MByte in a month. Alfa [31] is another mobile phone operator which offers several prepaid plans ranging from $10 to $68. Like MTC Touch, internet access starts at $10 for a 500 MByte bundle per month.

Stay safe

The vast majority of Lebanese are friendly, and most tourists experience no problems. Nevertheless tensions with neighboring Israel can erupt (but are usually confined to South Lebanon) and therefore travellers should follow the independent press while in the country.

Like in any country, it is preferable to be accompanied when visiting certain locations. In general, the Israeli borders and any Palestinian refugee camps should be avoided.

Some areas in Lebanon are likely to be dangerous for tourists, such as Erssal or Aarsal in the Northern Bekaa, known for kidnapping expats for ransom.

Visitors should always register with their respective embassies once they enter Lebanon and keep up-to-date regarding any travel warnings regarding Lebanon.

Useful phone numbers:

  • Police: 112 or 911 or 999 (it is common that if you call them for small-scale infractions e.g. pick-pocketing or sexual harassment they will not come).
  • Fire brigade: 175 (metropolitan Beirut only)
  • Civil defense: 125 (outside Beirut)
  • The Red Cross (Medic Response): 140
  • Information: 1515

Stay healthy

As a key destination for health tourism in the region, Lebanon has a professional and private healthcare system. Located mainly in Beirut, key hospitals include:

  • AUH (American University Hospital), Hamra area: +961-1-344704.
  • RHUH (Rafic Hariri University Hospital), Bir Hassan area: +961-1-830000.
  • Hotel Dieu de France, Ashrafieh area: +961-1-386791.
  • Rizik Hospital, Ashrafieh area: +961-1-200800.
  • Mont Liban Hospital, Hazmieh area: +961-1-955444.
  • Sacré Coeur Hospital, Hazmieh area: +961-1-451704.
  • Saint George Hospital, Ashrafieh area: +961-1-441000.
  • Tel Shiha - Zahle, Beqaa
  • Nini Hospital - Tripoli, North Lebanon: +961-6-431400.
  • Hopital Albert Haykel - Koura, North Lebanon: +961-6-411111.
  • Sahel Hospital - Airport Ave Area: +961-1-858333
  • Jabal Amel Hospital - Jal Al Baher Area, Tyre: +961-7-740343, 07-740198, 07-343852, 03-280580
  • Labib Medical Center - Abou Zahr Street, Sidon Area: +961-7-723444, 07-750715/6
  • Bahman Hospital - BeirutHaret Hreik Area: +961-1-544000 or 961-3-544000

It is extremely important that you get travel insurance prior to your departure to Lebanon. Hospitals in the country can be very expensive and, with the lack of insurance, cash payments may be expected beforehand.


Lebanon is a country of many different religious sects and so, it is wise to respect the religious differences of the Lebanese population. It is recommended to wear modest clothing when visiting religious sites (churches, mosques, etc.) and when visiting rural towns and villages.

Even in Beirut, some areas are more conservative than others, thus visitors should bear that in mind when exploring the city. Overall, however, clothing considered 'western' is generally acceptable, so to hedge your bets, keep your dress modest. Bear in mind, however, that as open and western as Beirut is, this is not Europe; "topless" at any beach, whether private or public, is not recommended at all.

In Tripoli, especially in the old city, it is recommended that women dress conservatively. The same applies on most traditional "souks" in the country. In general, Lebanese are accustomed to different lifestyles and some do not take offense easily, especially with matters related to dress. The Lebanese are people accustomed to diversity and are therefore quicker to accept different lifestyles, though not all Lebanese are so open-minded.

Because of political tensions and the conflict with Israel and tension with Syria, tourists should definitely avoid discussing politics, especially regarding these two countries.


The Amateur Traveler talks to Sherry Ott again about a very recent trip to Lebanon. Sherry traveled to Lebanon as part of a program with a cultural exchange program with Geovisions which involved in a home stay. She stayed much of her visit in Beirut which at least used to be known as the “Paris of the Middle East”. Since that time Lebanon and Beirut in particular has come through a horrific civil war as well as a war with Israel. Now that peace has come again to the country Sherry could still see the scars from the prolonged conflict but also could enjoy the recovering city, the nightlife, shopping and food in Beirut. In March in Lebanon you can ski in the morning and go to the beach in the afternoon. She also had a chance to visit the historic city of Tripoli where she say the traditional souk and the ancient city of Sidon (Saida) which is over 6000 years old.

A minibus in El Alto, Bolivia. Image credit: Gwen Kash // CC BY-NC 2.0

Ask any group of women if they’ve ever felt unsafe on public transportation, and the stories will flow. In Mexico City, 64 percent of women reported having been groped or physically harassed while using public transit. As for New York’s subway system, 63 percent of women surveyed mentioned personal experiences of sexual harassment, while 10 percent reported sexual assault. There are disheartening statistics about women’s transportation safety around the world — it’s a borderless problem.

Unsafe transport not only causes women to change their modes of movement, it also reduces how many trips they make. This insecurity reduces household income, as inadequate transportation limits women from accessing their full educational and employment opportunities. Transit insecurity is damaging to the environment, too, as more privileged women who are afraid to walk, cycle, or take public transportation turn to polluting, private cars and taxis instead.

Of course, women can’t be treated as an undifferentiated group. Disability, class, race, age, sexuality, gender presentation, and other factors mean that not all women are equally vulnerable to crime or violence on public transportation. Men and boys can also be victimized, and it shouldn’t be assumed that every woman is a victim-in-waiting. But women around the world do share certain vulnerabilities as passengers that make it useful to analyze their needs as a group. As UCLA urban planning professor Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris has written, gender is the single most significant factor explaining transit-based fear and anxiety.

There are solutions, but many are controversial. A key concern when planning transportation safety improvements is making sure not to shift the burden onto vulnerable passengers. “Why should we put the onus on women?” Loukaitou-Sideris asks. Yet many well-intended safety measures do just that.

