The official language in Lebanon is Standard Arabic, but the most common tongue heard is Lebanese Arabic. Many locals also speak English and some French. This is especially true of people who work in the tourism and business sectors. Travelers should expect English to become less common when travelling outside of the cities and in the more remote areas.
The official currency is the Lebanese pound, which is divided into 100 piastres. Most major credit cards are accepted, including Visa and MasterCard. ATMs are readily available in the large cities, but tend to become scarce in the less touristy regions. Currency exchange can be made at most big banks and even some hotels and shops, but they do not always have the best rates. US dollars generally don’t need to be exchanged as they are accepted in most establishments, even small ones.
Lebanon is on Eastern European Time, which is GMT +2.
Lebanon runs electricity on 220V/50Hz and uses European and United Kingdom plug outlets.
The international dialing code for Lebanon is +961 and the area code for the capital, Beirut, is 1. Cell phone service is available, but be sure to check with your service provider for roaming costs prior to departure. Low-cost mobile phones can be easily purchased and many hotels rent handsets to their guests. SIM cards can be purchased at the airport and at most local stores. While wireless internet is not yet available throughout the country, there are many internet cafés in the large towns which have reasonable rates.
Travelers are permitted to bring in the following tax-free: 500 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 100 cigarillos or one kilogram of tobacco; two liters of champagne or whiskey, or a maximum of four liters of other alcoholic beverages; one liter of eau de toilette and 100 g of perfume; and gifts not exceeding the value of US $400.
Ministry of Tourism, Beirut: +961-1-340-940 or http://www.destinationlebanon.gov.lb/
Consulates in Lebanon
British Embassy, Beirut: +961-1-990-400
American Embassy, Beirut: +961-4-542-600
Canadian Embassy, Beirut: +961-4-713-900
German Embassy, Beirut: +961-4-914-444
Chinese Embassy, Beirut: +961-1-850-314
Italian Embassy, Beirut: +961-5-954-955
French Embassy, Beirut: +961-1-420-000
Belgian Embassy, Beirut: +961-0-1-976-001
Fire Department: 175