Category Archives: Tourism

The Daily Beast Removed The Article On Lebanon Being The Worst Country To Go On Vacation

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Screenshot taken from Ginosblog

The Daily Beast had posted a list of the ten best and worst places to go on vacation last week, and named Lebanon the #1 worst place to go on vacation for Westerners right now. I have no idea how they came up with that list, but all of it didn’t make sense and for some reason the article was removed from their site now.

Valentine Giveaway: Dinner for Two At Le Gray Hotel

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If you still haven’t made plans for Valentine, here’s your chance to win a dinner for two at Le Gray Hotel on February 15th. I’ve been to Le Gray quite a few times last year and had the chance to discover all their venues, which are equally awesome. Gordon’s Café is a great spot for for a breakfast or a coffee (and awesome pizzas too) in Beirut, Cherry on the Rooftop Lounge is perfect for afternoon summer drinks while enjoying an awesome view, and you can always go in during the winter at Bar360 to have cocktails and enjoy a breath-taking view of Beirut from above with great music playing until late hours.

Last but not least, a romantic dinner at Indigo On The Roof is not to be missed, and that’s what I am offering for one of BlogBaladi’s readers. All you have to do is:

1- Go to My Instagram Account LeNajib (Follow me if you like).
2- Find Pictures I’ve taken at Le Gray.
3- Name three Le Gray Restaurants & Bars I’ve been to in a comment under this post.

You could always refer to Le Gray’s [website] to make sure your answers are correct.

I will draw randomly the name of the winner tomorrow at noon midnight.

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NB: You need to put your proper email in the email field while commenting since winner will be contacted by email. You can only comment once, anyone caught commenting more than once will get disqualified.

15 Places American Tourists in Lebanon Can Feel Safe To Visit

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Eastern-style coffee

The U.S. government strongly urges U.S. citizens in Lebanon to exercise extreme caution and to avoid hotels, western-style shopping centers, including western-style grocery chain stores, and any public or social events where U.S. citizens normally congregate, as these sites are likely targets for terrorist attacks for at least the near term.

After reading the U.S Embassy warning to its citizens who are currently in Lebanon, I thought I share some of the not so Western-Style places that American Tourists, at least those adventurous enough to stay in Lebanon, could safely visit:

1- Al Falamanki – Sodeco, Beirut
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One of my favorite chillout spots in Beirut. Great Lebanese Food, Old Arabic songs all in a beautiful setting. Arguile and Backgammon also available. All the items on the menu are “Lebanonized”, even the “Red Bull“.

2- 3al Baladi – Jeita

If you don’t want to stay in Beirut, you can always head to 3al Baladi in Jeita. Labneh, Bayd Baladi, Saj, Chanklish and of course Arak Baladi. There’s also Arabic entertainment (one-man show), which I would never go to personally, on weekends.

3- Al Saniour Sea view – Maameltein

Arguile and Beer over a great view of the Jounieh Bay. This place has a style of its own when it comes to food as it has a Scud and a Patriot Man2oushe on the menu (I kid you not!).

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4- Kasr el Helou – Tripoli
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Despite all the armed clashes in Tripoli, Kasr el Helou is the safest place in town as everyone from all around Lebanon (except Douaihy) loves that place. Try the Halawit el Jeben and the Sfee7a.

5- Furn el Sabaya (The Ladies’ Oven) – Amchit
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Picture via Paty

This is an authentic Lebanese (Not so Western-ZWZ-like) Furn. It is run by three ladies (Lorenza, Martha and Lucy) who serve their visitors unique and delicious home-made food. They take pride in their food and have been delivering the same quality for almost 20 years now. Read more about it [here].

6- Afif: Emperor of Lahm Baajeen

Even though this guy only serves Manakish, you could spend the day there listening to his stories and jokes. He speaks 3 languages (At least he tries to) and is more interested in making you laugh than finishing your Man2oushé.

7- Massaad – Zahle

Massaad is known as the best place to eat Taouk in Lebanon. It is located in Zahle and it is apparently recommended to have a Zehlewi with you when you’re ordering.

8- Al Sa’eh Library (مكتبة السائح)- Tripoli
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Even though the decades-old library got torched by some idiots, all of Tripoli is working to restore this precious library back to what it was. The library is owned by a Greek Orthodox Priest and contains tons of documents and books on Islam.

