Beirut has a turbulent but fascinating history, and ancient architecture and culture blends with a vibrant modern city which enjoys a fantastic social scene. It also has world famous cuisine.
There are plenty of good beaches in Beirut, while the Corniche is a popular promenade spot for locals and tourists alike — with pole fishing, an amusement park and plenty of cafe culture and people-watching. Skiing and sailing are both enjoyable sporting options for expats who live in Beirut. A historical walking tour is a good option away from the beach, and the city is a shoppers' paradise, from ancient souks to glistening, modern malls. The National Museum of Beirut details the immense archaeological history of the country and the region.
Medical facilities in the city, the best in the country are modern and well-equipped. Doctors are also highly capable, but while many speak English or French, this is not always guaranteed. Treatment can be very expensive and cash payment is usually requested before treatment. Taking out private health insurance is highly advisable.
The American University of Beirut Medical Center is a prominent facility and has a good website in English. The Clemenceau Medical Center is affiliated to Johns Hopkins Medical International and is a top private facility in Lebanon.
The number for medical emergencies is 140 (Red Cross).
Beirut has a network of slow and crowded but inexpensive buses. Lebanese Commuting Company buses, which are white and red, do not have regular stops or timetables but rather the driver should stop when flagged down. They run every 15 minutes or so.
A popular form of transportation for locals and cheaper than private taxis are shared taxis, for two to four people. The price of the ride is fixed at just over 1 USD. However, these shared taxis, known as Service taxis, double as private taxis and confusion over fares can arise. There have also been increasing reports of robberies in these taxis.
For private taxis, Hail-taxis buzz around everywhere and have a yellow taxi sign on the roof and a red license plate. They don't have meters and the price should always be negotiated before setting off. Across the city should cost no more than 10 USD. The best and safest alternative is a pre-booked taxi. Major taxi companies include: Taxi Premiere (Call 1260 or 00961-1-389222), Geryes Taxi (00961-1-332747), and Allo Taxi (1213 or 00961-1-366661). They can all be booked online.
Those wishing to drive in Beirut will need an international license, but the chaos and danger of the city's roads means this option is far from advisable.