How to travel to complicated places. A journey to Lebanon. (2023)

KADISHA VALLEY, LEBANON — First, we wait for the wind. We sat down on the edge of a mountaintop. The air was still. We were harnessed in to a large parasail wing, spread out on the rock behind us. It would be first time running off the side of a mountain in the belief that a sail would carry me. I expected to be afraid and I sat there looking out over the valley waiting for the fear to come in.

Instead, I saw below me the olive trees and apple orchards. I saw large patches of purple wildflowers spilling down the valley. And I saw the Cedars of God — the oldest cedars in the world, some of them thousands of years distant and mentioned in the Bible.

Without warning, the wind came. It grabbed the sail and everyone around me started yelling, “Run! Run!” Something about the yelling, the whoosh of the sail, the disorientation of being 6,000 of miles from home, there was no time to think or feel. I ran. One, two, three steps and suddenly there was no ground below me for a fourth footfall.

There was a moment of shock and then a deep exhale into the quiet of flying. The weight of Lebanon fell away— all the suffering we had witnessed, all the heaviness of history in this place that has always been inhabited, all of it let go of me for a moment as I looked down at the cedars.

Over the years, I’ve been to so many places that are the object of famous photographs. And as you stand there, looking up at the famous trees of Madagascar or the bears catching salmon over the waterfall in Alaska, you notice the angle of the photos. And you see the things that everyone crops out. The railings and signage and T-shirt stands are cropped out. The other tourists don’t make the photo.

Next to the house that Grant Wood painted into the background of American Gothic, there are trailers. But I’ve never seen them in any photograph and I didn’t include them in mine either.

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So I was surprised when I looked down at the famous Cedars of God to see that there weren’t many left. There was a small patch in the lap of the valley, preserved inside a fence to be admired from a series of walking trails full of other people.

No photo I had seen showed what centuries of shipping cedar to the rest of the world has done. The surrounding hills are brown and bare, which makes the survival of one 3,000-year-old tree in the mist all the more magical.

There’s effort underway to reforest the cedars. You can see the lines of them taking root, visible from the air.

The wind started to let go of us and we turned toward an open field to land.

As quickly as it started, the flight was over. One foot landed and then the other. I ran a few steps and then stopped. Gravity pulled at the harness on my shoulders and I unclipped it. It fell to the ground. The earth held onto me. I felt the clumsiness of my own body again, resenting each plodding footfall because now I knew what it felt like to fly.

When I planned this summer trip, jumping off a mountain and flying over the Cedars of God was going to be a big adventure of our two weeks there. Every adventure needs an arc and I placed it in the middle, thinking it would be the crux of our story— the thing we would anticipate until it happened and then the thing we would celebrate in the days after.

But no life and no trip can be so easily constructed.

It’s impossible to predict what will happen and what you’ll remember when you visit a place like Lebanon. This is the land of Canaan, after all. This is the place I grew up reading about in the margins of the Bible. They say Jonah is buried here. They say Paul slept here on his way to Rome. They say Jesus performed a miracle on that hillside.

How to travel to complicated places. A journey to Lebanon. (2)

Why go to Lebanon?

Lebanon sounds like generators, as people have long stopped relying on the official electrical grid. It sounds like the insect buzz of heat as the sun beats down on the rocks and sand next to the turquoise sea. It sounds like men yelling the names and prices of vegetables in the market.

It tastes like the pool of local olive oil poured over hummus made fresh that morning. And like coffee strong enough that it leaves grounds in the bottom of your cup, just enough for the woman who poured it for you to look down and tell your future.

I came to Lebanon in search of a life lesson. The Lebanese people are famous for their resiliency. They are known for their hunger for living. Despite the fact that the word Beirut has become shorthand for a place that is battered, the reputation is that Lebanese people gather despite it all for long tables of the best food you will have anywhere in the world. They party late into the warm Mediterranean night.

After shaking off the scales of the pandemic, emerging from a couple stressful years, I was hoping to understand how they could do it— enjoy life even as the walls crumble.

But how much can a people take? How much forgiveness and resilient joy can we demand of the Lebanese people—a port explosion, a global pandemic and a brutal economic crisis? Hyperinflation has robbed the currency of 90 percent of its value and regulations designed to right-size the banks have put a cap on monthly withdrawals, no matter how much money you have.

