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General Infos > Holidays & Working Hours > Visa & Customs > Shopping > Restaurants >
> Night clubs & Pubs > Lebanese Cuisine > Arabic mini dictionary >
Sports and Outdoors Activities

Lebanon Surface : 10 452 Km²

Capital : Beirut

Offical language : Arabic
Most Lebanese are at least bilingual. French and/or English are spoken by a large number of Lebanese.

Currency : Lebanese Pound (LBP).
Rate of exchange to the US Dollar: 1$ = 1500 LBP

Local Time
Lebanese time is GMT +2 in winter (November to April) and GMT +3 in summer (May to October).

Climate
Lebanon enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate with an average of 300 sunny days a year.
- It rarely rains between June and September
- July and August are hot and humid with temperatures around 30°C
- Winters are generally cool with heavy rain on the coast and snow in the mountains, making Lebanon ideal for winter sports.


Highest point in Lebanon: Kornet el Sawda 3003 m above the sea level.

Electronic Banking: ATM machines are located all around Lebanon. The majority of credit cards are accepted.

Transportation: You can either use the public transports or what we call “Service”. The “Service” is somehow considered as a public taxi. They are very easy to find. For that, you just have to walk on the street and they will stop for you. The advantage is that they offer a fare rate: 2000-2500 LBP per person to go around in the same area.

You can also call a private taxi for your tranportation. The rate varies according to the distance.

Tourist Police: You can call the Tourist Police Office at the Ministry of Tourism if you need anything at +961 (0) 75 24 29.

 
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Holidays with fixed dates
- New Year’s Day : January 1
- St Maroun’s Day : February 9
- Labor Day : May 1
- Martyr’s Day : May 6
- Resistence & Liberation Day : May 25
- Ascension Day : August 15
- All Saints Day : November 1
- Independence Day : November 22
- Christmas : December 25

Religious Holidays with moveable dates
- Catholic Good Friday
- Orthodox Good Friday
- Catholic Easter
- Orthodox Easter
- Moslem New Year
- Eid El Fitr -after the Holly month of Ramadan-
- Eid Al Adha -after the pilgrimage (hajj) to Mecca and Madina-
- Ashoura
- The Prophet Mohammad’s Birthday
- Ramadan -Holy month of fasting and charity celebrated by Moslems-


Working Hours
• Government
- Monday to Thursday: 08 AM to 02 PM
- Friday: 08 AM to 11 AM
- Saturday: 08 AM to 01 PM

• Private Sector
- Monday to Friday : 08 AM to 06 PM

• Banks
- Monday to Friday : 08:00 AM to 02 PM or 04 PM
- Friday: 8:00 AM to 02 PM or 04 PM
- Saturday: 08:00 AM to 12 PM

• Shops
- Monday to Saturday : 09:30 AM to 07 PM

• Supermarkets
- Monday to Sunday : 08:30 AM to 10 PM

Note: Hours may vary accordingly
 
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Visas: Travelers wishing to enter Lebanon must possess a valid passport with a visa obtained from a Lebanese Embassy or Consulate abroad.

Residents of 33 countries including the USA, members of the European Union & countries of the Arabian Gulf (GCC) can obtain their visa at Beirut International Airport. A valid passport is required.


Customs: Personal effects are exempt from customs.
- Alcohol is limited to 2 bottles per person
- Tobacco is limited to 500 grams, which is 400 cigarettes or 20 cigars per person

 
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Shopping: Most international brands are available in Lebanon, but you will be more interested in the local products such as: handicrafts, embroidery, cutlery, brass, caftans & potery.
Talented Lebanese jewelers are another source of original souvenirs at a good price.

Shopping areas in Beirut:
- Ashrafieh
- Beirut down town
- Hamra
- Verdun
 
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Restaurants: Numerous quality restaurants offer International cuisine (Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, French etc) while restaurants serving delicious Lebanese food are too numerous to count.

However, we highly recommend Bacha Restaurant, a small restaurant located in Chekka (North of Lebanon). Homemade Lebanese food, you will taste the most delicious dishes & especially their Fattouch salad.

In Beirut:
- Ashrafieh: Monot street, Sassine square
- Beirut down town
- Jemayzeh area
- Ras Beirut: Ain El Mreissseh, Hamra, Raoucheh, Verdun areas
 
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Night Clubs & Pubs: Most Night clubs and Pubs are located in :
- In Beirut: Makdessi street in Hamra, Monot street , Down town Beirut, Jemayzeh, Corniche area
- Outside Beirut: Antelias, Kaslik, Maamelten, Jounieh, Byblos
 
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Lebanese Cuisine: Lebanon is much appreciated for its cuisine, which is among the most varied and savory in the world. Above all, Lebanese food is associated with the mezza, a spread of innumerable small dishes that form the traditional opener to a meal.

