Guide To The Best Of Israel and Jordan

jordan guide

[Disclaimer from 2021: this post was written back in 2018 when I had no idea about how facts about the Palestinian situation were distorted by the Israeli media. It is not a conflict, it is the oppression of Palestinians by the Israeli state. It is not a conflict between two equal sides, it is deportation, it is an ethnic cleansing done by the Israeli state with the financial backing of many Western countries. Palestinians are depicted as terrorists - they are freedom fighters. The Israeli state, its police and army, forcing civilians out of their homes, is the terrorist state. Do not let the ultra-liberal and ultra-PC branding and image of Tel Aviv mislead you: these privileges are only enjoyed by Israelis, not by the natives of this country, the Palestinians (and not even by African Jewish people). We have left this post mostly intact because we do not want to erase the document of our ignorance about this issue. We want to show readers that it is okay to be misinformed about something, it is okay to learn and to come to different conclusions and different political views. Please boycott Israel and Israeli companies. Liberate Palestine!]

Guide To The Best Of Israel and Jordan

Israel fascinates people all across the world - to say the least. With the press about Israel generally being biased on both sides, we felt it was important to go there and see for ourselves what it's really like. Jordan has been high on our bucket list for the longest time, for one reason only: Petra, one of the new seven wonders of the world. We were soon to discover though that Jordan is so much more than this incredible historical site.

We spent 10 days touring the best of Israel and Jordan with Abraham Tours, they have a really good summary of this tour on their website - an outline of what you'll be doing each day, where you're staying etc and the cost of the tour. [Note, tours start from both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, we started from Jerusaelm] I wanted to write this post to give you more details from our own perspective having done the tour - what you can expect from each day, what to wear, how much money you'll need for things that aren't included (e.g. meals and entry fees), and of course our favourite bits. I hope it's useful to you - this has been written specifically for anyone who is considering doing the 10-day best of Israel and Jordan tour with Abraham Tours. Or even if you're considering doing one of their other tours - for example their Masada sunrise tour is included in this tour. Of course, feel free to read this if you're interested in touring Israel and Jordan, or if you're just curious to hear what we got up to there :)

Day 1: Arrival and Check-In

what to do in israel

Our only objective for day 1 was to get to and check into Abraham Hostel Jerusalem, which was easy to do - we were glad that nothing else was planned for day 1, because we had an early flight from Budapest to Tel Aviv, and it was nice to know all we had to do was get there and relax. Getting to Abraham Hostel Jerusalem is very simple: take the 485 bus from Terminal 3, 2nd floor, gate 23. The bus costs 16ILS one way and you can buy your ticket from the driver.

*Note! The cash machine at the airport sucks, it didn't take any of my credit cards - HSBC, Halifax and in the end only accepted an HSBC debit card. It's strange because we used the same brand of ATM in Nazareth with our Halifax credit card and it worked fine then... I can only assume the airport one doesn't take credit cards, or it was broken that day? Either way, take cash with you (preferably ILS, but if you have other cash you can exchange it at the airport for a high fee), and/or take a range of debit and credit cards.

The bus drops you off at the Central Bus Station, and from there it's an easy tram ride or a 20-minute walk to the hostel. It was a nice day and we'd packed light, so we decided to walk to get a first impression of the city. Our first impression was that it was safe, clean and there were very few people - admittedly it was 2pm on a Wednesday, but still.

Check-in at Abraham Hostel Jerusalem starts at 3pm, but you can chill in their sitting room where they have wifi and plugs. Our room was clean and had everything we needed - a comfy bed, our own toilet, a fridge, a double bed and a shower with hot water (you have to remember to put the timer on and wait 20 mins, but then it's hot and the pressure was good).

After we'd cleaned up we decided to explore the area - Abraham Hostel Jerusalem is located in a great spot, with many cute shops nearby. One thing (of the many things) that we loved about all Abraham Hostels is they provide you with the clearest, best map I've ever seen - it includes all the good local spots anddd discounts for Abraham Hostel guests!

