No stops for minibuses(van)
Be aware that there no stops for minibus (van) except the main or start point,you can stop it by rasing your hand,or giving a sign that you want to stop it and when you are on board you can also ask the driver wherever you want.
No ticket required You pay cash ONLY when you are on board.Bear in mind the front board of the bus is ONLY writen in arabic you need to askdriver or any body on board if it pass through your wanted location They are friendly and wil guide you to your wanted destination,make sure you have local currency to pay.
Private car with driver
If you plan to make to make short tours around Damascus (or even all over Syria) and you have lack of time and you want to see as much as possible you can use the services of Mr Joseph Bashoura who lives in Damascus (whom we met him in Palmyra and we arranged to make a tour in Bosra and surrounding cities).
He drives a nice spacious car with CD player (so you can bring your own music), he is careful, speaks fluent english and he is very flexible. He is also knowledgable so serves a little like a guide as well.
In terms of cost he is not the cheapest option though.
Taxi around the city
The most convenient way to go around Damascus is by taxi. There are a lot of microbuses but if you're not familiar with the route and cannot read arabic signs, it would be difficult.
In anyway, the taxi fare is very reasonable, generally SYP50 (a little over $1) is the average rate for short distances. When you travel for a couple of kilometers only and the meter is working, it's even lesser. So always ask for the meter.
As opposed to some stories, there are lots of honest and helpful taxi drivers.
Brief story: I used to hail an old driver as more often the older people are honest. In the morning I was planning in going to Maalula, I asked this guy from this clothing shop where I could find the service terminal for Maalula. Then he told me the place but I don't really know where it is, so he hailed a taxi for me and I saw a young driver so I was a little uneasy because he might ask me for a high fare. But I jumped in and the driver started talking to me and I managed to understand quite a few of his stories with my basic arabic. When we arrived at the microbus terminal that goes to Maalula the meter says SYP40.50 so I handed him SYP50 and normally most drivers take it and won't give you a change (besides that's only $1 or so), to my surprise, he said I'm his first passenger so he doesn't have loose change and he wanted to give me back the change. I insisted and he said he will find another driver to get a change, so I said no, just take it. He did with a little more pushing, besides he was very helpful asking people there which one is the next microbus leaving for Maalula.
So the taxi went off and I was there waiting for the microbus to fill up. After half an hour or so, there came the taxi driver back with passengers and appears to be looking for for someone - me - asking the other drivers there, he saw me sitting inside the microbus or minivan and I saw him pointing his finger towards me - I told myself - what have I done this time. So I jumped out of the minivan and approached him and to my surprise he handed me my sunglasses which I didn't even noticed that I dropped inside his taxi while opening my bag. Sweet! An honest taxi driver returned my sunglasses!
So don't be afraid that you'll get ripped off by taxi drivers in Syria, there are lots of them who are still very honest and genuinely friendly. Though of course, I had a couple of not-so-good ones along the way, but the heck, it's just a dollar for a taxi ride which definitely you won't find in other cities or country.
- Historical Travel
- Castles and Palaces
Airport to/from city centre by taxi
The fastest - but not economical - way from Damascus airport to the city centre is by taxi.
Approach the taxi counter inside the arrival hall before getting out of the terminal, it's on your right. The fare is fixed at SYP1,500 per car. I happen to share the taxi with two people who can't wait for the bus that leaves after another hour. We split the cost at SYP500 each or a little more than $11. Not bad considering that the airport is very far from the centre, about 45 minutes travel time.
The taxi fare though from the city centre going back to the airport is cheaper at SYP500, the first taxi I hailed along Al Thawra Street at the city centre demanded SYP800, the next one asked for SYP600, I bargained for SYP500 as I know that was the on-going fare and it took only a little arabic words and insisted that I know the fare - so he gave in. So be sure to act as though you know everything. If you're in a tight budget, don't forget to ask first before jumping in.
- Historical Travel
Damascus airport to city centre
If you're not in a hurry, the most economical way to travel from the airport to the city centre of Damascus is by those big buses parked outside of the terminal - state owned called al Karnak. When you get out of the arrival hall, turn to your right side and you'll find all those big buses parked. There is a booth where you could buy a ticket, I did not take the bus as it was already past midnight and I have to wait another hour as I just missed the last one. The bus is every hour, 24 ours a day, may be more frequent plies during the daytime or before midnight, though of course you have to wait for other passengers. This bus terminates at the old Baramkeh bus terminal in the city centre. From there you can take a taxi to your hotel and won't cost more than SYP50, just insist on the meter. If you speak basic arabic it helps not to be overcharged.
