2nd trip to Israel. This time I want to see Petra

Old Jan 7th, 2020, 07:48 AM
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2nd trip to Israel. This time I want to see Petra

We'll be in Israel late May, early June with 10 full tourist days. 1st trip we had private guide and saw most of the typical sights (Dead Sea, Masada, Caesarea, Akko, Safed, Nahariya, Tiberias, Haifa, etc). This time we will be on our own and want to focus on Jerusalem and Tel Aviv with some family visits and events in those places.

I have never been to Petra, and would love to take a tour there as well. Just trying to figure out what makes the most sense. Should we plan on spending a night or 2 Eilat and do day tour from there (i see many of the tours enter Jordan near Eilat), or some other arrangement from Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. Any recommendations/suggestions are appreciated.

Last edited by MFNYC; Jan 7th, 2020 at 08:15 AM.
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Old Jan 7th, 2020, 08:37 AM
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Have you bought your plane tix yet? If not, buy an open jaw ticket -- flying into AMM and out of TLV. If you bought your tix, you pretty much have to enter Jordan through Eilat/Aqaba rather than through the Allenby Bridge because of the visa situation.

Different strokes for different folks, but I'd just use Eilat as a transit point and not waste any more of your valuable time there than necessary. You can either fly to Eilat or take the bus.

Are you a "tour" person? If not, you're far better off hiring a private Jordanian driver/guide -- have them pick you up in Aqaba, at the border, and take you to Petra.

Petra as a day trip is very rushed and spending more time there is preferred. With a day trip, you'll only have a few hours to see everything -- at the worst possible hours then all the other day trippers are there. Sure, you can get the idea of the place and it'll be fine, but if you're really interested in Petra, spend more time.
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Old Jan 7th, 2020, 08:49 AM
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Take a sleepover somewhere near Petra and visit the Wadi Rum desert, too. It's so beautiful. Of course you can also sleep there in a camp in the desert.
Eilat isn't bad, either but mainly for its beaches and a bit of scuba diving. I liked Eilat a lot but I was there last in 1994 ...
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Old Jan 7th, 2020, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by LAX_Esq View Post
Have you bought your plane tix yet? If not, buy an open jaw ticket -- flying into AMM and out of TLV. If you bought your tix, you pretty much have to enter Jordan through Eilat/Aqaba rather than through the Allenby Bridge because of the visa situation.

Different strokes for different folks, but I'd just use Eilat as a transit point and not waste any more of your valuable time there than necessary. You can either fly to Eilat or take the bus.

Are you a "tour" person? If not, you're far better off hiring a private Jordanian driver/guide -- have them pick you up in Aqaba, at the border, and take you to Petra.

Petra as a day trip is very rushed and spending more time there is preferred. With a day trip, you'll only have a few hours to see everything -- at the worst possible hours then all the other day trippers are there. Sure, you can get the idea of the place and it'll be fine, but if you're really interested in Petra, spend more time.
I agree

Stay overnight in Petra and if you can stay at the Movenpick Hotel......

then you just walk across the street from the hotel and you are at the Visitor's Centre !!
Pay your entrance fee and off you go.

You might even want to take in Little Petra ( very close by)
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Old Jan 7th, 2020, 04:41 PM
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I highly recommend three nights/two days for Petra. I was not so impressed with Wadi Rum, but that could have been the tour. I was impressed by the mosaics in Madaba (not just the map on all the tour itineraries).

Petra pix: https://kwilhelm.smugmug.com/Travel/...st-2009/Petra/
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Old Jan 7th, 2020, 05:53 PM
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Percy's Continued Picture Report of Israel and Jordan Started in the Lounge

Here
is my trip report of Israel and Jordan.

Just scroll down to posting # 90 ( it shows you the # on the right hand side) where I have outlined the distances between various point when walking in Petra

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Old Jan 7th, 2020, 06:30 PM
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Percy the link isn’t working sir.
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Old Jan 8th, 2020, 08:52 AM
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I agree with those saying to stay over night. We stayed at the Movenpick which is right across the street.
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Old Jan 8th, 2020, 09:10 AM
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Thanks. Our time is limited (family obligations) but I am now looking into an overnight tour leaving from Jerusalem, as I wasn't all that interested in going to Eilat. Our flights are booked, we used frequent flyer miles, so no open jaw possibilities.

