EGYPT & JORDAN WITH ISRAEL

14 Nights / 15 Days

Highlight

  • A complete all inclusive value for money tour with maximum quality sightseeing and minimum travelling time.
  • Stay at conveniently located hotels.
  • A relaxed tour – visit 11 cities in 15 days
  • Daily buffet breakfast at all hotels.
  • Local / Western / Indian Vegetarian lunches as specified in the Itinerary.
  • Daily Indian / Local / Western – Veg / Non-veg dinners.
  • Stay 04 nights in Cairo.
  • Enjoy guided city tours of Cairo.
  • See the famous Pyramids at Giza – one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
  • Visit the grand Egyptian Museum.
  • Enjoy the spectacular Sound and Light show at the Great Pyramids.
  • Enjoy 03 fun-filled nights on board the Nile Cruise.
  • Excursion to Abu Simbel included.
  • Visit the exotic cities of Aswan, KomOmbo, Edfu and Luxor.
  • Enjoy city tour of Aswan.
  • Visit the famous Temple of Philae in Aswan.
  • Visit the famous Temple of Two Gods at KomOmbo.
  • Visit Edfu, a town situated on the West Bank of the river Nile.
  • See the famous Temple of Edfu dedicated to God Horus.
  • Visit Luxor – the city of Palaces.
  • Visit Karnak Temple, Valley of Kings, Temple of Queen Hatshepsut and see the Colossi of Memnon.
  • Stay 02 nights in Amman.
  • Stay 01 night in Dead Sea.
  • Visit Petra, one of the wonders of the world.
  • Visit the Dead Sea.
  • Departure tax on Allenby Bridge included.
  • Stay 03 nights in Isarel.
  • Visit Jericho and Nazareth.
  • Visit Haifa - serene Bahai Temple and Gardens.
  • Guided city tour of Tel Aviv.
  • Visit Bethlehem - the biblical birthplace of Christ.
  • Visit Jerusalem - the holiest site in Judaism.
  • Services of a professional and experienced Tour Manager traveling with you throughout the tour.

Itinerary

CAIRO

Embark on your discovery of the ancient world of Egypt and beyond!! Arrive at Cairo International Airport, where you will be greeted by our local representative who will assist the group through immigration and customs formalities. Transfer by our private coach to your hotel in Cairo for check-in.

Enjoy an Indian dinner tonight.
Overnight in Cairo (D)

CAIRO

After breakfast at around 07:30 am enjoy a full day tour to the Great Pyramids of Giza, Sphinx, perfume factory and the famed Egyptian Cotton shops. Local lunch enroute & Continue your sightseeing of Cairo, with a visit to the Egyptian Museum and Khan El Khalili Bazaar. This evening attend the Sound and Light show at Pyramids from 07:00 pm.

Thereafter, enjoy an Indian dinner.
Overnight in Cairo (B,LL,D)

EXCURSION TO ALEXANDRIA (B,LL,D)

After an early breakfast, set out for an excursion to Alexandria. You will visit Catacombs, Roman Theatre, the Pompey’s Pillar and View of Citadel of Qait bay from outside. Lunch at local restaurant. Visit Montazah Gardens & Alexandria Bibliotheca from outside.

On returning to Cairo, you will enjoy an Indian dinner.
Overnight in Cairo (B,LL,D)

CAIRO – ASWAN (Friday Sailing)

Enjoy breakfast in your hotel and check out for your transfer to the airport. Board your flight to Aswan (Flight cost not included). On arrival at Aswan Airport, you will be greeted by our local representative and enjoy a visit to the Philae Temple, High Dam.

Lunch enroute. Later, you will board your cruise for checking in.
Overnight on board the Cruise. (B,LL,LD)

NILE CRUISE

Rise very early this morning with breakfast box, at fixed convoy time of 04:00 am, you will be transferred by an air-conditioned vehicle to Abu Simbel. Enjoy visits to the Temple of Abu Simbel and return to your cruise at lunch time.

Lunch on board the cruise. Sail onto Kom Ombo and Edfu.
Overnight on board the cruise (B,LL,LD)

NILE CRUISE

After breakfast this morning, visit Edfu Temple. Sail to Luxor.

