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Flag of Lebanon Lebanon
Language: Arabic
Capital: Beirut
Population: 4.017.095 (2009)
Currency: Lebanese Pound (LBP)
Hitchability: <rating country='lb' />
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<map lat='34.03900467904445' lng='35.958251953125' zoom='7' view='0'/>

Lebanon is a small country in the Middle East. It borders to Syria in the north and east and with Israel to the south.

Hitchhiking in the mountains and near/towards the beach might be quite easy, while hitchhiking inside cities (like in Syria) is definitely not possible. Avoid the taxi cars which are everywhere and most of them doesn't have a TAXI sign but all number plates designated for public transportation (taxi, buses, vans, etc) are red. Normal number plates are white.

Border Crossing

As of 2010 passport holders of many countries enjoy visa free entry. There are three border checkpoints with Syria. One in the west of the country (towards Damascus) and two in the north.

  • Aaboudiye checkpoint: Checkpoint in the north of Lebanon and north-west of Syria, might be a choice if you come from Tripoli going towards Tartus, Homs or Aleppo. The bus from Beirut to Aleppo goes this way. Small border checkpoint, very bad condition of the roads, mostly taxi's and buses around here. Not much traffic at all. Take care!

Platschi recommends to take the Masnaa checkpoint, which in fact is much further away (if going to Hama/Homs or Aleppo), but also possible to hitch in one day from Beirut. If you're lucky (as many tourists are, as there are in fact not many traveling this checkpoint), officers might give you even a 30 days visa for Lebanon for free.

  • Masnaa checkpoint: The only open checkpoint with Syria on the eastern border. It is located directly on the highway Beirut-Damascus and is very easy to hitch. Get a ride to the border, where many cars will wait to get over the controls. Just talk to people who have an empty car and get a ride to Damascus, where nearly everyone here goes. The passport checks are in a nearly collapsing building on the right side (if coming from Lebanon). There is no bank around, so make sure you have some Lebanese Pound with you in advance, or at least to know the latest exchange course to change your money with the strange guys on the street in the no-man's-land between the two countries.

There is also a checkpoint to Israel, but it's not open. And considering the tense situation between the countries it doesn't like like it's going to be open to travelers any time soon.

Note that the border with Israel is closed - and will be for a while to come. Make sure you don't have any evidence of a past visit in Israel (e.g. stamp in your passport or books in Hebrew). When hitchhiking in Lebanon chances are high you will be picked up by someone from the Hezbollah. It's highly recommended to avoid mentioning any plans of visiting Israel.



Personal Experience

Hitchhiking in Lebanon is tricky and uncommon but doable. I was Hitchhiking with two other friends (all foreigners) from Saida to Jezzine and back. Many taxi cars so try to avoid those. Overall was nice, we got a very nice and english speaker driver and he took us to Jezzine. While waiting and trying to catch a car, many people were smiling or they made the "O.K." hand sign to us... I think most of them are like "Oh look, hitchhikers! So nice, they're so beautiful! Let's not take them". User:Lex404

As said before, lebanese are not used to see people hitchhike. They will often think that you're trying to stop a taxi or a minibus, even with a sign. However, me (F) and my friend (M) had no problem beeing picked up everywhere we hitchikked, even in remote areas, we never waited more than half and hour :) One day, a minibus even stopped for us in Beirut, and took us to our destination (Jbeil) for free. Lebanese are all very welcoming and they generally speak good english. Lebanon is small as well, so it's quite easy to find a car that will cross almost the all country ;) Be careful with the taxis, some of them (very few) don't have this red plate. We got a ride to Chtoura from Beirut and understood half way that our driver was working for a travel agency... When we asked him to stop, he dropped us in the middle of the highway and asked for money. After that, we were always asking people, even if they had a normal white plate... Except for that, the overall experience was very nice!

Nomadwiki & Trashwiki

Check Nomadwiki for info on accommodation, showers etc. or Trashwiki for dumpsters...and share your wisdom :)