In the app world, there are private Uber-like services that allow women to choose female drivers. Safr, which is currently invite-only and Boston-based, pledges to pay its female drivers more than the industry standard. However, it faces legal challenges around the potentially discriminatory nature of only hiring women; such challenges have sunk similar apps.

There are also apps in India, Yemen, Lebanon, and other countries that crowdsource data on safe areas, including transport stations. These include Safecity, which collects and maps women’s reports of harassment and violence (its tagline is “Pin the Creeps”).

This problem isn’t just limited to apps. Notoriously, Mexico City has distributed rape whistles to female metro passengers. Overall, systems for reporting assault are time-consuming and onerous, particularly for low-income women who can’t afford to lose time and money visiting police stations.

Another commonly proposed but contentious solution is gender-segregated public transportation. Over a century ago, the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad experimented with women-only cars. Today, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, and Dubai are among the cities with women-only train compartments, buses, or taxis.

Port Moresby is another. The capital of Papua New Guinea has a high level of reported gender-based harassment and violence on its transportation services, ranging from verbal harassment to indecent exposure and robbery. “For women, getting on a bus in Port Moresby means an almost guaranteed experience of sexual harassment,” says Lizzette Soria, who manages the UN Women’s Safe Public Transport Programme for women and girls.

Soria adds of the three women-only buses in Port Moresby: “We know that this is just a short-term strategy, because of course our long-term [goal] is to make safer public transport for everyone. Some have suggested that women-only buses address the symptoms and not the problem, however, our first task is to make women and girls safe.” One advantage of Port Moresby’s gender-segregated buses has been their use as safe spaces to share information about women’s rights.

A women-only bus in Port Moresby. Image credit: UN Women/Marc Dozier

Measures that lead women to alter where and when they travel may be a means to an end, but they’re not nearly enough. It would be dangerous to reinforce the idea, spread by a culture of harassment, that public space isn’t fully women’s to occupy. Gwen Kash, a researcher based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who specializes in public transit reform in Bolivian and Colombian cities, points out that women-only transportation doesn’t address the needs of transgender or queer passengers who might be especially targeted but not welcomed onto gender-segregated vehicles.

The transportation safety measures that are most effective tend to be the ones favored by women themselves. You’d think this should be obvious, but in Kash’s work with transit planners she’s encountered skepticism that sexual assault on public transport is a problem, and the implication that women even enjoy the attention. Moving from acknowledging women’s experiences to actively soliciting their opinions is another big step.

Men and women often have different preferences for safety measures. One study from the U.K. Department of Transport showed that women preferred more staff on buses, while men favored CCTV. These findings have been replicated in other countries. In general, men tend toward technological solutions, while women feel more reassured by a human presence, in real time. One concern many women express about CCTV is that video-operated surveillance doesn’t help victims of crime at the time the incident is happening.

Along with more staff, women almost universally support one simple solution: lighting. The combination of better lighting and transit personnel, including officers riding on trains, is why leaders of women’s groups in Loukaitou-Sideris’ research gave the metro system in Washington, D.C., high marks for safety. Loukaitou-Sideris also praises Toronto and London for developing their transit policies with both men and women in mind.

Lighting around the Toronto coach terminal. Image credit: SimonP // CC BY-SA 3.0

In Canada in 1989, the Metropolitan Toronto Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children (METRAC) pioneered women’s safety audits, where women walked with transportation planners to pinpoint areas where they felt unsafe. METRAC then pushed for legislative changes based on the findings. These kinds of safety audits have spread all over the world, strengthening relationships among communities, police, and urban planners. Safer Cities Dar es Salaam reported reduced crime levels following the auditing process, while the Safer Nairobi Initiative pointed to women’s increased use of public space.

These examples show, as Loukaitou-Sideris says, that “there needs to be the political will” to drive real change in transport safety. Yes, nonprofits and community movements like METRAC in Toronto, Jagori in Delhi, and Hollaback in London have helped to make women’s transportation needs a matter of public concern. But policymakers and planners must be onboard to make large-scale improvements to transit networks. Worldwide, the legislative, planning, and transport professions remain dominated by men, which can create an invisibility around gendered needs.

A tram conductor during World War II, Leeds, England. Image credit: Ministry of Information Photo Division

Adding to the issue, amassing broad-based political will is tough in cities whose transit systems are stratified. Take Los Angeles, a famously car-centric city. Loukaitou-Sideris notes of gendered harassment on L.A.’s buses: “You don’t see much pressure from the well-to-do areas of the city. This is affecting a subgroup of the city. Often they’re immigrant women … They don’t report it to the police,” she says. Without pressure from politically mobilized and powerful city residents, officials are less likely to take action.

Urban planning scholars like Loukaitou-Sideris promote measures with a firm foundation of environmental design, which looks at how infrastructure and physical factors affect behavior. Lighting that extends from bus stops to the surrounding streets, so people feel safe walking home once they’re off the bus, is an example of that. In Port Moresby, the Safe Public Transport Programme targeted gender-sensitive infrastructure in its campaigning, alongside regulation, planning, and behavior change.

Other campaigns aim at potential harassers, assaulters, and bystanders to avoid perpetuating the idea that women’s travel is the problem. A campaign called “Don’t Touch My Girlfriend” is one (somewhat poorly titled) case from Brussels. Soria says that physical measures are one thing, but “if we don’t change attitudes and beliefs, we will continue to have harassment.”

Then there are relationship-based initiatives, which involve local community groups and perhaps transport personnel. In Port Moresby, young people played key roles in developing and delivering messages around gender equality; also, bus drivers were trained in how to identify sexual harassment and how to address it onboard.

These kinds of driver-focused initiatives aren’t always helpful, especially when transportation is informal and poorly regulated. Kash says that in Bolivian cities, where informal minibuses are common and generally a low-paid livelihood, “it’s to the driver’s advantage not to intervene” in situations of harassment and assault. If they do, they risk lost income and often unwanted confrontation.