Less than a ten minutes walk from Abraham Hostel Jerusalem is a normal supermarket with everything you need (there is a kitchen at the hostel where you are free to cook). Much more interestingly is a beautiful Israeli market where you can get fresh fruit and veg, olives, halva and so much more.

Lessons of Day 1:
  • Know before you go: cash machine at the airport sucks;
  • What to wear: anything you're comfortable in - I felt that Jerusalem was more conservative than Tel Aviv, and did cover my knees, shoulders and boobs, but it would have been fine if I didn't;
  • Money needed: 16ILS cash only for the bus; money for lunch and dinner - the supermarket takes card, the markets do not.

Day 2: Tour of Jerusalem Old City

Our second day in Jerusalem started off perfectly - I was really impressed by the breakfast that Abraham Hostel Jerusalem offers all guests (free), it's simple, but it's healthy and there's choice for all tastes. I had salad, tahini, fresh bread, coffee, and Tanbay had cereal (with vegan milk!), toast, vegan Nutella and juice - there's a great system of you helping yourself to as much (or as little) as you like, and then washing your own dishes afterwards. For such a big operation, it worked really well - the salads and the bread baskets were always kept full by the helpful staff, and all the dishes were properly cleaned.

Our first activity of the 10-day Best of Israel and Jordan Tour was a tour of Jerusalem Old City. It starts at 10:50 at Jaffa Gate and the hostel volunteers pick you up from the downstairs chill out area at 10:20 and walk you over there. It's an easy, straightforward walk, but we really appreciated them showing everyone the way there, it was thoughtful and confirmed my impressions that everything works in this big well-oiled operation.

There are two tours of the Old City offered by Abraham Hostel Jerusalem - a free one open to all guests and a more detailed, longer one for paying customers - the paid one is included in the 10-day best of Israel and Jordan tour that we took. As we were visiting holy sites, we did have to make sure we wore no shorts and had no bare shoulders. It wasn't as strict as certain places in South East Asia though.

As for the tour itself, it was interesting, but I think it would have been more interesting if we were religious. Our guide was very knowledgeable and interesting. He took us through the Armenian Quarter, the Jewish Quarter, the Muslim Quarter and the Christian Quarter. I found it incredible how different these four quarters were. The Christian Quarter was definitely our least favourite - full of mean crowds and crappy souvenirs. In the Jewish Quarter we witnessed a Bar Mitzvah which was cool to see and the Muslim Quarter smelt and looked great - it was like being transported over to Malaysia or Morocco.

We didn't get to go to the Dome of the Rock or the Al Aqsa Mosque (we did get to take a photo of them from afar). This was because the queues for them at this time of year (Nov) were crazy. But our guide was very upfront about this at the beginning of the tour and offered anyone who was desperate to see it a refund. What we did see was King David's Tomb and the Western (Wailing) Wall - we didn't get to go right up to it but we saw it close enough. We walked along Via Dolorosa, saw the room of the last supper and went into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Like I said before, I think this would have been a lot more interesting to us if we were into religion. We were just there to take a lot of photos and experience the culture - which of course religion plays a big part in. I must say that I (reluctantly haha) learnt an awful lot. And seeing so many orthodox religious people (Christians, Jews and Muslims) in one place was pretty interesting, and unique - sure we've seen orthodox Christians in Italy, orthodox Jews in Budapest and orthodox Muslims in UAE, but we've never seen those three religions represented in such close proximity to each other.

The tour ended at about 3pm, by which point we were starving! On the way back we picked up a delicious and filling falafel pita for 15ISD. All in all, we saw all the main sites and took a billion photos, which we call a success.

Lessons of day 2:
  • Know before you go: consider taking the free tour if you're not so into religion (it's shorter), take a sandwich or two with you in case you get hangry;
  • What to wear: something that covers your shoulders and knees but don't stress about it too much;
  • Money needed:money for lunch and dinner and money for souvenirs if that's your thing.

