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How much should you tip in Beirut?

This is a question everyone asks when they arrive to Lebanon. Giving a tip, or bakhshish in Spoken Lebanese Arabic, is pretty common here, but the amount you tip depends on the situation. Let’s go through the most common situations you will find yourself in:

eating out

Let’s say you are at a restaurant with a waiter. It’s common to leave about 8 to 10 percent as a tip on the table. You’ll usually see on your bill a line that shows 10% being included in your total – that is not the tip. It’s the tax and usually in Lebanon the tax is included in the price of what you purchased but is displayed on its own in the bill.

ordering delivery

In Beirut you can get just about anything delivered – including your groceries. Sometimes there is a small delivery charge, but most of the time delivery is free. A tip of alfein or tleit taleif (2,000 to 3,000 Lebanese Lira) would be good. If there was a lot to be delivered or it was pouring down rain you could give more.

at the grocery store

When you go to a grocery store here it’s normal for someone to bag your groceries, push the cart for you to your car and load them. A tip of alfein or tleit taleif (2,000 to 3,000 Lebanese Lira) would be good in this case too and this is most likely the only salary this person gets.

valet parking and car work

If the parking is free but crowded, such as Starbuck’s or Abd Tahhan at Mansourieh, it’s usually good to give the parking attendant what it would have cost me for an hour if it weren’t free, such as LBP 3000. Most places such as near Virgin or le Gray hotel downtown have valet parking with a know fee, such as 5USD.

For the guy who washes the window at the gas station, it’s 2000 liras if I have them, otherwise he’s also happy for 1000 liras.

If you need to go to a car repair shop, and it’s not the m3allem (shop owner) who takes care of the repairs, but one of his workers. So it is good to leave 20.000LBP for each 100$ invoiced to the guy who actually did the repair work. But to do so, ask permission from the owner, the m3allem, because some do not like it in order to keep their helpers from having “preferential” clients.


For a haircut, the tip is typically only for the shampoo person, and it is usually good to leave 2000-3000 liras, depending how “fancy” the hairdresser shop is.

the naTuur for your building

This one is less straightforward. Most apartment buildings have someone who lives in the building, called a naTuur – from the verb naTar – to wait. The naTuur does things like keep an eye on who goes in and out of the building, makes sure every apartment has enough water, cleans and maintains the common areas, takes out the garbage and lets a neighbor know if they are bothering another neighbor. NaTuurs usually get a fixed amount per month from the building to do their basic responsibilities. What your naTuur is expected to do depends on your building so ask your neighbor about what is expected of him and when it would be appropriate to tip.

Also, depending on how nashiiT your naTuur is he might offer to help you fix something that is broken, carry up your groceries, wash your car or get you things from the dikkeineh. If your naTuur brings you a new gas bottle for your oven, or does something else to go out of his way for you, you could give him 2,000 to 3,000 Lebanese Lira at that time. If he fixes your toilet he will probably insist that you do not give him a bakhshish but it is always good to insist that you want to and both sides will keep insisting as a way of honoring each other until one prevails.  You could also just give him a bit extra next time he is collecting money for your electricity bills or something else if you don’t have change or if that is easier. It’s also good to give your naTuur a monetary gift for the holidays but that’s another post 🙂


Quel conseil donneriez-vous à quelqu’un qui viendrait apprendre l’Arabe à Beyrouth?

Pouvez-vous nous parler un peu de vous? (Par exemple … D’où êtes-vous? Que faites-vous dans la vie? Comment avez-vous choisi ALPS? Avez-vous étudié l’arabe libanais parlé ou l’arabe standard moderne?)
Je suis de Toulouse. J‘étudie le droit et les Sciences Politiques. Une amie qui a étudié ici l’année dernière m’a parlé d’ALPS, et les formules d’ALPS me convenaient. J’ai étudié l’arabe libanais.

Quel conseil donneriez-vous à quelqu’un qui viendrait apprendre l’Arabe à Beyrouth?
De commencer avec un cours intensif pour avoir une bonne base au début.
Comment qualifiez-vous votre expérience à ALPS?
Très positive. Une équipe professionnelle

Etes-vous déjà allé/e à un autre pays de langue arabe? Si oui, quelles différences ou similarités avec le Liban avez-vous constatées?
Non, le Liban est le premier pays arabe que je visite.