9- Mir Amin Palace
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If you want to know how Lebanese are able to have fun and enjoy life despite the troubles in their country, go visit the Mir Amin Palace and you’ll forget about everything.

10- Boubouffe
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You can’t visit Beirut and not try the best shawarma in the world.

11- Falafel Joseph – Sin el Fil

The most famous Falafel place in Lebanon. During the Christian fasting, you could wait up to 1 hour to get a Falafel Sandwich.

12- Jeita Grotto

It’s probably the safest place to be in Lebanon because Lebanese never go there (they’d rather have arguile), even though it’s a wonder of nature (Not one of the 7 new wonders though).

13- Cave Al Siwan – Mayrouba

Good Lebanese Food, Loud Arabic Music and an out of the ordinary cave. It doesn’t get better (and safer) than that.

14- Saida’s Soap Museum

A charming place to visit when you are visiting Saida. Make sure to pass by El Baba sweets and try Knefe there.

15- Kaak el Asmar – Ehden
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Ehden is one of the most beautiful and peaceful towns in Lebanon, and Kaak el Asmar is the best Kaak in Lebanon. Everytime someone’s coming down from Ehden, I ask them to bring along Kaak from el Asmar. They’re heavenly and taste much better than the stuff we have in Beirut.

I know there are tons of places I could add on this list, but I think it’s a good start for now.

Alexa Storm In Pictures From All Around Lebanon

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Defying the Storm – Picture taken by myself @LeNajib in Beirut

If you have pictures you wish to share, send them to najib@blogbaladi.com

531997_10152055091636421_588920677_nEhden – Picture via Ehden Facebook Page

1458670_10152055375956421_1327384878_n Ehden – Picture via Ehden Facebook Page

1499546_10152056233766421_1233725045_n Ehden – Picture via Ehden Facebook Page

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Kfardebian – Picture via Kfardebian Facebook Page

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Kfardebian – Picture via Kfardebian Facebook Page

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Kfardebian – Picture via Kfardebian Facebook Page

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Kfardebian – Picture via Kfardebian Facebook Page

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Tannourine – Picture via OTV

Arsal
Arsal- Picture via RobertMardini

1506028_10151917332407917_1070197600_nZahle – Picture via Zahle Facebook Page

Zahle Zahle – Picture via Zahle Facebook Page

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Dahr el Baydar – Picture via DailyStar

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Baalbeck – Picture via DailyStar

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Syrian Camps

Byblos To Join The Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Network

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Picture taken by myself: @LeNajib

By joining this network, The city of Byblos will receive the below:

1- Membership in a new network. 100 Resilient Cities is creating the 100 Resilient Cities Network, which will provide support to member cities, share new knowledge and resilience best practices and foster new connections and partnerships.
2- Support to hire or fund a Chief Resilience Officer (CRO). The creation of this innovative new role will help ensure resilience building and coordination is the specific responsibility of one person in a city government. The CROs will also oversee the development of a resilience plan for the city and be part of a learning network of other CROs as representatives to the 100 Resilient Cities Network.
3- Support to create a resilience plan that reflects each city’s distinct needs.
4- An innovative platform to provide tools and resources for implementation of the plan focused on four areas: innovative finance, innovative technology, infrastructure and land use, and community and social resilience from partners such as Swiss Re, Palantir, the American Institute of Architects, Architecture for Humanity, and the World Bank.

If you want to read more about The Rockefeller Foundation, click [Here].

The Rockefeller Foundation today announces the first 33 cities selected to join the 100 Resilient Cities network. The cities were selected from nearly 400 applicants across six continents. In applying for the 100 Resilient Cities Challenge cities were required to submit their visions, needs and plans to build resilience in a way that connects government, the private sector and civil society, and specifically addresses the needs of their poor and vulnerable citizens. The announcement of the selected cities will be made during The Rockefeller Foundation’s third annual Innovation Forum titled, “Building Resilient Cities.”