How to travel to complicated places. A journey to Lebanon. (3)

(Video) The Lebanon they WON'T show you 🇱🇧 (Batroun 4K)

There have been stories in the past few weeks about desperate people robbing banks for their own money and becoming folk heroes.

As I read the stories from here, I felt so much compassion for the Lebanese people. It’s something I might not have been able to feel if I hadn’t been there. And it’s what makes traveling to complicated places worth doing. (In order to travel safely, I worked with James Wilcox at Untamed Borders to find a guide and driver.)

A place is so much more than the headlines about it. Even during a war, people buy bread.

After years of war and crisis, Lebanese people still gather in the evening by the sea in Beirut—swimming and fishing, sharing food and smoking. But I also caught a glimpse of a man sitting on the steps of a gutted building one afternoon, and the look on his face was so empty, a boredom that passed through sadness and anger years ago.

In search of dinner

After we left Beirut, our first stop was Baalbek.

The Palmyra Hotel in the center of that town is the glamour of black-and-white movies. It feels like Casablanca—a place tucked in a corner of the world where adventurers and artists and those running from something find themselves.

It was an easy place to let my imagination wander because my friend Suzanne Pollak and I were the only guests. Perhaps because it’s not too far from the Syrian border. Perhaps because it’s the kind of place where yellow Hezbollah T-shirts and flags hang for sale on roadside stands. Or perhaps because the economic crisis and years of war and bad press have simply made this part of the world uninviting to tourists looking for a first big trip abroad after years of being locked away by the global pandemic.

Whatever the reason, we found ourselves as the lone tourists at the Palmyra.

We were greeted by an older man who had the carriage of a man who cared about every aspect of hospitality. He held a silver tray with glasses of freshly made cherry juice to welcome us.

And once I was in my room, he came to the door with a bowl of almonds— still in the green fuzzy shell, just picked from a tree. He pushed open the French doors onto the balcony and showed me my view. Across the street, as empty as the hotel, were the Roman ruins of the Temple of Jupiter and the Temple of Bacchus, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

On the wall of my room was a framed letter from Jean Cocteau, who had stayed there. And his signature was painted on the wall. It deepened that feeling that this was a place to settle in, one of those international hotels where novels are written.

As evening fell, Suzanne and I ventured out to find some dinner. We were surprised to see the streets of downtown were empty. Metal doors were pulled down and locked over businesses.

The only place that was open was an outdoor garden full of men smoking water pipes.

The place grew silent as we walked in.

The garden was lit by fluorescent bulbs, the kind of white light that is flattering to no one. The ceiling was a trellis of grape vines that formed a covering from the heat of the day and from the dark of the night. A white cat paced the floor in hopes something would fall or a hand would reach down for a head rub. The men occupied a corner, smoking and waiting for the other men to show up after dinner for a night of cards and backgammon and relief from the pressures of the day found in the silence of each other’s company.

It was the ultimate clean, well-lighted place, and the least likely place for two American women to show up asking for something to eat.

The lights buzzed and gave the place a strange atmosphere that was both brightly lit and private.

We sat down at a table in the opposite corner from the men and waited.

I’ve been taking Arabic lessons since the beginning of the year, but my vocabulary and grammar made me sound like a demanding toddler with little understanding of concepts beyond food and water.

The waiter was a teenage boy who was embarrassed when I approached him. I asked if they had food. He said no. I asked if they had water. He said yes. I asked if they had backgammon. They did.

And so Suzanne and I accepted that we would sit in the corner of a man’s cafe, drinking water and playing backgammon.

The only sound in the cafe came from our dice and the clapping of stone pieces moving across the wooden backgammon board. We did not belong in this place. We were interrupting the hours that men spend together away from home. And so, when a man approached our table, I assumed he was asking us to leave.

Instead, in Arabic, he asked if we were hungry. He asked what we wanted to eat. And I threw out some words describing food and he said something about “10 minutes.” He disappeared into the street.

We continued to play backgammon and the men around us started to relax and the hum of conversation returned to the garden.

We sipped our water. The cat curled up at our feet.

The man returned with two Pepsis in glass bottles and one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Roasted chicken and the rice soaked with drippings. Hummus and eggplant. Yogurt and olive oil. Tomatoes and feta. Warm pita. And a pile of French fries.

The men seemed happy that we were eating and the cat waited for some chicken to drop.

The sun went down and the bright white lights overhead cast everything in sharp, shadowless detail. The air was humid and warm.

The tender chicken fell off the bones. We laughed with relief as we savored the dish.