Si vous reveniez à Beyrouth, que feriez-vous différemment, la prochaine fois?
Je me renseignerais mieux sur les transports publics.

Que comptez-vous faire avec la langue arabe, après avoir quitté Beyrouth?

Je veux travailler dans les relations internationales, et y utiliser mon arabe. ALPS Beirut – Choisissez la langue Arabe Moderne Standard (MSA), le dialecte Levantin, ou les deux.

Welche Ratschläge würdest du einer Person geben, die nach Beirut kommt um arabisch zu lernen?

Erzähl uns ein bisschen über dich!  (Woher kommst du? Was machst du dort? Warum hast du dich für ALPS entschieden? Hast du schon vorher Hocharabisch oder den levantinischen Dialekt gelernt?)

Ich komme aus Deutschland, bin 28 Jahre alt und arbeite als Sozialarbeiter. Ich hatte Interesse daran, eine neue Sprache zu lernen und für ein halbes Jahr ins Ausland zu gehen. Ich konnte vor meinem Aufenthalt in Beirut weder Hocharabisch noch den levantinischen Dialekt.

Welche Ratschläge würdest du einer Person geben, die nach Beirut kommt um arabisch zu lernen?

Es ist sinnvoll, viel zu sprechen und das gelernte anzuwenden. Dazu gibt es die Möglichkeit, sich über das Goethe-Institut Tandem-PartnerInnen zu suchen. Außerdem gibt es Sprach-Austausch-Veranstaltungen wie „Let’s Speak language“ und auch noch weitere.

Was war deine Erfahrung bei ALPS?

ALPS arbeitet sehr professionell und hat eine gute Kommunikation. Die Lehrer_Innen sorgen für eine positive Atmosphäre, wir hatten immer viel Spaß beim Lernen.

Bist du schon in anderen arabischsprachigen Ländern gewesen? Wenn ja, was waren die Unterschiede zum Libanon?

Der Libanon ist das erste arabischsprachige Land, das ich besuche.

Wenn du zurück nach Beirut kommen würdest, was würdest du anders machen?

Ich würde mir schon früher viele Tandempartner suchen.

Wo planst du das gelernte Arabisch einzusetzen wenn du Beirut verlässt?

Im Alltag in Deutschland werde ich arabisch mit Menschen sprechen können, die ursprünglich aus dem levantinischen Bereich kommen. Auch in meiner Arbeit als Sozialarbeiter u.a. in der Arbeit mit Flüchtlingen kann ich arabisch sehr gut gebrauchen.

ALPS Beirut – Du kannst zwischen Hocharabisch, dem libanesischen Dialekt oder beidem entscheiden

Vilka tips skulle du ge någon som kommer till Beirut för att plugga arabiska?

Kan du berätta lite om dig själv?

Jag heter Yasmeen och kommer ifrån Sverige. Just nu jobbar jag lite extra men vill så snart som möjligt börja studera på universitetet. Eftersom min pappa ursprungligen kommer ifrån Syrien men tyvärr aldrig lärde mig arabiska har det varit en dröm sedan barnsben. Direkt efter studenten ville jag åka till Libanon för att lära mig dialekten som pratas här och i Syrien. Det var då jag hittade ALPS genom sidan AMbergh.

Vilka tips skulle du ge någon som kommer till Beirut för att plugga arabiska?

Hör dig omkring med folk som kommer härifrån eller ofta varit i Beirut så du vet ungefär vad du har att vänta dig. Livet här skiljer sig från i Sverige vilket man måste förbereda sig på. Sedan skulle jag ge tipset att inte vara blyg och försöka få kontakt med så många som möjligt. Du kan öva det du lär dig i skolan samtidigt som du inte känner dig lika ensam.

Hur upplevde du din tid på ALPS?

Jag gillade skolan väldigt mycket. Det är väldigt trevlig och hjälpsam personal och grymma lärare. Eftersom skolan är ganska liten blir det en mysig atmosfär bland alla lärare och elever. Jag lärde mig mycket väldigt snabbt och jag kände att min lärare anpassade lektionerna väldigt mycket till mitt tempo.

