Category Archives: Travel

Starting The Week On A Positive Note:

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#SeeLebanonForYourself is an initiative by Beirut’s Phoenicia Hotel to highlight the beauty of Lebanon through high quality virtual images. The Virtual Reality campaign was kicked off a week ago (but halted due to recent events) and aims at showing Lebanon’s gems through high quality virtual images..

You can enjoy the virtual tour in three different ways:
Desktop: This is the simplest where you just drag the mouse to move the panorama.
Mobile: Using the gyro icon, just move your phone around in 360 degrees.
3D imaging: You can use Google Cardboard, Samsung gear VR or Oculus rift.


The website is simple and loads very quickly. The images are breathtaking and you can easily zoom in and out. The areas currently available are the following:
– Baalbeck
– Jeita Grotto
– Saydit el Nourieh
– Saida Souq
– Balou3 Balaa
– Saida Sea Castle
– Beiteddine Hammam

And more will be added soon.

jeita grotto

Despite everything that’s been happening in Lebanon, there are always new initiatives aimed at showing what Lebanon is truly about and reminding us that we live in a beautiful country.

Check out the [website] and spread the word!

Saida souq


My First Time At The #DubaiMotorShow

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I just landed in Dubai and I’m here to attend the 2015 Dubai International Motor Show. I’m here with the Ford & Lincoln team and I’m looking forward to another exciting experience. This is my second trip with Ford and I love how professional and well organized these people are. Last year, the 50th anniversary of the Ford Mustang was a phenomenal event and I enjoyed every bit of it, especially going up to the 112th floor on Burj Khalifa to see the new Mustang.

I’m here till Wednesday and I’ll be posting daily updates about the Motor Show and my trip. You can follow me on Instagram [@LeNajib], Twitter [@LeNajib] and Facebook of course [BlogBaladi]. I’m also on Snapchat [LeNajib] but I still don’t see the point from using Snapchat so don’t expect many updates there.

Week41 : LiveLoveBeirut’s Best Pictures Of The Week

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Chouwen1 Chouwen river like you’ve never seen it before – by @RiseAboveLebanon

You can follow LiveLoveBeirut on Instagram on [Instagram]. I’m also on Instagram and you can follow me [here] if you like.

Rachaya Rachaya by BitarGeorges

Grand serail Serail in pink – by Naiiman

Chouwen2 Another stunning Chouwen river shot – by @RiseAboveLebanon

Bekaa Bekaa – by Eihab

Baalbeck Vintage Baalbeck – By Joe el Hage

Akkar Stunning Akkar – by Nurturkmani

Lebanese Passport Among The Ten Worst Passports For Travel

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The 2015 Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index is out and Lebanon was ranked 101 out of 109 along with Congo, Iran, Liberia and Libya. The report ranks countries in terms of freedom of travel and visa restrictions and the Lebanese passport allows you to visit only 37 countries without a visa versus 114 countries for UAE passport holders. UAE is the best ranked regionally in 40th spot, followed by Kuwait and Qatar in 63rd and 66th position, Oman and KSA in 72nd and 74th spot.

If we look back at the 2013 report, Lebanese passport holders had access to 44 visa free countries while we only can travel without a visa to 37 countries now. On a positive note, MTV reported that tourism improved by 25% in Lebanon when compared to the previous year and tourist expenditure is on the rise as well.

Week39 : LiveLoveBeirut’s Best Pictures Of The Week

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Ramlet Ramlet el Baida – So far still a public beach. Picture by RiseAboveLebanon

You can follow LiveLoveBeirut on Instagram on [Instagram]. I’m also on Instagram and you can follow me [here] if you like.

HIppo Hippodrome Beirut – by Zcitytips

Chabrouh Chabrou7 Dam – by MichoKhoury

Bqarzla Bqarzla falls – by Amiiryoussef

Bekaa Bekaa – by RiseAboveLebanon

Bakich Bakich – by MichoKhoury

20 Things To Do In Tripoli – Lebanon (Part2)

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Tall via Budkheir

I’ve finally managed to compile the second part of the “20 things to do in Tripoli” series that I started a month ago. Eid Al Adha is around the corner so it’s the perfect time to head to Tripoli enjoy the sweets, do some sightseeing or take a boat trip to Rabbits Island.

If you missed Part1, check it out [here].

Tripoli is Lebanon’s second-largest city and despite being one of its poorest, it is rich in diversity and is a beautiful city to explore. There are always new places to visit and new things to do and a sense of community in the city. I’ve been going to Tripoli for 15 years or more and I discover a new thing to do or a new place to visit almost every time so I decided to compile all these activities into two blog posts based on my past experiences and a little help from my good friends and Tripolitans Natheer, Hayat and Zaher.