Overnight on board the cruise. (B,LL,LD)

NILE CRUISE – LUXOR

Enjoy a sumptuous breakfast on the cruise and then prepare for check out. Today, visit the Valley of Kings, Queen Hatchepsut Temple and see the Colossi of Memnon. Lunch at an Indian restaurant in Luxor. Thereafter, check in to your hotel.

Enjoy a local dinner.
Overnight in Luxor. (B,L,LD)

LUXOR – CAIRO

Check-out after breakfast, this morning and enjoy a sightseeing visit of Karnak Temple and Luxor Temple. After a local lunch, transfer to Luxor airport for your flight to Cairo (Flight cost not included).

On arrival at Cairo airport, meet, assist & transfer to a local, Indian restaurant for dinner. Check-into your hotel.
Overnight in Cairo (B,LL,D)

CAIRO – AMMAN

Breakfast at hotel. Transfer to Cairo airport to board your flight to Amman (Flight cost not included). Arrive in Amman (Queen Alia international Airport).Tour the downtown part of capital city Amman for 2 hours, visiting sites and museums including the Archaeological Museum, the Folklore Museum, The citadel, the blue mosque and the amphitheatre. Everywhere you look there is evidence of the city's much older past. 

Overnight in Amman. (B,L,LD)

AMMAN – PETRA – AMMAN

Breakfast at hotel. Head to visit the Nabatean Red Rose city of Petra, one of the 7 world wonders and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Enter the city through 1KM long narrow gorge which is flanked either side by 80m high cliffs! Notice the dazzling colors and formations of the rocks. The site is massive, and contains hundreds of elaborated rock-cut tombs, a treasury, Roman-style theatres, temples, sacrificial altars and colonnaded streets. Then return back to Amman

Overnight in Amman   (B,L,LD)

AMMAN – DEAD SEA – AMMAN

Breakfast at hotel. Proceed to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth deep in the Jordan Valley and 55 km southeast of Amman, is the Dead Sea, one of the most spectacular natural and spiritual landscapes in the whole world. It is the lowest body of water on earth, the lowest point on earth, and the world's richest source of natural salts, hiding wonderful treasures that accumulated throughout thousands of years.

Overnight in Dead Sea. (B,LL,LD)

Onto NAZARETH

After breakfast, checkout and transfer to the Allenby Bridge for border crossing into Israel. (Departure tax included).  Processing time will be approximately 45 minutes.  On arrival enjoy a local lunch and then you will be met by a local guide and proceed on a city tour of Jericho, the oldest city in the World. See Zacheus's Sycamore and see the Mountain of Temptation, before traveling on to the most ancient part of Jericho. Thereafter, you will visit the Church of Annunciation. It was established over the site where the Catholic tradition holds to be the house of Virgin Mary, and where angel Gabriel appeared to her and announced that she would conceive and bear the Son of God, Jesus – an event known as the Annunciation. For this reason, the site and the city of Nazareth are among the most sacred places in the Christian world. After a brief insight into history, you will proceed on a one hour cruise on the freshwater lake – the Sea of Galilee or Lake Tiberias.

Overnight in Nazareth (B,LL,LD)

HAIFA & TEL-A-VIV

Enjoy a buffet breakfast in your hotel and checkout. Thereafter, you proceed to the beautiful and serene Bahai Temple and Gardens in Haifa. The Bahai Gardens surrounding the shrine of Baha’ullah,  is possibly the most distinct tourist attraction in all of Haifa, and is very likely the most visited. Every year, hundreds of thousands of tourists and locals alike travel to the Bahai Gardens on Mount Carmel in Haifa, the most holy site of the Bahai faith. Enjoy a local lunch and then enjoy a city tour of Tel-a-Viv. Get to know Tel Aviv and discover its ancient roots, centuries-old traditions, and its modern side as well. Take in bustling markets, walk along peaceful streets, and marvel at the towering skyscrapers.

Enjoy a local dinner and then check into your hotel.
Overnight in Tel-a-Viv (B,LL,LD)

JERUSALEM

After breakfast this morning, you begin by visiting Bethlehem – the biblical birthplace of Christ, it is now a major Christian pilgrimage destination. Bethlehem is a Palestinian town south of Jerusalem in the West Bank. You will continue your visit to the Old and New City of Jerusalem. Discover sites such as the “Western Wall”, the holiest site in Judaism.  The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Jesus was crucified and get a view of the impressive Al Aqsa Mosque – the third holiest site in Islam.  These places are located in the Old City – an extraordinary walled city, filled with unique buildings, narrow passageways, bustling markets and a mix of cultures and languages.

