Lebanon Revealed

06th May - 14th May 2020

Journey into Lebanon - a land steeped in history through changing conquests from the Phoenician era to the French colonial period and connecting the nexus of Christianity & Islam. Its recovery of its violent past speaks volumes of a country that is putting all those turbulent times behind with renewed vigor. 

HIGHLIGHTS

Savor traditional cuisines, new age gastronomy and exceptional wines

Visit some of the most stunning historical and natural sites of Lebanon

Be immersed into the everyday life and culture of Lebanon

Stay in some of the most charming boutique hotels in Lebanon

ITINERARY

DAY One 6th May (Wed): ARRIVE BEIRUT

Flight info:

QR945 Singapore 0220hrs Doha 0535hrs

QR416 Doha 0835hrs Beirut 1150hrs

Arrive Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport where we drive into Beirut - the capital city of Lebanon where we embark on a tour and insight into its storied past and its current renaissance from its ancient Roman settlement more than 5,000 years ago to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and its independence from France. We set off from the Nejmeh Square, the heart of the modern city, and see the famous central clock tower, constructed during WWI. Admire the Martyr’s Statue in Martyr’s Square, a monument that honors the Lebanese nationalists murdered during the same war by the Ottomans. Next to it, visit the stunning Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque, built between 2002 and 2007 by the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who is now rested in the mosque. Next is the ancient remains of the Roman Baths - reminding of the days during the Roman Period of its opulent lifestyle. 

We then head to the vibrant Mar Mikhael neighborhood, a former industrial district that has now been transformed into a trendy area with restaurants, bars and entertainment. Spend some time for lunch and after admiring the iconic Mar Mikhael stairs, we head on to the impressive Sursock Palace Museum, once the residence of aristocratic art lover, Nicholas Sursock. Combining Venetian and Ottoman architectural styles, take your time to appreciate the refined art collections that is the envy of many museums around the world. Finally, we then arrive at the Hotel Le Gray, a LHW property where you will spend the next 2 nights. 

This evening, join us for a Welcome Dinner at Hotel Le Gray's Indigo on the Roof where we toast for a beautiful journey ahead. 

Overnight: Hotel Le Gray, Beirut

Meals: Dinner

DAY Two 7th May (Thu): BEIRUT (EXCURSION TO TYRE & SIDON)

A beautiful day begins with a pleasant drive to the UNESCO World Heritage ancient city of Tyre, built by the Romans. On an insightful tour, we visit the legacies of Roman history uncovering the ruins of the Al-Bass archaeological site with its iconic triumphal arch as well as the Tyre Hippodrome that was built in the 2nd Century AD.

 

Next, we head to Sidon, also known as "Saida", once a thriving commercial center where we visit the ruins of the Sidon Sea Castle, built by the crusaders in the 13th Century as a fortress of the Holy Land. Thereafter, admire the Khan el Franj, a caravanserai built by Fakhreddine II for foreign merchants and goods, and once housed the French consulate. Enjoy alternative views of Sidon's coastline and the Sea Castle. From here, visit the impressive 18th Century Debbane Palace, built by Ali Hammoud in 1721, a proud masterpiece of the Ottoman Period that was bought over by Youssef Debbane in 1800 where his family have lived for generations since. Later, we have the opportunity to learn about Sidon's soap-making legacy where we meet the artisans who still master the original techniques on a workshop where you can make your own soap. 

Overnight: Hotel Le Gray, Beirut

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY Three 8th May (Fri): BEIRUT / ANJAR / THE BEKAA VALLEY

We leave Beirut today heading inland to the incredible UNESCO-listed ancient Umayyad city of Anjar where we will witness its impressive complex of ruins and remnants from the Umayyad Period, set against the backdrop of the snowy peaks of the Anti-Lebanon Mountains. 

Thereafter, we head into the beautiful Bekaa Valley, with its fertile soil - home to olive groves, an amazing array of vineyards and agricultural crop fields. We arrive in the Greek Catholic town of Zahle, capital of the Bekaa Valley locally known as Arousat al-Beqaa (Bride of the Beqaa). Founded in the 18th Century as a main intersection along the famed Silk Road, Zahle evokes storied past of conflicts but has been reborned as a lifestyle destination renowned for its wineries and gastronomy. Visit the Chateau Ksara, Lebanon's most important and successful wine estate founded in 1857 by Jesuit priests. Enjoy a cellar tour of its 2km-long subterranean wine storage caves that dates to the same period as the Temple of Bacchus in Baalbek, and tasting of its exceptional wines. 