I feel more comfortable doing this guided, because of the border crossings (we have US passports). I see there are fees coming and going, and they want cash. I'm generally not a "tour" person, but did have private guide for 1st Israel visit, and she was great (Dina Horn). This time we can mostly manage on our own, but not for a border crossing!

This is the tour I'm looking at https://abrahamtours.com/tours/petra-tour-jerusalem/. This tour company gets good reviews on tripadvisor. Our Jerusalem hotel (probably Harmony, we also stayed there back in 2011 and really liked it) is near the departure point and can hold our bags overnight, so we can checkout for the night and check back in upon return (we'd just bring minimal overnight baggage for excursion).

Not sure how I feel about the Bedouin Camp stay (not a fan of shared bathrooms at my age!), but can manage for 1 night, and the experience sounds worthwhile.
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Old Jan 8th, 2020, 11:18 AM
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Percy's Continued Picture Report of Israel and Jordan Started in the Lounge

Let us see if this link works

If it does go to Posting # 90 and scroll down from there.

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Old Jan 8th, 2020, 11:19 AM
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Yes it works
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Old Jan 8th, 2020, 12:44 PM
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Glad to see all your pics again sir. Amazing!

Sue has been hinting about going to see the Egyptian pyramids one day so adding Petra to that is a must.

MFNYC I hope you have a great experience in the time you have.

Larry.
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Old Jan 8th, 2020, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by MFNYC View Post
Thanks. Our time is limited (family obligations) but I am now looking into an overnight tour leaving from Jerusalem, as I wasn't all that interested in going to Eilat.
FYI, any tour to Jordan that's booked from Israel will depart through either Eilat or the Jordan River river crossing, but never through the border point that's closest to Jerusalem (the Allenby Bridge). This is because you need a visa in advance to cross via the Allenby Bridge. Either way, you're passing through Eilat (or Beit Shean).

I feel more comfortable doing this guided, because of the border crossings (we have US passports). I see there are fees coming and going, and they want cash. I'm generally not a "tour" person, but did have private guide for 1st Israel visit, and she was great (Dina Horn). This time we can mostly manage on our own, but not for a border crossing!
To each his own, but this is an easy border crossing and tourists do it all the time. Officials aren't looking for bribes or using other shenanigans. It's all very professional and streamlined. It will be magnitudes less hassle than dealing with TSA and trying to board your flight from the USA.


This is the tour I'm looking at https://abrahamtours.com/tours/petra-tour-jerusalem/. This tour company gets good reviews on tripadvisor.
Abraham Tours has a great reputation, but I've never used them (or any other tour company in the region). But this particular tour seems too rushed, particularly if your goal is to see Petra. It allows for basically a half-day at the Petra site, which I don't think is nearly enough time. I think one FULL day is enough, and others think two days is better. If you're going through all this trouble, you might as well see it properly. Or save Petra for next time.

Not sure how I feel about the Bedouin Camp stay (not a fan of shared bathrooms at my age!), but can manage for 1 night, and the experience sounds worthwhile.
Hence the reason I recommend eschewing organized tours. You can do exactly what you want and have a private driver/guide, probably for cheaper or similar prices.

Last edited by LAX_Esq; Jan 8th, 2020 at 01:25 PM.
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Old Jan 8th, 2020, 01:58 PM
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LAX, if we were to do it on our own, can we then cross via Allenby without a hassle, if we get a VISA in advance? Do we then connect with a driver/guide on the Jordan side? I would be open to hiring a guide/driver. Any recs for that?

As far as "next time", odds are there won't be a next time. If it weren't for the fact that my daughter married into an Israeli family, there probably wouldn't even be this time.
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Old Jan 8th, 2020, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by MFNYC View Post
LAX, if we were to do it on our own, can we then cross via Allenby without a hassle, if we get a VISA in advance? Do we then connect with a driver/guide on the Jordan side? I would be open to hiring a guide/driver. Any recs for that?
Yes, you could do it that way. If you're in NYC, as your moniker suggests, there's a Jordanian consulate there and I can't imagine it would be too difficult to get a visa from there. I have no personal experience with the consulate, so I'd google around and call them. If you have the visa in advance, you should be able to cross at the Allenby without hassle.

