Damascus Syria Bahsa St., Damascus, Syria
More about Damascus
View of Damascus from restaurant terrace
mass when I peeped in
more arches at Humaidiya
Visiting for 10 days starting Nov 10 - need advice and friends!
Hey Syrian friends.
My name is Ali and I am 29 years old from Dubai.
I need some urgent help. This trip came at the last minute so mind you I am obviously lost and scrambling to make the best of preparations. I have read the guides but wish to have some personal recommendations as I wish to make the best of this trip, and since I will be visiting with the parents, I urgently need some advice on the best way and places to make friends whilst I roam around alone, as many know that family is fun, but not all 10 days! :S
So first off, I need a place. I know this is very short notice, but we managed to get a place for a day or two and I hope anyone can point out to any sort of decent and reasonable priced places to stay. I've been once before, and have learned the hard way that concealing where you are from is best practice, as for some reason prices multiply ten fold as opposed to traveling from another province. I am looking for clean hotel furnished type of apartments, not really a hotel, and not a private apartment either. 3 rooms would be ideal and price would need to be reasonable as I am looking for advice not to get ripped off. Location is also important, with Mezza street a good place, or close by. Term is for 10-14 days. Can you please let me know the price range I should expect as any other person would? And any ideas where can I find some ASAP?
A particular question, my uncle is on medication and I would like to know if pharmacies dispense medications without prescriptions or is it necessary to visit a doctor? Would a doctor's note from Dubai suffice?
Then there is socializing. It's funny to say, but I need friends when I visit to show me around. I've just joined the site, so please suggest any ideas and any if there are fun people out there, message me. I promise to return the favor when any one of you visits Dubai. Guys and girls are welcome ;) . Some of my closest friends are Syrian hence why I am sure there are lots of fun people around to hang out. And if I am approaching this the wrong way please help out if you've done this before. Precisely, any particular areas I should visit? How about the dating scene? And I mean harmless fun, no funny business. Anyone able to help guide me through this? Much appreciated.
Hope to hear some helpful tips soon.
Thanks again and be nice on my first posting :)
Re: Visiting for 10 days starting Nov 10 - need advice and friends!
I am also looking for help. got Syrian visa and plan to be there around 10 Dec (Insha Allah) from Jordan. Travelling along and interested to know your experience or replies, particularly about decent and reasonably priced accommodation, important tourist locations etc. Can you please share information you got. my email is email@example.com
Travel Tips for Damascus
When I visited Syria in December 2006, the running rate of exchange seemed to be US$ 1=50 SYP (Syrian Pounds or "Lira" in Arabic)... although the official, but irrelevant interbank rate was $1=54 SYP.
In Damascus, I used two cash machines. One was around the corner from Bab Touma, just outside the old city, on Adeeb Ishaq Street. The second was across the street from Cham Palace Hotel on Maysaloun Street in the new city. Undoubtedly, there are others around, but they are not a frequent occurrence. Best to withdraw a little more than you think you need, just in case.
Remember, though, compared to other countries, Syria is quite inexpensive. An expensive meal for one person will rarely cost more than $10-15, i.e. 500-750 SYP, so there is no need to withdraw a fortune from the cash machine.
Central Damascus is the modern heart of the city to the west of the Old City. It is characterised by medium-high rise office and apartment blocks topped with a sea of satellite dishes, small shops, big roundabouts, street vendors, roads full of small Chinese and Korean cars and hazy air, which is usually polluted enough for you to notice it. This is also where most of the hotels are, ranging from the glitzy five-star Cham Palace to shabby, backstreet doss-houses.
Highlights for the visitor are the Hejaz Railway Station and the National Museum.
There are many old traditional coffee shops around the Old City. Just around the corner from the very popular Cafe Al-Nawfara is a beautiful old coffee shop. They sell tea, coffee, soft drinks and nargileh. It is mostly frequented by locals, and mostly men.
I enjoyed going there late afternoon, sitting with tea and a pipe watching the people going by.
I do like the wonderful spicy arabic/turkish coffee very much. If you are not use to it, remeber to let it settle before you drink it. It is usually ordered with or without sugar, as you do not add sugar after it is served.
Tea/Coffee and pipe is SYP 100
Well, it’s not exactly “off the beaten path”, since Bosra is a significant destination for everybody visiting Syria. This is not strange; Bosra has one of the best-preserved Roman theaters surrounded of a fascinating citadel and a very interesting old town. The theater dates back to the 2nd century AD. The first part of the citadel was built during Umayyad period and took its final form in 1251. The citadel is open 9am-6pm (March-November) 9am-4pm (December-February). Admission 150SP. The old Roman town is located to the north of the theater; entrance is free and there is no fixed opening hours. Among other interesting sights, you can visit the Mosque of Omar, which is claimed to have been built by caliph Omar and be one of the earliest mosques in the world (however, historians say that the mosque dates back to 12th century) and still operates as Bosra’s main mosque. You can visit Bosra either by bus from Baramkeh terminal or by microbus.
For a different experience when visiting Damascus, jump in a taxi one afternoon and ask the driver to take you to Abu Roummaneh. It is a high end residential neighbourhood with numerous European clothing shops (e.g. Benetton and Morgan), cafés and restaurants. The neighbourhood's location closer to Jabal Qassioun ensures strategic views of the mountain and its hanging suburbs. If the weather is nice, some cafés offer outdoor seating where you could see and be seen by some Damascene bourgeoisie. Attached are some photos of the neighbourhood.
Popular Hotels in Damascus
Beit Rumman Hotel
72 Qishleh Street - Bab Touma, next to Syriac Orthodox Church, Damascus
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