Taxi driver in Beirut

By Varun Agnihotri
This item appears on page 45 of the March 2019 issue.

Before my 11-day trip to Jordan and Lebanon in October 2018, I watched a few videos of people driving in Beirut. That's when I decided against renting a car in Lebanon.

After a little research and sending some emails, I engaged the services of Claude Shalhoub at Beirut Online Taxi (phone +96171659399, email taxis.beirut@gmail.com or visit www.beirutonlinetaxi.com). The determining factors were prompt email replies, sound reasoning of why their fare was appropriate, and the flexibility with and suggestions for my desired itinerary.

Initially, I had wanted to go to the Bekaa Valley, Anjar, Baalbek, the Cedars of God, Tripoli and Byblos. Mr. Shalhoub suggested it could be done in a day if we started early, since it would be about a 14-hour trip. The price was agreed on at $225.

The trip was then altered to be split over two days, by my choice and his input. Lebanon is a small country, so we came back to Beirut and continued the following day. (I had booked the Crowne Plaza Beirut [Hamra Main Street] for my entire stay of four days. It was in an excellent location for local bars, caf├ęs and restaurants.)

Mr. Shalhoub was always early, drove safely and had a clean car, which was stocked with maps and bottled water. Above all, he was well informed on local geography and the political climate.

His company also provides transfers between Beirut's international airport and local hotels.*

VARUN AGNIHOTRI

Walnut, CA

*Mr. Shalhoub told ITN that a transfer to a city hotel from the airport, including up to 50 minutes of his waiting time, costs $25.