How to travel to complicated places. A journey to Lebanon. (4)

(Video) Travel Guide to Lebanon | Wild Frontiers

An ancient game

Backgammon is a 5,000-year-old game. For all those years, it has done for others what it did for me that night.

After we had eaten all our chicken and fed the cat a little pile of scraps, the man who delivered our meal came back. Without a word, he started setting up the backgammon board across the table from me and handed me one dice to roll to see who would go first.

He had the highest roll, so he started the game.

The wooden board had high sides and at each turn he turned his wrist to the side and threw the dice fast across the board. The sound and the speed added an urgency to the game. And with each move, he slammed the pieces down.

It was obvious he played every day, many times a day. And just like everything in Lebanon, that game felt like it held a thread of all the games that had been played in that country for thousands of years in this very place.

The wonderful thing about any game— a card game, a board game, two people across the tennis court from each other— language doesn’t matter as much. You don’t have to talk, because competition has its own vocabulary.

We laughed and stretched the boundaries of the Arabic I knew to communicate a few things, but mostly we played.

He showed me to hold some pieces back instead of rushing to get them all home. He showed what to keep covered and when to take a risk and he told me how to stack my pieces up to create the biggest challenge for an opponent. He did all of that without speaking.

Years ago, I read a great book about the art of the Japanese tea ceremony. It is learned silently by repeating the motions of the master, over and over. Ever since then, I’ve thought about knowledge that is passed wordlessly— one generation to the next, one culture to the next.

We were having such a good time that we set up the board for a second game and then a third.

At the end of the night, he didn’t offer to walk us home and no one said goodbye as we walked out of the tea garden. We had been welcomed there and were not welcome.

We walked home down the dark, empty streets back to the Palmyra, pleased with ourselves for having achieved something so simple as finding food.

And as we looked back on our trip, we rarely talked about how it felt to jump off the mountain, but we always talked about that night and that meal.

I think about how a travel is what happens when you are on the road, but it is just as much what happens before and after. It’s the months of language lessons and planning. And it’s the echo that follows you after. Like the backgammon games we continue to play on the board I bought in Baalbek.

I now throw my dice with my wrist turned sideways, tossing them fast against the side of the board. I bought a set of stone game pieces in a souk stall in Tripoli to go with my board. They are in a blue velvet box with a tag that says “Made in Syria.” They make a great sound when I slam them down with each move.

The holy valley

Our next step was the Kadisha Valley.

Kadisha means holy in Aramaic. The holy valley. It smells like olive trees growing out of dry, rocky ground. It’s a world of caves and other hidden places where people have been coming for thousands of years to be alone and pray. To enter, you walk down steps that switch back and forth, opening the canyon for a moment so you can see the beautiful world you are entering and then pressing you tight against the wall. The steps are stones placed by hand over the years by and for pilgrims coming to see this holy place.

As you descend, you see a cave high in a cliff and you remember that early Christians came here and lived in the walls of this place— for safety and for spiritual solitude.

Deep in the canyon, the steps disappear and turn into a clear path. The first stop is the home of a hermit, living alone in this valley in the Maronite tradition.

How to travel to complicated places. A journey to Lebanon. (6)

The hermit who lives there now is a retired theology professor from Colombia, who decided he wanted to live the last years of his life as a hermit in Lebanon. Father Dario Escobar, now in his late-80s, has been a hermit in the Maronite tradition in this valley for more than 20 years.

According to a National Geographic interview with Escobar, he had to wait 10 years in Lebanon after presenting himself with the desire to be a hermit there. In those years, he proved his commitment and received the blessing of the church to live a hermit's life at Our Lady of Hawqa Monastery.

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According to the hermetic tradition, he spends 14 hours in prayer. He eats what he grows, what he finds or what he is given. People bring him food some days. He gives them a blessing and asks the football scores.

When we arrived at his home, marked by a wooden door in the side of the mountain, he was not home.

Instead of hiking on, we sat for a moment in the shade of a tree nearby. There was a stone statue of Mary tucked inside a small alcove in the rock.

The woman who was our guide into the valley told us of a day she talked to him. She spoke of the pain in her life and asked for his blessing. He told her to pray for the burden to be lifted, and if it was not, she must accept and embrace the suffering.

Suzanne and I looked at each other. That morning, we sat on the deck of our hotel, looking out over the mountains. I had with me a copy of Khalil Gibran’s book of poems. He grew up in this area and I bought the book so we could read his descriptions of his home as we walked to add a layer to our experience of it.

