Crossing the street
It can be very difficult to cross a street in Aleppo. I had been i Lebanon before coming to Aleppo the first time and there cars slowed down if a person had started to cross the street. I soon found out that this was not the case in Syria. The cars don't slow down even though someone has started to cross a street. Be prepared to run!
How's your Arabic?
It can be difficult making yourself understood in a taxi - get that pronunciation wrong and the driver is very likely to have no idea of what you asking for or where you want to go.
Two things you can do - ask at your hotel for a card with their address, most places will have one or they will write it down for you and similarly, when you are heading out from your hotel, as well as asking them to write the address of the place you are going, ask how the words are pronounced. It really is important to get those sounds right - say "Sissi "Street and you won't be understood, but say "Zeezee" and you should have no problem.
Simple really, but when it's late at night and three taxidrivers in a row have have looked at you in total puzzlement, you'll wish you had that little bit of paper with you.
- Historical Travel
- Budget Travel
Watch your Clothes!!!
If you are a girl or a woman and you are visiting the old City parts or central or public places, please don’t forget to ware long jeans and light but covering shirts even if it’s summer time and it’s too hot….
As people there will look at you rudely and you’ll feel yourself as if you’re from another planet…and you don’t need that!!!
But there’s no problem to ware whatever you want when you’re going with your boyfriend or Husband...
But you can’t avoid the rude looks in that case neither.
In the modern City part you can make yourself at home , and ware anything you wish.
A very safe city
Aleppo is a very safe city and there are no dangers to walk around anywhere at any time.
I met many solo female travellers and none of them reported any special hassle as well.
Syrian people are always well educated and very kind with the foreigners.
Well, No Danger...
Well, no danger whatsoever but the communication could be a problem sometimes.
Not everybody could speak English & it pays to learn a few basic Arabic words.
When you ask for a place, please let a pen & a paper handy; Ask the locals to write them down in Arabic so that you can show what's written on that piece of paper instead of saying the wrong pronunciations !
- Budget Travel
beware of Mohammed Ali in Aleppo
There's a man in Aleppo runs trips,hires cars and I've recieved many complaints about his bad dealings with people.He's mean and cheater and I'll advice everybody not to deal with that man .here are his details:
EBLA TRANSPORTATION BY MOHAMMED ALI
MOBILE: 00963 94 405217
His bad sevice includes charging extra money than the agreement,bringing 11 seats minivan while you spoke about 14 seats,fake rates on exchanging...so don't be another victim of this man.I don't like the idea of mentioning names but this time I find my self forced to do accodring to the number of complaints about that man.
acid attack against 12 year old child
We visited Aleppo, we have spent 20 years in the Middle East and speak fluent Arabic and respect the 'culture'
Our 12 year old daughter was attacked with acid as we walked in the souq. The acid burnt her clothes and her skin. The attack took place near the Hotel Halabi
We asked for help, for the police and medical assistance - no one would help us.
It was a devastating thing to happen
Our daugher was dressed modestly and walking with her father while I was a few steps behind.
An innocent 12 year old chid with her father and mother and they threw acid at her.
NO danger, NO fear... You can go out any time at night, the taxis are available. The streets are clean, and the most important thing that people will help you and lead you to any place; they are so friendly! So pack your bags now and visit the safest and the most fascinating city in the world (MEET ESSALAMEH!!!).
This happens too often to me when walking around in The Souqs !
Even if you want to just look, the shopkeepers will ask you to buy the things that you look at !
Make sure to say, "La !"...As usual when visiting The Middle East anyway.
Some shopkeepers took the things that I was looking at, put them in a plastic bag & tossed it me & said the price !
We would feel guilty if we don't buy it, maybe that's what they thought ?
They will start saying that they didn't have any business for that day or the children hadn't eaten anything for the day etc etc.
Yes, of course I felt sorry for them, of course I would love to help but money was as tight for me !
Would they thought of that ?
- Budget Travel
Well, My Experience...
Don't talk anything religious or politic with anybody in Aleppo !
If they ask about your country, maybe you should lie about it ?
I had a good laugh when I met a German girl who was studying Arabic language in Jordan & she had travelled around The Middle East extensively.
She had a piercing just under her lips; I asked her whether the people around The Middle East asked her some questions about it.