The other cities selected:
Alameda, California, USA
Medellin, Colombia
Berkeley, California, USA
Mexico City, Mexico
Ramallah, Palestine
Boulder, Colorado, USA
Porto-Alegre, Brazil
Dakar, Senegal
El Paso, Texas, USA
Quito, Ecuador
Durban, South Africa
Jacksonville, Florida, USA
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Bangkok, Thailand
Los Angeles, California, USA
Bristol, UK
Da Nang, Vietnam
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Glasgow, UK
Mandalay, Myanmar
New York City, New York, USA
Rome, Italy
Semarang, Indonesia
Norfolk, Virginia, USA
Rotterdam, Netherlands
Surat, India
Oakland, California, USA
Veije, Denmark
Christchurch, New Zealand
San Francisco, California, USA
Ashkelon, Israel
Melbourne, Australia

Mir Amin Palace Hotel: A Perfect Getaway

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The Chouf is one of the best-preserved and most beautiful areas in Lebanon. It boasts the biggest Cedars forest in Lebanon, historical palaces built by the Emirs of Lebanon, most notably the magnificent Beiteddine palace, as well as beautiful old Lebanese houses, monasteries and attractions. It’s the perfect getaway from the city, the noise and the pollution and the Mir Amin Palace Hotel is the ideal place to stay when you’re planning a weekend in the Chouf.

The Mir Amin Palace was once a residence of the last Emirs of Lebanon back in the 19th century, and has been restored and turned into a splendid five-star hotel overlooking the Chouf Mountains. I went there to spend the weekend in September and I was completely blown away by the beauty of this palace, its historic courtyards, its room and suites, its spacious terraces and its great food and ambiance.

It’s really hard to describe in words how awesome this place is, so I will let pictures speak for themselves and add small captions below them.

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The road from the highway to Mir Amin Palace is well paved and surrounded by trees and forests.

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Entrance road to the Mir Amin Palace Hotel

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Entrance to the Mir Amin Palace Hotel

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After you check in, you step out to see this beautiful terrace

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Mir Amin Palace’s spacious rooms decorated with antique beds and furniture

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Walk around the palace and check its beautiful courtyards

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An Arabic lounge outside the hotel’s suites

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Hall Arcades

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What was once the residence of a Lebanese Emir

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View of the Palace from the pool

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Beautiful pool and a breath-taking view

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The Outdoor terrace

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Great Lebanese food

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and entertainment

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Overlooking the Chouf mountains

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Sunset

Overlooking the spectacular mountain valley view’s to the sun kissed terraces and the shimmering Mediterranean below, Mir Amin Palace Hotel Beiteddine Lebanon welcomes you to experience a tangible sense of history escaping from life’s stresses in the city.

This is exactly what this hotel offers its guests and more. It’s a great escape during the summer and I can’t wait to spend a weekend there during the winter with all the snowy mountains around us.

You can check out more details on the hotel’s [website].

Zahlé First Arab City to be designated as a UNESCO Creative City

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[YouTube]

Zahlé joined the network in the gastronomy category.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has designated Brazzaville (Republic of Congo), Zahlé (Lebanon), Kraków (Poland) and Fabriano (Italy) as new members of its network of “creative hubs” promoting socio-economic and cultural development worldwide through creative industries.

Brazzaville, designated “City of Music”, is the first African member of the Creative Cities Network, which was launched by UNESCO in 2004 to develop international cooperation among cities that have recognized creativity as a driver for sustainable development.

Zahlé, Kraków and Fabriano join the Network in the categories of Gastronomy, Literature, Crafts and Folks Arts, respectively. [UN]

Here we go again: Beirut Among The 28 Official Finalists For The New7Wonders Cities

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I hope we will not go through this experience again and waste money over this scam. Jeita already lost in the N7W and 10 million dollars were wasted. In case you forget about this competition, here’s why N7W was a bad idea and still is today and here’s a study to back this claim.

Bernard Weber, Founder-President of New7Wonders, announces the names of the 28 Official Finalists in the New7Wonders Cities campaign on 21 October 2013 in Zurich, Switzerland. They are, in alphabetical order:

Athens, Greece
Bangkok, Thailand
Barcelona, Spain
Beirut, Lebanon
Casablanca, Marocco
Chicago, USA
Doha, Qatar
Durban, South Africa
Havana, Cuba
Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam
Istanbul, Turkey
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kyoto, Japan
La Paz, Bolivia
London, United Kingdom
Mendoza, Argentina
Mexico City, Mexico
Mumbai, India
Perth, Australia
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Prague, Czech Republic
Quito, Ecuador
Reykjavik, Iceland
St. Petersburg, Russia
Seoul, South Korea
Shenzhen, China
Vancouver, Canada
Vigan, Philippines