"Latakia" Top 5 Page for this destination Latakia by MadKiwiBeast

Latakia Travel Guide: 80 reviews and 180 photos

So far so poo

Fianlly after much confusion I finally found what I was looking for - The Ass of Assad. My map and directions say its on Sharia 14 Ramadan but the locals call the street something else. Even standing on this street somebody told me there is no street by that name. I don't know if its just one of those days but I suspect its just that the people of Latakia just don't understand maps. Admittedly my bad day started in Tartous, when the cleaner of the hotel I stayed in insisted I pack now and leave the room - at 10.30, checkout is 12. So very pissed off, not having had a coffee or cigarette i slammed the door and threw my stuff in my bag. The day didn't get better. Arriving in Latakia, instead of being let out at the bus station they just put me on the street somewhere. I was not in the mood for being ripped off by a taxi so decided to walk. One helpful man sent me in the right direction, said go that way and after a while turn right. So I did, but turned right too early, asked directions to 14 Ramadan Str where Assads arse should be and got sent down the wrong street. After walking some time and not finding his posterior I asked again and was told Ramadan street was miles away, this I ignored because you hear it all the time in Syria, a 10 minute walk is miles away. so I just asked which direction, this way, this way, that way? The man just looked confused. Luckily 2 guys overheard me asking directions to Ramadan St or Hotel Latakia or Assads statue and said walk 400 m down the street on your left, turn right and after 300 m is Assad and hotel Latakia. Finally got there. The guy working there was really rude straight away and told me I have to pay 400, I had been told less than half that. I refused and walked out, sat on the stairs feeling miserable and thinking I would just go back to Damascus, stuff the castle Salah al din and Latakia. The man came out and said I could have another room for 300. I just looked at him in disgust, why didn't he tell me that the first time? The hotel next door, Samir Amis was only 200syp but had this really stephen king looking "hotel" scrawled at the top of the stairs in dripping red paint (see latakia hotel tips for picture) But its clean, with nice staff so decide to give Latakia a chance. Thinking maybe my directions were incorrect I went and asked for a map at the tourist information - my directions to get there were good. But it turns out there is nothing wrong with my directions, its the maps or the people or both. I asked a map in Arabi to be sure it was correct but still the tourist information even (who can't really speak any other language or tell you anything you don't know already, like directions to the microbus station, or the name of the street on which you are standing) insisted Ramadan Street is round the corner when the map clearly states its straight ahead. There are no street signs and it seems the locals have just made up their own names for streets which do not correspond with the map. I am so happy I bothered to learn the script even if I can't speak the language. Don't bother asking directions here you'll only get lost.
Next day: To my humour a Norwegian cyclist had the same issues....

Chickens

Just became a vegetarian today. Wish I could photograph a stench. As a walked into town looking for the backside of Assad I had to walk down a street full of chickens, some in cages, some just standing on top looking dehydrated. Being a smoker, my nose is not the best, thank God, cos as it was I nearly puked and had to hold my breath. Vile, putrid, revolting, my vocab just does not extend far enuff to describe the smell. On the same street was what appeared to be a restaurant called the French Cock which gave me my first and so far last smile of the day.

The day got marginally better

I stumbled across some students practising music just down the street near the internet cafe. Apparently they are there every Thursday. It was a great mix of classical arabic instruments and violin. Worth looking for if you are here on Thursday.
Went to Qalat Salah ad din, the castle the next day which was cool with a cyclist from Norway and a rather annoying little syrian guy but it was all good. Castle pics later

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Don't know
  • Cons:Described above
  • In a nutshell:Poo
  • Last visit to Latakia: May 2007
  • Intro Updated May 6, 2007
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MadKiwiBeast

“Don't know where I'm going & can't remember where I've been”

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