DAMASCUS

Transportation

Transportation - Get In

Transportation - Get In

By plane

Syria's busiest airport is the Damascus International Airport.There are internal flights to Aleppo, Deir-ez-Zur, Qamishli, and Latakia, costing approximately 1000 SP one way,

The airport is relatively well-equipped with most standard services. The tax-free assortment is limited, but prices are very low, especially on perfume. You might find better bargains on goods such as Lebanese wine, arak (an unsweetened, aniseed-flavored, alcoholic beverage) and similar items before departing the airport.

Getting Syrian pounds at Damascus International Airport might be tricky, as the change counters only accept US dollars. There are two ATMS in the main lobby that accept credit cards and foreign debit cards, but they tend to be unreliable. Your best bet is to bring a small amount of US dollars with you into Syria, and change it at the airport until you can withdraw from Damascus ATMs.

The average fare from the airport to the city is 1500 SP. the prices became that high because nowadays only Taxi Companies are allowed to pickup customers from the Airport, Fares are typically about 500 SP going from the city to the airport by Taxi, however, may vary depending on your bargaining skills.

There are also buses departing to and from Baramkeh bus station in the centre of town (airport buses are the only ones which serve this bus station now - all other services have moved to the new out of town Soumaria bus station). The price is 45 SP + 25 for your luggage and there are departures every half an hour, 24 hours a day. At the airport, come out of the terminal and turn right - you will find the bus at the end of the building. There is a small ticket office. The buses have been upgraded in recent years and have become very good.

The bus will drop you a bit far from the Old City, but there many taxis around to get you there. Make sure to ask for the meter, and you should pay less than 50 SP, depending on traffic.

Transportation - Get In

By Train

There are train services to and from Aleppo, making stops in Homs and Hama. One of the trains continues to Qamishli via Raqqa, Deir ez zoor and Hassaka. There may also be services to Latakia, stopping at Homs and Tartus. However, buses or service taxis are more convenient. Syrian trains are slow and make many stops. The Damascus-Aleppo service is good, operated in new trains. The main train station of Damascus is still under construction, therefore trains terminate at Qadam, a southern suburb. Service microbuses on the Qadam-Assali route run between Qadam and Sharia al-Thawra in the city centre. A taxi to the city center should cost no more than 100 SYP (although going by meter will be cheaper).

International: There are weekly sleeper trains to Istanbul (35–36 hours) and Tehran (60 hours). The Damascus-Amman route is suspended since 2006 for railroad repairs and unlikely to continue soon.

Transportation - Get In

By Bus

Damascus is well served by buses internally in the country. There are two bus stations: the western bus station serves destinations west and south (including Amman and Beirut), while the northern bus station serves destinations north (including Aleppo).

Regular buses to Damascus leave Amman, Jordan, the trip including crossing the border takes about 4 hours and cost approximately 6-9JD.

Hatay Turizm from Antakya/Turkey has regular buses to the city. You can board on these in Istanbul as well. Normally, you will have to reserve a seat one day or more in advance, and although prices may vary, you can get a busticket for 80 YTL.

When arriving into Damascus by bus, make sure to move away from the bus terminal to find a taxi to the centre of town. Otherwise, you run the risk of paying several times the going rate, which should be around SYP150-200, as cars posing as taxis operate next to the terminal. This is normally a two-man operation, with one person trying to distract you, while the driver puts your suitcase into the trunk of the "taxi" and locks it.

Upon arrival at the western bus station, city bus #15 will take you to Al-Marjeh Square in Souq SaroujaOld Town (where you can find many hotels) for 10 SYP.

Transportation - Get In

By Car

Service Taxis are available to Amman and Irbid in Jordan. Depending on the political situation, these also service Beirut and other points in Lebanon, as well as points in Iraq. Since the closure of the more central Baramkeh Station, these service taxis leave from Soumaria (pronounced like the girls' names "Sue Maria"), which is a 10-15 minute taxi ride from central Damascus, along Autostrade Mezzeh. The bus number 15 and 21 will take you to Soumaria station from the bus stop next to Matry's place.


Transportation - Get Around

At rush hours (10AM-4PM), the best way of transport is on foot. Smoking is absolutely forbidden on all public transport.

Transportation - Get Around

By foot

A very good idea is to go on foot especially for a sightseeing, and it's the only way to get around in Old Damascus. Walking in the new city however, should be reserved to the nicer areas of Maliki and Abu-Rumaneh, as the new city tends to be pollution clogged. The driving culture in Damascus is not the safest, so beware as a pedestrian, especially in the new city. Cars will not hesitate to come extremely close to pedestrians or other cars in order to pass.

Transportation - Get Around

By car

It isn't a very good idea to rent a car in Damascus. There is almost always a traffic jam, especially in summer, and parking tends to be difficult too; although that isn't the situation in suburbs.

Transportation - Get Around

By bus

Micro buses, also known as servees, are one of the main sources of transportation in Damascus. All journeys inside the city costs 10 Syrian Pounds. You can go from one place to another in Damascus with at most one or two journeys. When on the bus, give any passenger a coin and he will pass it to the driver and return the change, just remember to tell that passenger how many people you are paying for, whether you are in a group, or tell him that you are paying "for one" ("waahid") if you are alone. The route is written (in Arabic only) on the roof sign. Micro buses do not generally have fixed stops except at very busy points, just beckon to the driver and he will stop near you (Al yameen, andak iza samaht).

There are also many city buses that likewise cost 10 SYP. One useful bus is #15, which runs from Al-Marjeh Square (Souq SaroujaOld Town) to the Western Bus Station, which serves Beirut and Amman.

Transportation - Get Around

By taxi

Taxis are plentiful in Damascus, making them a great mode of transportation. The taxis of Star Taxi, a new private company, are more expensive than normal taxis, but they are also more comfortable and safer. You can call their headquarters and they will send the nearest taxi to your door. Taxis with the Damascus Governorate logo on the side and a number on the roof sign are normally equipped with a meter, and it is best to use only these when hailing a taxi on the street. You should normally leave a 10-pound tip as well as the fare on the meter. At night, taxi drivers do not usually use the meter, so you may be best off negotiating the price before you get in. A service taxi to Amman or Beirut cost 700 Syrian pounds and takes around 4 hours and run 24 hours. Do not hesitate to take them; they are new, clean vehicles with air conditioning.

Syria - Travel guide

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