I simply received again from my first journey to Lebanon, and I traveled solo. I had a good time! As a girl who writes about solo feminine journey for a residing, I purposely went to Lebanon as a result of there may be virtually no data on-line about touring Lebanon alone as a girl. I wished to do the on-the-ground analysis for myself.

And so I deliberate a fact-finding journey to Lebanon. I visited for 5 full days and 6 nights, basing myself in Beirut and visiting totally different areas of the nation every day. I wished to realize as a lot data as attainable about touring in Lebanon, so I visited 4 very totally different elements of the nation and did so by organized tour, by a personal driver (by way of Uber and taxi) and by public transportation.

What I discovered was a treasure of a rustic.

So what did I stand up to in Lebanon, anyway?

I wandered by one of many final forests of the Cedars of God, the timber cited within the Bible.

I floated on a ship by underground caves, the water lit up in shiny blue.

I climbed by the biggest Roman temple on the planet.

I ate freshly caught calamari whereas overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

I met a mom and son and spent half an hour having espresso with them and making an attempt to make dialog with solely two phrases we each understood: “shukran” (thanks) and “habibi” (darling).

I talked, laughed, and informed tales over drinks with numerous new Lebanese mates in Beirut.

Sure. It was completely price it to return to Lebanon — a rustic that’s too typically labeled as a harmful place. On this in-depth submit, I’m going to inform you what it’s really prefer to journey Lebanon as a girl on her personal.

(Do word that this submit ought to solely function the start of your private analysis. The knowledge listed is correct as of the date of publication; be sure you analysis Lebanon’s security nearer to the time of your go to.)

Touring Lebanon isn’t as harmful as individuals assume, even should you’re a girl by yourself.

Now, what makes individuals assume Lebanon isn’t protected? Violence and Islamic extremism. Let’s discuss them each, frankly and brazenly.

First up, violence. Lebanon had a 25-year civil battle and it lasted from 1975 till 1990. That sounds latest and related till you level out that I’m 33 years previous now and I turned six years previous in 1990. It’s been a very long time.

A more moderen battle in Lebanon occurred in 2006. It was between Israeli Protection Forces and Hezbollah, and it lasted solely 34 days.

In different phrases, there hasn’t been any battle in Lebanon in 12 years.

Violence past that does occur in Lebanon — however it’s each uncommon and random. Sort of like gun violence in the US, or terror assaults in France. Inconceivable to foretell or management — however very uncommon, and never reflective of each journey expertise by a mile.

Lebanon takes security critically — there’s a navy presence all through the nation, and also you typically move checkpoints on the highway. (After I traveled by group tour, not one of the buses had been checked; once I traveled by public transit, solely males had been checked.)

Second, Islamic extremism. Many individuals consider that the Center East is a hotbed of Islamic extremism, when this couldn’t be farther from the reality. A few of these persons are rampantly Islamophobic; others are merely unaware and repeating half-heard sound bites from mates and cable information.

Lebanon is without doubt one of the most religiously various nations on this planet. It has 18 acknowledged religions (!!) and a big proportion of nonbelievers. Lebanon is roughly 55% Muslim (cut up virtually evenly between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims) and about 40% Christian (round half Maronite Catholics with massive Greek Orthodox, Melkite Catholic and Armenian Orthodox communities). Church buildings and mosques are positioned shut collectively; Lebanese of all faiths worship aspect by aspect in peace.

I saved considering to myself that Lebanon jogged my memory of the Balkans — solely on a a lot bigger scale. Not solely are the landscapes and structure related, however additionally they have the same cultural combine, with Muslims and Christians residing collectively in concord.

Many individuals assume each nation within the Center East is like Saudi Arabia: a strict nation the place faith controls all the things, your wardrobe is policed, terrorists are nurtured, and ladies have few rights. Evaluate that to Lebanon, the place you possibly can drink beer on the road. In a miniskirt. Throughout Ramadan.

As I at all times say,