You can take a taxi from Jerusalem to the Allenby bridge. (From your comments, I assume you don't want to rough it and take a shared taxi
from the Damascus Gate, but that is cheaper.) And you'd have your Jordanian driver meet you on the other side of the Allenby bridge crossing. And going back to Israel, the reverse.

If you can afford 2 nights in Jordan, I'd do this: Day 1: depart Jerusalem for the Allenby bridge in the AM, have Jordanian driver pick you up and take you to Petra, stopping at sites along the way as time permits (consider the Madaba map, Mt Nebo (where Moses died) and Kerak castle); Day 2: full day in Petra, and stay overnight in Petra again (I wouldn't want to move to a 2nd hotel); Day 3: have driver take you from Petra to Allenby bridge, and then back to Jerusalem

I don't have current recs for guides/drivers. TripAdvisor is much more advice than this forum, so perhaps check on their Jordan forum.
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Old Jan 8th, 2020, 03:12 PM
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LAX, will do. I did see something about the shared cabs on tripadvisor. I'd be ok with that. I will search more in their forums for info.

Most of our travel has been Europe and we're completely comfortable moving around on our own, but the Mideast is a bit more intimidating when crossing borders.

Yes re NYC, I figured I could go to the consulate. I have to further research that, but it seems like something I can deal with.
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Old Jan 8th, 2020, 04:50 PM
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LAX, will do. I did see something about the shared cabs on tripadvisor. I'd be ok with that. I will search more in their forums for info


Look up the cost difference between 2 (?) seats in a shared taxi versus a private taxi, and see if the difference is that big of a deal. The main hassle with shared taxis are waiting around for them to fill up. They're mini-buses with about 10 people, and you could have bad luck and be the first ones on an empty one and have to wait some time for the remainder of the seats to get filled. Don't have enough experience to know how quickly they fill up at all times of the day/week. Other than a potential waste of time, it's perfectly doable.

Most of our travel has been Europe and we're completely comfortable moving around on our own, but the Mideast is a bit more intimidating when crossing borders.
Look at it this way: dealing with all the pushing and shoving in Israel (which I assume you know, since you've been before and have Israeli machatunim) is going to be much more challenging than the border crossing.
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Old Jan 9th, 2020, 09:44 AM
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[QUOTE=jacketwatch;17042397]Glad to see all your pics again sir. Amazing!

Sue has been hinting about going to see the Egyptian pyramids one day so adding Petra to that is a must.

MFNYC I hope you have a great experience in the time you have.

Larry.[/QUOTE

Thanks for letting me know about the link .
May I hijack this thread long enough to ask where your next trip is .
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Old Jan 9th, 2020, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by thursdaysd View Post
I highly recommend three nights/two days for Petra. I was not so impressed with Wadi Rum, but that could have been the tour. I was impressed by the mosaics in Madaba (not just the map on all the tour itineraries).

Petra pix: https://kwilhelm.smugmug.com/Travel/...st-2009/Petra/

Very nice pictures.
Thanks for posting, I did not do the Night Light show.
I agree about the beautiful mosaics at Madaba.

Lots of movies being filmed film at Wadi Rum.
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Old Jan 9th, 2020, 03:13 PM
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I'm having 2nd thoughts about doing this excursion given the timeframe I'm working with. It sounds like too much hassle, and travel for minimal touring time. The more research I do, the more I see how you can easily spend several days in Jordan. I think I'll focus on Israel, and spend more time at the places where I felt we didn't have enough time during our last visit (primarily Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, where we have family in both and an event to attend, as well as some touring).

Last visit I really liked Nahariya (spent an overnight and ate at our favorite restaurant of the trip there, I think called Ida). Thinking of visiting there again, and revisiting Haifa and Akko as well, maybe doing an overnight in 1 of those places.
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