Enjoy a local lunch. Tonight enjoy a local dinner.
Overnight in Tel-a-Viv. (B,LL,LD)

FAREWELL !!!

This morning, after breakfast, check out and your transfer awaits to drive you to the airport for your flight back home. (B)

Enjoy a local lunch. Tonight enjoy a local dinner.
Overnight in Tel-a-Viv. (B,LL,LD)

Tour Cost & Date

Land Cost

Per Person on Twin Sharing US$2650
Single Supplement US$950
* US$ 150 PER PERSON SUPPLEMENT COST WILL BE APPLICABLE FOR OCTOBER TO DECEMBER DEPARTURE

NOTE

  • As a 3rd person in a triple room, most hotels use rollaway beds and room size may be the same as the double bed. There will be no reduction for triple sharing.
  • Single Room Supplement charges will be applicable in case of any one member sharing room with other cancel their reservations.

  • DEPARTURE DATES 2020

    April
    21
    October
    06
    November
    17, 24
    December
    08

    NOTE

    • Tour starts in Cairo on the above mentioned dates. There could be possibility of flight departure on the previous evening.
    • On certain departure dates the itinerary may be operated in reverse order. However, all services and inclusions will remain the same.

    Tour info

    WHAT YOUR TOUR PRICE INCLUDES
    SIGHTSEEING TOURS AND EXCURSIONS
    EGYPT
    • Enjoy guided city tour of Cairo.
    • See the famous Pyramids at Giza – one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
    • Visit the grand Egyptian Museum.
    • Enjoy the spectacular Sound and Light show at the Great Pyramids.
    • Visit Alexandria.
    • Enjoy 03 fun-filled nights on board the Nile Cruise.
    • Excursion to Abu Simbel included.
    • Visit the exotic cities of Aswan, KomOmbo, Edfu and Luxor.
    • Enjoy city tour of Aswan.
    • Visit the famous Temple of Philae in Aswan.
    • Visit the famous Temple of Two Gods at KomOmbo.
    • Visit Edfu, a town situated on the West Bank of the river Nile.
    • See the famous Temple of Edfu dedicated to God Horus.
    • Visit Luxor – the city of Palaces.
    • Visit Karnak Temple, Valley of Kings, Temple of Queen Hatshepsut and see the Colossi of Memnon.
    JORDAN
    • Visit Archaeological Museum.
    • Visit Folklore Museum.
    • See Blue Mosque &visit the Ampitheatre.
    • Visit Nabatean, Red rose city of Petra, one of the wonders of the world.
    • Visit the Dead Sea.
    ISRAEL
    • Visit Jericho and Nazareth.
    • Visit Haifa - serene Bahai Temple and Gardens.
    • Guided city tour of Tel Aviv.
    • Visit Bethlehem - the biblical birthplace of Christ.
    • Visit Jerusalem - the holiest site in Judaism.

    ACCOMMODATION

    • 03 night’s accommodation at Ramses Hilton Hotel or similar in Cairo.
    • 03 night’s accommodation at Nile Cruise or similar.
    • 01 night accommodation at Sonesta St George Luxor Hotel or similar in Luxor.
    • 01 night accommodation at Ramses Hilton Hotel or similar in Cairo.
    • 02 night's accommodation at Landmark Hotel or similar in Amman.
    • 01 night accommodation at Holiday Inn or similar in Dead Sea.
    • 01 night accommodation at Legacy Hotel or similar in Nazareth.
    • 02 night’s accommodation at Leonardo Art Hotel or similar in Tel Aviv.

    MEALS, WATER

    • Daily breakfast at the hotel/cruise.
    • Local Vegetarian lunches / Indian Vegetarian/ Non Vegetarian lunches
    • Local Vegetarian/ Non Vegetarian dinners / Indian Vegetarian/ Non Vegetarian dinners 
    • Two 500 ml water bottles per person per day.
    • Water during the meals.