She said, "Yes, of course !"
I asked her what was her reply ?
She said, "Oh ! Everybody in my country has a piercing under their lips !"
We had a good laugh !
- Budget Travel
the great mosque is closed!
I've heard much about the beauty of the Al-Jaama al-Kebir... longed to visit it... and when I got there it was under serious restoration. Officially it's possible to go inside the counrtyrd and look around, but the face-lift it's undergoing is very "extreme" and there's really nothing to see except dust and men at work. It's in the middle of the souq, but it's not worth a visit until the restoration (reconstruction) is finished.
Be aware that haggling down the price of any thing you buy,The seller,vendor mostly raise the price to double or something because the vendor knows very well the buyer will try to haggle it down. It is part of the culture,cloth,taking a taxi,souveniurs,even the hotel price...etc from 20% to 50%.Do your best ;)
Wasta is a word often heard in Syria. It is Arabic and translates as something like authority, influence, political (or other) power, connections, or a combination of those terms. In practical terms it means that some rules can become more flexible if you have wasta, or know someone who has wasta. Also, a bit of wasta can smooth or speed up business transactions, bureaucratic issues, and other official procedures. At its best (or worst, depending on your point of view), a good dose of wasta could keep you out of jail or save you from other unpleasant consequences of dubious activities.
The common English expression "it's not what you know but who you know ... " is a rough equivalent of wasta.
On the wasta scale (not that there is an official one), things that can make a difference in the Syria are your nationality, your profession, who you work for, who you know, your political position in the country, your connections to people in positions of authority. Money and how long you have lived in the Syria don't usually directly affect your wasta level but indirectly they do since longer term residents may have built up a larger network of high-wasta friends, and rich people often associate with other rich people who may be high-wasta individuals.
Many expat residents learn about wasta through a driving experience. In simple terms, the more wasta someone has, the less likely they are to cop a fine and/or be blamed if there's an accident. Wasta can result in some unusual situations for example, green lights were actually red when you went through them because the person who crashed into you had enough wasta to change the color retroactively. Indications of higher levels of wasta on the road are dark tinted or mirror tinted windows (30% maximum is the law so anything more than that means it's likely they have enough wasta to get around this rule), number plates with fewer than 5 digits (but anyone can buy them now if they have enough cash so it's not as good an indication as in the past).
Wasta is something that many expats, especially westerners, find difficult to come to terms with but you'll find it easier to enjoy Dubai if you get used to that rather than try to fight it. And of course it helps if you can elevate your own wasta level somehow.
Wasta and Bribes
Don't confuse wasta with bribery. If you try to bribe a government official, for example a police officer who has just pulled you up for driving though somebody's garden, you should expect to be punished fairly harshly for trying to bribe them. And if the owner of the garden that you drove through has some wasta, then you'll probably be even worse off. In the business world, things may operate a little differently. Just as anywhere else in the world, the negotiation of business transactions and contracts is not always done on a level playing field, and bribes ... er gifts ... might be part of your discussions with interested parties.
Wasta also means to pull some strings. is widespread in Syria and bribery as well under Syrian baath party.
Is it acceptable to drink alcohol? What about drug
Is it acceptable to drink alcohol? What about drug use?
Drug use is strictly prohibited in Syria, and carries very stiff penalties for usage or possession, and no distinction is made between “hard” or “soft” drugs”. If you’re carrying pot, weed, hash or marijuana for medical use or otherwise, do not attempt to enter Syria.
Drinking Alcohol in public is unacceptable and not recommended (and sometimes illegal) except in tourist resorts like Lattakia. In all other cities, you can drink alcohol at the resturants or bars that serve it, as well as in private in your hotel room. You may bring alcohol with you to Syria, but maybe required to pay duty tax.
Syria is not like Dubai you find alcohol ONLY in bars of hotels.
in Syria you can purchase alcohol easily from liquor shops and bars as well.
Bottle of Beer is is aboit half US dollars in shops,while 2 US dollars in bars..
Driver horns,Trafiic and busy at night
Aleppo is normal to hear car and taxi drivers use the car horn to push the other drivers in front to move further,even there is no traffic so my tip is to make sure you have earcotton if your hotel is near high road to be able to asleep the drivers use horn24/7 they do not care if people are sleep at night.