Rural women using public transport in Mozambique. Image credit: Ton Rulkens //CC BY-SA 2.0

In general, however, expanding the ranks of female transportation operators, security officers, and transport planners — and making it more convenient for passengers to report harassment and assault to them — helps to increase the gender sensitivity of transportation.

A key lesson from the Safe Public Transport Programme in Port Moresby has been the role of political leadership. “One of the success factors has been the critical relationship between UN Women and the government,” Soria says. She credits Port Moresby’s governor, who she says has been a strong advocate for combatting gender-based violence. His administration dedicated 2016 to making the city safer for women and girls, and the transport safety program built on that work, as well as an earlier UN Women’s program on safe markets.

Public transport suffers from limited funding. That’s one reason local officials give for embracing technological solutions like CCTV over expensive, more popular steps like increased staffing. Yet not all solutions that women favor need to be costly. Panic buttons on buses, trialed in New Delhi, are one example. Another is personal request stops, offered in Toronto and Montreal, where people are allowed to exit buses at places other than designated stops.

There are also ways to optimize the use of available funds. Loukaitou-Sideris’s research in L.A. has shown that a small proportion of bus stops are hotspots for gender-based crime. Focusing attention on these areas, she says, would be a cost-effective way of targeting resources.

Plus, the limited-funding argument has its weaknesses. The growth in security measures following high-profile cases of transportation-based terrorism shows that where the political will exists to prioritize safety, funds can be accessed. Yes, major terror incidents are dramatic and traumatic. But they’re also rare. Incidents of harassment and assault on transport are not.

“Safe transit for women is good for everybody,” Kash says. More frequent services reduce the overcrowding that facilitates groping; and less crowding, would be very popular among female and male users of the frequently packed buses in Bogotá, she adds. More information about bus and train times allows passengers to more efficiently plan their trips — and women report that reduced waiting times and greater certainty about transport options make them feel safer.

TransMilenio Bus Rapid Transit stations in Bogotá and Soacha, Colombia. Image credit: Gwen Kash // CC BY-NC 2.0

There’s no magic checklist for reducing gendered transit fear, but there are commonalities in the best solutions. Have a variety of women identify their own transportation safety needs and preferred solutions. Make sure groups such as disabled or older women aren’t inadvertently excluded. Get leaders onboard. Make transport professions more gender-balanced. Don’t default to cheaper solutions like CCTV. Respect the power of human presence. Avoid placing financial burdens on low-income women who may need to prioritize other basic needs over their own safety. Remember that buses remain crucial to poorer women, all around the world. Use technology thoughtfully in conjunction with other measures.

Ultimately, though, the most important thing a transport planner can do to improve safety for women is to listen to women and girls. Asking them about their transportation needs and preferences is surprisingly rare—Loukaitou-Sideris refers to this as the “gender gap in mobility.” This neglect can lead to implementing solutions that officials think women want, like attention to safety on buses, when conversations with female passengers might reveal more concern about safety while waiting for buses.

So, first, last, and always: Just talk to women. This isn’t earth-shattering advice. But for women to feel more self-sufficient, and freer to move around their own cities, it’s the only option.

This piece was originally published at How We Get To Next and is reposted here with permission.

Some rights reserved Licence Creative Commons

Photo: M01229

First, highlights from International Women’s Day

The four women who organized the historic Jan. 21st Women’s March on Washington were arrested in New York at a Day Without A Woman rally. Along with several other protesters, they were seized not far from Trump Hotel near Columbus Circle after sitting peacefully in the street and causing a disruption in traffic. The 13 women were released Wednesday night, claiming that they had spent their detainment singing gospel songs like “We Shall Overcome” through the halls of the NYPD’s 7th precinct. [TIME]

Some of us have been arrested #DayWithoutAWoman pic.twitter.com/WSYVdrQjxA

— Women's March (@womensmarch) March 8, 2017

Massive demonstrations happened around the world yesterday. The activists numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Besides the United States, rallies happened in Nigeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen, Macedonia and Pakistan. TIME put together a round-up video, which you can view here.

A congressman from Missouri is concerned that women are paying a tax on tanning. Rep. Jason Smith claimed that under Obamacare women are required to pay taxes on their tanning salon visits. He wondered aloud: why, on International Women’s Day especially, was he the only one bringing this up? A congresswoman from Washington, Rep. Suzan Delbene, suggested that it may be because healthcare is a more pressing issue for American women today. [Huffington Post]

Respecting our environment

There’s a ‘super bloom’ happening in California right now. Specifically in Southern California’s Anza-Borrego Desert State Park where desert lilies, poppies, dune primrose, sunflowers, desert dandelions and other wildflowers are all blooming in unison. California received a lot of rain this winter which should make the super bloom’s climax even more vibrant. [CNN]

A post shared by J and S, and Hudson Dog! (@we_lexplore) on Mar 9, 2017 at 8:01am PST

China is emerging as a leader in addressing climate change. China canceled 104 coal-fired plants back in 2014 and in 2016, experienced a 4.7 percent drop in coal consumption as a result. The country is energetically onboard with the Paris Agreement and has begun a $474 billion renewable energy program — a majority of the program’s budget will go into renewable fuel by 2020. [Futurism] Read more like this: The protests that changed us

KENTUCKY MAY BE best known for its bourbon, some incredibly delicious fried chicken, and the Kentucky Derby — and rightfully so. But there’s so much more going on in the Bluegrass State. This is a place where you can paddle Class V rapids and go spelunking through the world’s most extensive cave system. It’s a state full of buzzing towns and landscapes that seem practically made for exploration on horseback.