11- Visit The Old Train Station:

If you like trains and a bit of history, make sure to pass by the old railway station. The station is one of the oldest in Lebanon as it started operating more than 100 years ago and used to connect to Homs in Syria and Beirut’s central station in Mar Mikhail. Unfortunately, the station was abandoned in the 1970s by the Lebanese authorities and has become a museum ever since. In fact, it’s not exactly a museum as it’s not well maintained but there’s a local organization (The Mina Peace committee) that is planning soon a rehabilitation and beatification project for the train station area. I hope they revamp the station soon because there’s a lot of history in that place.

12- Old/Vintage Style Pubs in Mina:
Talk a walk down Mina and enjoy the old/vintage and new/modern style pubs where poetry nights and artistic gatherings are usually held. If we go back to the 60s, Tripoli had a vibrant nightlife with a lot of cafes, pubs and beach clubs open in the city but things have unfortunately changed since then. Currently, Tripoli’s nightlife is nothing like Beirut or other areas but there are still pubs mainly in Mina’s Dr. Raymond al-Labban Street (Minot Street) where one can order a drink and have fun with friends.

13- Old & New Fisheries in Mina:

El Mina occupies the location of the old Phoenician city of Tripoli and the harbor is the city’s most visited site. A good idea is to head there early in the morning and see the old and new fisheries where people gather to buy fresh and affordable fish. You can also watch fishermen working while having coffee and kaak in one of the many cafes.

14- Tripoli by Bike:
tripoli-lebanon-cycling4-600x450 via BikeRumor

Tripoli doesn’t have a bike trail but it’s one of the best ways to explore the city. You can roam the city, visit traditional and cultural sites, pass by the old souks and stop at local cafes along the coast. Café Moussa, which was recently rehabilitated by the Old Souk Committee is a must visit, the different markets (clothing, vegetable) which were also recently rehabilitated by Tebbaneh Youth Council after being damaged during previous clashes. There’s also the Hara Jdide and several other areas that were rehabilitated thanks to the initiatives of civic organizations and the increasing interest of civil society in preserving and the famous traits of their town.

There’s been a lot of events to help spread the biking culture, but it’s still not popular enough in the city, even though there’s a lot of traffic in Tripoli.

15-Public Gardens (King Fahed and others):

Tripoli is a densely populated city but there’s a decent number of green areas and public spaces, especially when compared to the ones in Beirut. The work of civic organizations is also here quite noticeable as they are rehabilitating old and abandoned public gardens and spaces like the one in Malloule (Youth in Tebbaneh) and a public garden in Abou Samra (Muslim Scouts). You will also find a lot of public gardens around the mosques and in the Tripoli Expo (Niemeyer’s Maarad).

16- The Cemetries:
cemetery via LuvLebanon

Cemeteries are usually well preserved in Tripoli and very well looked after, especially the British and French military graveyards in el Mina. There are even campaigns to rehabilitate and clean up the cemeteries, like the ones in Souk el Ameh by the Tebbaneh Youth Council. Most of the cemeteries are of course Muslim ones and you will find them in random places like in the Old Souks for example. There’s an organized chaos in these graveyards and around them that is a beautiful thing, to me at least.

17 – Places To Stay:

There aren’t that many places to stay in Tripoli, at least not to my knowledge but there’s one that comes highly recommended which is Beit el Nessim in Mina, and there’s another hotel called Quality Inn in Tripoli.

18- Damm w Farez, or Neo-Tripoli:

Damm W Farez is where you will find all the new fancy restaurants and cafes. If you want to grab a bite, smoke a Shisha or have a coffee, that’s the place to go. There are different cafes where you can relax after a long walk and the food is usually good at most of them. One of the famous cafes there is called Ahwak Ben Tafesh which serves good desserts.

19- Visit the Rabbit Islands/Palm Islands Nature Reserve:
The Rabbits Island is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage site and has been chosen as a special Mediterranean Protected Area under the 1995 Barcelona Convention. The “Rabbits” name is attributed to the large number of rabbits that were grown by the French on the Island in the 20th century. These Islands are quite amazing and some areas are accessible during the summer for swimming and snorkeling. There’s a ferry boat that transports visitors to the Islands.

20- Al Hallab Qasr el Helou:

You cannot go to Tripoli without visiting Qasr el Helou, one of Lebanon’s most visited Arabic sweets shop. Lebanese from abroad and outside Tripoli go to eat there. Kasr el Helou was founded in 1881 and is the ideal place to taste all sorts of Arab sweets. My favorites are the Halawet el Jeben and Mafrouke.


Two of the online sources I’ve used in these two posts are [Tripoli-City] and [WeLoveTripoli].

