Advice required for my Israel-trip in november
Replies: 20 - Last Post: Jun 29, 2012 5:06 AM Last Post By: PocaLoca
Jun 22, 2012 12:37 PM
Advice required for my Israel-trip in novemberHello !
I plan a journey to Jordan and Israel for november this year. For the Jordan-part of the tour, everything will be organized by a jordan travel agency and they´ll drop me at the border to Israel in Aqaba/Eilat. From then on i will be by myself. I´ve got several questions therefore:
I need to get from Eilat to Jerusalem on friday 16th of november. Is it true, that there will be no public buses running after noon fridays until saturday evening due to Sabbat ? I thought of taking one of those Egged buses. Do i have to make reservations in advance or can i just turn up, buy a ticket and leave with the next bus ?
Jerusalem: I´m checking hotels right now and am not sure, in which part of Jerusalem it is best to stay. Is the area around the mount of olives really dangerous after dark ? How about a hotel in the oldtown, can i get there by taxi or is the oldtown off limits for cars and i have to drag my bag there, walking ? I´m asking, because i found a nice accommodation on the Via Dolorosa.
I thought of staying in Jerusalem for 5 or 6 days as a "home-base", explore the city and take a couple of day trips from there with Egged Tours to other destinations in Israel, like Bethlehem, Massada and even to the Sea of Galilei. It seems to be quite convenient, but do you find it recommendable ?
The last 2-3 days i wanted to spend in Tel Aviv and again i thought of taking a day trip from there with Egged Tours to Akko. I like it convenient and i hate to change hotels every other day, that´s why.
What do you think of my plan and questions ?
Thank you and many greetings from Germany, Sabine
Jun 22, 2012 1:00 PM
1Yes, it is true that there is no public transport between Eilat and Jerusalem during those times. I took the 1pm (or something like that) Friday bus between the two cities last year and did not make prior reservations, but it is advisable to do so. If you show up without reservations and the bus happens to be full you'll either be spending an extra day in Eilat or catching a flight.
My preference is to stay within the walls of the Old City as it is so unique. Whether you must walk and how far depends upon where you stay. Taxis do drive around on a few streets within the wall. Anywhere you stay is likely to be fine. I'm not familar with that street.
Again, yes, your plan to base in Jerusalem for a few days and do day trips is fine. The same with TA. It is a pain to constantly switch hotels and you shouldn't have any problems doing it the way you've planned.
Have a great trip.
Jun 22, 2012 11:45 PM
2Early November is an ideal time to tour Israel. The weather should be good, though you may get a little rain.
I recommend starting your touring of Israel in Tel Aviv and ending in Jerusalem, saving the best for last.
Stay 1 or 2 nights in Tel Aviv, then consider renting a car and driving north into Galilee, stopping in Caesarea (and perhaps Akko) along the way.
Don't do a day trip to Galilee from Jerusalem. It warrants more than that! Consider staying at least 2 nights in Galilee, ideally at a kibbutz guesthouse, such as Nof Ginosar or Pastoral Kfar Blum. If you have the time, I recommend a day exploring the Golan Heights as well.
Next head south through the Jordan Valley on Hwy 90 and drop off your car when you arrive in Jerusalem.
I don't think that staying in the Old City of Jerusalem is a good idea. There' s a deserted feeling to that area at night and logistics can be difficult if you have luggage. I recommend you stay in West Jerusalem. The Harmony Hotel, for example, is well situated right in the heart of the city with lots of restaurants, etc. all around you and within walking distance to the Old City's Jaffa Gate.
Doing day trips to Masada and the Dead Sea and to Bethlehem is a good idea from Jerusalem.
Jun 24, 2012 7:17 AM
Jun 25, 2012 1:57 AM
4Staying in Jerusalem's Old City is the experience of a lifetime. The only downside is that you need to carry your luggage with you, however some hostels and guesthouses are located quite close to either Damascus Gate or Jaffa Gate. It's definitely worth the hassle. The best place to stay is the Austrian Hospice; Lutherian guesthouse comes second and Christ Church guesthouse third. You also find a number of cheaper hostels in the Old City. Staying in the modern city has no interest. At night it's nice to go and have dinner there, it's a nice walk.
The Mount of Olives is not dangerous at night, however it's best not to flash your valuables around. It can be a little desert in the middle of the night but in the evening there's no problem.
Bethleem is a Palestinian city, located in the Palestinian territory. It's not in Israel. I strongly advise you to avoid the Egged tour as it's less safe than going on your own, and you will see very little of the city (they will rush you as they cannot stay for long). Bethleem is a fifteen-minute drive from Jerusalem so either take a bus at the bus station in East Jerusalem (opposite Damascus Gate) or take a taxi in East Jerusalem for Bethleem. If you need a guide to show around, you can find one in Bethleem for much cheaper.
Akko is a wonderful city, it's worth spending the night there.