In a nutshell, Kentucky is as beautiful as it is diverse. Here are 14 examples of both, shots that will inspire you and help you figure out exactly what you want to do on your trip. 1

Be awed by nature at Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area

Split between Kentucky and Tennessee and encompassing 125,000 acres of the Cumberland Plateau, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area is stuffed full of beautiful gorges and sandstone bluffs. And the ways to experience it are equally abundant. Paddle rapids that can reach Class IV-V in the wet season, explore 180+ miles of horse trails, or maybe take on the five International Mountain Bike Association mountain bike trails officially designated as “Epic.” Go hiking. Go fishing. Do it all.Photo: Kentucky Tourism


Taste all the bourbon at Kentucky's signature distilleries

Since the late 18th century, Americans have been turning grain mash into super smooth bourbon. 95% of it is distilled, aged, and bottled right here in the Bluegrass State. Follow the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® to visit ten great distilleries, including Maker’s Mark in Loretto and Woodford Reserve in Versailles. You’ll be shown through the process, learn the recipes, and, yes, you’ll get to enjoy after-tour tastings. Photo: Kentucky Tourism


See this stunning part of the world on horseback

Kentucky has made a name for itself as one of the best places for breeding thoroughbred horses, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Bluegrass State is home to world-class horseback riding opportunities all year round. There are hundreds of miles of equestrian trails here, and plenty of great outfitters will take you out on an adventure, whatever your skill level. The photo above was taken at Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area.Photo: Kentucky Tourism

Learn more about: Horseback Riding in Kentucky 4

Explore the depths of Mammoth Cave

The world's longest known cave system is right here in Kentucky. Mammoth Cave is made up of more than 400 miles of limestone chambers and labyrinths, and that figure grows every year as new tunnels get discovered. Visit on a short, ranger-led tour, or go whole hog on the six-hour Wild Cave Tour, where you’ll squeeze through tiny passages, crawl through mud, and do some free climbing. But there’s much more to this 52,830-acre national park than what lurks beneath. Above ground, there’s the Green River and lots of beautiful backcountry camping spots. That means serious potential for overnight paddling trips. Photo: Kentucky Tourism


Experience the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs

The Kentucky Derby takes place in Louisville on the first Saturday of every May, but if you can’t be in town for "The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports," no matter—every day is Derby Day at the Kentucky Derby Museum, home to a 360-degree sound and visual immersion into the Triple Crown experience. The museum also hosts historic walking tours of Churchill Downs Racetrack, and it has its own thoroughbred and miniature horse for you to say hi to!Photo: Kentucky Tourism


Try pretty much any outdoor adventure you can think of

Kentucky has no shortage of adventure activities. As well as hiking, biking, spelunking, and kayaking, the state’s opportunities for rock climbing and bouldering are extensive. Head above the treetops at Red River Gorge Geological Area for world-renowned climbing routes up the limestone.Photo: Kentucky Tourism


Get out on the water, Kentucky style

Home to thousands of miles of rivers and dozens of fishing and boating lakes, Kentucky has more navigable water than any other state in the Lower 48. In fact, it has even more freshwater shoreline than all of Florida's coast. You can explore all that water by canoe or kayak, by jumping in gorgeous hidden swimming holes, or by fishing for trout in the rivers. You can even go scuba diving: Head to Lake Cumberland—among the largest lakes in the state—to explore its watery underworld of fallen trees, freshwater fish, and even abandoned towns. Photo: Kentucky Tourism


Party at all the bluegrass festivals

Bluegrass music has been described as “a chance to get back to yourself, a chance to meet old friends and make new ones. A chance to celebrate life.” It’s an apt description—and one that could apply to the Bluegrass State in general. The music comes to life at festivals taking place across Kentucky every summer. Look out for June’s ROMP (River of Music Party) for four days of bluegrass celebrations in Owensboro, and July’s Forecastle Festival in Louisville, which celebrates all kinds of music and art.Photo: Kentucky Tourism


Drop in on some beautiful colts at Kentucky Horse Park

Kentucky Horse Park is the place to learn all about horses. A real working horse farm, it's home to the International Museum of the Horse—a Smithsonian Institution affiliate that explores the 55-million-year-old history of horses and their impact on human civilization. The American Saddlebred Museum is also here, and has a library of 2,400 volumes, used for genealogical research. Oh, and that film—Rein of Nobility—playing in the visitor center as you walk in? It’s narrated by William Shatner. Turns out he’s a horseman and a film star. Photo: Kentucky Tourism

Learn more about: Music and Art in Kentucky 10

Visit the biggest, and most beautiful, Shaker village in the country

The Kentucky Shakers isn’t the name of a super cool band (though perhaps it should be?). Between 1805 and 1910, Kentucky was actually home to one of the largest Shaker communities in the States. Today, you can visit the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, where there are dozens of original, restored buildings to visit, heritage craft demonstrations to watch, 40 miles of trails to explore, an inn to stay the night, and delicious, fresh meals to order. Oh, and there are stand-up paddleboard yoga classes, too... That doesn’t sound all that Shaker, but it definitely sounds like fun.Photo: Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill


Take the ultimate selfie at Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory

Baseball is such a big part of American history and culture that you really don’t have to be a huge sports fan to enjoy a visit to Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. This company has been making baseball bats since 1884, and continues to do so as the very proud makers of the Official Bat of Major League Baseball. As well as going on a lively guided tour of the facility, you’ll want to take a selfie outside the building with the world’s biggest bat. It’s seriously huge. Think 120 feet huge!Photo: Louisville Slugger Museum


Do the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour®

Picking up where the Kentucky Bourbon Tour® leaves off, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour® focuses on craft or micro-distilleries around the state. You could easily spend four or five days dipping in and out of the locales that make up the route. Stay in historic bed & breakfasts, or even Bourbon-themed hotels, and get to know the likes of Newport’s New Riff Distillery and Lebanon’s Limestone Branch Distillery. Photo: Kentucky Tourism


Check out the Muhammad Ali Center

Founded by Muhammad and his wife, Lonnie, the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville’s historic downtown contains three stories of award-winning exhibits dedicated to the life of the World’s Greatest. Described as “a journey into the heart of a champion,” there’s plenty to do and experience here—from hands-on boxing fun to art galleries to important Civil Rights-era footage.Photo: Muhammad Ali Center


Head to the National Corvette Museum

Kentucky’s official car is produced in Bowling Green, and the National Corvette Museum is home to over 80 beautiful Corvettes to admire. While you’re here, you’ll also want to take a lap — or just watch the action at — NCM Motorsports Park.Photo: Kentucky Tourism

A ban implemented by the United States on laptops and tablets being carried in cabins on flights from certain countries may soon be extended to include services from the UK and Europe to the US.