Week38 : LiveLoveBeirut’s Best Pictures Of The Week

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Saida - Copy Saida Castle by RiseAboveLebanon

You can follow LiveLoveBeirut on Instagram on [Instagram]. I’m also on Instagram and you can follow me [here] if you like.

tent - Copy Camping at the Cedars – by Najib Hajjar

rains - Copy First rains by Hasna Frangieh

pineforest sunset - Copy Pine forest sunset – by Christassad

breakfast Mornings like this – by ElieSamarani

batroun Batroun underwater – by Eric Francis

Man2oushe - Copy Nothing like a man2oushe – by Lara Hassan

Things To Do In Jbeil (Byblos) During The Summer

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Jbeil, one of the world’s oldest cities, has always been one of my favorite cities in Lebanon and I tend to visit it quite often. There are so many things to do there and you can spend a whole weekend touring the city and having fun, especially during summer. A couple of months back, I criticized these unheard of awards that Jbeil is being awarded every year and mentioned that our primary focus should be on promoting tours and activities in Jbeil because these awards won’t help much if tourists don’t know how to get to Byblos. In fact, most of the tourists and a lot of Lebanese want to go to Jbeil but they have no idea what to do there or what to expect, so here’s a small post to highlight some of the things that you can do there:

Spend the day at the beach:
2780353804_da9e590180_o Picture by Nicolas Karim

Most people know Edde Sands in Jbeil and it’s a beautiful resort but there are others like Santa Prairie, Ocean Blue, Bay 183 and Byblos Sud. You can also find a couple of public beaches, especially one near the Crusader Castle called Al Ba7ssa.

Visiting the Old Souks:

The old souks connect the centre of the city to the sea side and are packed with restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops. There are also beautiful churches and a mosque to visit. You can either take a calm walk during the day or wait till the souks get really packed at night. If you are looking for Arabic places to try out, I recommend Bab El Mina, Beit Nezha, La Locanda (especially the desserts), 1188 lounge and bar resto or Feniqia (Lebanese food with a twist). If you are looking for international cuisine, ecafé is a good option even though I was rather disappointed by the food and service during my last two visits. There’s also a small place called éBaladi that serves breakfast (manakish, eggs, etc ..) and is worth a try if you want to grab a quick bite. If you head out of the souks, there are plenty of fast food chains and restaurants to check out (Roadster, Zaatar W Zeit, Crepaway, Ksar, Mon Maki A Moi and others). There’s also one of the first ever Mexican restaurants in Lebanon El Molino that you can check out.

PS: You can also rent bicycles and tour the city but bike tours and tracks are not well organized.



Take a boat trip and have lunch by the sea

For those who enjoy the sea, you can head down to the Byblos port and go on a boat trip for 1 hour or more. It’s a fun ride and if you are lucky enough, you might spot dolphins. Once you are back to the shore, you can enjoy lunch at one of the many fish restaurants by the sea. Pépé Abed (Byblos Fishing Club) is a must-visit.

During the summer, you can also enjoy the Byblos International Festival which takes places right by the sea.


Public gardens, churches, ruins, museums and a lot of sightseeing:

Byblos is one of the World’s 20 oldest continually-inhabited places on earth, and there are plenty of archaeological sites and attractions to visit there. There are several old churches, mainly St. John the Baptist Church and the ancient Our Lady of Deliverance Church, the Sultan Abdel Majid Mosque, the iconic El-Houssami Old Lebanese House and the archaeological site around it, the Crusader Castle, the Roman Theater, Roman columns and others …

The best part is that most of these sites are nearby and you can walk around the city discovering them one by one. There’s also a wax museum worth checking out and a public library.



Jbeil by night:
dsc00427 Picture Source

The souks are usually crowded at night and there are plenty of pubs and restaurants to visit. I sometimes used to go there just to walk around and enjoy the city by night. The harbor is a great spot to grab a beer and just watch the sunset. Some of the places worth checking out are Garten, Backdoor, Barbacane, Oasis and 1188. If you are looking for the real nightlife experience, you can head to Publicity, a large venue with many pubs and restaurants 5 minutes away from the souks.

Unknown parts of Jbeil:

If you like Shawarma, there’s a popular place called Rock. There’s also another place called Kaddoum that has all sorts of sandwiches and has great cocktails. Sub-Omelette or Chicken Sub at Mike Snack are also worth a try. Ice cream (Achta) at Nashawati comes highly recommended as well.

All in all, Jbeil is a beautiful city that can easily become a tourist attraction if it’s promoted properly. If you feel like I’ve missed something worth mentioning, please email me ( and I will gladly add it to the post. Until then, spread the word and Live Love Jbeil!

Special thanks to Sophie and Chadi!

Week30: LiveLoveBeirut’s Best Pictures Of The Week

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Jounieh Flying over Jounieh – by Sara el Dana

You can follow LiveLoveBeirut on Instagram on [Instagram]. I’m also on Instagram and you can follow me [here] if you like.

Beirut Flying over the parliament – by Micho el Khoury

sunset Beautiful sunset – by F.Rostom

Ehden In love with Ehden – By Eli77

Dbayyeh Dbayyeh sunset – by JoseDaou

Cedars A walk in the Cedars forest – by Sacha el Aref

Busy From the sky – by Antoun Hayek