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Nur Turkmani 05 Jan 2015

Five Affordable Places Every Lebanese Should Visit

You don’t need to opt for New York or Paris to feel like you’ve traveled somewhere beautiful. And, for those blessed with the ever-efficient Lebanese passport, the process of acquiring a visa is tedious, hectic and almost nerve-racking (Schengen, y u gta be so cruel?).

The solution to the money-issue? Don’t be picky. It doesn’t matter if you spend the night tossing around in a shabby bed at a run-down motel if it means you get to stroll through the vegetable market in India. The solution to the visa? Not a lot you can do about it if you’re fixated on particular countries that require visas that – FOR GOD’S SAKE – may have to be obtained from outside Lebanon (*cough* Sweden *cough*). You can always migrate to Canada later on and beg for an identity switch.

In the meantime, if you’re suffering from an incurable case of wanderlust and are pretty low on cash/not bothered to wait forever for a visa, this short list could be pretty beneficial to you. It covers a selection of beautiful countries that either have relatively cheap airfares in comparison to others, don’t require visas/visas can be obtained upon arrival and have cheap motels, food and transportation fees.

Keep in mind that there are many other options but, being the obsessed traveler that I am, trust that I’ve done enough research to ensure you that these places are worth taking into consideration. Shall we tick them off our bucket lists together, then?


(Image via Tim Hughes)

You’ve probably heard mesmerizing stories about the beautiful mountains people trek in this exotic, faraway land in between Tibet and India. Most of the world’s highest peaks are found in this unbelievably diverse country. If you’re a nature nut, then the endless rivers, valleys, hills, and – of course – Mount Everest are enough to make you the happiest person alive. The Himalayas on their own offer immense opportunities to make the most out of the nature. Additionally, if you love discovering different cultures, there are over sixty culturally unique ethnic indigenous groups in Nepal with different religions and diverse festivals that take place throughout the year. The people of Nepal are some of the most heartwarming, kind and generous people ever.

The even better news is plane tickets to Nepal from Beirut aren’t too bad – sometimes, you can be lucky and get your tickets for 500 dollars (you can ask my aunt for proof). You can also get a visa for fifteen days upon entry to Nepal only for 25 dollars. When it comes to living expenses, 20 dollars a day is enough for food, transportation and different activities in nature.


(Image via Sonic)

Side note: Armenia is not Bourj Hammoud. Armenia is actually a stunning country that is the world’s first Christian country, with the world-renowned beautiful Lake Sevan. In addition to the airfares being bearable, Lebanese travelers receive their visas upon arrival. If you’re interested in religion, history and nature, Armenia will definitely be an interesting place to travel around. The people there, although conservative, are known for their extreme hospitality and warmth. Additionally, the geography of the land is really interesting –you can witness ski on the snow-capped mountains and hike through the rain forests. Shopping there is a beautiful affair, what with flea markets being common and lustrous carpets and Soviet Union souvenirs coming by cheap. Bed and breakfast offers are also affordable and anyone who’s eaten at Batchig or Mayrig is probably aware that their food is delicious.


(Image via NY Times)

Alright, so you do need a visa to Tunisia but airfares are as low as 500 dollars sometimes. Tunisia is definitely an interesting place to visit – you might be frustrated with the litter and general neglect of the country by the government, but you’d also be surprised with the surreal beauty that this country has to offer. Tunisia is also really cheap – from its means of transportations to its hotels. There is rich historical culture in this country worth learning about and exploring. In addition to the archaeology and history, Tunisia boasts of beautiful Mediterranean beaches, bustling souks, gorgeous Saharan scenery and beautiful mountains that are worth exploring.
Also, have you had couscous or brik?

Olu Deniz, Turkey

(Image via Wonderful Beach)

Whilst it’s true that everyone in Lebanon equates vacationing with traveling Turkey, it should be taken into consideration that there’s SO much more to Turkey than Istanbul, Marmaris and Antalya. Tickets come cheap and visas are not required, so why not venture to Olu Deniz, a lively village with a crazy beach resort in the Turquoise coast of Turkey? Sandy stretches of never-ending land, calm and aquamarine blue waters, and paragliding and scuba diving opportunities. Olu Deniz boasts of bars, restaurants and an immense amount of history and culture. Additionally, it is really close to a Turkish town that is bustling with markets and a harbor.


(Image via Big Trip Little Trip)

Alright so it’s not going to be cheap going all the way to South America but here’s the deal: there is no visa requirement AND it is a really cheap country to tour due to the low-priced buses, accommodation (six dollars a night according to some travelers) and food.
Trust me when I tell you that traveling to the “Tibet” of America and experiencing the culture and the life there is unrivaled. It is geographically diverse and has more indigenous peoples than any other place in the Americas. Most of it is untouched by civilization, which is what makes it so interesting. There are many villages with friendly people, an undiscovered wine region, waterfalls in the canyon, intense history and culture, mountain bike tours, the highest navigable lake in the world and delicious food.
During the wet season, there are wondrous salt flats that will take your breath away during sunset and sunrise.
Also, you can do the Amazon trip in Bolivia much cheaper. Just btw.