European and American officials are preparing to discuss the new rules, which apply to electronic gadgets larger than a smartphone.

Which devices are banned

Security concerns led to the US banning the devices from cabins on flights from a number of Middle Eastern countries in March.

A similar British ban that followed applies to flights to the UK from six countries: Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Tunisia.

International airports affected by electronics ban

Here are 10 reasons why banishing laptops to the hold is a bad idea.

1. Lithium batteries can ignite and cause a fire

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is responsible for safe flying in 32 countries, states that personal electronic devices (PED) carry a fire risk due to their lithium batteries.

E-cigarettes are also powered by lithium batteries and are already prohibited from checked baggage by both the US Department of Transportation and the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority due to their volatility.

"As the range of products using batteries grows, the potential for in-flight issues increases," said the Australian Transport Safety Bureau recently, following an incident where the batteries in a woman’s headphones caught fire.

secrets of air travel

2. There is a greater risk of a fire going unnoticed in the hold

"If laptops do pose a threat, they shouldn’t be anywhere on aircraft, not just in the hold," security expert Philip Baum told Telegraph Travel.

The EASA has recommended that personal electronic devices should preferably be carried inside passenger cabins so that any problems could be identified and dealt with. It warned: "When the carriage of PEDs in the cabin is not allowed, it leads to a significant increase of the number of PEDs in the cargo compartment. Certain precautions should therefore be observed to mitigate the risk of accidental fire in the cargo hold."

"Even if lithium-ion batteries are put in checked luggage, there is still a fire risk associated with them," agreed Mike Zimmerman, CEO and Founder of Ionic Materials, a company that develops battery materials. "In fact, having people pack electronic devices in checked bags could prove to be more harmful than allowing passengers to carry them on the plane, since there would be no way to extinguish a fire in the cargo hold."

Laurie Price, former Aviation Advisor to the Transport Select Committee and a private pilot, told the Independent: "We have had numerous incidents of devices with lithium batteries suddenly bursting into flames. If that is in the aircraft cabin, it can be dealt with. If in the aircraft hold, the fire-suppression systems are unlikely to be able to contain it and there is a lot of material to exacerbate such fires including other baggage, the aircraft structure, fuel and systems in an area which is inaccessible in flight. The consequences could be catastrophic."

3. Switching devices off won’t help either

Terrorists - or in fact anyone - can very simply programme their laptop to "wake up" at a certain time, making attempts by security staff to ensure that devices are switched off when put in the hold pointless.

worlds best airports

4. Queues at airports might grow

Heathrow Airport in particular is likely to be affected by increased security checks, as it’s here that many flights to the US depart from, with New York being one of the airport's most popular destinations. If every US-bound flight ends up requiring extra checks, passengers appear likely to spend longer queuing at the airport.

Top 10 | UK’s busiest airports

5. The ban could spark a rise in air rage

Baum believes the additional security restrictions could increase the number of unruly passengers on flights. He added: "What we should be doing is concentrating more on people’s behaviour and negative intent rather than just adding more and more items to prohibitive lists, especially if they pose no threat."

While he does not support the ban, he warned that the measures now need to be followed through. "If you don’t implement the security controls, it’s even more ridiculous. The only people who will suffer will be law-abiding citizens," he said. "Traditionally it’s very hard to retract measures that are put in place, but God forbid this should become the international standard."

The ban could spark a rise in air rageThe ban could spark a rise in air rageCredit:Kurganov Aleksandr +79033161409/Aleksandr Kurganov

6. Insurance cover for gadgets might be invalidated

Thousands of travellers face having insurance cover for their expensive gadgets invalidated by the ban, though many companies have now rushed to update the policies they offer to include damage to, or the loss of, items placed in the hold.

Air passengers are advised to check with their insurance company before they travel and ask specifically whether their current policy covers them for items carried in the hold. If not, they can ask about an “extension, or a policy that does.

7. Business travellers might be dissuaded from flying

If they can’t work on a flight, business travellers - whose fares are mostly paid for by their employers - may end up flying less.

This in turn might have a serious negative impact on transatlantic travel, suggested a spokeswoman for travel booking company Travelzoo.

"This time last year, nearly 20 per cent of all visits in May from the UK to the US were business related," she added. "According to reports business travellers spent $293 billion dollars in the US last year, $47 billion more than was contributed by tourists visiting the country."

Business travellers might be dissuaded from flyingBusiness travellers might be dissuaded from flyingCredit:Getty/Jason Dewey

8. Others might also be put off travelling

A recent poll from Holiday Extras suggested that more than a third of Britons questioned would reconsider their flight plans if they were forced to be without their devices during the journey. Almost a fifth of those surveyed (18 per cent) said that concerns about the safety of their devices would stop them from flying.

9. Falling income might make airlines put up fares

"If fewer people - especially business people - travelled as a result of a laptop ban, then it is possible that it might eventually lead to higher fares or a reduction in services," said Nick Trend, our consumer advice expert.

"But obviously, it would entirely depend on the extent of the fall in passenger numbers. And it's worth remembering that the impact on airlines and fares would be far greater if an aircraft was actually brought down by a laptop bomb operated by a passenger."

Could higher airfares be the final result?Could higher airfares be the final result?Credit:www.alamy.com/Shih-Hao Liao / Alamy Stock Photo

10. Free airline laptops carry their own risks

Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways have found a way around the ban, for business-class passengers at least, and have been lending them laptops for free as they board. Both also reduced the cost of their Wi-Fi on board.

However, as a Travelzoo spokeswoman noted: "This is not a long term solution and poses many issues for travellers, and their businesses, around data protection and security."

There is some doubt also as to whether carriers affected by the UK restrictions will follow suit and offer devices to passengers.

We contacted several carriers, including British Airways and Thomas Cook, but none could confirm whether free iPads or laptops were on the cards.