Day 3: Sunrise at Masada and the Dead Sea Bathing

On day 3 we woke up at 03:15 to catch our 3:30 bus to see the sunrise at Masada. We were excited to do this but annoyed that one of the members of our group was late. We waited until 4am for her to get there! And then she didn't even apologise (rude). Not the hostel's fault of course, but personally I think they should have just left without her. (You snooze you lose.) Partly because we'd all woken up at the correct time and then had to wait about, but mainly because it gave us 30 minutes less time to get up to Masada - it's a steep climb and we had to half-jog to make it to the top in time for sunrise, and a couple of less fit people in our group didn't make it :( . Sleepy girl did though. Anyway, rant over. What's actually useful for you to know? You don't need towels and the Masada entry is 29 ILS each.

Walking up Masada is super hard, it's steep and is over 6000 steps. The views are absolutely incredible though and your sense of achievement will be paramount. Make. Sure. You. Bring. A. Camera. Seriously. This was the second best sunrise we'd seen in our entire lives (second only to the sunrise at Angkor Wat). We had a bit of time to watch the sunrise and explore Masada (translation, take a thousand photos) before we walked back down Masada to meet our guide in the carpark. Now when we walked up Masada, it was before the sun had risen, but walking down with the sun actually up made us appreciate how much worse the walk could have been if the sun had been beating down on us. Definitely go up before sunrise!

Next, we went to Ein Gedi Nature Reserve. Entry costs 27 ILS. We were really excited to see this big weird rodenty creature things (also known as Hyrax) running around wild. They were too cute! But the rest of the nature reserve was a little underwhelming, especially as it involved more walking, which we were already tired of. The view of the sea was incredible, but the highlight that was the waterfall was kind of a bit meh. Nothing compared to waterfalls we've seen in Iceland / Australia / Canada / the Philippines. BUT it is pretty incredible that there are even waterfalls in the desert at all. My point is if you're really tight on cash, or too lazy to walk around more like us, just skip the waterfall.

After Ein Gedi we went to the Dead Sea. Man, I've been wanting to go here for my entire life. Actually, it was the first piece on my bucket-list, when I was about six and had no idea I had wanderlust or a bucket-list. I had high expectations and it didn't disappoint. Firstly, our guide kindly stopped at a cliff so we could see the beauty of it from above, and gosh it is so beautiful! Then he took us to the Dead Sea Beach. Ticket entry is included in your ten-day Best of Israel and Jordan tour. There are changing rooms there and our guide provided us with towels. There's also a place to buy souvenirs and grab something to eat/drink. Floating in the Dead Sea was so much fun, it's literally impossible to not float - we tried so hard! After our float, we lathered ourselves up with Dead Sea Mud - apparently, it's very good for your skin, it feels a lot like beautiful half-melted chocolate. Anyway, we had the best time here, chilling out, floating, putting mud on ourselves, washing it off and repeating. We spent a good couple of hours here, and it felt like the perfect amount of time - we weren't rushed, but we were also not bored. Ideal.

Seeing the sunrise at Masada and floating in the Dead Sea were two of our absolute highlights of this ten-day tour. Even if you don't go for the whole ten-day tour like we did, you've got to try out one of the other Dead Sea Tours - you will regret it if you don't!

When you stay at Abraham Hostels, breakfast is included every day. But because we left at 4am and got back at 1pm ish we missed breakfast - they don't pack you a breakfast, so make sure you take sandwiches or similar with you (you can get food at the Dead Sea, but you'll probably be ravenous by then).

When we got back we rushed out to lunch at Nagila. Nagila is a delicious all vegan restaurant and with your Abraham Tours map, you can get 10% off. I highly recommend the food there, it's delicious. We were rushing because it was Friday and we were worried the shops and restaurants would be closed - turns out that doesn't happen until sundown. But keep a note of this - from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday it's Shabbat and lots of things aren't open or going in Israel.