Among the most essential mezza dishes that are served with the traditional Lebanese bread “Markouk” :

- Homos : purée of chick peas and sesame paste dip
- Moutabal : eggplant and sesame past dip
- Tabbouleh : a salad of parsley, tomatoes and crushed wheat
- Warak Arish : stuffed vine leaves
- Labneh : strained yogurt seasoned with olive oil and garlic
- Fattoush : green salad with dried bread
- Samboussek : hot cheese pastries
- Kebbeh : finely ground meat with crushed wheat and flavoring
- Kebbeh Nayeh: Row meat

After the mezza comes the seafood or grills:
- Lamb kebab
- Chicken brochettes
- Kafta : ground meat with parsely

The diversity of cuisine knows no limits. It also includes many complex dishes with a sophisticated blend of flavors such as:
- Kebbeh b’labnieh : meat balls in a sauce of yogurt
- Moujaddara : purée of lentils with rice and onion
- Sayyadieh : slices of fish accompanied by rice and an onion sauce, and much else.

The meal is traditionally accompanied by Arak, the national drink of distilled grape juice flavored with anis. Or you can select one of the excellent local wines: "Adonis, Château Kefraya, Château Ksara, Musar or Wardeh".

For dessert the choice extends to exotic fruits such as dates, sweet lemons, pineapple, persommon or try some local pastries with pistachios, white cheese or oriental ice cream with its own special perfume as well as the most popular Lebanese sweet called Kenafeh.


A narguileh or water pipe with tobacco perfumed with fruit, hooney or molasses is the crowning touch to a Lebanese meal. You can also try the white coffee, an infusion of orange-flower water, or a cup of strong Lebanese coffee.

If you are in a hurry, stop at one of the many sandwich shops and ask for:
- Mankoucheh : pizza with thyme and olive oil
- Lahmeh bi ajine : pizza with lightky spiced gound meat and tomato
- Falafel : purée of breaded beans
- Shawarma : thin slices of marinated meat usually garnished with fresh vegetables, pickles and sesame oil sauce
 
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Arabic mini dictionary :

- Hello = Marhaba or Salam alaykom
- How are you (male) = Keefak
- How are you (female) = Keefek
- Welcome (male) = Ahlan feek
- Welcome (female) = Ahlan feekeh
- Thank you = Shoukran
- Please (male) = Min fadlak
- Please (female) = Min fadlek
- Sorry, Excuse me = Afwane
- Congratulations = Mabrouk
- When = Aymata
- Where is = Wein
- Now = Hala'a
- Yes = Na’am
- No = Lah
- How much = Addeh
- Bon apetit = Sahtein
- Welcome = Ahlan
- You (male) = Inta
- You (female) = Inti
- I = Ana
- We = Nehna
- Them = Henneh
- What’s your name (male) = Shou Ismak
- What’s your name (female) = Shou Ismek
- Day = Nhar
- Morning = Soboh
- Noon = Dohor
- Evening = Achiyeh / Massa'a
- Night = Leil
- Yesterday = M'bareh
- Today = Lyom
- Tomorrow = Boukra
- Hotel = Fondok
- Breakfast = Tarwika
- Lunch = Ghada
- Dinner = Acha
- Water = Ma’y
- Coffee = Kahwa
- Bread = Khebez
- Cheese = Jebneh
- Beer = Beera
- Expensive = Ghali
- Cheaper = Arkhass
- Half = Noss
- Too much = Kteer
- Restaurant = Mat'am
- Bill = Fatoura
- Airport = Matar
- Bus station = Mhattat al-bus
- Market = Souk
- Car = Sayyara
- Car papers = Wourak al sayyara
- Fuel = Benzin
- Right = Yamin
- Left = Chmal
- Straight = Deghri
- Mosque = Al-jameh / Al-masjid
- Church = Knisseh
- Museum = Mathaf
- Police = Al-Shurta
- Police station = Maghfar
- Poste office = Maktab al barid
- Embassy = Safaara
- Bank = Massraf or Bank
- Street = Chareh
- Road = Tareek
- Bridge = Jesser
- Sea = Baher
- Mountain = Jabal
- River = Naher
 
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Sports and Outdoors Activities
At Lebanon’s many sports and health clubs you can play golf, tennis or squash, swim, or participate in team sports. Fitness training is very popular and hotels and clubs will usually allow foreign visitors access to their facilities.

Thanks to Lebanon’s varied geography, opportunities for outdoor activities abound.

Ski
It takes between 35 minutes and 1 Hour to reach the snow-covered mountains where our Mediterranean climate means ideal ski conditions and sunny skies on most days.

For an unusual sports combination, try skiing in the morning and spending the afternoon swimming on the coast. There are 6 ski stations in Lebanon:
- Cedars
- Faraya
- Laqlouq
- Faqra
- Qanat Bakish
- Zaarour

Water sports
All kinds of water sports are available most of the year.
Relax at a sandy beach at Jiyyeh, Tyre, Anfeh, Chekka or try one of the many resorts along the shore.

Scuba diving is very popluar too. Explore the World War II submarine that lies submerged off Khaldeh south of Beirut, or search for ancient Phoenician remains in the coastal waters of Tyre.

For more adventure, you can climb the steep slopes of mount Sannine, explore deep caves, paragliding at the Cedars, trekking or rock climbing.


Places to visit:
- Beirut National Museum
- The traditional “Hammam” in Beirut down town
- Gibran Khalil Gibran Museum in Becharre (North Lebanon)
- Soap Museum (Tripoli & Saida)
- Harissa
- Beiteddine Palace
- Jeita Grottos
- Mleeta museum
- Cedars
- Baalback
- Tyre
- Byblos ....