Syria New Year Budget Tour

Start
Dec 30, 2024
Beirut
End
Jan 3, 2025
Beirut
Duration
5 days
Price
US$895.00

TOUR OVERVIEW



Happy New Year! What an absolutely fabulous way to bring in another new year, partying with Syrians in the vibrant and exciting old town of Damascus. Syria's capital is a happening place at the best of times, and we can't think of anywhere better to spend New Year.

As with all of our Syria tours, we will start and end in Beirut, and we will of course venture far deeper into Syria than just a fun night in Damascus!

We'll show you the historical side of Syria, with the remarkable Roman amphitheatre at Bosra, the famously destroyed, but actually still more impressive than most ruins, Palmyra, and Krak des Chaveliers.

But let's not forget that this is a country with a fascinating recent history as well, and this is really a unique point in its history. So we will also be exploring Aleppo, Homs, Maaloula, and other places where you'll be able to get a feel for modern Syria as well.

View the full itinerary



We also have a longer tour of Syria at this time, for those who want to explore more of this magnificent country.

If you like the look of this tour but the dates don't work for you, or you'd like to do part of the tour, please get in touch and let us know. All our tours are able to be split into smaller sections, we're always scheduling new tours and your dates might work for one of them, or we can always organise an independent tour.


INCLUSIONS:

Visa approval

Accommodation in twin share at roughly 3 star hotels/guesthouses, breakfast included

Transport, beginning and ending in Beirut

Entrance fees to all sites mentioned in the itinerary, except hammam

SAIGA guide and local guides


SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: $200




EXCLUSIONS:

Visa fee (paid at the border on arrival)

Departure tax (approx. $5, paid at the border)

Hammam (approx. $10 per person)

