"Ra's al-Basseet" Al Basit by maykal

Al Basit Travel Guide: 0 reviews and 1 photos

Deciding that Tartus' beaches were just too mucky, Latakia's too expensive, I tracked down a bus heading to Ra's al-Basseet, the last place on Syria's short coastline before Turkey. The bus took me through dense forests, full of picnic areas and small lakes, and eventually dumped me in a one-street resort town behind a long brown-sand beach backed by tall green mountains.

Sounds quite idyllic, but the reality is somewhat different...I'll start with the litter, a problem which blights most of Syria and is more noticeable on the beaches. This place has potential as a nice tourist resort, but why doesn't someone organise a team of volunteers to go round with binbags and give it a clean! The next thing was the noise....now it wasn't a crowded beach by any means, although I certainly wasn't alone (at one point, I was surrounded by primary school kids on a school trip to the seaside!), but every group who arrived at the beach brought with them cassette players...I wouldn't mind if it wasn't so loud and the quality of the tapes so bad...I like Najwa Karam's music, but when the cassette gets warped, why do I seem to be the only one who notices?!

Despite the litter and the noise, the beaches aren't too bad...the water seemed clean, and I had no qualms about leaving my belongings on the beach unattended while I went in for a dip.

Behind the beach is one quite large but decrepit hotel with the atmosphere of a holiday camp (loudspeakers everywhere with announcements every few minutes) and a string of beach cafes. You can only walk so far north before you reach the Turkish border, but once you get past the cafes, there are some very quiet stretches of beach with nobody around at all.

Getting back to Latakia proved to be a bit of a problem, and at one point I thought I would ahev to spend the night there...but, as so often happens in Syria, a bus appeared from nowhere...we had to do several circuits round the village before we rounded up enough passengers, but luckily we got going in the end.

All in all, Ra's al-Basseet isn't probably the Mediterranean resort of choice for a beach holiday, but for an afternoon swim, it was enough for me...

For a bit more, have a look at the travelogue on my Tartus page...;@P

  • Last visit to Al Basit: Jun 2000
  • Intro Written Nov 27, 2003
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