Lessons of Day 3:
  • Know before you go: take food with you in the morning but don't take towels, make sure you have something ready for dinner if it's Friday
  • What to wear: whatever you like - I recommend something you can hike in for the morning, and a swimsuit for the afternoon. No need to cover up anything on this day.
  • Money needed: 27 ILS for Ein Gedi, 29 ILS for Masada, cash only for both; money for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Day 4: Transfer to Tel Aviv

After another delicious breakfast, we took the 09:15 free shuttle from Abraham Hostel Jerusalem to Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv. Our Ten Day tour of Israel and Jordan included an 11:00am bike Tour of Tel Aviv, and we were excited to explore the city in this way.

There was a little hitch in the plan though - check-in wasn't until 3pm, so we had to leave our stuff at the hostel. This wasn't really a big problem because Abraham Hostels thankfully provide not just lockable lockers for your valuables, but a big safe room for your not so valuables. The only problem for us was dividing the valuables from the non-valuables and sorting through it. It would have been better if we'd been pre-warned about this so we could have packed accordingly, OR it would have been great if the shuttle left later and the bike tour started after check-in OR, even better, if the guests that are on the bike tour could check in early. Anyway, like I said it wasn't really an issue, it was just annoying.

The bike tour itself was a great way to see Tel Aviv for the first time - we could whip around it and get a good feel for it. And what we felt we liked! Tel Aviv is soo different to Jerusalem. It's so cosmopolitan and family-friendly and hipster. We loved it. Our guide was very knowledgeable and taught us a lot about Tel Aviv and Israel itself, for example, Tel Aviv literally translates to Old New City, Tel means old and Aviv means spring.

We saw so much of Tel Aviv, the most fascinating for me were the beaches - they have an orthodox Jewish beach, where Jews can practice their special ceremonies. It's divided between the sexes and there's a giant wall off the beach so you can't peak in. They also have an (unofficial) gay beach!

The bike tour ended around 13:00 - we had the option to borrow the bikes for the rest of the day which was cool. We checked in at 3pm, and were impressed by Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv - we loved Abraham Hostel Jerusalem, but the Tel Aviv version is better, more modern, has more space, more facilities and is just all around cooler. Our room had a comfy bed, a closet, a fridge and a shower that didn't need a timer. In the evening we went and saw my lovely second cousin Sharon and her lovely husband Elan who took us out for the most amazing vegan meal at this Georgian restaurant - it was so nice!

Lessons of Day 4:
  • Know before you go:Separate your valuables beforehand;
  • What to wear: Whatever you liked - I asked at the hostel if I was okay to wear shorts and they laughed and said I could wear anything I liked. I opted for shorts and a crop top;
  • Money needed: money for lunch and dinner.

Day 5: Kibbutz and Cooking Workshop

We found the breakfast at Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv to be even better than the breakfast at Abraham Hostel Jerusalem - there was more choice: olives, pasta, halva. At 10:30 we were picked up at the hostel and taken to a real Kibbutz (we got there at 11:30).

A Kibbutz is kind of like a commune - but a Kibbutz is unique to Israel and was originally based on agriculture. It really was fascinating to walk around the Kibbutz and hear how it worked. My favourite part though was listening to a woman who'd actually grown up there - hearing the positives and the negatives and how it had changed over the years (for the better). She said when she grew up the kids lived in their own kid house and never saw their parents after 8pm - if they needed a nurse or help with their homework or anything it wouldn't be from their parents but from whoever's job it was to do it that week. So they missed out on that kind of parental bonding thing. They don't do that anymore.

They don't use money as a motivation, everyone gets the same from the CEO to the dustbin people. But they have rotations of jobs and if anyone does ever make any extra money they get to keep it all for themselves. They all earn around £600 a month but that's all for them, they don't pay for food, washing, bills, they don't have to cook or maintain their house. Kids and old people have loads of activities and fun things to do. They have a nice motto: give as much as you can, take only what you need. Which is probably something we should all be doing.

