Difference between revisions of "Syria"
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Revision as of 23:54, 4 March 2009
|Currency:||Syrian Pound (SYP)|
|More info:||AVP Free Encyclopedia (Russian)|
|Meet fellow hitchhikers on Trustroots|
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Hitchhiking is possible and easy in Syria. However, many people will think that you missed a bus, and want to bring you to the next bus station.
The concept of hitchhiking itself is understood differently in this country. While in the more rural areas (the mountains and the desert) hitching a pickup is extremely normal (because of the absence of public transport), in the more urban areas of the country people often can not understand why somebody is not taking a bus, especially because the prices for those are extremely low and nearly everybody uses them. Because of this, locals often think you might need help, and stop for that reason.
Nevertheless, people will in most cases be glad to give you a ride and as an conclusion, hitchhiking is extremely easy in this country.
It might be wise to learn at least some basic Arabic to communicate with locals. Not many people speak more English than the Welcome to Syria phrase. Sometimes you can find old people speaking French. Especially for explaining your hitchhiking intention (and to ask for the way the driver goes), it is an absolute advantage to know some Arabic.
When hitchhiking out of a city, try to stand by the road where there are no people around. When CRCulver tried hitching out of Jisrash Shugur, he accepted an invitation to tea from employees of a nearby garage. They thought he was lost and called the police, who sent him to a military base where he was interrogated for several hours and told hitchhiking was illegal before being forced onto a bus bound for Damascus.
Most European tourists can get their visa directly at the border, but of course check your local embassy for country-specific visa requirements. When entering Syria, you also get an entry/exit card. Don't loose it, you need it when leaving the county. When leaving Syria, you additionally have to buy an exit/return-ticket at the border checkpoints. These can be bought in most cases in little supermarkets just in front of the we stamp your passport-offices. As in August 2008, the price for an exit card was 550 Syrian Pound (500 SYP exit card, 50 SYP taxes).
- Hatay checkpoint: This checkpoint is easy to reach via Reyhanlı (Turkey). Passing the border by foot is no problem, but it might be wise to hitch a ride after crossing the Turkish checkpoint, the distance to the Syrian checkpoint is around 4 km. Behind Syrian controls, hitch your way towards Aleppo (~65 km). Don't wait for trucks to pass the border and give you a ride, you can be much faster with walking to the next village and catching a ride with some motorbikes or pickups.
- Kilis checkpoint: The northern checkpoint with Turkey, easy to reach from Aleppo (~70km). The different checkpoints are not far from each other, so you can go by walking distance. Be aware of street dogs. When traveling from Aleppo, also be careful in the city of Azaz and surrounding area near the border. More about it at the specific Azaz city article.
- Masnaa checkpoint: The only open checkpoint with Lebanon on it's western border. It is located directly on the highway Damascus-Beirut 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 Beirut, where nearly everyone here goes. Exit cards can be bought in a little supermarket just before the controls. Be aware of Jordanian taxi drivers. Check for Lebanese visa stuff the Lebanon article.
- Aaboudiye checkpoint: Checkpoint in the north of Lebanon and north-west of Syria, might be a choice if you come from Tartous or Aleppo going to Tripoli or Beirut. 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 coming from Hama/Homs or Aleppo), but also possible to hitch in one day if your destination is Beirut.
- Daraa checkpoint: It is not permitted to walk across the border, and any cars going across must have a formal manifest of all passengers. The guards on the Syrian side are generally not willing to allow a hitchiker to stand at the border gate to wait for a car, and any car willing to drive back into the city to add your name to the manifest at the transportation office will want money.
Iraq has three border checkpoints with Syria. One near the town of Abu Kamal, another near Attanf. For these two there are good roads to travel on. If you want to enter Iraq you have to take the visa in advance, you will not get it at the border. The third crossing is in the north-eastern corner of the country.
- Interview about hitchhiking in Syria (German)
- Blog article with thoughts about hitchhiking in Syria (English)
- Hitchhiking Syria, article from digihitch (English)