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Money & costs


Lebanon's currency is the Lebanese lira (LL) (known locally as the Lebanese pound). There are a few coins (piastres) of LL50, 100 and (more commonly) 250 and 500 pieces still in circulation, as well as notes of 50, 100, 250, 500, 1000, 5000, 10, 000, 20, 000, 50, 000 and 100, 000.

US dollars are accepted everywhere and are as good as interchangeable with the Lebanese lira. Often, smaller amounts are quoted in Lebanese lira, and larger amounts (with fewer 0s!) are quoted in US dollars (the etiquette also followed in this chapter). Many places give change in either currency.

US dollars are widely accepted, but travellers cheques (in any currency) are not. The best way to access cash is through the ATMs found in all larger towns. ATMs accept credit cards or co-branded home banking cards for Cirrus, Diners Club, Maestro, MasterCard, Visa and Visa-Electron and dispense cash in both Lebanese lira and US dollars.

Budget hotels and restaurants do not accept credit cards. Tipping is widely expected in Lebanon particularly in the better hotels and restaurants and by drivers of hired cars or guides; around 10% is a good benchmark. There is no black market in Lebanon, but there are plenty of moneychangers that sometime offer better rates that the banks. Check commission, which can range from 3% to 5%, and shop around.