    TIPS & PORATGE

    • Tips to Driver & Local Guide.
    • Porterage 1 Bag (20 kg) per person at Hotels & cruise

    TRANSFERS

    • All transfers will be conducted by a deluxe air-conditioned coach.
    • Shuttle bus for crossing the Allenby Bridge

    TOUR MANAGER

    • Services of a professional and experienced tour manager or a local representative throughout your tour.

    WHAT YOUR TOUR PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE

    • Cost of deviation

      - In case you wish to deviate from the group departure dates mentioned in the brochure i.e. either travel before the departure date of your tour or would like to come back on a later date after the tour ends, there will be an additional charge that will be applicable which will be advised to you by our sales team. The same is subject to availability of seats & class for the given dates & ticket validity. Kindly also note, the deviation request is to be made at the time of booking.
    • Cost of Transfer:

      The individual arrival & departure transfer in case you have opted for deviation or purchase on separate ticket & not traveling under group ticketing.
    • Cost of visas to travel on the tour

    • Medical/ Travel insurance.
    • Early Check in / Late Check out.
    • Any expenses of personal nature such as porter age, laundry, wines, mineral water, food and drink not in the regular menu provided by us, mini bar, telephone calls, pay channels etc.
    • Meals other than what is mentioned in your itinerary
    • Cost of excursions, city sightseeing, entrance fees and local guides availed of by the passengers, other than that mentioned in ‘What your tour price includes’
    • Group is operated subject to a minimum of 25 full paying guests travelling together.

    VISAS REQUIRED TO TRAVEL ON YOUR TOUR

    USA Citizens Single Entry Egypt & Double Entry Jordan Visa
    Green Card Holders Single Entry Egypt & Double Entry Jordan Visa
    Indian Nationals Single Entry Egypt & Double Entry Jordan Visa
    Cost of visas is NOT INCLUDED in your tour price

    IMPORTANT

    • Updating of Mileage is subject to Airlines terms & conditions in group fare.
    • We request the airlines for preferred seats however this is as per their policy and at their discretion.
    • Keeping in view of Luggage compartment of coach & Internal Flight regulations, we strongly recommend you to carry only medium size Bag of 20kg and 1 carryon bag of 5 kg per person.
    • The dates and granting of Visas is at the sole discretion of the concerned consulate. Air Tours is not responsible for granting of visas and are only a facilitator in the visa application process.

    Points to be noted

    • Any damages caused to the hotel rooms / coach during your stay, shall be payable by the passengers. Air Tours will not be liable for the same.
    • Air Tours shall not accept any liability or responsibility for any damages, loss, injury, accident, death, delay, breakdown or irregularity which may occur in carrying out of the tour arrangement.
    • Air Tours Management reserves the right to claim any additional expenses due to delay or changes in train, plane, bus, ship or other services, weather conditions, strikes, war, quarantine and any other cause whatsoever and all such loss or expenses must be borne by the passengers.
    • We reserve the right to amend, alter, vary or withdraw any particular departure, excursion advertised or substitute a hotel of similar class if deemed advisable or necessary.
    • For the convenience of our passengers, Air Tours will sometimes amend the itinerary; however all the other services will remain the same.
    • Air Tours will not be liable in any loss of baggage by the Airline.
    • The Tour Cost is combination of all the arrangement and hence cannot be calculated on individual service basis. Tour cost is one component and not calculated on individually.
    • Single Room Supplement charges will be applicable in case any of the guest cancel the reservations sharing room together.
    • Please refer to the booking form for detailed ‘Terms and Conditions’.

    MEDICAL INSURANCE:

    • It’s very important to find out BEFORE you leave whether your insurance will cover doctors’ and hospital visits in other countries. ALWAYS LOOK INTO THE ASPECTS OF COVERING YOUR TRIP FOR UNFORSEEN EVENTS.

    Insurance

    Travel Tips for Egypt

    Egypt is a country that is extremely mysterious and an architect’s delight. To this day it draws visitors who come here to see the awe inspiring pyramids which to this day remains a mystery. This country is not like the other “Foreign countries” and hence cannot expect to find the same trappings here. It is akin to the environs of India and one can see the same state of the roads and the poverty here too.

    REGISTRATION:

    When arriving in the hotels your passports may be requested for 24 hours. They will be returned promptly to you later. This registration is for your security only. The Egyptians treat their tourists as most precious, the hotels are well guarded (discretely), and you will find Egypt one of the safest countries in which to travel. Before the arrival at a new destination keep your passport handy, at least in your carry – on luggage, never in the suitcase or check – in luggage.

