Shutterfly has been updated with the remaining Pictures from Syria.
I traveled Syria for one complete month. I entered Syria from the Border of Jordan May 19th; receiving a visa at the land border that took two hours, only.
I took a service taxi from Irbid in Jordan to the border; from the border, I took another service taxi to Damascus. Arriving in Damascus I went to the back-packing hotel area called Souq Saroulah. I stayed at the Ar Rabie Hotel for two nights. The hotel itself was nice, but the energy of the staff was slightly strange. I paid 600SL per night – shared bathroom.
The second day I was in Damascus, I was offered a room to rent in a flat for 2500SL a week. The going rate for a room is 10,000SL per month. I stayed in Damascus for twelve days. During this time, I took a day trip to Bosra and Ma’alulu.
From Damascus, I took a Pullman bus to Tartus. I stayed at the Daniel hotel for three nights and paid 500SL a night with my own bathroom. The owner and his family are very nice and hospitable. I took a day trip to the castle of Crac Des Chevaliers from Tartus.
From Tartus I took a Pullman bus to Lattakia and stayed at the Safwan hotel for three nights at 400SL a night – shared bathroom. The hotel room was somewhat of an apartment setting with two different rooms, a kitchen, and a balcony that I used to dry my clothes. I took a day trip to the Castle of Saladin with a nice couple from Poland. In addition, I took a day and visited the Castle of Marqab from Lattakia.
From Lattakia I took the train that travels through the mountains to Aleppo. In Aleppo, I couch-surfed for five nights with some people from France. I did not take any day trips from Aleppo.
From Aleppo, I took a Pullman bus to Deir ez-Zur and stayed two nights at the Arabic Al Kebir hotel. This was a comfortable place to stay, freshly painted rooms with a refrigerator and TV, I paid 500SL a night – shared bathroom. I took a day trip riding micro buses to Dura Europos and Mari. The police decided to escort me, and help flag down rides from place to place. I am not to sure if it was because I was so close to the border with Iraq, or that I was an American traveling alone, or what the reason might have been. Nevertheless, they were very helpful at finding transportation, they were friendly, and stayed by my side.
From Deir ez-Zur, I took a Pullman bus to the town of Palmyra. I stayed at the Sun hotel for two nights. The family that owns the hotel are very accommodating, free tea, along with a very good breakfast included in the price, the cost was 500SL with my own bathroom per night. Palmyra is the only area that had the worst energy because of the competition between the town populace for the tourist buck.
From Palmyra, I took a Pullman bus to Hama. I stayed at the Cairo Hotel for five nights. I stay in a wonderful room with a double bed, refrigerator, TV, and outside balcony, and a private bathroom, all for 550SL a night. Hama is an excellent town to base oneself for excellent sites around the area. One day I went to the castle at Musyaf. The next day I took a trip out to the beehives and the fortress of Wardan. The last day trip I took I visited Apamea and two of the dead cites.
On June 20th, I departed Syria for Lebanon. I ended taking a Pullman bus from Hama to Homes. It turned out to be a hassle finding a bus to Tripoli. I decided to take a Pullman bus to Damascus and took another Pullman bus to the border.
I observed Syria to be an extremely safe country to travel. They were very happy to see an American traveling alone in there country, for some people I was the first American they had ever met.
I experienced the Syrian people to be much more honest than in Egypt and Jordan. About ten percent of people that I dealt with were dishonest; the majority of people are very honest.
There is a significant level of suspicion among the populace, although considering the region, it makes sense.
The area of the Orontes Valley to the east is very conservative, could prove to be a challenge for a woman traveling alone.
I did not run into any problems whatsoever, I found Syria to be a very pleasant country to travel.