Jun 25, 2012 5:33 AM
5I don't know if u have anything to see in Tel Aviv in November. TA is a beach city (with no special historical or architecture sites). However, in November the beach will probably will be closed and u will not see the hustle that goes on in TA in the summer.
I would also skip Massada. it's a lot of PR and nothing else. there isn't a lot left to see there. 2-3 ruined walls and that's it. Ein Gedi which is near Massada is a lot prettier.
Jun 25, 2012 6:21 AM
Jun 25, 2012 7:51 AM
7#5 Hi vitorbelfort welcome to Thorn Tree, referring to your observation and opinion: to skip Massada. it's a lot of PR and nothing else You may wish to know that the site of Masada is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
You mention that ‘’TA is a beach city (with no special historical or architecture sites).’’ You may not be aware, that Tel Aviv's White City, was also designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Regarding your observation regarding Tel Aviv’s beaches; ‘’ However, in November the beach will probably will be closed’’. You may not realize that in Tel-Aviv, people are swimming, surfing, wind surfing, and sailing all year round.
Jun 25, 2012 7:54 AM
Not a lot to see in Masada????
I think most people find Masada to be an amazing sight for it's archeology and stunning views sweeping the Dead Sea, Jordan and the Judean Desert. I think you may be in a minority there...
Regarding Tel Aviv - it's actually quite renowned for its architecture and has been declared a UNESCO heritage site for this reason. The architectural style is Bauhaus - an offshoot of the International Style. You may not be a big fan - but your declaration amounts to saying that Brasilia has no special architecture sites, just because you don't like modernism...
Jun 25, 2012 9:55 AM
why is it less safe to go with Egged Tours to Bethleem, than on one´s own ? I know, that Bethleem belongs to Palestine, but why should there be a difference regarding safety between an organized bus tour and a self-organized tour with a public bus or taxi ? Please explain ! I especially thougt of going with Egged, because i considered this option safer !!! But i´m open to learn, of course.
Jun 25, 2012 10:37 AM
10Hi everyone !
Thanks for your answers, so far ! I really appreciate your advice and find it very helpful. By the way: Of course, i´m going to visit Masada and of course, i´m going to stay a few days in Tel Aviv !
Two new questions have been coming up for me and maybe, you are able to answer them as well: My flight back home is leaving at 05.50 am from Tel Aviv Ben Gurion with Turkish Airlines via Istanbul: I´m wondering, how long before flight-time i have to be at the airport to master all the check-in and safety procedures ? Which might be more time-consuming, than in other countries, i guess ? Especially in the case, you´ve got a stamp of an arabian country like the UAE in your passport ? And other ones from the muslim countries of Malaysia and Indonesia ??? I´m asking because, if i have to be at the airport very early, i can check out of my Tel Aviv hotel already on the 23 rd of november and save the cost of 1 night. (And gain the cost of one sleepless night...)
The second new question is, as i started to check-out Tel Aviv´s hotel scene: Where is it best to stay in Tel Aviv ? I wanted to stay close to the city centre and the beach. But in november, it might be not so recommendable to be close to the sea shore. Or ? The sea-shore might be chilly and the beach areas deserted. I don´t know.
Anyway, thank you for your help so far and please go on.
Best regards, Sabine
Jun 25, 2012 11:29 AM
11You need to be at the airport three hours before your flight departs.
Since your flight is at 5:50, you need to be there at 2:50. I would go there the night before. The airport is busy right through the night, and just about the safest place you could possibly be (not that anywhere else is dangerous). When I have early morning flights I always go the night before (I live in Israel and there is no public transport at night from my home town to the airport). Get a train to the airport around midnight (unless it's a Friday night there are hourly trains to the airport). Everything at the airport will be open; you can have a coffee, browse in the shops, do whatever you like.
As for Tel Aviv beach in November, see the last paragraph in #7. It's still warm in November.
Jun 25, 2012 12:24 PM
12Your worries about this or that stamp in your passport making the process more time consuming may be true as you arrive in Israel and may affect your check-in time for your flight to Israel.
It's likely to have little or no impact on your departure - so as said - 3 hours ahead of time is plenty...
Jun 26, 2012 1:26 AM
13Since the Israeli army currently occupies the Palestinian territory to this day, it's obviously not a good idea to visit the Palestinian territory with an Israeli company.
If you really want to go with a tour, visit with a Palestinian company based in East Jerusalem. Otherwise just take a taxi in East Jerusalem, it's super easy to visit by yourself.
Bethleem is the safest city in the region. There are loads of Westerners living and working there, and it's a classic chill-out spot for the expatriates posted in East Jerusalem. There's no reason to worry. However I'd never let my family visit the city with an Israeli company for safety reasons.
Jun 26, 2012 3:41 AM
14Green Olive tours is an Israeli company that has been conducting tours in the West Bank for several years...
Same holds for Egged tours - I can't remember of any safety issues despite the fact that the company has been conducting these tours for ages...
Catw - Perhaps your agenda has nothing to do with safety - which is fine - unless you're misleading travelers..
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