    CURRENCY:
    1 USD = Approx 16.18 Egyptian Pound

    The basic unit of money is the Egyptian pound (L.E), which is divided into 100 Piasters. You might bring to Egypt any reasonable amount of traveler’s checks and cash. The exchange rates are subject to change. You will have no need to use Egyptian money before your arrival at the hotel. You may exchange currency in the hotel during 24 hours a day. When you exchange money keep your receipts and keep your customs declaration (Form D) in order to change Egyptian currency back into dollars when leaving the country.

    INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT:

    Cairo is the only International Airport here.

    BUSINESS:

    Friday is the weekly holiday; most business is closed at least in the morning. The official hours for banks and commerce are from 10: 00 a.m to 6: 00 p.m. Many stores, especially in the tourist areas and hotels, are open all day and during evenings.

    CLIMATE:

    Egypt's climate is hot and dry most of the year. During the winter months - December, January and February - average daily temperatures stay up around 20°C on the Mediterranean coast and a pleasant 26°C in Aswan. Maximum temperatures get to 31°C and 50°C respectively. Winter nights only get down to 8°C , a very Egyptian version of chilly. Alexandria receives the most rain. While Aswan is almost bone-dry with just 2mm annually. Between March and April the khamsin blows in from the Western Desert.

    The best months to visit this country is starting Oct until March. The hottest month is Aug and it is rather hot starting from June onwards.

    CLOTHING:

    The word is cotton, and not even heavy blends with synthetics will do. Regular jeans are also worn. Wear closed, comfortable shoes for tours (sneakers, tennis shoes), but you might wear any kind of sandals, etc . Around the hotel area and in town. A very light hat and sunglasses are necessary for protection against the hot sun. Sun Block and Sun tan lotion is also a must.

    It Is important to remember that Egypt is an Islamic country, leave your shorts at home. Ladies should also choose dresses and blouses with some kind of sleeves and no “generous“openings around the neck . Improper clothing is perceived as a cultural insult. However , bring your swimsuit and cover – up to get to the swimming pool , as you will have to pass through the hotel .

    For the dinner hour we usually are a little more dressy than on the road , so , do not dress in tee-shirts and jogging outfits for dinner . Clean skirts and blouses are acceptable . The “galabeya” is the traditional Egyptian dress and is akin to a loose kaftan. Its easy to wear and is used during one of the themed evenings that you may have a chance of attending.

    TIME:

    • Egypt is 7 hrs ahead of Chicago.
    • Egypt is 6 hrs ahead of New York.
    • Egypt is 9 hrs ahead of Los Angeles.

    ELECTRICITY:

    • For your personal appliances you need an electrical converter and the European round – pronged plugs . The voltage is 220 v.

    TIPS:

    “ Baksheesh “ ( tips ) is the first Arabic word you have to learn . As salaries are very low in Egypt , “ baksheesh “ is a way of life . For your stay in a hotel room , leave one pound minimum a day .

    Tips must be given to the guides and the driver too. The little Egyptian children love stationary.

    Hence it would be handy for you to carry from here some pencils and ball point pens that you could give away at the various monuments during your sightseeing tours. However giving money to the little children is a complete NO.

    LANGUAGE:

    Arabic is the national language, though in the hotels and your guides are well versed in English.

    FOOD:

    The food is usually very good in the hotels ; however , stick with fruit and vegetables which can be peeled , if they were not cooked . Bring some crackers , nuts , and other snacks for the long tours .

    Soft drinks & water are no problem on the tours because there is always somewhere some “ Coca-Cola temple “ tea bags and some instant coffee, together with your water boiler are also very helpful in your hotel room.

    The typical tea available is called the “karkade” and is made from the karkade flower. It is pink in color and the dried petals are used to make the tea. The same has medicinal value and is drunk either hot or cold. Its great for balancing the blood pressure. One can buy the petals at the local markets by the kilo.

    SHOPPING and MUST BUYS:

    The most famous market here in Cairo is the Khan El Khalily Market and is open normally from 1000 hrs until 2100 hrs daily. The market is extremely crowded and hence it is recommended that one gets dropped here and later make your own way back to the hotel. One can find just about everything here, from the quaint antiques to camel leather seats, to precious stones and to the more popular spices, dry fruits and the karkade petals. This is also a good place to get the best rate for your Dollar, though of course they are unauthorized dealers selling the same to you. Pls remember that there is no guarantee for the authenticity of the currency being given to you. It’s a chance.

