As the Birth Place of Christ, the ancient town of Bethlehem holds a connection with Christians from all around the World. While small in size and population, the town of Bethlehem and its surroundings have lots to offer to any visitor or tourists. At the heart of the town lies the Church of the Nativity. Inside the church is the Grotto of the nativity marking the spot where Jesus was born. Since the establishment of the PA in 1994, there has been a fast amount of development and restoration work throughout the town. A large number of tourism establishments such as hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops have been opened and are ready to serve all travel needs.
To know more about the sights and attractions in Bethlehem visit the visitpalestine website.
There is an Arab bus station nearby Damascus Gate that goes to various West Bank Palestinian cities (if you have trouble finding the bus station, ask a local). Arab bus 21 runs from the Arabic bus station nearby the Damascus Gate ("Bab el-'Amoud") in East Jerusalem via Beit Jala to Bethlehem. The average trip length is 30 minutes and costs ₪7. This route takes you straight into Bethlehem without needing to stop at a checkpoint (someone might come to check your passport on the bus, but it's painless). After you cross the border, tell the driver where you're headed and he'll let you know what the best stop is to get off (maybe about 10 minutes after entering the border). From there you can either cab to the main area (Manger Square, Church of Nativity), or just walk.
Shared taxis (sherut/servees) leave from the Arab bus station nearby Damascus Gate and manage the trip in 20 minutes.
Minibus 24 also leaves from the Arab Bus Station near Damascus Gate, it costs ₪5 and runs directly to the Bethlehem Checkpoint and back. Make sure to bring a passport. It may also be the case that you are waved through without any inspection. From the checkpoint, you can either walk half an hour or take a taxi to the center of Bethlehem (25 shekels), which is about 3 kilometres away.
To see where to eat click where to eat.
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To know where to stay see the list.
Israel is a technologically advanced society, and internet cafés are widely available in most cities and towns. The regular price for paid internet cafés is about 15 shekels per hour but you can get it for about 10 shekels in some of the more local places. Free Wi-Fi access is common in cafés (check individual articles). All branches of 'Aroma Espresso Bar', 'Arcaffe', 'Café Café', 'McDonalds' and 'Yellow' convenience stores have free Wi-Fi access, though in some you will have to approach the staff for a password.
Recently, the "Jerusalem Wi-Fi" project started. This government started project aims to cover the entire Jerusalem area with Wi-Fi although at the moment the only areas covered are in the city center. A similar project has started in Tel Aviv and in Karmiel in the north. Some other cities are following suit.
See also: International Telephone Calls
The international country code for Israel is 972. Emergency numbers include 100 (police), 101 (ambulance) and 102 (fire). 112 is supported in mobile networks.
Currently Israel offers support for all the available networks including GSM/UMTS (Pelephone, Cellcom and Orange), CDMA (Pelephone) and iDen (Hot Mobile). In any case, you must check with your carrier about the roaming option and the compatibility of your device in advance. A valid suggestion otherwise is to turn off data services.
You can rent a cellphone for use in Israel either before your trip or once you arrive from several firms. You can also rent smartphones with sim cards included sometimes for lower than the cost of renting just a sim card. Vendors such as Israel Phone Rentalsoffer the advantages of a sim card rental without having to worry about bringing your own phone to Israel. If you have a GSM cellphone without a SIM-lock, you can buy a SIM-card. Prepaid SIM cards are available at Pelephone (Talk & Go), Cellcom (Talk Man) and Orange (Bigtalk) phone stores throughout Israel. Almost all shopping malls will have a Pelephone, Cellcom or Orange kiosk or store.
There are many public phones scattered around. Public phones can be always found at hotels, post offices, central bus stations and train stations. These phones use a Telecard, which, today, is a pre-paid calling card that works only with pay phones and can be purchased at post offices and some stores, as well as ordinary calling cards. Some phones also accept credit cards, usually those in hotels and post offices.
The Israel Post is the national postal service of Israel and generally has fast, reliable and affordable services. Efficiency means that letters and postcards send by airmail just take about 3-7 days within Europe, a few days more to the USA and Australia. Express Mail Services (EMS) is available, with which you are guaranteed to have the postcard or letter delivered within 72 hours anywhere in the world. You can buy stamps at post offices, or newspaper stands/kiosks or some souvenir shops and hotels. The main post offices are usually open from 8:00am to 6:00pm Sunday to Thursday and 8:00am to 2:00pm on Friday, though some might keep longer hours. Branch offices and post offices in smaller towns keep shorter hours, usually with a break from 12:30pm to 3:30pm, and on Wednesday and Friday only during the morning. Parcels can be send by the regular post offices or with companies like TNT, UPS, FedEx and DHL.
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