3 Reasons Why You Have to Travel to Beirut, Lebanon Before You Die

Despite what the media and general public says, Beirut, Lebanon is not full of terrorists and no– you will not get shot here. First coming to Beirut, I didn’t know quite what to expect. Everybody told me to be careful and that it was a dangerous place. However after being here for about 4 days, I highly recommend everyone I know to come visit here. Not only does everybody speak English, French, and Arabic–but there are some of the kindest people here in the world.

In this post, I will give you some reasons which show why Beirut, Lebanon is indeed “The Paris of the Middle East,” and why it is such a beautiful country and why I don’t want to leave. In 2009, The New York Times also called Beirut the #1 place to visit as well! [Link]

1. It is a street photographer’s paradise

The Printer

"The Printer" - Beirut, Lebanon

I would say that Beirut, Lebanon has one of the most lax laws on street photography, as there are no laws concerning photography here. Sure you don’t want to do things such as shoot photos of military or embassy buildings, but everything else is free reign.

I was surprised that most people here didn’t mind getting their photos taken of. In-fact, there were many people who would approach me in the streets and ask me to take photographs of them. Some of them even invited me into their homes to talk and some even offered me coffee.

When you are walking around the streets, you will find street photographs around every corner. Beirut, Lebanon is a city of contrasts. On one side of the street you will see a decrepit and abandoned building, while on the other side you will see new apartments and shopping centers. Not only that, but the streets are always full of hustle and bustle and people are constantly interacting with one another.

2. It has amazing food

Eating Dinner in Beirut Lebanon

Eating a traditional dinner in Beirut, Lebanon

Sure every country has its great foods, but Lebanese food is on a totally different level. I am not exaggerating when I say that I have probably gained 10 pounds in the last few days getting my hands on all these different types of foods. The food here is fresh, hearty, and always satisfying appetites.

Fallafels, lamb, hummus, olive oil, pitas, wraps, tomatoes, barbeque beef, and grilled onions are only a few of the things that will delight your tastebuds.

3. The people treat you like family

Street Photography 101 Workshop

My Street Photography 101 Workshop Group Picture

As I write this, I am currently staying at my host (Mohamad Badr’s) house. Although I did not know him at all before, he treated me like family and truly opened up his home to me. Not only that, but all the times that I went to his families’ houses to eat dinner, they were always open to me and really spread their love with me as well. Mohamad’s aunt even told me if I stayed in Beirut, she would find me a beautiful wife! (of course I declined as I already have a beautiful girlfriend/manager back home).

But regardless, the feeling of community here is very real. In Los Angeles I often feel that everybody is always out their for themselves and don’t spend enough time with friends and family. Here, people have a huge emphasis on spending time with one another and are always out on the streets having a great time.

There are a million other reasons why you got to travel to Beirut, Lebanon before you die. I highly encourage everybody out there to disregard the public inaccuracies of the media and the general consensus about Lebanon being a “terrorist country.” Definitely swoop on in and you will definitely have the time of your life.

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  • http://www.thisisjoe.net Yousif Jawhar

    Very nice post.

    PS: “Mohamad’s aunt even told me if I stayed in Beirut, she would find me a beautiful wife!” < — I showed this to my friend and we both laughed hard because, well.. it's TYPICAL Lebanese/Arab behavior. :P

    Glad you enjoyed your stay.

  • http://ritakml.info ritakml

    Awesome Eric! You guys should come back for your vacations. I am soooo happy you like it here! I blogged about the workshop :D http://ritakml.info/2010/11/15/street-photography-with-eric-john-kim-and-thomas-leuthard/

  • Rick Heath

    Erik, sounds like you really had a wonderful time. I am happy it worked out you had enough cash to make this trip! Thanks as always for sharing your experiences.

    Your friend in photography,
    Rick

    • http://www.erickimphotography.com Eric Kim

      Thank you Rick! Your support meant a lot as well

  • http://pchrabieh.blogspot.com Pamela Chrabieh Badine

    Always glad to hear good things about my country! And glad that you had a nice trip! Hope you can visit other cities and villages in Lebanon when you will come back again…

    • http://www.erickimphotography.com Eric Kim

      Thank you Pamela! I’m really looking forward to it :)

  • Joseph

    You forgot to mention Lebanon has the most vibrant nightlife in the Middle East, the whole middle east, hands down; not to mention the most beautiful and liberal women, who are very articulate and refine.

    • http://www.erickimphotography.com Eric Kim

      Definitely! Those are two points I forgot to mention ;)

  • http://orayeena.blogspot.com/ rana

    Thank you for showing the positive side of Lebanon, I am so happy to hear that abt my country while others are trying to make us look like terrorists…did you visit Byblos-Jbeil ?

    • http://www.erickimphotography.com Eric Kim

      I most certainly visited Byblos-Jbeil! It was amazing… I got some great shots from there! :) Anytime Rana!

  • Roro Beydoun

    Hey there Eric,

    I must say that I was very pleased reading your post! Im glad that there are people like you out there taking chances and exploring the world from a personal perspective rather than the one spread by media and extreme minorities. Lebanon is a great country with beautiful landscape, culture and social life. Hopefully posts like this one can encourage people to travel and see for themselves. Thank you for sharing the truth about my country! I wish you the best of luck with your work and hope to read more about new places!

    Regards
    Roro Beydoun

    • http://www.erickimphotography.com Eric Kim

      Hi Roro,

      I am glad to have written this about your beautiful country! I hope to visit again soon :)

  • JR

    Wish I could.

    I live in Tel-Aviv, and I’ll be the first to visit Beirouth when peace arrives, Insh’allah.

    Until then, the title of your article bears a sad irony for me…

    JR

    • http://www.erickimphotography.com Eric Kim

      Hi JR–

      It is quite sad about the still-existing tensions within the Middle-east. I hope in the near future there will be true peace.