Best of | Travel Truths

BLOOMBERG collected information about 163 countries in the world to create the Bloomberg Global Health Index and rank and map these countries from the healthiest to the least healthy. The index was based on data such as “life expectancy, causes of death and health risks ranging from high blood pressure and tobacco use to malnutrition and the availability of clean water”, explain Wei Lu and Vincent DelGuidice for Bloomberg Markets.  

healthiest countries

Photo: Bloomberg markets

The results: Italians are in incredible shape and score a health index of 93.11 while the US rank 34 out of 50 (behind Costa Rica, Lebanon, and Cuba) with an index of 73.05.

healthiest countries

Photo: Bloomberg markets

Although the Mediterranean diet may have something to do with the good health index of Italy, Greece, Malta, and Cyprus (they are all featured in the top 50), eating habits don’t explain why Iceland, Switzerland, Singapore and Australia are in the top 5 — but access to high-quality healthcare just might.

How does your country rank in this chart? Let us know by leaving a comment. More like this: Mapped: World life expectancy changes from 1950 to 2100

Lebanon (Bradt Travel Guide)

Paul Doyle

Although smaller than the state of Connecticut, Lebanon offers extraordinary diversity. Here some of the oldest human settlements in the world at the Phoenician ports of TyreSidon, and Byblos sit alongside modern Beirut, popular for its cuisine, eclectic nightlife, and mosaic of peoples. In Lebanon's second city, Tripoli, busy medieval souks are watched over by a vast Crusader castle. Outside the city, snow-capped mountains and the lush Qadisha Valley with its snaking river and waterfalls provide entertainment for skiers and hikers, while the Mediterranean Sea draws sun and watersports enthusiasts. Bradt's Lebanon provides detailed cultural and practical information to this increasingly popular destination. It also provides in-depth historical and religious background enabling visitors to travel with awareness and sensitivity.

Lebanon (Bradt Travel Guide)

Paul Doyle

House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East

Anthony Shadid

“Wonderful . . . One of the finest memoirs I’ve read.” — Philip Caputo, Washington PostIn the summer of 2006, racing through Lebanon to report on the Israeli invasion, Anthony Shadid found himself in his family’s ancestral hometown of Marjayoun. There, he discovered his great-grandfather’s once magnificent estate in near ruins, devastated by war. One year later, Shadid returned to Marjayoun, not to chronicle the violence, but to rebuild in its wake.So begins the story of a battle-scarred home and a journalist’s wounded spirit, and of how reconstructing the one came to fortify the other. In this bittersweet and resonant memoir, Shadid creates a mosaic of past and present, tracing the house’s renewal alongside the history of his family’s flight from Lebanon and resettlement in America around the turn of the twentieth century. In the process, he memorializes a lost world and provides profound insights into a shifting Middle East. This paperback edition includes an afterword by the journalist Nada Bakri, Anthony Shadid’s wife, reflecting on his legacy.“A poignant dedication to family, to home, and to history . . . Breathtaking.” — San Francisco Chronicle“Entertaining, informative, and deeply moving . . . House of Stone will stand a long time, for those fortunate enough to read it.” — Telegraph (London)

Lonely Planet Syria & Lebanon (Lonely Planet Syria and Lebanon) (Multi Country Travel Guide)

Terry Carter

Discover Syria & LebanonSmile your thanks when the elderly caretaker of a Damascus house opens the door just for youTest-drive your Arabic as you fly through the Syrian desert in a 1960s Dodge taxiWhat conflict? Find your peace hiking amid waterfalls, hermitages and monasteries in Lebanon's gorgeous Qadisha ValleyLather up with olive oil soap from Aleppo's famous souq - and learn how to pick one fit for a queenIn This Guide:Three authors, 140 days of on-the-road research, one international conflict, countless invitations to teaAsk the archaeologist: all your questions on Syria's stunning ruins answered by a specialistGet the local lowdown: special color chapter featuring travel tips from Syrians and Lebanese

Lebanon Map (Road Maps)

Explorer Publishing

The new Lebanon Road Map is the most accurate and comprehensive map of Lebanon, and the best way to find your way around the country.

With a clean, easy-to-read design, the whole of Lebanon is covered on one large-scale map. Using the most up-to-date mapping available, it shows all cities, towns and villages, and key landmarks such as hotels, airports and markets, with a handy directory of map references so you can easily find your way about.

Syria, Lebanon = Syrie, Liban = Syrien, Libanon = Sziria, Libanon (Country Map)


Folded road and travel map in color. Scale 1:1,000,000. Distinguishes roads ranging from motorways to dirt roads. Legend includes state boundaries, border crossings, provincial boundaries, regions of Palestinian Autonomy, cease-fire lines, salt lakes, wells, stony deserts, lava fields, forests, scenic views, holiday resorts, gas stations, international airports, airfields, castles, ruins, historic ruins, churches, monasteries, mosques, places of interest, hotels, camping sites, motels, beaches, watersports facilities. Includes inset of Beirut, Damascus, Halab, Plan of the antiquities of Palmyra. Extensive index on back of map.

Lebanon Handbook (Footprint Handbooks)

Jessica Lee

Home to Roman temples, mighty castles, ancient souks, steaming hammams, towering mountains, thumping nightclubs, and delicious food, Lebanon has opened its hospitable arms to the traveler. Footprint's brand-new guide to this ancient land boasts in-depth background to the country's rich and complex history, politics, and culture, as well as detailed, up-to-date practical information on everything from visa requirements to hotels, bars, and restaurants, plus comprehensive details on any number of outdoor activities from skiing to paragliding. It is the perfect companion for the adventurous traveler wanting to get the most out of this resurgent destination.