    One also must bring back Papyrus paintings of Nefretti or the scarab (the bug, which is a lucky charm). Semi precious stones of onyx, etc and Attar are very typical. Silver is quite famous here too and pendants signifying the key of life are quite nice to present and keep.

    Vases of Alabaster are typically found in Luxor but can be found in the Khalily market as well.

    There are several shops in Cairo that sell Leather goods. The shoes and boots particularly are very affordable and sturdy.

    Surprisingly the Egyptian Cotton garments that are so famous worldwide are not readily available in Egypt itself !

    GETTING AROUND:

    Upon arrival into Cairo, it is recommended for one to take the flight to Luxor or Aswan (depending on the cruise opted for) and board the cruise. Again from the last point one can fly back to Cairo.

    Cairo to Alexandria is done by road and takes around 3 hours.

    If one would like to do Hurghada (the resort by the Red Sea) you need to drive in the convoy from Luxor.

    Hurghada to Cairo is by flight.

    One can visit Sharm El Shaikh from Cairo or any of the other points by flight only.

    The other option is by train, ie Cairo to Luxor or Aswan or vv. One can choose from a 1st class or a 2nd class sleeper option as the trains are all overnight ones.

    IMPORTANT POINTS REGARDING THE CRUISES:

    There is also no concept of inside cabins here. All the cabins have windows facing the river. The check in time is normally before lunch at 1200 hrs.

    During lunch and dinner time, all tables are numbered and each family / cabin is allotted one particular table number that is yours till the end of the cruise. Indian Food is not available on board, however vegetarian food can be made available.

    The pool on the deck is small and varies from cruise to cruise. Invariably one of the evenings hosts a themed night called the “galabeya” night where all the guests must come dressed in the traditional galabeya.

    The cruise sets sail during the nights and docks during the day and hence all the sightseeing is done during the day post breakfast so that you are back by lunchtime and can relax for the rest of the day on board.

    CLIMATE CHART FOR EGYPT:

    CAIRO:                        
    TEMP: JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
    MAX IN C: 18 21 24 28 33 35 36 35 20 18 14 10
    MIN IN C: 8 9 11 14 17 20 21 22 20 18 14 10

    Travel Tips for Jordan

    Jordan isn't just a friendly cup of tea with the locals, though. It's also home to two of the most spectacular sights in the Middle East. Petra, the ancient city of the Nabateans, may be overrun with snap-happy day-trippers, but that doesn't change the fact that it's one of the world's most atmospheric ruins. For a slightly more contemplative experience, the startling desert scenery of Wadi Rum enraptured Lawrence of Arabia and has caused more than one traveller to don a kaffiyeh and gaze defiantly into the middle distance.

    CLIMATE:

    Hot and dry summers with cool evenings. The Jordan Valley below sea level is warm during winter and extremely hot in summer. Rain falls between November and March, while colder weather conditions occur in December/January.

    The best time to visit Jordan is in spring or autumn, when you can dodge the baking sun of summer and the freezing winds of winter. Although winter can be bitterly cold in most of the country, the Red Sea area and Aqaba are still very pleasant.

    Required clothing: Lightweight cottons and linens are advised between May and September. Warmer clothes are necessary for winter and cool summer evenings. Rainwear is needed from November to April.

    REQUIRED CLOTHING:

    Lightweight cottons and linens are advised between May and September. Warmer clothes are necessary for winter and cool summer evenings. Rainwear is needed from November to April.

    TIME:

    • Jordan is 8 hours ahead of Chicago.
    • Jordan is 7 hours ahead of New York.
    • Jordan is 10 hours ahead of Los Angeles.

    CURRENCY:
    1 USD = 0.70 Jordanian Dinar

    Dinar (JOD) = 100 piaters or 1000 fils. Notes are in denominations of JOD50, 20, 10, 5 and 1, and 500 fils. Coins are in denominations of 1JOD, 500, 250, 100, 50, 25, 10 and 5 fils.

