Lebanon :: Sin city of the Middle East
Lebanon has seen it all: a bloody 1975-1990 civil war, military occupation, high-profile assassinations, and unending political instability. But today, Beirut is earning a reputation as the sin city of the Middle East.
"From nudist beach parties and wild bashes hosted by the likes of Paris Hilton, to gay clubs, gambling and showgirls," the city is attracting all types, says the Sydney Morning Herald.
A record one million-plus tourists visited Lebanon last month alone, according to the tourism ministry, which is expecting more than two million tourists by the end of 2009, a figure roughly equivalent to half the country's population.
"Clubbers don't bat an eye in popping $1000 for a bottle of champagne to guarantee attention at a trendy nightspot, where less is more as far as women's wear is concerned, and fireworks displays regularly light up the skies," says the newspaper.
Prices for a bottle of champagne at some clubs run from $200 (USD$243) to a staggering $15,000 (USD$18,250), but regulars at places like Palais Crystal -- modelled after the famed Palais Club in Cannes - told the newspaper it is worth it.