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Lebanon Travel Tips

The Lebanese Recipes Kitchen (The home of delicious Lebanese Recipes and Middle Eastern food recipes) presents Lebanon Travel Guide. This post is about Lebanon Travel Tips

Social Conventions
Lebanese people are known for their hospitality. Handshaking is the normal form of greeting. It is acceptable to give a small gift, particularly if invited home for a meal. As far as dress is concerned, casual dress is suitable for daytime wear, except in main towns where dress tends to be rather formal. Smarter hotels and restaurants often require guests to dress for dinner. Since Lebanon is almost evenly divided between those adhering to the Muslim faith, and those adhering to the Christian faith, visitors should dress according to the custom of the majority in the individual places being visited. Smoking is common and acceptable unless specified otherwise.

International Travel:

Getting There by Air
The national airline is Middle East Airlines (MEA) (website: www.mea.com.lb).

Departure Tax
£100,000 for first class; £75,000 for business class; and £50,000 for economy class.

Main Airports
Beirut International (BEY) (Rafic Hariri) (website: www.beirutairport.gov.lb) is 8km (5 miles) south of the city (journey time – 20 minutes). To/from the airport: A bus service operates to the city center. Taxis are also available. Facilities: Tourist information desk, duty-free shops, post office, restaurants, bars, hotel reservations, bank/bureau de change, car hire and a VIP lounge.

Getting There by Water
Main ports: Beirut (website: www.portdebeyrouth.com), Chekka, Jounieh, Tripoli, Sidon and Tyre.

Several cruise lines connect Beirut, Jounieh and Tripoli with the rest of the world. The sea connection between the Cypriot port of Larnaca and Jounieh in Lebanon may be closed and travelers considering that route are advised to check with the Ministry of Tourism or the embassy.

Getting There by Rail
There are no passenger services operating at present.

Getting There by Road
Best international routes are via Turkey and Aleppo–Homs and Lattakia in the Syrian Arab Republic along the north–south coastal road, and also the Beirut–Damascus trunk road. Bus services are available from Europe. For details, contact the Ministry of Tourism or the embassy (see General Info).

The following goods may be imported into Lebanon by residents and non-residents over 18 years of age without incurring customs duty:

• 800 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 cigarillos or 1,000g of tobacco.
• 2l of champagne, whisky or cognac (or any other similar products) or a maximum of 4l of other alcoholic beverages.
• 1l of eau de cologne and 100g of perfume.
• Personal belongings not exceeding £2,000,000.
• Prescribed dosages for medicine.

Note: Those aged under 18 years are permitted half the specified quantities for duty free except tobacco and alcoholic beverages, which are forbidden.

Prohibited Imports
Arms, ammunition, narcotics, immoral publications and recordings.

Prohibited Exports
Arms, ammunition, narcotics, archaeological pieces and currencies. Antiques without an export license.

Internal Travel:

Getting Around By Air
There are no internal flights.

Getting Around by Water
Ports are served by coastal passenger ferries. For details, contact the embassy (see General Info).

Getting Around by Road
Traffic drives on the right. Speed limit signs, traffic police and traffic lights are present but may not always be respected and driving, particularly in Beirut, can be quite unpredictable. As public transport is limited, roads in Beirut are over-congested. The worst times for traffic jams are 0730-0930 and 1630-1900.

Bus: Intercity buses run by private companies are cheap and efficient. Many hotels also offer complimentary bus and other transport services.

Taxi: Intercity taxis operate throughout Beirut and Lebanon. Travel is normally shared. Prices are negotiated in advance. Town taxis have red license plates and an official tariff. There is a surcharge of 50% after 2200.

Car hire: Self-drive cars are available, but chauffeur-driven vehicles are recommended; check with the Ministry of Tourism. It should be noted that the price of petrol is very expensive in Lebanon.

Emergency breakdown service: SOS Auto (tel: (1) 216 376; website: www.sosauto.net).

Documentation: An International Driving Permit and Green Card are required.

Getting Around Towns and Cities
Public bus services are available in Beirut, where bus services have recently been expanded, although service taxis remain the most widely used option.

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