    Foreign currencies can be exchanged easily in banks and bureaux de change. Most hotels also provide exchange facilities. The daily exchange rates are published in local newspapers.

    American Express, Visa, Diners Club and MasterCard are accepted in hotels restaurants and larger shops. There are some ATMs but only some accept foreign cards.

    The import and export of local or foreign currency is unrestricted.

    Banking Hours: Sat-Thurs 0830-1500. Hours during Ramadan are 0830-1000, although some banks open in the afternoon

    LANGUAGE:

    Arabic is the official language. English is widely spoken in the cities. French, German, Italian and Spanish are also spoken.

    ELECTRICITY:

    220 volts AC, 50Hz. Round two-pin plugs are used. Lamp sockets are screw-type, and there is a wide range of wall sockets

    EVENTS:

    Jordanian holidays and festivals are mostly Islamic. The big one is Ramadan, a month where everyone fasts between sunup and sunset to conform to the fourth pillar of Islam. Ramadan ends with a huge feast, Eid al-Fitr, where everyone prays together, visits friends, gives presents and stuffs themselves. Eid al-Adah, held around February, is the other big feast of the year, and marks the time when Muslims should make the pilgrimage to Mecca. Non-religious holidays include Independence Day, on 25 May.

    GETTING THERE:

    BY AIR: The national airline is Royal Jordanian Airlines (RJ) There are flights to 50 destinations in the Middle East, Europe, North America, the Far East and Asia.

    International airports: Queen Alia International (AMM) is 35km (22 miles) southeast of the capital - Amman, to which it is connected by a good highway (travel time – approximately 40 minutes). There is a regular bus service to Amman every 30 minutes (travel time – approximately 50 minutes), and taxis are also available. Facilities include duty free shops, bank/bureau de change, eating and shopping facilities, and car hire (Avis and Hertz).

    Departure tax: Departure Tax will be applicable.

    BY SEA: The only port is Aqaba, which is on the cruise itineraries for Cunard, P&O and Swan Hellenic. Car and passenger ferries from Aqaba to Cairo and Aqaba to Nuweiba operate twice-daily and there is also a high-speed hydrofoil service. There is a weekly passenger service to Suez and Jeddah.

    Departure tax: Approx JD 6.00 for individual tourists.

    BY RAIL: The Hijaz Railway operates on the old Ottoman track between Amman and Damascus (Syrian Arab Republic).

    GETTING AROUND:

    AIR: Royal Wings operates regular flights from Amman to Aqaba. It is also possible to hire executive jets and helicopters.

    ROAD: Main roads are good (there are nearly 3000km (1900 miles) of paved roads in the country), but desert tracks should be avoided. It is important to make sure that the vehicle is in good repair if travelling on minor roads or tracks. Take plenty of water and follow local advice carefully. In case of breakdown, contact the Automobile Association. Traffic drives on the right. There are frequent passport controls along the Red Sea and travellers are advised to have their papers ready.

    Bus: Services are efficient & cheap. Alpha, JETT & Petra all operate modern, airconditioned fleets.

    Taxi: Share-taxi service to all towns on fixed routes is also available for private hire. Share-taxis to Petra should be booked in advance owing to demand.

    Car hire: Avis & four national companies operate services in the main towns, including Amman and Aqaba, available also from hotels and travel agents. Drivers are available for the day. Documentation: National driving licences are accepted if they have been issued at least one year before travel. However, an International Driving Permit is recommended. Visitors are not allowed to drive a vehicle with normal Jordanian plates unless they have a Jordanian driving licence.

    Note: When using routes which go near the Israeli border, the traveller should always have all papers in order & within reach.

    URBAN: There are conventional buses and extensive fixed-route ‘Servis’ (share-taxis, most seating up to seven) in Amman. The ‘Servis’ are licensed, with a standard fare scale, but there are no fixed pick-up or set-down points. Vehicles often fill up at central or outer terminal points and then run non-stop.

    TIPPING:

    Hotels and restaurants usually add a service charge of 10% to 12%, with extra tips being discretionary. Tips for porters and drivers should be approximately 8%.

    Travel Tips for Israel

    INTRODUCTION:

    A land with more than its fair share of trouble and strife, Israel is a country that conjures up strong opinions, emotions and preconceptions. You would be hard-pushed to find anyone who doesn't have some thoughts about a land so deeply etched in our consciousness, whatever their religious or political persuasions. But cast your preconceptions aside, as this is a land of amazing diversity and beauty.