We had lunch at the Kibbutz (all included in the tour) and I was impressed to see that there were many vegan options available. Lunch was delicious. This Kibbutz tour was another highlight of the ten-day tour for us. After lunch, we were taken back to Tel Aviv. At 19:00 we went to the kitchen to take part in an Israeli cooking workshop, lots of people were taking part in it and there was a lovely feeling of community as we all chopped vegetables together and drank beer (all included).

I'd let Abraham Tours know beforehand that we were both vegan, but I wasn't sure that our cooking guide had been told this. So I told her. She was so great! She quickly made arrangements for us and one more vegan to have our own separate dish, with eggplants instead of eggs. The only problem was one of the non-vegans in our group, who started being rude about vegans. Not Abraham Hostel's fault, of course, I'm just saying it was well rude. Anyway, the food was delicious and it was great to sit down and eat it with the other hostel guests, it was a great icebreaker!

Lessons of Day 5:
  • Know before you go: Make sure you tell the cooking people at the beginning if there are certain things you won't eat;
  • What to wear: whatever you like, the Kibbutz is not religious
  • Money needed: none - breakfast, lunch and dinner are all provided. We did buy some vegan ice cream at the Kibbutz, but you don't have to. I recommend you do though, it was lush.

Day 6: Caesarea National Park and Nazareth

guide to israel

On day 6 we had our yummy breakfast and at 08:00 were ready for our transport to Caesarea National Park. Again there was a little problem with our luggage: we were to be taken to Caesarea by taxi (price included in the tour). The taxi would drop us there, and then two and a half hours later a bus would pick us up and take us to Nazareth. It would have been silly to cart all our luggage around Caesarea, so the staff said to leave all our stuff at the entrance and they'd make sure it got on that bus and would meet us later.

Now, I completely trust the staff, this is something that happens every week and I'm sure it's fine. But, on the other hand, our luggage wasn't just some replaceable holiday bits - this was literally everything we owned in the world. Not to mention crazy expensive and fragile equipment for our vlogs. And again, it was something we wish we'd known about beforehand.

In the end, we left one bag of clothes and food, and filled our other bag with laptops and cameras, and took it with us. The taxi driver wasn't impressed, and it did mean that we couldn't really wander around Caesarea as lightly as we could have done without it. In an ideal world, the bus would have come with us to Caesarea and waited with our stuff in the carpark, OR we could have left our stuff in our room and gone back to pick it up later. Or maybe I could be less anal about my stuff. Who knows. Personally, I think it's something I would want to know about beforehand, and hence why I'm writing about it here for you!

As for Caesarea itself, it was interesting! It costs 38 ILS to get in, and I enjoyed walking around, thinking about history and taking lots of photos. Tanbay wasn't that into it, but we both agreed that we were glad there wasn't some kind of tour through it to learn more about it - we prefer to look things up ourselves online afterwards haha.

guide to jordan

We arrived in Nazareth at 12:30 and again we were amazed - Nazareth is so different to both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Jerusalem felt quite Jewish, Tel Aviv felt cosmopolitan/European and Nazareth felt Islamic. I loved all three of them and think it's fascinating how different they are. We stayed at Fauzi Azar Inn Nazareth - Abraham Hostel's Nazareth branch. But man it's sooo different to the hostels, it really is a proper inn! We loved it, it was so authentic (and we had a TV in our room).

things to do in jordan

We spent the afternoon exploring Nazareth (very beautiful) and trying to get cash out (hard, or like we went the stupid long way to get it, there is actually a cash point only 20 mins walk away from the inn).

Lessons of Day 6:
  • Know before you go: Think about your bags! If you're anal about your bags like me, you may consider skipping Caesarea and taking the bus straight to Nazareth. The cash machine is easy to find if you're not an idiot like me.
  • What to wear: You can wear what you like to Caesarea, I felt more comfortable dressing a bit more conservatively in Nazareth, but you don't have to
  • Money needed: 38 ILS (cash only) for Caesarea, money for lunch and dinner.