Beirut, 2nd edition: Includes Baalbek, Byblos, Chouf Mountains, Mount Lebanon (Footprint Focus)

Jessica Lee

Go for an early morning walk along the Corniche – Beirut’s seaside promenade – and watch as the Mediterranean Sea laps against the rocks while the summits of Mount Lebanon dominate the horizon to the east. Enjoy a strong black coffee here before hitting Hamra to experience Beirut’s bustling commercial side or the old Central District to admire the elegantly restored Ottoman and French-colonial buildings – a demonstration of Beirut’s determination to become the ‘Paris of the East’ once again. Footprintfocus Beirut features practical advice on getting to and around this up-and-coming city, along with fascinating insights into Beirut’s culture and history.

• Essentials section with practical advice on getting there and around.

• Highlights maps of the region so you know what not to miss.

• Comprehensive, up-to-date listings of where to eat, drink and sleep.

• Detailed street maps for Beirut and key destinations.

• Slim enough to fit in your pocket.

Loaded with advice and information on how to get around, this concise Footprintfocus guide will help you get the most out of Beirut without weighing you down.The content of Footprintfocus Beirut guide has been extracted from Footprint’s Lebanon Handbook.

AVOID NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL; see also regional advisories.

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice. In the event of a crisis situation that requires evacuation, the Government of Canada’s policy is to provide safe transportation to the closest safe location. The Government of Canada will assist you in leaving a country or a region as a last resort, when all means of commercial or personal transportation have been exhausted. This service is provided on a cost-recovery basis. Onward travel is at your personal expense. Situations vary from one location to another, and there may be constraints on government resources that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide assistance, particularly in countries or regions where the potential for violent conflict or political instability is high. 

All areas within 10 km of the border with Syria and for the northern Bekaa Valley, from Rayak northward to the Syrian border (see Advisory

There have been numerous incidents in the border regions between Lebanon and Syria as a result of the conflict in Syria. Incursions and shelling of Lebanese villages by the Syrian military and the Free Syrian Army have occurred on numerous occasions resulting in deaths and injuries. Sectarian tensions have also increased in border areas resulting in many instances of kidnapping and violent clashes.

The Lebanon-Syria border is not clearly delineated in all areas. 

Tripoli (see Advisory)  

Tripoli is vulnerable to inter-communal violence. The use of heavy weapons (machine guns, grenades and rocket-propelled grenades) and sniper activity occur daily, resulting in several deaths and injuries. The Lebanese army is routinely deployed to restore order and has been authorized to use lethal force. The security situation in Tripoli remains unpredictable and could change without notice. Exercise caution, avoid affected areas, monitor local news reports and follow the advice of local authorities. 

Southern suburbs of Beirut (see Advisory

On January 21, 2014, a car bomb exploded in the Dahieh neighbourhood of Haret Hreik, causing at least 5 deaths and injuries. On January 2, a large explosion in the same area caused 5 deaths. On May 26, two rockets were fired at the southern suburbs of Beirut, and on July 9, a car bomb detonated in Bir Abed. Both incidents caused injuries and material damage. On August 15, a large explosion caused by a car bomb in Dahieh resulted in deaths and injuries.

Similar attacks could occur. Road blocks and demonstrations are also likely, and the latter may turn violent without notice. Monitor local news reports and follow the advice of local authorities.

Although the suburb of Bir Hassan is excluded from our regional Advisory, Iranian interests in the neighbourhood have been subject to sporadic attacks since November 2013. On November 19, 2013, twin suicide attacks next to the Iranian embassy caused deaths, injuries, and extensive material damage. Remain aware of your surroundings at all times if you are in Bir Hassan. 

Areas south of the Litani River, near the border with Israel (see Advisory)

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) still maintains additional peacekeepers south of the Litani as a result of the 2006 conflict. This region remains highly militarized and volatile. Rocket launches occasionally occur, provoking retaliatory attacks in this region and elsewhere in Lebanon, and causing injury and death.  

Forces other than the Lebanese authorities exert significant control over parts of this region. This may delay or prevent Canadian officials from providing assistance to citizens in these areas.

Lebanon and Israel have not agreed on an international border. The “Blue Line” enforced by the United Nations (UN) and separating the two countries has not been fully demarcated, and areas adjacent to it are often heavily mined. The areas of Ghajar, Kfarshouba Hills and Chebaa Farms remain under dispute. 

Palestinian refugee camps (see Advisory)

The security situation in these areas remains tense and unpredictable. Incidents of violence are a frequent occurrence in some camps, particularly the Ein El Helwe camp near Sidon and the Beddawi camp near Tripoli.  

As Palestinian camps are often located close to urban centres and are not always visibly demarcated, exercise caution and remain aware of your whereabouts at all times in order to avoid unknowingly entering a camp. 

Area of Abra in the city of Saïda (see Advisory)

Violent clashes between the Lebanese Armed Forces and local militias have been occurring in the area of Abra, in the city of Saïda, since June 22, 2013. The use of heavy weapons (machine guns, grenades and rocket-propelled grenades) has been reported, as well as sniper activity in Abra and other parts of Saïda, resulting in numerous deaths and injuries. Violence has, from time to time, spilled over to other parts of Saïda. Exercise caution, avoid affected areas, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local news reports. 


Heightened tensions throughout the region, coupled with an increased global terrorist threat, may put you at greater risk. There is currently a high threat of terrorist attacks, which could occur at any time throughout Lebanon. Bystanders have been killed in previous attacks. 

Bombings, grenade attacks, political assassinations, gun battles, targeted vehicle explosions and shelling, which have been reported in commercial and residential districts in and around Beirut, have caused numerous deaths and injuries in recent years. Groups supporting either side in the Syrian conflict, senior political figures, and key security officials in Lebanon continue to be the main targets of attacks.

Security forces are on high alert following a series of terrorist attacks. On December 27, 2013, a car bomb exploded in downtown Beirut, targeting the car of Lebanon’s former Finance Minister, Mohammed Chatah. The blast killed 5 people, including Dr. Chatah, and injured over 70 others. Exercise caution, avoid crowds and large gatherings, monitor local news reports, and follow the advice of local authorities. Unofficial road barricades and checkpoints have also been reported.

UN convoys were attacked on several occasions in 2011 and many peacekeepers were injured. Incidents can occur anywhere without warning, including in public places and residential areas.


