Facts for the Visitor

US citizen: Applying in Turkey: 76 million Turkish Lira (about US$75) and 2 passport photos needed for a 15-day single-entry visa. The visa takes 1 day to process. Visa must be obtained before arrival to Syria.
Japanese citizen: Applying in Turkey: 31 million Turkish Lira (about US$30), a letter of recommendation from the Japanese consulate, and 2 passport photos needed for a 15-day single-entry visa. The letter from the Japanese consulate is free but takes 1 day to process. The visa for Syria takes one day to process. Visa must be obtained before arrival to Syria.

Language Skills Needed
Although many people in the main cities speak English, learning a few words of Arabic and carrying an Arabic phrasebook and Arabic-English dictionary is highly recommended. Learning to read numbers in Arabic is essential.

Cash Machines
There are no ATMs in Syria. Bring your cash with you. Money changers do not accept travelers checks. Don't change excess cash. Syrian Pounds cannot be exchanged back to US$ or any other currency.

US$ 1 = 50.1 Syrian Pounds (S£) on April 22, 2001.

220V, 50Hz. Plugs have 2 round pins.

International Certificates of Vaccination are not required.

Arabic is the official language, but many people speak English or French.

Tips are not required, but they won't be declined.

Clean budget accommodation is available in all cities, but the best places fill up early. Booking ahead by a day or two is recommended. Most hotel staff will assist with room reservations at the hotel of your choice in your next destination city. Sometimes they charge for the phone call and sometimes they don't.

Public Telephones
Public telephones exist in the 2 largest cities: Aleppo and Damascus. They accept pre-paid telephone cards. Alternatively, an operator can place a call through a telephone office. The typical operator surcharge is equal to a 1 minute charge to your calling destination.

The only Internet point in Syria is in Damascus. All portals considered offensive to the Syrian version of Islam are blocked. Use of web mail is usually possible. The charge in Damascus is S£ 2.5 per minute which equates to about US$3 per hour. The town of Hama also has an Internet Café, but the charge is higher (about US$6 per hour) because they need to dial Damascus or Beirut, Lebanon.

Public Transportation
The Syrian luxury bus network is clean, fast, and inexpensive. Cheaper buses are noticeably dirtier, but just as fast. All towns are serviced by buses or mini-buses. Tourist attractions that are more remote can be reached by hitch-hiking or negotiating an additional fee with the mini-bus driver.

HomePrevious PageJournal Index 2001Map of the Middle East

  Copyright © 2000-2002   Wes and Masami Heiser.   All rights reserved.