Day 7: Jesus Sites in Nazareth

what to do in israel

I enjoyed this day, but out of the whole 10 days this was probably my least favourite - like the tour of the Old City, this will probably only appeal to you if you're into religion (this time, specifically Christianity only). There were still some cool things though: we left bright and early at 07:15, and got to Mount of Beatitudes for 09:00am sharp, this is where Jesus was believed to have given the Sermon on the Mount and usually there is an incredible view from here. When we went it was very misty, but the church is still pretty.

Next, we went to the church where Jesus made the miracle of making lots of bread and fish. I can't remember the name, sorry. After this, we went across to the Sea of Galilee, which is where Jesus supposedly walked on water. It cost about 5ILS to get in. Despite our obvious non-religiousness, we liked this Sea, it was really pretty with the mist and felt spiritual-ish. Next, we went to a mini wine tasting, this was one of my favourite parts of the day, we tried some delicious Israeli wines and some chocolate liqueurs.

Then we had lunch, a few members of our group were a little miffed that we went to a different restaurant than the one we were supposed to go to - because the one we were supposed to go to was really full. They were miffed because the new restaurant was slightly more expensive - 40ILS instead of 35. And it was more for meat (I think 45 or 50). But personally we were pleased we didn't have to wait for food, and anytime meat is more expensive than vegan we are happy. Haha. Plus the food was really good quality and there was lots of it - bread, hummus, olives, juice, coffee, vegetables and more.

israel guide

Next up we went to the summit of Mount Bental, where you could see Syria in the distance. It was interesting, but I'm not so sure about this kind of tourism. It was a full day, and we arrived back around 17:00, this gave us enough time to freshen up before our traditional cooking class at 18:30.

It wasn't as much fun as the first cooking class that we did, mainly because there wasn't much space to cook and I felt bad that the cook did pretty much everything herself - I tried to help by cutting an onion and then I spent most of the evening crying, so you know. The food itself was interesting - a traditional Muslim chicken onion rice dish with salad and a separate non-chicken dish for us. Yey. It wasn't my favourite meal that I've ever had but it was filling! And again it was nice to sit down with our group and get to know them.

Summary of Day 7:
  • Know before you go: If you're not so into Christianity, this day might be one you skip. We loved the winery and the lunch but would have been okay never seeing where Jesus did his miracles. That's just us personally though.
  • What to wear: Reasonably conservative - cover your knees and shoulders
  • Money needed: 5ILS cash only for Jesus's water place, 35-50 ILS (50 to be safe) for lunch. Breakfast and dinner are included.

Day 8: Jordan

jordan guide

We had another early start to make sure we missed the traffic in Nazareth - i.e. we left at 07:30, we were grateful that we still got breakfast at the inn though. Our driver took us to the Israel/Jordan border. Here we walked through in our group (but without the driver) and signed out of Israel. We had to pay 105 ILS each (about £20) for this. You could pay in cash or card - we paid with credit card.

On the other side we found our driver, and waited for agesss for one boy in our group - they'd asked him if he'd ever been to a Muslim country and he said UAE, and they got upset because he didn't have a UAE stamp in his passport. I think because it was in his old passport. I don't know. Hot tip - if you've been to the UAE and don't have a stamp, don't mention it! We have a UAE stamp but they didn't ask us any questions about anything.

Next, our driver introduced us to our new Jordanian guide and bus and then left. This was the worsstttt part! Because our new guide wanted all of our passports. I could already tell he was really nice, but still, I don't let anyone touch my passport and him walking off with a huge stack gave me the willies.

Still, it was absolutely fine, and he did all the payment and paperwork for us which was awesome! We all paid him the next day - it was about 60 JOD each or about 75USD - the driver was so great about letting us pay in whatever currency we wanted, or at least we could choose between USD, JOD, ILS, GBP, EUR. He also let you decide the exchange rate which was good. And he gave us $50 change when we paid him $200. One thing I'd recommend having though is the exact right change, or rather lots of notes. Just because it's easier for him.