As we drank our tea, I read aloud the poem called “On Pain.”

“Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain. And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy.”

It was the theme of the day, first the poem and now the memories of our guide.

We hiked on, deeper into the canyon.

The trail is on a continuum of time and tradition.

It’s also part of a trail, built not so long ago, that runs from the north to the south of the entire country.

The Lebanon Mountain Trail is 290 miles and twice a year the Lebanon Mountain Trail Association organizes through-hikes of the entire thing— for your bucket list.

How to travel to complicated places. A journey to Lebanon. (7)

Narrow streets

And if you have a bucket list of amazing places, if you enjoy the awe that comes from visiting jewel box cities like Dubrovnik and Venice but don’t enjoy the crowds, let me introduce you to Sidon. This city is everything I imagined travel would be when I first ventured out into the world.

Imagine wandering down the narrow streets of this walled city. Men are shouting the prices of meat, butchered this morning. Fresh caught fish from the sea are laid out on tables. The walls on both sides of the street rise up, so there’s only a little sunlight that pours down in a stream, shining a spotlight on the men pushing toward the doorway of a baker who has a fresh batch of bread.

The call to prayer fills the mid-morning air and pauses the action for a moment as shop keepers pray and then in a blink everything resumes, loud and frenetic.

It’s a maze of tunnels and alleys. Down one there are shops selling gold bracelets and earrings by weight. Look long enough and you see the women are selling, not buying— a humiliation of the economic collapse.

We have commodified tribes— paying them to dance for us and make us jewelry that we buy off a blanket on the ground. We have turned half the world into trinket shops and package tours and Instagram angel wings.

Half the traveled world is just a reproduction of what once was.

And so, we you see something that is still itself, it’s hard to believe.

How to travel to complicated places. A journey to Lebanon. (8)

Sidon is still itself. We haven’t ruined it yet.

It’s the place I always imagined as a child when I pictured myself wandering the world.

It smells like sheep guts warming in the sun and fish, cigarette smoke, and brewing coffee and sweat and perfume. It feels like the stone streets, worn to a shine by foot traffic for thousands of years. It looks like graffiti written in Arabic across ancient stone walls. It sounds like a thousand voices— the vendor describing the catch of the day, the women arguing over the price of tomatoes, and men sliding their feet back into shoes after an hour of prayer at the mosque. It sounds like three boys squatting close to the ground on a side street, playing a game with two wooden balls tied together by string. It tastes like a busy cafe serving falafel and salty yogurt drink. It tastes like soft candy just made by a man stirring a vat of hot liquid sugar. And as you eat the candy, you listen to the woman who tells you that there is a shrine inside St. Nicholas Orthodox Church right behind her where Paul and Peter are said to have met. (Acts 27:3)

We wandered the alleys and side streets and cut through tunnels. I stopped in a shop full of copper trays and bowls and pitchers. Most of it was covered in dust because who has the extra money to spend these days to buy something decorative. I found a small pot in the corner, used and used for how many years in someone’s kitchen. The handle had been replaced at some point with a bent piece of metal. I bought it, and two copper finger bowls for spices, and two copper bowls meant for drinking coffee. The little pot sits on my back burner of my stove now, the crooked handle hanging over the word Miele. And I bring out the little copper cups when I serve pistachios at cocktail hour— one for the shells. Because, that is travel, too—the years spent with the things you brought back and the way you can still picture the man’s face when you decided not to barter over the $20 he asked for all of it.

The small alleys of Sidon opened up onto a square. A few young men in white T-shirts and jeans stood under a tree in one corner. We sat at a table and drank tea. The second story above the shops all around the square were the balconies of apartments and from most of them hung Palestinian flags.

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I had seen shops that morning selling "I love Palestine" bracelets and seeing the flags I realized how many of the people from the day were not Lebanese, but refugees from across the nearby borders. Like the Tibetans in Nepal, they have been here long enough to have built whole new lives and to have become interwoven with the place —welcome or not.

As we walked out of the walled city, I saw a vegetable stand and the burlap cloth hanging over it as a sun shade had the faded word UNHCR The UN Refugee Agency stamped in blue.

How to travel to complicated places. A journey to Lebanon. (9)

Life is short

This year, I have learned that life is short. And when that idea started to scare me, a friend taught me that time is elastic and you can make a minute last for a very long time and by stretching out the minutes, you stretch out the days and the years. And life becomes long again.