Multiple instances of foreigners being held against their will have been reported in Lebanon recently, mostly in the Bekaa Valley, the southern suburbs of Beirut and the border regions between Lebanon and Syria. Maintain a high level of vigilance at all times.


Planned and spontaneous demonstrations related to the domestic and regional situation regularly occur in Lebanon. While there have been no reports of injuries, some demonstrations have led to roadblocks, the burning of tires, and the firing of weapons. In some instances, the Lebanese Armed Forces have erected checkpoints to manage protests. 

The road to the airport is subject to sporadic closure due to various factors including local sectarian clashes, civil unrest in Syria and protests against government policies. Access to the airport may be unavailable for extended periods if the security situation deteriorates. 

Monitor current developments closely when travelling within Lebanon, and be aware that local conditions may change rapidly and without warning, compromising mobility and safety. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media. You should also observe all warnings issued by Lebanese authorities and take appropriate precautions. 

Special Tribunal for Lebanon 

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), the international body investigating the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, confirmed and delivered an indictment to the Lebanese government. Further developments related to the ongoing investigation may lead to unrest. 

Monitor media reports pertaining to the STL and keep informed of any political and security developments. 


Landmines and unexploded ordnance continue to pose a significant threat, particularly in the south, despite progress in demining activities. Be aware of posted landmine warnings, stay on paved roads, and avoid walking or driving cross-country. More recently, various reports have indicated that Syrian troops planted landmines along the northern border with Lebanon.


The crime rate is moderate. Petty crime, car thefts and residential break-ins occur. Exercise normal safety precautions. 

Foreigners using shared taxis have been victims of armed robberies in some Beirut neighbourhoods. Where possible, pre-arrange transportation instead of hailing taxis in the street.


Congestion and aggressive driving are a serious problem throughout the country, and drivers have little regard for traffic laws. Road accidents causing injury or death are common in Lebanon. At night, road lighting is sporadic and unreliable in urban areas and virtually non-existent in rural areas. Many drivers use their high beams exclusively, often creating a serious hazard due to blinding glare. Mountain roads may be subject to fog, heavy snow, ice and other hazardous conditions during winter months. 

Lebanese drivers are unaccustomed to sharing the road with bicycles. Exercise great caution when cycling. 

Pedestrians should exercise great caution at all times. 

Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards. 

General safety information

On august 10, 2012, the United States (U.S.) embassy in Beirut indicated to U.S. citizens that it had received reports of an increased possibility of attacks against U.S. citizens in Lebanon. Possible threats include kidnapping, the potential for an upsurge in violence, the escalation of family or neighbourhood disputes, as well as U.S. citizens being the target of terrorist attacks in Lebanon. 

Ensure that personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure. Keep photocopies of all your documents in safekeeping facilities. 

There is a highly visible security presence throughout the country. Carry all of your personal documentation with you and obey the instructions of security personnel. 

Forces other than the Lebanese authorities exert a large amount of control in some areas. Most notably, Hezbollah maintains a presence in the southern suburbs of Beirut, southern Lebanon and several other areas, including the Bekaa Valley. This may delay or prevent Canadian officials from providing assistance to Canadians in these areas.

Emergency services 

Dial (01) 343-286 to reach the Tourist Police.


Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.


Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.


Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.


There is a risk of polio in this country. Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up-to-date.


Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from a rabid animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).


Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required if you are coming from a country where yellow fever occurs.
  • Vaccination is not recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in Western Asia, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Western Asia. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!

Travellers' diarrhea
  • Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
  • Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
  • The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.


Insects and Illness

In some areas in Western Asia, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, malaria, Rift Valley fever, and West Nile virus.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.



There is no risk of malaria in this country.


Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in Western Asia, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.

Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Modern medical care and medicines are widely available in Beirut and surrounding areas. Such facilities are not always available in outlying areas. Medical services can be very expensive, and payment in advance is often required.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

An International Driving Permit is recommended.

Illegal or restricted activities

It is prohibited to photograph or videotape government buildings or military personnel, equipment and installations. Taking photographs in areas with a Hezbollah presence has led to the detention and questioning of Canadians in the past. In such situations, Canadian officials may face delays and obstacles in providing assistance.

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines. Individuals charged with drug offences can expect to remain in jail and to be denied bail while judicial authorities prepare their case for prosecution. This process may take months or years.

Homosexual activity is illegal.

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is not legally recognized, which may limit the ability of Canadian officials to provide consular services. You should travel using your Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times. Canadians of Lebanese descent carrying Lebanese identification documents will be treated as Lebanese nationals by security officials.

Consult our publication entitled Dual Citizenship: What You Need to Know for more information.

Child custody

In cases where one or more family members hold Lebanese citizenship, parents should consider the risks before their children travel to Lebanon. At the request of family members, Lebanese authorities can prevent children from leaving Lebanon (a procedure known as a “stop order”). Canadian children who are registered as Lebanese citizens will be treated as Lebanese nationals. Lebanon is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, and Canadian custody documents are not recognized in Lebanon.

Dress and behaviour

The dress code in Lebanon is more relaxed than in most countries in the Middle East. However, you should dress conservatively, behave discreetly, and respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities.

Sleeveless garments and shorts may be acceptable at most locations but should be avoided when visiting sites of religious significance, such as churches and mosques, and when travelling in conservative areas of the country.


The currency is the Lebanese pound (LBP). Most establishments will accept payment in U.S. dollars but may return change in Lebanese pounds. Credit cards are widely accepted in hotels, restaurants and shops. Traveller’s cheques are not accepted and will not be changed by local financial institutions.

Automated banking machines (ABMs) are widely available in Lebanon. Use ABMs located inside, or adjacent to, bank branches for greater security and to be able to retrieve a lost card faster.


Lebanon is located in a seismic zone. There have been several minor earthquakes in recent years.

Dust storms and sandstorms frequently occur.

In the winter months, mountain roads, including the main Beirut-Damascus highway, may be temporarily blocked or become impassable due to heavy snowfalls.