I think the bus fare is only SYP50, a lot cheaper than the taxi.
- Historical Travel
Service taxi from Amman
When we took service taxi heading to Abdali Station in Amman. Driver took us straight to service taxi to Damascus. It took no more than 5min to set out since there were already 2 passengers waiting.
We were expecting to get transit visa which is valid for 72hours at the boader but officer tried to decline our application claiming that we should get in advance at embassy. We managed to convince him showing our outward flight ticket. The visa fee is 8 US$ which is strictly collected only in US$ ( if you don't have US$ you will be advised to change it at exchange office nearby )
It took some time at immigration, but in 3 hours we reached at Damascus.
We were suddenly dropped off on the road where we still don't know where we were.
Taxi driver waiting there was trying to charge us 500 Syrian pounds which seemd too much. We catched microbus and asked if they are going to Old City. Driver nodded and dropped us at a bus station and finally we found that we don't have choice but take a taxi as people told us there's no public bus going to city center. Taxi driver agreed with 150 pounds.
Walking is the best way to get around in Damascus. This includes the Old City as well as Central Damascus.
During my 4 day stay, I never had to make use of a taxi or other public transport, other than to the airport.
At the Airport
Damascus does not have the best airport in the world. Immigration can take quite a long time, and your passport will be inspected by the officer.
Some airlines do not include departure tax in your ticket, and you will have to pay an amount of 1600 SYP (April 2010). There is a designated desk at departures.
I flew with Emirates- the departure tax was already paid with the ticket.
No More Departure Tax
The SYP1500 airport departure tax is now included in the air ticket. So you no longer need to pay separately. This new rule has been in effect since June 2009. However, you may need to reconfirm if you are in possession of an air ticket issued before June.
The airport is pretty small and manageable. It is quite rundown too. Food outlets are limited, crappy and serves almost nothing. The airport queues for security check, check-in and gate entrance are disorganized and chaotic although there is not really a very big amount of travellers.
Nevertheless, check out the small duty-free shop and you may find some surprises.
Bus / Service Taxi to Amman and Beirut
Amman to Damascus was in december 11 Jordan Dinar (about € 12, 500 Lira the opposit way) by service taxi (probably only 1 bus per day, 7 Dinar) about 3-4 hour. Bus Damascus to Beirut was 350 Syrian Lira (about € 7), also 3-4 hour, leaving from Sumariyah Garage (far outside, several buses per day, service taxi arrives at a different place, but you can find servise taxi there)
- Budget Travel
New Busterminal for Bosra, Beirut, Amman...
New bus terminal Sumariyah for Bosra, Beirut, Amman and other places south, also for service taxis going there (service taxis from Amman will arrive in a different pace).
Get there from Harasta terminal by green bus nr.15.
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
After a long day walking between Budget, Hertz and other big companies Car Rental services, a friend had recommended using a local Car Rents service in Damascus near Al-Shuhada sq. which we found it reasonably priced, cheaper than budget and Hertz, we rented Kia model 2007 for 2000 SP fully insured with in-city break down recovery. You can book on the phone and arrange to get the car at Airport.
- Budget Travel
- Business Travel
Transportation from Damascus to Aleppo
you dont need to worry at all, 'cause buses from Damascus to Aleppo are going on every hour. Just go to Karaj Bulman (Karaj Harasta) station in Damascus and there are lots and lots of agencies that will offer you a bus to Aleppo. The ticket is about 200-300 syrian lira and you will be in Aleppo in 5 hours. The road s very good, it;s a highway, so dont worry.
Have fun in Syria!
Increased Taxi Fares
All the small taxi companies have been cleared out of the arrival area. Outside the arrival building, there is a kiosk for taxis operated by Julia Dumna. Do not ask who owns this company, but the fares have increased to SYP 1,000 to the city centre and more for other destinations. You have no choice, if you want to travel by taxi, as the police chase any lingering yellow taxis away.
- Budget Travel
- Business Travel