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Tips on travelling from Istanbul-Damascus- Beirut

Travel Forums Africa and The Middle East Tips on travelling from Istanbul-Damascus- Beirut

1. Posted by Thuligal (Full Member 9 posts) 6y

I am planning to travel from Istanbul to Beirut by road. I am a female travelling alone. can you please give advise on how to tackle my route, sites to see. I will apreciate some sugestions,as I will be travelling next weekend. I have just realised as well that I will be travelling durring the Ramadan month any advise on that. PLS HELP

2. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5595 posts) 6y

I did most of that area back in 2005.
Took a bus from Istanbul to Antakya (Antioch) in about 15 hours or so, which is just before the border with Syria. From there regular buses are going to Aleppo, which is some hours away.
Aleppo is a great city, don't miss it! Visit the Citadel for wonderful views.
From there I took a great train ride to Latakia (4 hours, 50 cents) and on to the border with Lebanon by minibus, and onwards to Tripoli. Tripoli is not worth much, but inland is Bcharré and the Cedar Reserve.
From there, went south to Beirut and visit a few places along the coast. Went inland to Zahlé wine region and onwards to Damascus. All worth the time, Damascus is great!
Did a side-trip into Jordan, but not worth it unless you go further south to Petra and Wadi Rum.

From Damascus, went northeast to Palmyra, fantastic!

Not sure where your trip ends, but went back via Deir ez Zor (low-key pure Syrian city) and visit the Doura Europos ruins along the Euprates river, towards the border with Iraq. Don't worry, it's still an hour further and it's safe, like Syria in general is a very safe country.
From Deir ez Zor took another great train to the border with Turkey and onwards by bus to Diyarbakir. wanted a train back to Istanbul, but were unlucky so had a bus back.

Part of my trip was during Ramadan as well. Amazingly, only in Jordan did I face some more troubles regarding getting foot or drinking because I was really thirsty (travellers and pregnant women can eat/drink while the Ramadan is). In Beirut 30% is non-Muslim anyway, and even 10% of the population in Syria is non-Muslim. Lots of Armenian shops are open as well.

If you have more question, please ask! There are a few photos of Syria in my gallery
Michael

3. Posted by Thuligal (Full Member 9 posts) 6y

Hi.. Utrecht.. thanks for your response its very very informative. You explained it so well basically you just outlined my trip Thank you, merci buku,dankie,gracia..I hadn't thought I could go via tripoli but its interesting. I will liook at your photo's. When travelling from Istanbul to Antyka what time do you think its best to travel at. i will be arriving in Istanbul @ 12:30 I am considering spending a night there an start travelling in the morning or do you think I can travel the same day. I will ask more questions as I finalise my trip ... thanks alot

4. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5595 posts) 6y

Quoting Thuligal

Hi.. Utrecht.. thanks for your response its very very informative. You explained it so well basically you just outlined my trip Thank you, merci buku,dankie,gracia..I hadn't thought I could go via tripoli but its interesting. I will liook at your photo's. When travelling from Istanbul to Antyka what time do you think its best to travel at. i will be arriving in Istanbul @ 12:30 I am considering spending a night there an start travelling in the morning or do you think I can travel the same day. I will ask more questions as I finalise my trip ... thanks alot

What I would suggest is to give Istanbul a few days, especially to see the Sultanahmet (not sure about spelling;)) and to settle down. It's a great city!
I don't know if buses also leave from the European side, but I went from the Asian side. I found this on the Lonely Planet website: There’s a smaller bus station on the Asian shore of the Bosphorus at Harem (216-333 3763), south of Üsküdar and north of Haydarpaşa train station. If you’re arriving in İstanbul by bus from anywhere on the Asian side of Turkey, it’s always quicker to get out at Harem and take the car ferry to Sirkeci/Eminönü (every 30 minutes from 7.30am to 9.30pm); if you stay on the bus until the otogar, you’ll add at least an hour to your journey. If you’re going the other way, you may want to catch your bus here, instead of at the otogar; check if this is possible at the bus office.
Bascially, it's better and saves you an hour!

Do you arrive at Ataturk airport or Sabiha Gokcen (Asian side)? If you don't want to spend time in Istanbul and arrive on the asian side, might be best to go to the Harem bus station and ask for companies going to Antakya. 100% sure you will leave within a few hours the most!

Cheers and you're welcome!
Michael

Post 5 was removed by a moderator
6. Posted by Thuligal (Full Member 9 posts) 6y

@ Utrecht..hi, thank you very very much for your detailed overview trip from Istanbul to Lebanon. I did follow it (most of it) and changed the way a bit since I had a single entry to each country so I did Syria first and them Lebanon.. flew from Lebanon.

It was amazing.. Istanbul was FAB I loved it, from there I went to Allepo, Damascus,Palmayra,Homs,Latakia.. Lebanon: TRipoli,Bcharreh,Babelek,Zanhle,Sidon,Tyr, Babylos and Beirut.I only had 15 days

It was wonderful and I had not problems as a female travelling alone and I did manage to easily find food.. thanks a lot :)

@ Micheal: Yeap Sultnhamet was great, I stayed at Taksim square so I walked from there to Sultanhamet great walk indeed.. thanks

Cheers:
Thuli

7. Posted by Dodger (Inactive 875 posts) 6y

Quoting Thuligal

@ Utrecht..

@ Micheal:

Ah maybe this explains it. I always thought Utrecht had a split personality! :)

8. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5595 posts) 6y

Quoting Dodger

Quoting Thuligal

@ Utrecht..

@ Micheal:

Ah maybe this explains it. I always thought Utrecht had a split personality! :)

LOL. I like you too....you assh*le...
And thanks for the report Thuligal! Glad to be of help and hearing you had a great trip!