Next, we continue our journey past picturesque towns and verdant vineyards to arrive at the archaeological ruins of the Niha Roman Temples, dating back to the 1st Century AD, chosen as a place of worship for its well-isolated, breathtaking and faith inspiring location. A short drive arrives us at Grand Kadri Hotel by Cristal

Overnight: Grand Hotel by Cristal, Zahle

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY Four 9th May (Sat): THE BEKAA VALLEY / BAALBEK / BCHARRE / EHDEN

A cozy morning begins with a sumptuous breakfast before we set off to the historic UNESCO World Heritage Phoenician city of Baalbek, arguably Lebanon's greatest Roman treasure. Civilizations as old as the Phoenicians worshiped here and themselves built massive stone structures to “Baal”, revered Phoenician deity and possible subject for the town’s name of Baalbek. With the arrival of the Romans in 64 BC, Baalbek was converted to a Pagan center of worship and work was begun on the massive Temple of Jupiter, a hulking structure of granite columns which would eventually become the largest temple ever built in the history of the Roman Empire. From the 1st century BC and over a period of two centuries, the Romans built three giant temples here: Jupiter, Bacchus, and Venus. Next, to the Jupiter complex, which was created to be the largest temple in the Roman Empire, there is a separate building known as the Temple of Bacchus. The temple is slightly smaller than the Temple of Jupiter, but it became one of the most celebrated sanctuaries of the ancient world. 

Continue our journey north where we arrive in the mesmerizing environments of the UNESCO-listed Qadisha Valley, dotted with idyllic mountain villages and towns that come straight out from storybooks. Visit the Gibran Museum in Bcharre where en route, you will travel through some of the most stunning vistas in Lebanon witnessing dramatic views of peaks and gorges as well as olive groves, vineyards, valleys and mountain peaks that develop into the beautiful backdrop for the museum that includes 440 original paintings and drawings.  We will then arrive at the Mist Hotel & Spa where we spend the next 2 nights. 

Overnight: Mist Hotel & Spa by Warwick, Ehden

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

DAY Five 10th May (Sun): EHDEN (MONASTERIES OF THE QADISHA VALLEY)

Enjoy a spectacular day uncovering the monasteries and cave churches of the Qadisha Valley, discovered throughout the years that dates back to the early days of Christianity, including St Anthony of Quzhayya, Our Lady of Hauqqa, Qannubin and Mar Lichaa. This natural and spiritual haven has welcomed genuine faith from all confessions with traces of Muslim Sufis, Ethiopian Monks and prayers in many languages: Arabic, Greek, Syriac and Ethiopian. Visit the Mar Antonios Qozhaya, founded in the 11th Century, is the largest of the monasteries in the Qadisha, renowned for its spiritual value and for establishing the first known printing press in the Middle East in the 16th century, and includes a museum with a rich collection of religious and ethnographic objects.

 

Thereafter, continue to the beautifully-restored Mar Lichaa Monastery that is impressively built into the vertical cliff wall. Once the residence of the Maronite bishops, the Maronite order was founded in this monastery between 1698 and 1700. We then stop in Bekaa Kafra, the highest village in Lebanon at over 1,800m above sea level and the birthplace of Saint Charbel where you have the opportunity to visit the Church where Saint Charbel was baptized and for some of the most spectacular panorama of the Qadisha Valley. 

Overnight: Mist Hotel & Spa by Warwick, Ehden

Meals: Breakfast, Picnic Lunch & Dinner

DAY Six 11th May (Mon): EHDEN / WATERFALLS & GORGES OF TANNOURINE / KFOUR

We leave Ehden today, journeying to some of the world's most fascinating natural wonders - the Baatara Sinkhole, a jaw-dropping gorge and waterfall that thrills even the world traveler. Discovered in 1952, the site has three natural bridges, rising one above the other and in season, an opportunity to witness a beautiful cascade behind the bridges. Enjoy time to soak in all the wonderment and photographic opportunities before we continue next to the legendary Afqa Waterfall, cascading down from within rocks into the Adonis River. According to mythology, this is where the mortal Adonis died in the arms of Aphrodite, goddess of love. Thus, the waterfall was aptly nicknamed "Aphrodite's Tears". 

Our journey for the day ends in the peaceful village of Kfour, nestled in the foothills of Mount Lebanon where we arrive at picture=perfect environments of Beit Trad, a delightful guesthouse that teases all the senses. 

Overnight: Beit Trad, Kfour

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY Seven 12th May (Tue): KFOUR (EXCURSION TO BYBLOS & BATROUN)

Enjoy an excursion today as we make our first stop in the UNESCO-listed ancient city of Byblos, one of the oldest-continuously inhabited city in the world that has witnessed more than 24 successive civilizations. Visit the Byblos Castle, built by the Crusaders in the 12th Century from indigenous limestone and the remains of Roman structures. Next to the citadel, visit the romanesque Cathedral of Saint Jean Marc, built in 1115 dedicated to the patron saint of Byblos who is said to have founded the first Christian community of Byblos. The church itself was built in 1115 AD by the Crusaders, originally as the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. You then have the opportunity to visit the Old Souq of Byblos, filled with shops that sell souvenirs, local crafts and other wares as well as fresh fruits and produce. 