Meals other than breakfast

Transport to and from Beirut

Accommodation and any other services in Lebanon

Personal expenses such as souvenirs or any optional activities

Any COVID related requirements



TOUR HIGHLIGHTS


Bring in the New Year in the vibrant old city of Damascus

Take in the spectacular anceint sites of Palmyra and Bosra

Get a first hand view of how Syria is rebuilding after the civil war




Itinerary
Day 1Mon Dec 30
Beirut, Damascus
  • Meet in Beirut at 8:00. Meeting point to be advised closer to the time.
  • Begin the drive to the Syrian border, which will take about two hours. We’ll stop on the way for a quick breakfast and to buy any Lebanese snacks you might want.
  • Cross the border, with a stop at Duty Free in No Man’s Land, for some of the cheapest alcohol you’ve ever experienced.
  • The whole border crossing will take around 1.5 hours.
  • After clearing Syrian Customs and Immigration, we’ll continue our drive to Damascus, another hour.
  • Arriving in the old town, you’ll immediately be intoxicated by the buzz of the old town as we walk towards our hotel. We’ll be staying in a beautifully renovated old Damascene house, complete with a tranquil courtyard surrounding a bubbling fountain, and the distinctive black and white stonework of this part of Syria.
  • In the afternoon we’ll explore Damascus’ old town, bazaar, shopping areas and bar/restaurant street. You might like to try some local ice-cream or have a shawarma, and shisha is available just about everywhere.
  • We’ll also visit Ananias Church, Damascus’ oldest church which happens to be underground, and Omayad Mosque, the main mosque in the centre of the city.
  • Free time in the evening to enjoy Damascus’ vibrant night-life.
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Day 2Tue Dec 31
Damascus, New Year's Eve
  • Leaving the centre of town in the morning, we’ll drive to the outskirts of the city and you’ll get your first glimpses of the destruction caused by the recent conflict, on our way to the October War Museum, dedicated to the war against Israel.
  • We’ll visit Kim Il Sung Park for some great photo opportunities. Syria and DPRK have had a long history of friendship and recently the Syrian Government decided to dedicate a park to the founding leader of DPRK, Kim Il Sung.
  • Returning to the centre of town we’ll visit the National Museum in the afternoon, followed by the Souk Al-Hamidiye and El-Azem Palace
  • One of the staples of any Middle Eastern destination, and what a great way to spend New Year's Eve, it’s time to experience a hammam. Anyone who doesn’t want to join in can either hang out with a shisha or a cup of tea inside the hammam’s “albrani”, translated into English as the “outside section”, which is the first room of the hammam.
  • It’s a very cool experience for anyone, but especially for females it’s a great way to see how Syrian women enjoy themselves free of headscarves and social pressures. There will be women of all ages, and they really make a day of it. Children, grandmothers and everyone in between take in snacks and drinks and stay there for hours smoking shishas, listening to music and relaxing.
  • If you prefer you can return to the hotel to enjoy the serene Damascene house, or have free time around the bazaar.
  • In the evening, anyone who wants to will go out and party with locals in the old town, bringing in the New Year Damascene style. We won't be far from our hotel, so of course anyone can return back to our accommodation at any point.
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Day 3Wed Jan 1
Damascus, Bosra, Damascus
  • We'll have a lazy morning for anyone who needs to recover from the night before, and for anyone who wants to get out and about bright and early there are plenty of things you can do to fill your free time, which we can help direct you to.
  • Around lunchtime we’ll head down to the south of the country to visit Bosra, which is still under the control of the Free Syrian Army – a very different experience to anywhere else we’ve been so far. Although they still don’t support the Assad Government, they have come to a mutual agreement that means that they’re not currently in direct combat with each other. Still though, you’ll notice the lack of Syrian flags and pictures of Assad.
  • Our first stop will be at the famous amphitheatre. Between its vast size and the fact that it’s still almost completely in-tact, it really is breath-taking.
  • We’ll sit down for a manakish or a falafel and have a chance to talk to a Free Syrian Army soldier, who will share his stories, and also a very different perspective on the situation in Syria than what you’ll already have heard.
  • Next we’ll take a walk through the old city and get a feel for this town, which has a totally different vibe to any other city in Syria. If we’re lucky, we might even meet some more people on our way who are happy to share their feelings and ideas on the situation with us.
  • We'll return to Damascus in the evening, and overnight in Damascus.
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Day 4Thu Jan 2
Damascus, Palmyra, Valley of the Christians
  • Leaving Damascus this morning we'll start exploring the rest of the country, with our first stop being Palmyra, probably Syria’s most famous site.
  • Once a lush city on the Silk Road, Palmyra was even briefly its own empire in the 3 rd Century, stretching from Turkey to Egypt. Although the old city was ruined, it was famously in spectacular condition and exceptionally well preserved. Sadly though in 2015 it fell under the control of ISIS, and a lot of the buildings were razed to the ground.
  • Until recently it wasn’t possible to visit the ancient site, however it is now possible, providing you have the correct permission.
  • We will also try and make a stop in the completely destroyed modern town of Palmyra, though this is difficult because of the presence of the Syrian Army and their allies. Even if we’re unable to stop though, we’ll drive though and you’ll be able to see what ISIS accomplished there.
  • We’ll spend the night in the Valley of the Christians, just below Krak des Chaveliers.
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Day 5Fri Jan 3
Valley of the Christians, Krak des Chaveliers, Beirut
  • This morning our first stop will be Krak des Chaveliers, the most famous of all the Crusader castles. It was first built by Kurds in the 11 th Century, and has changed hands many times, but most recently was damaged in the Syrian civil war. Recaptured by the Syrian government in 2014 it’s now safe and possible for us to visit the castle and the surrounding village of al-Husn, which is now mostly abandoned.
  • After visiting the castle, we’ll visit a nearby café that has a great view overlooking the castle, to sit down with a coffee or a beer or a shisha, and take in our surroundings.
  • From here you'll be taken to the northern Lebanese land border crossing to cross back into Lebanon.
  • Arrive in Beirut in the evening.
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