Har du varit i ett annat arabiskt talande land? Om ja, vilka likheter och skillnader observerades i Libanon?

Jag har varit många gånger i Syrien och även två gånger i Dubai. Dubai och Beirut är nästan för olika för att kunna jämföras. I Dubai finns väldigt få araber och själva atmosfären känns annorlunda. Det enda jag kan känna igen lite grann är när jag går runt i ”Downtown” i Beirut. Där kan jag ibland få en ”Dubai känsla”.

Även Syrien skulle jag säga skiljer sig från Libanon. Eftersom jag endast varit i Damaskus och Beirut i respektive länder kan jag endast jämföra dem(innan kriget i Syrien dessutom). Beirut är modernare än Damaskus, här känner jag att jag kan gå i klänning och kjol exempelvis, fler människor pratar engelska här och folket här är mer vana vid utländska personer. Jag gillar dessutom att det finns så många olika religioner och etniciteter.

Om du kommer tillbaka till Beirut, vad kommer du göra annorlunda?

Nästa gång jag kommer till Beirut vill jag åka hit med mina vänner som har familj här och upptäcka Beirut genom deras ögon också.

Vad planerar du att göra med din arabiska när du åker från Beirut?

Jag planerar att kunna prata arabiska med vänner och familj i Sverige. Sedan vill jag ringa min farmor i Syrien och prata med henne, något jag inte kunnat göra på snart 20 år.

ALPS Beirut – modern standardarabiska (MSA) eller den levantisk arabiska dialekten, eller båda.

ALPS will be closed for the holidays

Happy Holidays from all of us at ALPS Beirut! We will be closed from December 24 to January 1 to allow our staff to be with their families. We hope to see you in class next year!

Here are a few of the classes you can sign up for in January.

We will also not be having conversation classes on the 23rd or the 30th of December. Free conversation classes will resume every Tuesday starting January 6th at 9:00 AM.

ينعاد  عليك


The many ways to say “What are you doing?” in Arabic

We recently talked about the difference between Modern Standard Arabic and the spoken dialects. Here’s something that our students have found that illustrates the difference between MSA and what people actually speak. You’ll also notice which dialects are closest to each other: foto

If you are studying Spoken Arabic at ALPS you’ll learn to say “What are you doing?”  in Lebanese and you will be able to communicate in the entire Levant – Notice how similar the Arabic above is in Lebanese, Syrian, Jordanian and Palestinian. We also teach Modern Standard if you want to continue to learn to read and write in Arabic.


If you are interested in our skype tutoring or classes in Beirut please contact us below



What is the difference between Modern Standard Arabic and Spoken Arabic?

Arabic is the official language of 22 countries, stretching from the Arabian peninsula up to Syria, and across North Africa, and is spoken by over 200 million people. These peoples and countries use Modern Standard Arabic in news broadcasts, legal documents, official speeches, books and newspapers. Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is also taught at universities around the world because of its standardization and academic use.

However, no one in any of these 22 Arabic speaking countries uses Modern Standard Arabic in daily conversation. Instead they use the spoken dialect, the language of relationships, to communicate and connect with family and friends. The spoken dialect varies within countries and across the region. However, the countries of the Levant: Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Palestine, share a common dialect of Spoken Arabic. When you study with us in Beirut you be learning the Levantine Arabic. This means within the Levant, people will say you sound Lebanese and everyone in the Arab World will be able to understand you.

However, once you get outside of the Levant the spoken dialects have a lot less similarities with Spoken Lebanese, as a result people in Saudi Arabia, Egypt or Morocco will be able to understand you, but you won’t be able to completely understand them at first. This is true even if you have studied MSA because the words and phrases that are used most often in conversation vary the most across countries. If you have a MSA background and want to learn the dialect, you’ll be able to use your knowledge of the Arabic alphabet as you adapt to the spoken dialect. Then, once you have a foundation in day to day conversations you’ll be able to use those bigger words you have learned in MSA (like United Nations and political science) because they are more often used in the spoken dialect as well.

The material for Lebanese Dialect does not overwhelm the student, and it is a good thing that I could learn practical things from my teachers Nadia and Rima.” — Satu



Distribution of Arabic as sole official language (green) and one of several official languages (blue)