Thereafter, continue along the shimmering coast to the coastal city of Batroun, a treasure trove of Phoenician , Roman and Byzantine history. Enjoy a stroll on the beautiful fishermen's harbor dominated by the imposing Maronite St Stephen's Cathedral designed in a mixture of Byzantine and Roman arts with some influence from the Gothic art. From here, we move inland to the spectacular terraced vineyards of IXSIR Winery, one of the highest vineyards in the world at over 1,800m above sea level where we marvel at the stunning views of the panorama, learn about its world-revered wine production, wine tasting and enjoy lunch in a wondrous environment. We then return back to Beit Trad. 

Overnight: Beit Trad, Kfour

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY Eight 13th May (Wed): KFOUR /JEITA GROTTO / BEIRUT

Say farewell to your host at Beit Trad as we leave today for one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World in the form of the Jeita Grotto. Made up of several caves, we take a trip down the lower caverns on a subterranean lake before visiting the upper gallery on foot to discover a world of limestones stalactites and stalagmites in a visual spectacle of epic proportions. This afternoon, we visit Sarah's Bag, a Lebanese fashion house and social enterprise that creates one-of-a-kind luxury hand-crafted bags and accessories. Learn about the dynamic passion of Founder, Sarah Beydoun, born and raised in Beirut, who launched Sarah's Bag in 2000, bringing together her love of fashion and design with the mission to empower underprivileged women. Sarah's exuberant persona shines through each of her hip, whimsical and luxuriously hand-crafted creations. Finally, we transfer to Hotel Le Gray where check in. This evening, we will enjoy a elaborate farewell dinner at Iris Beirut, situated in one of the most enviable locations in the Beirut waterfront with spectacular panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea. 

Overnight: Hotel Le Gray, Beirut

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY Nine 14th May (Thu): DEPARTURE BEIRUT

Today, we transfer to Beirut-Rafic Hariri Intl Airport for your flight departure

Flight info:

QR417 Beirut 1315hrs Doha 1615hrs

QR942 Doha 2005hrs Singapore 0905hrs+1

Meals: Breakfast

HOTELS

Welcome to Le Gray, the home of understated luxury nestled in the heart of downtown Beirut. Perfectly located for both business and leisure, we offer the ultimate in hospitality for every guest, with state of the art facilities, meeting rooms and suites. One of Beirut’s most iconic luxury hotels, Le Gray, Beirut is a Campbell Gray Hotel and member of The Leading Hotels of the World.

Hotel Le Gray, Beirut

Grand Kadri hotel, nestled in the vibrant heart of the charming city of Zahle, is one of the rare remaining historical landmark hotels in Lebanon. The architectural style of our hotel combines oriental aesthetics with an exquisite modern touch. It is one of the finest spots for business travelers and tourists seeking to visit Lebanon’s fascinating eastern regions.

Grand Kadri Hotel by Cristal, Zahle

Overlooking the beautiful resort town of Ehden in Lebanon, MIST HOTEL & SPA by Warwick is a boutique hotel that sits on the slopes of the famous mountain of Ehden that gives the town its name. Blending contemporary style, natural touches and the ancient history of the town, the resort is luxurious without feeling out of place. 

Mist Hotel & Spa by Warwick, Ehden

Beit Trad, Kfour

There is something very special about Beit Trad. Hidden amidst majestic old pine trees, this exquisite 19th century traditional Lebanese home in Kfour is imbued with the kind of magic that gently awakens the senses whilst soothing the mind.

LAND COST: 

Per Person: S$6,200 on Twin-Sharing Basis

"My Own Room Supplement": S$2,500

What Is Included? 

* All accommodations as stated in the program

* Services of Private Local English-Speaking Guide

* Services of Beyond X Boundaries Expedition Leader

* Tours and Visits as stated in the program

* Meals as stated in the program

What's NOT Included? 

* International airfare arriving and departing Beirut

* Sightseeing and excursions not specified in the program

* Any other meals not stated in the program

* Personal & other expenses not stated in the program

* Travel Insurance

* VISA on Arrival into Lebanon (no charges)

* Any other expenses incurred beyond our control due to natural disasters, weather conditions,  etc.

AIR PASSAGE ROUTING: 

The program is planned in a flexible concept that guests can join our tour pre, post or in between possible dynamic travel arrangements and hence, we advise the necessary flight details to arrive and depart as per the dates scheduled. Subject to individual travelers' requirements, we are also able to arrange international flights according to guests' preference. 

QUICK FACTS:

Adventure Level: Easy - Moderate

For physically active guests who are comfortable with easy to moderate level of physical exertion, fitness and embracing the concept of walking in some natural sites in Lebanon.

Small International Group:

Founders Journeys celebrate diversity and through the exchange of cultures and ideas, we learn more about one another on our groups of no more than 8 travelers, enjoying an intimate experience. 

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