This trip to Lebanon was the first time I traveled with someone. I had always worried that having a travel companion would take something away from the adventure. Instead, as we drove into Lebanon late at night with the windows rolled down and the warm sea air on our faces, I looked at my friend and I realized what a selfish thing it is to keep the world to yourself. And what a gift it is to share it with someone.

On one of our last days in Lebanon, we walked through the streets of Tripoli and decided to stop on the sidewalk for a cup of tea. It wasn’t the most beautiful place to stop, but we decided to take it all in as a way to stretch out the minutes.

We sat in our white plastic chairs and I asked her, “What will you always remember about this place?”

And we went about naming everything we could see and would never forget.

The man placing a sign on top of a pile of apricots he was selling.

The two soldiers standing feet away with guns hanging from their shoulders.

The top floor of a building. There was no glass in the window but a grey-and-white curtain still hung in the frame blowing out into the street and back in again.

Plastic tea cups gathered in a windblown drift against the tire of a bicycle.

A man washed his hands under a faucet next to the mosque.

The walls of every building were obscured by a cobweb of electrical wires.

Nearby, a man sat with a cigarette burning between his fingers as he flipped the pages of a book. He wore white socks and leather loafers with the heels folded his feet so he could slip them on and off. On a stool next to him were two empty coffee cups, a sign that he had been there long before we came and would be there long after we left.

A few days ago, I asked Suzanne what she remembered of that sidewalk in Tripoli. Could she conjure up every detail the way I could? Yes, she said. I remember thosecurtains.

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(Video) My First Day in Beirut, Lebanon 2022 🇱🇧

FAQs

How do you travel around Lebanon? ›

There are many ways to get around in Lebanon using public transportation. The most common ways to get around are by taxi, Uber, Careem (the local system similar to Uber), and service (pronounced servees). Taking a service is akin to carpooling. Instead of a regular taxi fare, you pay 2,000 Lebanese Pounds.

How safe is it to travel to Lebanon? ›

Reconsider travel to Lebanon due to crime, terrorism, armed conflict, civil unrest, kidnapping and Embassy Beirut's limited capacity to provide support to U.S. citizens. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

How long does it take to travel across Lebanon? ›

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 buses, service taxis, taxis and private cars.

Why should I travel to Lebanon? ›

The country is more stable and peaceful than it has been in years. While the U.S. State Department still rates Lebanon as a Reconsider Travel destination, the nation is more stable than it has been in years. The number of tourists traveling to Lebanon, particularly from Europe, has been increasing steadily.

What Lebanon is famous for? ›

Lebanon offers plenty: from ancient Roman ruins, to well-preserved castles, limestone caves, historic Churches and Mosques, beautiful beaches nestled in the Mediterranean Sea, world-renowned Lebanese cuisine, nonstop nightlife and discothèques, to mountainous ski resorts.

Is Lebanon rich? ›

In 2018, the size of the GDP was estimated to be $54.1 billion. Lebanon is the third-highest indebted country in the world in terms of debt-to-GDP ratio.
...
Economy of Lebanon.
Statistics
GDP per capita$4,000 (nominal, 2020.) $12,030 (PPP, 2020.)
GDP by sectoragriculture: 3.9% industry: 13.1% services: 83% (2017 est.)
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Is Lebanese friendly? ›

Lebanon is famous for his nice and very welcoming population : Lebanese are very welcoming and friendly to strangers, they are nice towards each other and they help each other. The comfort and affection that they offer is one of Lebanon's biggest charm.

Is Lebanon safe from war? ›

The Lebanese state has no formal security presence in the camps. Armed clashes between rival groups happen. Violent crime is common.

What should I wear in Lebanon? ›

Depending on where you are and what you are doing in the city, some women may go for skimpy and skin-tight. In contrast, others may be fully covered in an abaya and a hijab (headscarf), with many others falling somewhere in between. Men usually wear Western-style clothing—trousers, shorts, tee-shirts or button-downs.

Is Lebanon safe for students? ›

The situation in Lebanon is complicated, but its capital, Beirut, is relatively safe. It is recommended that you stay in Beirut every night while travelling in the country, not only for safety but also for a wider and more convenient choice of hotels and restaurants.

Is Lebanon a good place to live? ›

Thinking about moving to this community, but wondering if Lebanon is a safe place to live? According to AreaVibes, Lebanon has a crime rate 8% lower than the national average, with a property crime rate 5% lower than average and a violent crime rate 25% lower than average.