To summarise, you need about 105ILS to get out of Israel and about 60JOD to get into Jordan. This comes to about $100 total but it is paid in two different parts and the $100 total depends on the exchange rate. I know for a fact you can pay your 105ILS in ILS or with card (I'm pretty sure you can pay in USD and JOD too, but don't quote me on that). Like I said the 60JOD can be paid in lots of different currencies.

If I was going to do it again, I'd pay the 105ILS with card still and pay the guide the 60JOD in either GBP or EUR (we thought we had to pay in USD, so we'd exchanged our Euros for dollars which were kind of annoying). I'd also make sure I had lots of 10 Euro/Dollar/pound notes to make life easier for everyone. I know that sounds confusing, I've tried to make it as clear as possible - let me know if you have any questions.

The border crossing was relatively easy and I could see this was only because we were on the tour - if we didn't have our guide I wouldn't have known where to queue or what to pay or anything, so I'm grateful for that. Once we crossed the border, we were shocked by the instant difference between Israel and Jordan, they really are very different countries!

Our first stop was in Jerash, man this place is impressive! The only thing we really knew about Jordan, and the reason we wanted to go, was Petra - so it was awesome that they took us to Jerash first and we got to love Jordan for reasons other than Petra.

Men were pretty chatty in Jerash. I'd gotten so relaxed in Israel (where men had been completely ignoring me), that I walked around Jordan wearing a crop top. About five men asked me if I wanted to marry them. It was fine though, they were reasonably nice and not like the creeps you get in certain parts of the world. I should probably have covered up, but like, it was hot.

After Jerash, we went for lunch. Lunch was an all you could eat buffet (drinks not included) and included many options for vegans. Then we took a driving tour (aka stayed on the coach) of capital Amman, I've got to say our guide was absolutely incredible. He was so interesting and funny and toed the line between giving us facts (he gave us the important ones but didn't overdo it). He stopped in Amman to get us all a traditional Jordan snack, it wasn't vegan, so he insisted on finding us a traditional vegan Jordan snack! It was very kind of him.

We finally got to Bedouin Campsite Petra at 20:00 and sat down for a meal of hummus, bread, salad and more. We were invited to sit around the campfire, but we were so knackered from all the driving that we had a shower and went to bed.

Lessons of Day 8:
  • Know before you go: Re-read what I said about the border;
  • What to wear: something a bit more conservative if you don't want annoying men trying to marry you. It's hot though so go for conservative but breezy
  • Money needed: $100 ish for the border fees - 105ILS for Israel, 60JOD separately for Jordan. Take plenty of normal change. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all provided.

Day 9: Petra

This was the day we were most excited about and it didn't disappoint! We were up at 07:00 for our breakfast (included) at the campsite. Then at 08:00 we were all on the bus. At Petra our group split into different sections - most stayed with our guide at the beginning to hear about the history and facts. We figured we could look this up online at a later date (we didn't) and wanted more time on the sites so off we went.

Petra is massive. It's not just the Treasury (where you get those iconic photos), it takes hours to walk the whole thing and there's the Monastery and so much more. Our friends decided to head straight to the Monastery and try and fit it all in. We decided to chill at the Treasury, take a million photos, then climb the 3.5km trail to see the Treasury from above, then take more photos. I was pleasantly surprised by how comfortable it is to hang out at Petra - the mountains shade you most of the day so there's no sunstroke or burn. Additionally, there are free (clean) toilets to use. Petra was even better than we imagined, we loved it and felt that the four hours we had there was just about right. For more info on Jerash, Petra and Jordan check out my post: about visiting Jordan this gives you some must know facts about the child labour and animal cruelty that goes on there. At 14:00 we had another great buffet lunch (included) before we took the long long ride back to Jerusalem. The day before we'd crossed the border from Israel to Jordan in the north, but on the way back we crossed at the West Bank. This crossing was horrible for a number of reasons:

