Would you travel to Beirut?

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Photo: Oxfam Italia

“I’m going to Beirut,” I whispered down the phone. I was whispering because I was on the train and I wasn’t sure what people would think about this mental statement.

“Errr, I don’t think so!” my boyfriend replied.

Anyone who knows me is well aware that when someone tells me I can’t do something, I want to do it even more.

A scar across my left hand proves this.

“Don’t touch the iron,” my mum said to a 3 year old me. I vaguely remember wondering why I couldn’t touch the iron, what was so precious about this forbidden item? I knew it would be hot, but exactly how hot?

I can safely say that I now know exactly how hot the iron is and I haven’t touched it since. Basically, if something is a bad idea, I like to find out exactly why for myself.

Anyway, I’m straying off track; back to Beirut.

I received an email from the lovely Rosie at BMI asking if I’d like to go to Beirut.

Part of me wanted to say no. This was the sensible part of me that has watched the news a couple of times and knows that Beirut is a dangerous place.

But let’s face it, the sensible part of me is about as big as my little finger and there was a massive part of me that screamed, ‘Hell yes! This will be an amazing adventure!’

The journalist inside me was already planning stories, thinking about the fantastic features I could write and the beautiful photographs I could take. The blogger inside of me had mentally written this post before I’d even got to the end Rosie’s email.

I phoned my incredibly sensible boyfriend immediately to share my exciting news. He reeled off a few facts that I think were intended to put me off:

  • Non-essential travel is not advised due to the very high risk of kidnap. (I must give him a few points for managing to Google this so quickly.)
  • Syria is next to Beirut and they’re just starting a civil war.
  • 38 British people had to be rescued from Beirut in 2011.
  • No insurance company will cover you. (I think this was more of a guess – I don’t think he could have possibly Google this so quickly.)
  • While you’re there, you should report to the British embassy every day.
  • The countries that surround Beirut are the most dangerous countries in the world.
  • There were bombings there just before Christmas.
  • Five French tourists were bombed and killed there.

I’ll admit that when you lay the facts out like this it doesn’t exactly sound like the most relaxing place in the world but something inside of me still really wants to go.

Two of my favourite travel bloggers headed there just a few weeks ago and had nothing but good things to say about Beirut.

Justin (48HourAdventure) calls it a ‘safe, exciting Mediterranean city that stands on its own in the region.’ I would like to highlight the word ‘safe’.

Jayne (40before30) says: ‘It is said that Lebanon is a nation of hospitality – visiting Beirut it seems this is very true.’

Their photos from their trip look beautiful and since hearing all about it, I’ve been seriously intrigued by the country.

But I’d like to know what you think; would you travel to Beirut?

21 Comments
  1. Justin Morris 10 years ago
    Reply

    If you don’t go I’m never talking to you again.

    • TheTravelHack 10 years ago
      Reply

      So if I don’t go I never need to speak to you again? Wow, that is tempting… 😉

      I definitely want to go. The more I look into it the more excited I get. Sure, parts of it might be dangerous but parts of London are really dangerous.

  2. Katherina 10 years ago
    Reply

    Absolutely.
    I went to Beirut about 2 and a half years ago and loved the city. I found it vibrant, young and dynamic. There was a lot of history to soak up and people were very friendly. As long as you keep your eyes and ears open, I wouldn’t worry!

    • TheTravelHack 10 years ago
      Reply

      Thanks for that. It’s great to hear about people who’ve been and had a great time. Government websites and things are rubbish, they just make people scared to travel anywhere!

  3. Jen 10 years ago
    Reply

    So what’s the verdict. It is such a dangerous place, but wont you hate yourself if you don’t? xxx

    • TheTravelHack 10 years ago
      Reply

      Looks like I’m going within the next couple of weeks 😀 Very excited!

  4. Beirut Hotels 10 years ago
    Reply

    I did it i am in beirut already, there is nothing dangerous about it, you come party till noon every night and have the geatest time of your live

    Email me if you up to it, and will answer any quuestion you have.

  5. Mike C 10 years ago
    Reply

    You have to go. Hell I’ve been telling people for a while now that Beirut is on my list of cities to live.

    • TheTravelHack 10 years ago
      Reply

      Cities to live? Wow that really is adventurous but makes me think that it must be a pretty special place. Really looking forward to going!

    • Ali E 8 years ago
      Reply

      I live in Beirut, trust me you don’t want to live here. It’s cool for partying and sightseeing, but living here! NO WAY. Electricity cuts in the entire city for a minimum of 3 hours a day, there’s no security you can get shot and no body would give a shit. The police are all pussies who will not do their jobs. Oh, and there’s traffic, expensive gas, expensive everything, and crazy armed men everywhere.

  6. Jad Aoun 10 years ago
    Reply

    Well my opinion is highly biased because I’m Lebanese.

    Nevertheless, I can assure you that the city is a safe place and there’s nothing to worry about.

    I am on a personal crusade to rid the world of the phrase “looks like Beirut” and I am very much inclined to send your boyfriend one of my certificates. Or you can visit the city and prove him wrong.

    Looking forward to your posts from Beirut.

    • TheTravelHack 10 years ago
      Reply

      Thanks for your comment 🙂 I plan to go to Beirut and take as many gorgeous photos as I can, partly to prove him wrong and partly because it does look amazing.

  7. Forrest 10 years ago
    Reply

    I went and I loved it. I have a couple of posts about it on my blog. One is called Safe and Sane in Beirut.

    I’ll see you in Umbria!

  8. See me 9 years ago
    Reply

    Cool sites…

    […]we came across a cool site that you might enjoy. Take a look if you want[…]……

  9. Tarek 9 years ago
    Reply

    Hi I’m from Lebanon and been there too many times to count. Currently live in NJ . I used to always question whether it would be a safe place considering all of the variables involved. The interesting part is that I lived there for 6 years and visit every few years.. not once did I experience anything to be concerned about. I would agree with the other posters that being alert is important wherever you go but not to the point of paranoia. It is a beautiful country with so much history and the downtown area is getting nicer and nicer. By now you probably went. If so how did you like it?

  10. There’s nothing worse than thinking “what if?” Adventure is about taking chances. I’d do it 🙂

  11. Tash 9 years ago
    Reply

    I had recently applied for a role in Beirut, and started dreaming about the expat life that this city may deliver…..didn’t get the role, but am feeling a real pull to the Middle East for travel and work of late. So intriguing!

  12. Matias 9 years ago
    Reply

    Hey. Did you ever get to visit Beirut. Sees like your “careful” boyfriend might talked you out of it? I understand he doesn´t want you to leave, but come on…

    Anyways, I have lived here in Lebanon for a few years now and recently we made the backpackers guide to Beirut. Please check it out and get inspired 🙂
    http://2famous.tv/2012/12/24/the-backpackers-guide-to-beirut/

    Happy new year!

  13. Elie 8 years ago
    Reply

    So did you end up going? 🙂

    • TheTravelHack 8 years ago
      Reply

      No, unfortunately I didn’t. The company who I was working with went bust. I hope I do get the chance to go in the future though.

  14. karim b 7 years ago
    Reply

    Hi, I am lebanes and I live in beirut.
    Beirut Is the capital of lebanon its small but beautiful, you will find here everything you want. The best things in it are the hotels, the restaurants, the big shopping malls, the everything but there are still some problems that won’t bother. I think you need to visit beirut and a lot of other cities in lebanon. If you get another chance to come don’t miss it !

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