How much is a beer in Lebanon? ›

Cost of Living in Lebanon
RestaurantsEdit
Domestic Beer (1 pint draught)3.00$
Imported Beer (12 oz small bottle)5.00$
Cappuccino (regular)3.35$
Coke/Pepsi (12 oz small bottle)1.97$
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How long is Lebanon to Dubai? ›

A one-way nonstop (direct) flight between Beirut and Dubai takes around 3.6 hours. What is the flight distance between Beirut and Dubai? The flight distance between Beirut and Dubai is 2151 km.

Is Lebanon a good place to travel? ›

Lebanon is the safest country in the Middle East and pretty safe for tourists, especially female travellers. Keep an eye on the news for potential political unrest or protests and try to avoid times where these are active. Also, avoid the no-go areas like borders and Palestinian refugee camps.

Is Lebanon beautiful? ›

Whether it's nature or the city you seek, Lebanon will deliver. From north to south the country is full of places to explore and beautiful scenery to marvel at. Its singular atmosphere, amazing food and friendly people have made it a popular destination within the Middle East.

Is Lebanon a rich city? ›

Lebanon – 2020 GDP per capita $12,288.80

Lebanon is an important center of trade and agriculture among Arab countries, dating back to ancient times. In fact, most of the wealth in this country comes from trade and agriculture activities.

How old is Lebanon? ›

With nearly 5,000 years of history, Lebanon is one of the world's oldest countries. Though much of the late 20th and early 21st century was scarred by violence, underneath is a country filled with stories and brilliant possibilities for rewarding journeys.

What is the old name of Lebanon? ›

The name is recorded in Ancient Egyptian as Rmnn (𓂋𓏠𓈖𓈖𓈉), where R stood for Canaanite L. The name occurs nearly 70 times in the Hebrew Bible, as לְבָנוֹן.

How poor is Lebanon now? ›

The economic crisis has led poverty to sky-rocket, with 80% of the population of some 6.5 million poor, according to the United Nations. The government has done little to address the crisis, which the World Bank has called a deliberate depression "orchestrated" by the elite through its exploitative grip on resources.

Is Lebanon still at war? ›

Various peacekeeping forces, such as the Multinational Force in Lebanon and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, were also stationed in the country during the conflict. The Taif Agreement of 1989 marked the beginning of the end of the war.

Who is the richest Lebanese? ›

Carlos Slim

Are Lebanese people loyal? ›

Lebanese People and Community

Lebanese families tend to be close-knit and loyal. In rural areas, it is customary for more than one generation to live in the same house.

What type of food do Lebanese eat? ›

Whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and seafood figure prominently in the Lebanese diet. Chickpeas and parsley are staple ingredients while garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice are frequently used to flavor dishes. Often, Lebanese foods are grilled, baked, or just lightly cooked in olive oil.

Is Lebanon part of USA? ›

The United States recognized Lebanon as an independent country on September 8, 1944. Formal relations were established on November 16, 1944, as Wadsworth presented his credentials as Envoy.

Is Lebanon an enemy of Israel? ›

Israeli law enforcement treats Lebanon as an "enemy state". Israeli citizens or any other person who holds any passport bearing stamps, visas, or seals issued by Israel are strictly prohibited from entry to Lebanon and may be subject to arrest or detention for further inspection.

Does Lebanon have a good military? ›

For 2022, Lebanon is ranked 114 of 142 out of the countries considered for the annual GFP review. It holds a PwrIndx* score of 2.8681 (a score of 0.0000 is considered 'perfect'). This entry last updated on 01/15/2022.

How much cash can I carry out of Lebanon? ›

10,000 USD is the limit that you have to declare - so even if you have more than that, all you need to do is declare it.

What do Lebanese girls wear? ›

Regardless of where they come from or their social status, the traditional costume common forall Lebanese women is a long dress with long sleeves, a short, satin, silk or cotton jacket, with minimal embroidery and appliqué, a cloak or scarf to cover the head and body, and occasionally, baggy trousers.

How do you say hello in Lebanon? ›

Hello (marHabā)

marHabā / مَرْحَبا” is often the first greeting taught to foreigners when they are learning Lebanese Arabic, and it serves well in most everyday situations.

Is living in Lebanon cheap? ›

It is somewhat expensive to live in Lebanon and in the recent years, it got even more expensive. Prices bounced way up while wages stayed the same, and currently, Lebanon is the third most expensive Arab country to live in after Kuwait and Qatar.