  • Before we'd even got off the bus, guards came on to check us out. One - Indian - girl, was asked a billion questions because 'she looks Muslim'. That's shit. Like even if she was Muslim, which she wasn't, leave her alone.
  • Our guide couldn't come through with us, he gave us very clear instructions and said Abraham Tours would be waiting for us on the other side (which they were). He also said that sometimes people get held back at this border and Abraham Tours can't wait for longer than three hours. That kind of freaked us out. This border is very uncomfortable and everything you hate about horrible borders: basically treating humans like, well I don't want to say cattle because I'm vegan, but yea cattle.
  • You're only allowed to carry one normal bag with you. All your other bags have to go through an x-ray. But it's not like the x-ray at the airport where you can watch it go through, you're separated from your bags for a good 20 minutes. Like I said earlier, I hate that, because what if my things get broken or stolen? I flirted with the bag guy and he let me take two bags through. Tanbay didn't flirt and wasn't allowed to take any of his bags through (even though his was smaller than both of mine)! Unfair. None of his stuff was broken or stolen, but it was a tense 20 minutes.
  • Our friend got held up for having a Jewish name, and for not looking like his photo in his passport (?) Basically, this is the only border Palestinians are allowed to legally use, and Israelis aren't allowed to use it at all. The whole thing is very nasty if you ask me.

In the end, we all got through, but I've got to say it's the most horrible border crossing we've ever experienced. It's appaling that this is the only one Palestinians have. But the whole process didn't take that long and after that Abraham Tours took us safely back to Abraham Hostel Jerusalem and we had a nice night.

Summary of Day 9:
  • Know before you go: the crossing is horrible
  • What to wear: stuff you can walk far in around Petra
  • Money needed: money for dinner and water (you can't drink tap water in Jordan). Breakfast, lunch and entry to Petra are all included.

And that was it! Your final night at Abraham Hostel is included and you check out on day 10 for the end of the tour. We spent one extra night in Israel - we took the Abraham Hostel shuttle to Tel Aviv and stayed at Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv. We had a great day exploring Tel Aviv and checking out the graffiti. The taxi from Tel Aviv hostel to the airport cost 140 NIS cash, but I think they are starting a free shuttle.

Wrap Up: What Did We Think of Abraham Tours?

Overall, we absolutely loved our ten-day guide to the best of Israel and Jordan, we made so many memories, photos and friends and would recommend it to everyone. Our highlights were definitely the Dead Sea, Masada, Tel Aviv hostel, the Israeli cooking class, tour of the Kibbutz, the whole of Jordan and all the guides we had. Plus the breakfasts!

I've tried my hardest to be objective here and tell you anything and everything I wish I'd known beforehand. Yes, there certainly are areas that they can improve on which I've mentioned about (e.g. leaving if people are late haha), but overall I was super impressed with the organisation and flow of the whole thing. It's a big operation involving three hostels, numerous tours, different people arriving on different days, different countries, breakfast for all, and so much more. It's incredible it works.

Even if certain days/places don't appeal to you, you can always hang back and do your own thing. If you're strapped for time and only want to do certain parts of the tour that I've mentioned, they offer pretty much all of these tours separately too, so drop them a line and find the tour that's for you!

Let me know if you have any questions, like I said I recommend it highly, and I hope my tips on what to wear, what to take, what to know and how much money you need have been useful! Book now on or find them on their website. [Update from 2021: instead of supporting this Israeli company, we recommend watching this documentary about the Nakba, the Palestinian catastrophe:]

P.S.: Another way of travelling and getting accommodation cheaply is housesitting. was kind enough to provide us and our readers with a 10% discount, feel free to click on the link to use it :)

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Travelling through the kyriarchy and weaselling our way out of the rat race - a female travel blogger writing about socially and politically conscious travelling.


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