Solo Travel: Beirut > Jerusalem > Beirut
Replies: 12 - Last Post: Sep 2, 2012 8:15 AM Last Post By: Shuffaluff
Jul 16, 2012 9:51 AM
Thanks in advance for replying with your wise advice! I am going to be in Beirut for a dear friend's wedding in Sept, and I'd love to go to Israel afterwards. However I am not sure if this realistic or not. A few questions:
1. Is it possible to get from Beirut to Jerusalem and back? My outgoing int'l flight would be departing from Beirut, so I would have to re-enter Beirut after the time in Israel. Is this doable, and if so, what is the best way?
2. Is this reasonably safe for a woman alone? I am 26 and have a decent level of common sense, and have traveled alone before, but not in the Middle East.
3. Assuming this is possible and not unwise, how much time should I allow for such a trip? I'm planning now on between 5 and 7 days for the trip after the wedding.
4. Any tips on how to see the sights in Israel on a budget?
Again, MANY thanks for any advice you can offer on any of the points above.
Jul 16, 2012 9:58 AM
1Lebanon with evidence of a visit to Israel.
You could fly to Tel Aviv airport via a third country, or cross by land from Jordan. But there is absolutely no guarantee that your passport won't be stamped. It's possible to ask for the stamp on a separate piece of paper, but the immigration official is not obliged to do so. There are reports on this forum from people who have begged and pleaded not to have their passports stamped, but they were stamped anyway. And if you cross into Israel (or leave Israel) via a land border with Egypt or Jordan, Egypt/Jordan WILL stamp your passport, clear evidence that you were in Israel.
If you have to return to Beirut you can't go to Israel.
However, reading your post, it sounds like Beirut isn't your home, it's only a trip. Go to Beirut and then back home. Go to Jerusalem as a separate trip. Or go to Beirut, fly from there to Amman, and cross by land into Jerusalem - knowing that you won't be able to return to Beirut.
Jerusalem is very safe for everyone, women included (I'm a woman and have lived in and around Jerusalem for decades). A modicum of common sense and you'll be fine.
Jul 16, 2012 10:03 AM
2As a separate post, so as not to make the first one too long:
Assuming you've decided to go to Jerusalem in September, you should read FAQ 52 to see how a string of Jewish religious holidays in September will have an impact on your trip, if you're here then.
Since you live in Not Specified, I can't tell you whether you'd find prices in Israel high, low or what you're used to at home. Public transport is cheap and good, food costs are similar to those in Western Europe. Accommodation isn't cheap, and September is peak time if you're looking at the second half of the month, when the holidays are.
Jul 16, 2012 10:14 AM
3Thank you so much, Shuffaluff! This is extremely helpful. A couple of follow up questions:
1. What if I were to travel by land from Beirut to Jerusalem (via Jordan, I assume), and then return to Jordan and fly back to the US from Amnan? Do you see any problems with that itinerary?
2. THANK YOU for reminding me about the holidays in September. I would be in Israel in between Rosh Hasana and Yom Kippur - would arrive on Weds Sept 19 and depart on Sun Sept 23. What do you think?
Many, many thanks!
Jul 16, 2012 10:24 AM
4No problem with that itinerary in theory, but Lebanon doesn't share a border with Jordan. You'd have to go through Syria if you go by land, and as you may know Syria is not a holiday destination at the moment being in the midst of civil war. Fighting is now going on in Damascus, not just provincial towns. You should fly from Beirut to Amman.
Make sure you have NOTHING to suggest you'll be going to Israel (such as the wedding invitation, your friend's address, a guidebook to Jerusalem) or you won't be allowed into Lebanon. I have no idea whether your luggage would be scrutinised, but you can't take that risk.
Jul 16, 2012 11:17 AM
5I'll jump in and say that your idea in post #3 will not work.
Why? As Shuffaluff has stated you have to cross Syria and, putting the civil war issues aside, US passport holders are currently not getting issued visas for Syria making entry next to impossible (I'm assuming you have a US passport since that's where you stated you'll be returning to).
Your best bet to make a trip to Israel possible is to purchase a one way ticket to Beirut. Once in Beirut purchase a one way ticket to Amman. Once in Amman you can visit Israel overland, return to Amman and fly home. Why all the one way tickets? Because if you purchase a round-trip ticket from Beirut and can't get back you're screwed and if you purchase a ticket to Amman prior to arriving in Beirut on the same itinerary it will be obvious you'll be visiting Israel and you may be denied entry to Lebanon.
It can be done; it just depends upon how badly you want to go to Israel and how much you're willing to pay.
Jul 16, 2012 11:21 AM
6Sorry, I misread the bit about where the wedding is, but that's the least important issue here. So obviously the wedding invitation and friend's addres aren't something you can't have in your luggage because the wedding isn't in Jerusalem. But the same principle holds.
Bottom line, it's either impossible or very expensive. Welcome to Middle Eastern reality.
Jul 16, 2012 8:42 PM
7I know a lot of people who have crossed between Jordan and Israel without getting an Israeli OR Jordanian stamp. Just ask both borders not to stamp your passport, but to stamp a separate piece of paper. It's not 100% guaranteed, and you would want to make your request known immediately when you present your passport so they don't accidentally stamp it before you can request no stamp, but I've never heard of either side refusing to stamp a separate paper, so seems like a fairly low risk.
Jul 18, 2012 7:36 PM
8All, I have revised my plan. Two possible options - thoughts on both would be appreciated!
OPTION #1 - DC-Beurit (by plane), Beurit-Amnan (by plane), Amnan-Jerusalem (over land), Jerusalem-Amnan (over land), Amnan-DC (by plane)
OPTION #2 - DC-Beurit (by plane), Beurit-Amnan (by plane), Amnan-Jerusalem (over land), Tel Aviv-DC (by plane)
Obviously option #2 is much more convenient, because I'd like to spend the second week of my trip in Jerusalem and the surrounding area and not have to back track to Amnan to return to the US. But would it be a problem to have Tel Aviv on my itinerary when I am trying to enter Lebanon on the front end?
Also, any concerns about having a stamp from Lebanon on my passport when I'm trying to enter Israel? I understand that I cannot reenter Lebanon with a stamp from Israel, but is the reverse true as well?
Jul 18, 2012 10:54 PM
Jul 19, 2012 4:33 AM
10If you review my post #5 you'll see it's a huge problem if you have an itinerary that includes Tel Aviv prior to entering Lebanon. If Lebanon authorities know (or even suspect) you've been to Israel or are going to Israel in the future you will be denied entry.
Your option #1 is fine (It's Amman by the way) as long as you have no evidence of a future visit to Israel (guide books, hotel reservations, etc.) in your possession when you enter Lebanon.
Sep 2, 2012 1:38 AM
11Have just come back from Israel and planning to head to Beruit in a few weeks - having known this in advance I asked the border crossing (King Hussien bridge/Allenby Bridge) to stamp a separate slip because I plan to travel around the middle east. It was no problem at all and the immigration officer simply stamped another form that they have under the counter. I believe this process is quite normal and you shouldn't worry too much about it.
Sep 2, 2012 8:15 AM
(5 star Hotel)
From US$169.00 per night
(0 star Hotel)
From US$20.51 per night
(5 star Hotel)
From US$235.54 per night