What is Lebanon's nickname? ›

When Lebanon was laid out in 1802, only two houses stood and two streets ran through town. Early settlers to the area thought the trees covering the hillside were like those in the Middle Eastern country of Lebanon; thus, came about Lebanon's name and nickname “Cedar City.”

Was Lebanon in the Bible? ›

''Lebanon is mentioned in the Bible 75 times because of the vast contribution of its people to their contemporaries,'' he says, and he supports this theory by quoting the Prophet Isaiah (chapter 29, verse 17): ''. . . and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a ...

What languages does Lebanon speak? ›

Arabic is the official language of Lebanon, but English and French are widely used. Most Lebanese speak French - a legacy of France's colonial rule - and the younger generation gravitates towards English.

Is Lebanese education good? ›

The literacy rate for Lebanon is 93.9%. According to the United Nations Human Development Index, Lebanon is ranking 65th globally in terms of literacy rate.

Can you drink alcohol in Lebanon? ›

most restaurants offer alcohol all day , only a few that doesnt. No restrictions. Free to drink as you take a walk on the streets! There are many Interesting breweries and wineries which are a must-visit to learn more about Lebanon's history of local-produced alcohol (some age back to centuries ago).

What is the nicest city in Lebanon? ›

Best cities in Lebanon
  • زغرتا #1 - زغرتا North, Lebanon.
  • #2 - Beirut, Lebanon.
  • البترون #3 - البترون North, Lebanon.
  • Matn. #4 - Matn. Mount Lebanon, Lebanon.
  • بشري #5 - بشري North, Lebanon.
  • Keserwan. #6 - Keserwan. Mount Lebanon, Lebanon.
  • Rachiine. #7 - Rachiine. North, Lebanon.
  • بعبدا #8 - بعبدا Mount Lebanon, Lebanon.

Is Beirut a rich city? ›

While many of its residents continue to struggle to put food on the table during a crippling economic crisis, Beirut has been ranked the most expensive city in the Middle East and among the costliest in the world.

Who lives in Lebanon today? ›

The major religious groups among the Lebanese people within Lebanon are Shia Muslims (27%), Sunni Muslims (27%), Maronite Christians (21%), Greek Orthodox Christians (8%), Melkite Christians (5%), Druze (5.2%), Protestant Christians (1%).

How do I survive in Lebanon? ›

The Lebanon Survival Step By Step Guide
  1. Get some rest. Yes, sleeping in a hot room over your covers isn't the best of conditions to get much needed shut eye. ...
  2. Eat wisely. ...
  3. Matters of perception & mental breaks. ...
  4. Plan the work day based on power cuts. ...
  5. Carpool your way out of the city. ...
  6. Support groups matter.
23 Aug 2021

Is Lebanon cheaper than Egypt? ›

The average cost of living in Egypt ($418) is 67% less expensive than in Lebanon ($1254). Egypt ranked 189th vs 37th for Lebanon in the list of the most expensive countries in the world. The average after-tax salary is enough to cover living expenses for 0.6 months in Egypt compared to 0.5 months in Lebanon.

How much is an egg in Lebanon? ›

In 2022, the approximate price range for Lebanon Eggs is between US$ 7.9 and US$ 5.48 per kilogram or between US$ 3.58 and US$ 2.49 per pound(lb).

How much does it cost to build a house in Lebanon? ›

Construction costs of $500 to $600 per sqm can be achieved for mid-market housing, bringing total costs to around $700 per sqm. Adding in developers' borrowing costs and profit margins brings the selling price of the most affordable finished apartment at the lowest end of the market to about $1,000 per sqm.

Is Lebanon bigger than Dubai? ›

Lebanon is about 8 times smaller than United Arab Emirates.

United Arab Emirates is approximately 83,600 sq km, while Lebanon is approximately 10,400 sq km, making Lebanon 12.44% the size of United Arab Emirates.

How many hours is Lebanon from USA? ›

Flying time from United States to Beirut, Lebanon

The total flight duration from United States to Beirut, Lebanon is 13 hours, 45 minutes.

How far is UK from Lebanon by plane? ›

↔️ Kilometers: 3842.31 km. / Miles: 2387.5 miles. / Nautical Miles: 2073.3 NM. ✈️ Estimated flight time: 4.21 hours. (With average airplane speed of 567mph).

