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Travel through Palestine

Travel Forums Africa and The Middle East Travel through Palestine

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1. Posted by HafJafMark (Respected Member 291 posts) 7y

Planning a trip to Israel/Palestine, was wondering if anyone had any advice?

Gonna go to Jeresulem, then into the west bank. Is there anywhere in particular in the west bank anyone would reccomend? How easy is it to travel through it? I know its pretty locked down, but Ive heard that more people are doing it these days.

Is it possible to get to Jordan from the Westbank?

2. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 7y

I was in Palestine in 2000, so take this with a grain of salt - I am not sure how easy and safe it is to travel around the West Bank nowadays. I heard the wall makes things difficult.

The cities in the West Bank that I liked best were Bethlehem, Hebron and Jericho. All should easily be reached from Jerusalem. When I was there all it took was a shared taxi from Damascus gate in Jerusalem. Those are also the cities in the West Bank that get the most tourists and have the most attractions. Security in Hebron will be the most tight, the city is practically a powder keg. Jericho should be safe if you can get there.

It should also be possible to travel from Jerusalem into Jordan via King Hussein bridge, but to do this you need a valid Jordanian visa. You cannot get a Jordanian visa at King Hussein bridge.

There are two ways to get a Jordanian visa.

The usual one is to fly into Amman at the very beginning of your trip, get your visa, cross into Israel at King Hussein bridge (thus not getting stamped out of Jordan), touring Israel for about 2 weeks and then return to Jordan via King Hussein bridge. This way is done to hide evidency of a stay in Israel, which is possible if you can convince the Israeli boarder guards not to stamp your passport when entering Israel.

The second option is to apply for a Jordanian visa in Tel Aviv.

When faced with applying for the visa in Tel Aviv I decided to take the bus down to Eilat, see some sights along the way (Masada, Dead Sea, Mitspe Ramon, Bersheba), cross the border at Eilat/Aqaba and then go to Petra. I had wanted to go down to the Red Sea anyway, so it was just easier to get the Jordanian visa at the Eilat/Aqaba border crossing.

[ Edit: Edited on 20-Aug-2009, at 12:38 by t_maia ]

3. Posted by Ofelia (Respected Member 142 posts) 7y

Quoting t_maia

The cities in the West Bank that I liked best were Bethlehem, Hebron and Jericho. All should easily be reached from Jerusalem. When I was there all it took was a shared taxi from Damascus gate in Jerusalem. Those are also the cities in the West Bank that get the most tourists and have the most attractions. Security in Hebron will be the most tight, the city is practically a powder keg. Jericho should be safe if you can get there.

I also really liked Bethlehem when I went in 2004. There were tons of security check points, but beyond that, everything went well. We considered going to Jericho, but the air in Israel/Palestine was a bit unnerving at the time- it was during Jewish Passover, and there'd been a bomb explosion in Tel Aviv a few weeks earlier, so we decided to skip it. Instead, I went to Eilat, and, although not too exciting, it was a nice place to check out in itself, and crossing over to Jordan was easiest done there. I'm also a bit disappointed in missing out on Hebron :(
My advice is to see what you feel like/what the situation is like once you get there. Tel Aviv felt safe despite having experienced some unrest a few weeks earlier, but the feel was completely different closer to the West Bank.

4. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 7y

My advice is to see what you feel like/what the situation is like once you get there.

I strongly agree with that.

Compared to being in Jerusalem in 2004 being there in 2000 was a total picknick, but even there were the occassional hitches with roads or sights closed for security reasons. I never felt unsafe, but I got to experience and feel how easily things can shift in this region within hours and how they could close off one place in the morning and open up traffic again in the afternoon.

If you head out into the West Bank try to talk to other people who just got off the minibus, coming into Jerusalem from there just this day or the day before at the latest. If the news on the security situation and thus accessibility of a sight in one place is older than 24 hours it is likely outdated, sometimes it even has a use-by date of 6 hours and less.

It is also a good idea to have a small radio that is technically sophisticated enough to pick up the latest news in English at all times of the day whereever you are, broadcast from BBC WorldNews London.

5. Posted by HafJafMark (Respected Member 291 posts) 7y

Thats for the information, much appreciated.

How do you travell there - Im guessing hire cars are a bit difficult?

6. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 7y

You travel by Arab minibus/shared taxi.

Bethlehem should be your waypoint to both Jericho and Hebron. You'll most likely find out how to get to Bethlehem in Jerusalem by talking to other people.

Try to stay in a hostel that is pro-Palestinian, those used to be just north of Damascus gate or inside the Muslim quarter of the Old City. There you'll get reliable info on how to move around the West Bank.

7. Posted by HafJafMark (Respected Member 291 posts) 7y

how do you know if a hostel is pro-palestinian? Do they hang flags outside?

Are these arab minibus/taxis expensive?

Was thinking about doing some diving in Eliat at the end of the trip - anyone know if its worth it?

8. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 7y

By the people who hang out in it and the staff employed there.

Arab guys flirting with blonde European girls who want to improve their Arabic or US college students of Jewish ancestry intending to volunteer in a Kibbuz and practising their Hebrew with the owners - it makes a big difference when politics and religion are talked in the evening in the hostel lobby.

Location plays a big role to, when I was there those near Yaffa Gate were all pro-Jewish and those around Damascus Gate leaning towards pro-Palestinian. Stay at various hostels all over Jerusalem and you'll soon figure out what is the best hostel to get information on the goings-on in the West Bank.

Sheruts (shared taxis) are not expensive at all, just don't ask the driver for the fare. He'll overcharge you on principle, especially if he is Jewish. Using shared taxis is as easy as using the Egged bus, they are the preferred method of transport in most of the Middle East and Africa.

[ Edit: Edited on 25-Aug-2009, at 02:33 by t_maia ]

Post 9 was removed by a moderator
10. Posted by markoxford (First Time Poster 1 posts) 6y

I have been looking at the information for crossing between Jordan and Jerusalem.

[ Edit: Edited on 21-Aug-2010, at 09:31 by markoxford ]