Lebanon Moments...

I can’t believe I only put out 2 posts on this blog this year. I am so ashamed of myself. This year has been a travel slow year but I was at least able to visit 3 new countries as I planned. Ethiopia, Tanzania and Lebanon. I was in Togo again this year for Easter and Benin Republic in June. I also got to attend the Olojo Festival in Ile-ife and locally I went to Ekiti twice (Arinta Waterfall and Ikogosi Warm Spring) and Ondo (Idanre Hills).

I would be lying if I said Lebanon was on my travel bucket list, it was not even in my travel plans for 2018. Lebanon was on my list countries I might be fortunate enough. The only reason Lebanon came on my list this year was simply because I found cheap tickets. The cost of my Egypt Air ticket was N159,699, which is about 40k cheaper than I would have spent on a ticket to Ivory Coast which was the initial destination I had in mind. It was not a coincidence that my trip started on the same date I embarked on my East African Experience in 2017.
So even though, I have seen pictures and read some blogs, I went to Lebanon with zero expectations.

To visit Lebanon, there are two ways to get the Visa: you either apply for Visa at the Lebanese embassy in Lagos and Abuja or you get visa on Arrival. Nigeria is one of the 15 countries allowed to get conditional visa on arrival.

The requirements for a conditional visa on arrival are a non-refundable return or circle trip ticket, a copy of a reservation in a 3 to 5 star hotel or private residential address with telephone number in the Republic of Lebanon, and at least USD 2,000 in cash. If you don’t have 2000 USD, I would advise you apply for the visa at the embassy. I opted for the conditional visa on arrival which is 20 USD asides from the expected 2000USD. Do not bother planning a visit to Lebanon if you have the Israeli stamp on your passport nor plan a visit to Israel with the Lebanese stamp on your passport as well. Future "JP"s beware.

Before I was allowed to check in, I was made to use my own credit to call my host in Beirut to confirm that accommodation was already paid for, after which I was told to count my dollars in front of some other female official who just waved me away upon sighting the money.
The EgyptAir flight departed Lagos after more than 2 hours delay on 3 November. I had an 8 hours layover in Cairo and my flight landed in Beirut on 4 November by 9.20 AM (GMT+2). Immigration was smooth in Lebanon and I was only asking for the number of days I would be spending, paid 20 USD for the visa stamp and was stamped in by immigration. I had no checked-in luggage, so it was straight up to arrival for me.
If you ever go to Beirut, never buy sim card from the airport. I asked to buy a sim card at the airport and I was told to pay 58 USD. I almost paid for the sim card thinking that was the cost in the country. I already even gave the man my passport and then someone else enters and he said “I would rather roam my line than buy sim card for 58 USD”. That is how my village people saved me and I requested for my passport back. I would later buy a sim card in town for 5000 Lebanese Pound ($3.3).
I got a taxi from the airport for $35, quite pricey considering that I got the offer of $20 from my Tour guide which I didn’t take before arriving in Lebanon.  The cab driver allowed me call my Airbnb host with his phone. My home for the next 3 days in Beirut was an Airbnb one-bedroom apartment in the Mar Mikhael district. If travelling on a budget in Lebanon, airbnb is the way to go. My home for the next 3 nights was a one-bedroom apartment on the 8th floor overlooking the sea port in the Mar Mikhael neighbourhood.

Quick Facts about Lebanon before I dive right into what I was up to for each day I was in the country.

  • Lebanon is the oldest country name in the world. It is over 4000 years old.
  • Lebanon is the only Arab country without a desert.
  • The oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, Byblos (Jbeil) is situated in Lebanon.
  • Lebanon gained independence from France on November 23, 1943.
  • Lebanon’s official language is Arabic, however English and French are widely spoken.
  • The Cedar is the national symbol of Lebanon; it signifies its enduring strength.
  • Beirut is the capital and largest city.
  • It snows in Lebanon. The country is famous for having a snowy winter up in the mountains.
  • There are more Lebanese (estimated 9 to 14 Million) living outside the country which has a population of 6 million.
  • There are 18 officially recognised religious groups include 4 Muslim sects, 12 Christian sects, the Druze sect, and Judaism.

I will dive into my day to day experience in my next post. Let me just tell you that Lebanon is competing with Malaysia as my favourite country visited.


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 Where do you plan to visit in 2019?

♥Lara

'Lara A

6 comments:

  1. Wow, so you enjoyed the place. Never thought of Lebanon as a place to visit. Thanks for enlightening us, and educating us about the immigration procedures.

    However concerning flying egyptair?? Lai, lai. I've done it before, and would never do it again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lebanon was worth the trip...it is a once in a lifetime experience.


      EgyptAir will always be last option for me. I will avoid them if I can but with Lebanon they had the shortest travel time and with the amount I paid, I could not complain.

      Delete
  2. Very detailed travel sharing, as my future travel strategy, I want to travel to Bali in 2019.
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    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bali is on my 2020 list of destinations. Thanks for reading.

      Delete
  3. This post basically answered all the questions I might have wanted to ask. Good job. I hope you get to tell us about the rest of the trip.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will definitely write about the trip in due time. Thanks for reading.

      Delete

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