1) NO EVIDENCE OF TRAVEL IN ISRAEL
Be aware that your passport will be well checked
and your entry in the country will be rejected
if found any evidence of a travel to Israel. Anyhow
apart of checking the passport, nobody interviewed
us, so dont be concerned of receiving the
same treatment you got when entering Israel.
2) INTERNATIONAL DRIVING LICENCE NEEDED?
Formally it's needed to rent a car, but NOBODY
(not even the rental company) will never ask
Personally I rented a car WITHOUT any international
licence, driving all around the country for
10 days being stopped several times at the checkpoint
but nobody asked anything. So if you don't have
3) PERMISSION TO VISIT FATIMA GATE/ BEAUFORT
CASTLE IS NEEDED?
Yes it's needed but if not stopped at checkpoints
you might manage without. However since its
free and fast to be gotten I would not risk
to be pushed back. The chance of not being stopped
I assume to be 50%. Anyhow I had such permission
and I was request on my way back from Fatima
How to get it is:
Go to Saida town (1h driving southern from Beirut)
and ask for Army Security Office in Haret Saida.
Just ask for Haret Saida, it's a
big barracks and everybody knows it. Dont
forget to bring copy of passport (personal data
page and lebanese visa/stamp page). If you dont
have the copy, you can have them done at a shop
outside the offices.
I was not asked for any photo and it took around
45min. I was asked about few personal data (as
the company name I work for), the places I want
to visit , and the number of days I needed.
The guy could speak a fluent french and english.
Everything was written down in a report, but
all I got has been a number in a tiny piece
of paper to show at the checkpoints. The itinerary
I indicated has been Mleeta (Hezbollah former
headquarter), Fatima Gate and Beaufort Castle,
asking for a 2 days permission.
4) ACCOMMODATION IN TYRE
Personally I had hard times to find a cheap
accommodation in Tyre. The best I found is on
Airbnb the room (with a double and one single
bed) managed by Brenda and Denis for around
50$. Here we spent the best 3 days of the whole
trip. They are a couple of american living in
Lebanon since 20 years, with whom
it's a pleasure to discuss about the country.
5) WEATHER IN END DECEMBER/ BEGINNING JANUARY
It was colder than we expected and unfortunately
we had some rainy days. In particular Baalbek
was 5-6C! My fault I didn't realised it's 1000m
above sea level So be rightly equipped. In the
mountains it can be snowy: we got blocked by
the snow twice.
6) IS DRIVING SAFE?
Yes Lebanese are really nasty when it comes
to driving! However many other parts of the
world might not be so different.
I drove 1000km it was tiring, I cursed a lot,
but at the end it was manageable without any
accident (but I risked few times!). Anyhow I
bought the insurance with full coverage!
7) IS LEBANON SAFE?
According to my standards , Lebanon is enough
safe to travel in. Anyhow we cannot deny the
fact that the country is not a stable one and
everything could happen quite quickly.
Having said it, the dangers you might be exposed
in Lebanon as traveler moving fastly are not
the ones that really concern me (it doesn't
mean that cannot concern you), since I'm more
scared about criminality (as in central/ south
america) than terrorist attacks, military attacks,...
The concrete risk in the very recent past (2015)
has been due to the kidnappings along the Syrian
Border; in 2018 situation was relaxed, but have
a look to the news if travelling there.
Anyhow if you are super anxious about safety
lebanon might not be the right place to go (and
maybe real travelling might not be your thing).
8) PHOTO IN THE STREET IN THE SOUTH
Be cautious when snapping pics on the street
in the south. I was warned by the hosts of our
room to avoid it in Tyre, but I took the advice
lightly. So once in the town I was taking pictures
to the web of electric cable in the streets
when few guys start shouting. I accelerate the
walk but they reached me by a moped asking to
show them the pics. I refused thinking they
wanted to steal my camera. When an older guy
joined us, I understand he was some kind of
boss and I showed him the images, then he allowed
me to go.
9) ROAD CLOSED DUE TO THE SNOW
Its not rare the road from Jounieh to
Bekaa valley, the one passing through the ski
resort of Mzaar, is closed due to the snow.
Usually its a matter of just one day,
so it should happen only after it has snowed.
If you dont want to risk and you are not
interested to pass a scenic road, take the highway
connecting Beirut to Damasco.