› What-is-it-like-living-in-Lebanon ›

The other answers shed light on the reasons not to move to Lebanon (and honestly, I wouldn't move here either). But, here's another side to the story: I...
Here's the life lessons basing myself in Lebanon for 3 months taught me. They might surprise you!
A single person estimated monthly costs are 1,237$ without rent. Beirut is 15.92% less expensive than New York (without rent). Rent in ...

What is the most common form of transportation in Lebanon? ›

Service cars. How it works — Shared taxis, referred to as 'service' (pronounce 'servees'), are the most common form of public transportation in the Lebanese capital. By public we do not mean state-owned, rather we mean accessible to all.

What is the transportation in Lebanon? ›

There are many operating bus companies, such as the Lebanese Commuting Company (LCC) and OCFTC, all using a variety of buses. There are large coaches, average-sized minibuses (blue, red and white) and minivans. To get on a bus, head for one of the bus stations or intersections, or wave one down like a taxi.

Is Uber safe in Lebanon? ›

Just days after British diplomat Rebecca Dykes was murdered by an Uber driver, Lebanon's Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said the ride-hailing app was "unsafe". Machnouk advised those in the country to refrain from using the app, calling on them to use private taxi companies instead.

How do you get around in Beirut? ›

Pick your transport: Uber, Careem, taxi, or servees.

Traffic in Beirut can be so congested that you may end up tripling or quadrupling your travel time if you choose to move by car versus foot. Uber in Beirut, though generally decent, can occasionally be frustrating.

What are the 7 types of transportation? ›

The different modes of transport are air, water, and land transport, which includes rails or railways, road and off-road transport. Other modes also exist, including pipelines, cable transport, and space transport.

What are the 3 most common mode of transportation? ›

Transport modes are the means supporting the mobility of passengers and freight. They are mobile transport assets and fall into three basic types; land (road, rail, pipelines), water (shipping), and air.

What is the best way to get around the city? ›

What Are the Best Ways to Get Around?
  1. On Foot. If you want to discover an area, one of the best ways you can do this is by going on foot. ...
  2. Cycling. ...
  3. Buses. ...
  4. Trains. ...
  5. Taxicabs. ...
  6. Sharing a Car. ...
  7. Mass Transit Rail. ...
  8. Scooter/Skateboard/Rollerskates.
9 Jan 2020

How much does taxi cost in Lebanon? ›

Taxi Fares in Beirut, Lebanon
TransportationEdit
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff)5.00$
Taxi 1 mile (Normal Tariff)1.93$
Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff)20.00$

What is the safest city in Lebanon? ›

This might come to your surprise, but Beirut, Lebanon's capital city, is one of the safest places in the country. Female travellers can dress normally here, streets are well developed (although incredibly busy) and there's a pretty cool nightlife scene.

How wealthy is Lebanon? ›

Economy of Lebanon
Statistics
GDP$7.36 billion (nominal; 2021 est.) at official Cash withdrawal ratio 1500/3900 $74.110 billion (PPP; 2020 est.)
GDP per capita$4,000 (nominal, 2020.) $12,030 (PPP, 2020.)
GDP by sectoragriculture: 3.9% industry: 13.1% services: 83% (2017 est.)
Inflation (CPI)210% (2022 est.)
33 more rows

Is Lebanon a good place to live? ›

Thinking about moving to this community, but wondering if Lebanon is a safe place to live? According to AreaVibes, Lebanon has a crime rate 8% lower than the national average, with a property crime rate 5% lower than average and a violent crime rate 25% lower than average.

Is Beirut safe for students? ›

Is Beirut, Lebanon a safe place to study? Safety is an important point to consider when studying abroad. According to the current Numbeo Safety Index, Beirut has a score of 53.09 – ranking it at number 263 of 461 cities globally for safety.

Can you wear shorts in Beirut? ›

Late spring and summer (mid-June – mid-September) in Beirut and along the coast are very hot and humid, so it's good to wear loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing to help keep as cool as possible. Dresses are very practical, and sleeveless shirts and shorts are totally acceptable.

Is drinking allowed in Beirut? ›

Lebanon has drive through bars. There are no restrictions on alcohol (except when you're driving of course). There are many bars, bistros, pubs and clubs. most restaurants offer alcohol all day , only a few that doesnt.

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2. Top 10 Best Tourist Places to Visit in Lebanon | English
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4. 🇱🇧 Lebanon and Beirut: a travel documentary
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