Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Regional Forums > Middle East

Middle East Topics specific to the Middle East countries, from Syria south to Yemen
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 29 May 2007
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Estonia
Posts: 771
Question Israel/Palestine/Lebanon/Syria region safety?

How bad is it currently, do they allow tourists into the country after the start of the new firing wave?

Anyone been there recently? Any recommendations, tips, places where not or to go etc?

Thanks in advance!

Last edited by Margus; 29 May 2007 at 14:59.
Reply With Quote
Old 29 May 2007
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: In Ireland and loving it !
Posts: 194

I have been in Israel a fair bit and it is pretty good, nothing like yhou would imagine.
It goes without saying that going into Gaza for the foreseeable future is just plain stupid and for sure will not be safe.

Never been in Syria but depending on which way you are going they might not be happy about you having an Israeli stamp.

I have a good friend in Israel and I will be riding from Cape Town to Tel Aviv in July so if you find yourself there and need any help let me know

Life is for Living - so Live
Reply With Quote
Old 30 May 2007
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Cairo
Posts: 187
Syria is great. People are friendly, the sites are amazing, food is good. Damascus is wonderful. The trucks and buses try to run you off the road but that's not unique to Syria. Border officials are helpful and are not corrupt. The place is relatively safe. I was followed by officials in a Land Cruiser for the first hundred kms from the Turkish border (I had to keep slowing to let them catch up!). They left me when I entered the sheep country on the Iraq side of the main eastern higway to Palmyra (about 10 minutes before I got myself lost and had to camp with a shepherd's camp before it got dark and I ran out of fuel). The north-west of the country is beautiful with lots of castles and ruins, but the crossing into Lebanon here is a nightmare (and I think it is presently closed).

Lebanon is a beautiful and interesting place. The drivers are all mad and very aggressive, and bikes are treated as mobile chicanes. I was hit twice in one day! Definitely worth it if but ride defensively. Borders are mayhem and the insurance touts work with the customs officials to rip you off. Best stay away from the northern Palestinian areas - they are being shelled by the Lebanese army. I think the northern border is closed at the moment. The main northern highway runs right past the worst of these areas so you don't want to enter Lebanon from the north anyway. There are sporadic demonstrations in the Christian areas east of Beirut. The highway to the main border crossing runs through these areas so check before leaving Beirut for Damascus. The south is still war-ravaged but there are some lovely towns down there along the coast. The Bekaar Valley is particularly grim, especially in the south, after the Israelis caned it. Virtually every bridge was bombed and hadn't been reparied when I was there in December last year, made for a slow trip. Domestic politics in Lebanon seems to be getting worse by the day - so check where the hotspots are before going.

Jordan is a piece of cake. Beautiful country and wonderful people. Highways are good and the off-roading is amazing. This is one place where fuel can be hard to find so be sure to fill up whenever you can. You can buy fuel using just about any currency, so it's a good place to get rid of the leftover money from other countries.

Israel is fabulous with some great motorcycle roads, especially in the north. There are other bikes in this country so the drivers are a bit more aware (though still pretty aggressive). Very safe country. Some of the best places are the big Palestinian towns (Nazareth was my favourite) although hard to beat Jerusalem (parking the bike outside a 900 year-old pub in the Armenian Quarter and sampling Armenian cognac - they reckon they invented it - but then I could go on all day with Israel stories). Rockets are falling in the towns near Gaza but you'd have to be unlucky to get nailed by one. Be sure to go to Israel after Syria and Lebanon. Jordan is no drama after Israel.

Stay out of Gaza - the Israelis are shelling hard at the moment in response to the rocket attacks. Not sure you can get in and out of the place anyway. The West Bank is safer but you might find yourself isolated. The borders close regularly and you might get stuck on the wrong side. Many towns are quite hostile to foreigners and you will have kids throwing stones - aiming to hurt. Something striking about the place is the way all kids play war games. Never football or basketball or other runaround games. It takes a while to notice but when you do it's quite chilling. There isn't a lot of joy in the place and it's quite neglected but there are some beautiful spots. Getting in is relatively easy, usually just a passport will do (I guess it depends where you come from). Getting back into Israel much less so. If you intend to go there make sure the Israelis know exactly where and when you are going (and, needless to say, your own embassy) so they are prepared to let you back in. The East Jerusalem crossing on the road to Ramallah is best. Most of the western embassies are in Ramallah and should help you if you get in strife. Be aware this can be a dangerous place and all countries recommend their citizens stay away. Hamas and Fatah are shooting at each other at the moment and it usually pays to stay away from countries where there is a lot of shooting. Check before going in and if there is trouble stay away. If you are slightly nervous stay away. Check with the Israeli embassy in your home city to check their current policy on border crossing as it is reviewed daily. There are lots of NGOs operating in the West Bank and these might be a good start for info on accommodation - although in and out in one day was my preferred option.
Reply With Quote
Old 30 May 2007
yoni's Avatar
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Tel-aviv Israel
Posts: 171
Brett, welLdone!

I suspect you are with some kind of a diplomatic mission her in the ME very good writing and smart ME treetwise stuff.

Take care
My ride from Dead horse to Ushuaia 2009 is at
It's in hebrew but lots of pics and some translation

Reply With Quote
Old 30 May 2007
ozhanu's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: New Haven, CT
Posts: 797
hi margus,

which way r u gonna take to middle east? If you are planning a route via Turkiye, be sure not to go further to Iraki border. huge amound of the Turkish Armed Forces are there because of some conflict between kurdish controlled part of northern Irak and some terrorist groups. however, Syria border is save.

if you intent to come to Ankara, drop me a line for free bed and
ozhanu [at] gmail . com

ozhan u.
website under construction
Reply With Quote
Old 4 Jun 2007
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Estonia
Posts: 771
Thumbs up

Thanks for the info, much appriciated!

Ozhanu - I'll contact you once the plans are more clear. Nothing's that certan, yet. Turkish in Ankara sounds fantastic tho.

Safe travels, Margus
Reply With Quote
Old 14 Jun 2007
Contributing Member
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Posts: 6
Regarding an Israeli stamp in your passport, it would be wise to ask at the border crossing if they could affix a piece of paper to the passport and then stamp that. It can then be removed enabling you to get into Syria provided you cross from Lebanon or Jordon. They used to be pretty good about this, but in the Middle East thing change so rapidly that one never knows. I personally have avoided combining visits to Arab countries with a visit to Israel. Regardless, if possible it is best not to have a permanent Israeli stamp in your passport. Suspect you could ask at an Israeli embassy in Europe and get some advice. It's been a number of years since I have ridden there and all the ground rules may have changed. Good luck.
Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Safety Gear Advice Wanted Wheelie Camping Equipment and all Clothing 15 8 Jun 2007 14:27
Security in Niger roro Sahara Travel Forum 2 11 Jun 2004 22:47
Sudan Darfur Region News hed sub-Saharan Africa 0 16 Dec 2003 16:11
Safety in "Grand Erg Occidental" region. Guy Scheveneels Sahara Travel Forum 2 2 Jan 2003 19:13
safety in Pakistan Frank Amberger Travellers' Advisories, Safety and Security on the Road 3 19 Nov 2001 10:18


NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.

Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 02:19.