Beirut Travel Information
GMT +2 (GMT +3 Apr - Oct)
Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. The European round two-pin plug is standard, but a variety of other plugs are used.
Arabic is the official language. French and English are also spoken.
Health risks for travellers to Lebanon are not excessive. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers arriving from an infected country in Africa or the Americas. Typhoid vaccinations are recommended to all travellers with the exception of those who intend to stay in Lebanon for only a short period and take their meals in major restaurants and hotels. Typhoid cases are reported in Lebanon every year around rainy season as water levels rise and contaminated water from the sewers come to ground level. Medical facilities and healthcare in Lebanon are good. Doctors and hospitals usually expect immediate cash payment and treatment can be very expensive.
Tipping is customary in Lebanon. Porters, waiters, hotel staff, guides and doormen usually receive a 10-15% tip.
Although Lebanon still features on consular warning lists, it also remains a popular and largely safe travel destination. Situated in a volatile region of the world, travellers are strongly advised to remain vigilant at all times in Lebanon, and to avoid the areas surrounding the Israeli border. Any travel south of the Litani River is discouraged. Crimes such as burglary, petty theft, vehicle theft and break-ins are present in Lebanon, but are low by international standards. Visitors should be streetwise and exercise normal precautions.
A large proportion of the population in Lebanon is Muslim so modest standards of dress and behaviour should be exercised. In certain areas, public displays of affection may cause offence and during Ramadan eating, drinking or smoking in public places between the hours of sunrise and sunset are frowned upon as it is forbidden by the Muslim culture. Possession, use and trafficking of controlled drugs are all serious offences in Lebanon and carry custodial sentences, and homosexuality is considered a criminal offence. Overstaying without the proper authority is also considered to be a serious offence. Photographing military personnel or installations and government buildings may lead to confiscation of photographic equipment, and possibly even imprisonment.
Business attire in Lebanon is formal, usually a jacket and tie. Business cards are widely distributed and English is spoken by many local business people. General office hours are Monday to Saturday, but some Muslim businesses may be closed on Fridays.
The international dialling code for Lebanon is +961. The outgoing code is 00 (except for Syria, which is 02), followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the UK). City codes are in use, e.g. (0)1 for Beirut, (0)6 for North Lebanon, and (0)7 for South Lebanon. Internet cafés are widespread in Lebanon, particularly in Beirut and major cities. Internet services are also provided outside traditional internet cafes, e.g. Star Bucks in Beirut provides a wireless internet connection. There is good mobile phone coverage and many networks have international roaming agreements.
Duty free allowances for travellers to Lebanon are 200 cigarettes, 20 cigars or 200g of tobacco, 2 bottles of liquor, and perfume for personal use. All currency should be declared on arrival, and a valid import licence is required for any arms or ammunition.
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