Thursday, August 23, 2012

3 Days Self-guided Solo Travel in Lebanon

3rd Summer ot-ouf the-country trip for this year
June 15-17, 2012 Friday to Sunday

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” ~ Rosalia de Castro

My 14th country to visit, 18th solo backpacking trip, 3rd visa-on-arrival (VOA) encounter and of course, usual budget do-it-yourself itinerary from arrival to departure.

Lebanon had once been called (self-proclaimed) Switzerland and Paris of the East. The name Lebanon comes from the Semitic root lbn, meaning "white", likely a reference to the snow-capped Mount Lebanon. Upon his arrival to Lebanon around 47 BC, Julius Caesar proclaimed "Lub" "Na'an", meaning "White-Land" in Semitic. Lebanon is a country with a long and rich history. Roman ruins are scattered about the country and are easily accessible. Lebanon is easily the party capital of the Middle East and possible to drive from north to south in under 3 hours. The main means of transport are service taxis, bus and car. Either Lebanese pounds or US dollars are accepted almost everywhere, and it is common to pay in dollars but receive change in pounds. Main language is Arabic and French, some also speaks English. 

Temple of Bacchus

stop-over to Sharjah airport in UAE from Kuwait

passport, round trip tickets, itinerary and budget

This another race against time, very short backpacking researched in somehow detailed manner has a compressed itinerary designed as follows: 

Day 01: June 15 Friday
1100H ETA Beirut Airport
Tripoli and Byblos
Beirut night life 

Day 02: June 16 Saturday
0600H ETD guesthouse
Baalbek, Jeita and Sidon
Beirut Night Shots

Day 03: June 17 Sunday
0600H ETD guesthouse
Beirut morning city tour
1500H ETD Beirut Airport


Timezone - +0200H UTC (+0300H DST Apr-Sep)     Capital - Beirut
Currency - Pound (LBP) 1 LBP = PHP0.03, 1USD =1,500 LBP
Language - Arabic and French

central beirut in the morning

obvious trace of war remnants

Entry visas are being granted to those who fall under the categories of businessmen, directors/general managers, employers, physicians, engineers and lawyers who are legal residents of the Gulf Co-operation Council member states. Tourist visa cost depends on nationality, and are valid for a minimum of 30 days. But the validity of the visa will not exceed the validity of the person’s passport and residence permit. 

Requirements for Lebanon airport immigration on visa-on-arrival;
1. Passport - my passport will expire in may 2015
2. Visa fee $20 = 30,000 lbp for 15 days - i paid in usd
3. Copy of hotel reservation - I brought email confirmation print-out of guesthouse
4. Residence Visa - the one that stamped in passport and stated as "engineer" 

As for the wives and children of this category, they are granted visas according to the conditions concerning the entry of individuals of same nationalities in case that they do not possess a valid residence in the one of the Gulf Countries. 

For Filipino's who wish to travel and avail tourist visa from the Philippines;

sneak shots inside the upper grotto of jeita

sneak shots inside the upper grotto of jeita

mexican omelet in bay rock, beirut city

After that "missed-out flight" frustration last month journey in India, I thought I will never plan for a travel again. I thought it was a lesson learned not to enjoy travel anymore. Due to undeniable travel itch and uncontrollable travel bug both inside my heart and my mind, I set another record on myself once more;

1. Quickest and shortest planning I've done - I never thought I will pursue my 18th solo backpack adventure because of work assignment. I am very fortunate it aligns to long weekend. With only 4 days before the travel date and Iran as the initial plan, 3 days after it came out to finalize. Only on 2 days my mind set to go Lebanon and I did not feel any regret changing it.
2. Military soldiers/police are everywhere - the country itself has man-on-camouflage clothes visible on any distance, much more than my Basilan trip. I heard there was an explosion day before I arrived but I did not feel any uneasiness because the soldiers are very friendly despite the fact most of them cannot speak english.
3. European/mediterranean mix architecture - Baalbek temples proves this theory as long as the byblos archaeological site. My first time to see a very huge roman pillar (can hug by at most 4 people circumstantially) erected on an unbelievable time and place, indeed deserve to be preserve.
4. Long day time - my first experience wherein the sunset drops as late as around 1930H and sunlight approach 0500H, DST (daylight saving time) must prevail.
5. Happiness of achievement - I don't know why I felt this satisfied after I finished the trip. Maybe because my first time I saw European ruins, the nature fascination, public transportation adventure or the budget surprise it offered.

Anyways, I divided this wonderful journey into different set of posts to be more specific on its content;


  1. This trip must be very exciting! And I envy your job! Cheers!

  2. Lebanon seems to be a very exciting destination despite of security threats... Sana it lessens so more tourist will enjoy this beautiful country.


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