    The home of Christianity, Judaism and Islam, the country has a fascinating mix of architecture and artefacts from all three religions as well as numerous Roman remains to satisfy the most dedicated historian. Visiting Jerusalem it's hard not to be impressed by the Western Wall (often known in the West as the Wailing Wall), the magnificent Church of the Holy Sepulchre, believed to be Christ's burial ground, or the site of Mohammed's ascent, the Dome of the Rock. For many wishing to visit biblical sites, the Sea of Galilee is the highlight of their visit, home as it is to many of the important events of Jesus' life.

    But there is more to Israel than just religious and historical monuments. Many people visit the country for its fantastic beaches and excellent weather in resorts such as Eilat on the Red Sea or its Mediterranean coast. For those who like to float without needing to tread water, the Dead Sea is a haven for relaxation and health cures, its mineral rich waters full of skin-beautifying properties.

    For a more modern take on Israel, Tel Aviv is a bustling, cosmopolitan metropolis, its glitzy stores and sophisticated populace miles away from the little towns you'll pass in the countryside, where life still continues much as it has for centuries.

    DOS AND DON'TS:

    • Tipping is standard in restaurants (10-15 per cent). Customers should add a tip to the bill if it's not already added automatically - check your bill first. It is customary to tip hotel personnel, guides and drivers. Tipping taxis is not mandatory - locals usually don't - visitors are free to do so. Taxi drivers must have their meter running to determine the actual fare and it is illegal for them to set fares otherwise.
    • Israelis are very informal about sharing the details of their lives and may expect you to do the same. So don't be offended when your cab driver asks you how much your house is worth or how much you earn, just don't feel obliged to answer! Best to make a joke of it and then before you know it he'll have moved on to finding a match for your daughter.
    • Don't be put off by security guards sitting at the entrances of large public places such as shopping malls and restaurants. This is quite normal; you will be asked to show your bags and men may be asked if they are carrying weapons. You will be surprised as to how quickly you stop noticing them.
    • In Ultra Orthodox Jewish neighbourhoods and Jewish or Muslim religious sites (mostly in Jerusalem) you may find signs requesting modest dress (arms and legs covered). It's worth packing a long skirt or trousers in order to get a close up view of how these communities live without offending anyone.
    • Israel has some of the toughest anti-smoking laws laws for public places and all restaurants with over 20 seats are obliged to have the majority of seats non-smoking. This is particularly true on Shabbat (Saturday), when it is considered disrespectful to smoke. Do not attempt to smoke in public places unless you are sure it is permitted.

    SHOPPING:

    If the Bible is the ultimate guidebook to Israel then you can expect its souvenirs and products to reflect this. Perhaps bottles of holy water from the River Jordan or cans of holy land air may be a bit much for you but how about taking home some fresh dried hyssop (an ancient biblical herb) plus a recipe book to teach you how to use it in your everyday cooking? Or how about a ceramic menorah (seven branched Jewish candelabra), which would look at home on the most chic coffee table? Modern Israel's strength of mixing the ancient with the modern is also found in its shops, so be prepared to get your credit card out.

    WHAT TO BUY:

    Religious Artefacts
    Israel is the place to buy religious souvenirs. Shop in the markets of the old cities of Jerusalem, Zefat, Jaffa and Acre for sheer quantity of traditional styles and materials. Visit the art shops and cooperatives of Nachalat Shiva in Jerusalem and Nachalat Binyamin in Tel Aviv for more modern and innovative interpretations of traditional religious artefacts. Whether you're looking for silver Judaica or hand-made dreidels (spinning tops), olive wood-carved crucifixes and nativity scenes or ornately decorated bibles, masbacha prayer beads or a kafiya and akal set, you won't be disappointed.

    Look out for the hamsa hand on regular souvenirs such as key rings and pens. The hamsa is an ancient and popular amulet for magical protection from the evil eye. Also popular are blessings for your house, office, car or practically anything you can imagine. You name it, you'll find a wall hanging that will bless it, and these can usually be personalised too.

    Arts and Crafts
    There are many opportunities to buy artwork - Tel Aviv and Old Jaffa in particular have a large number of art galleries. Shop in the markets for good deals on oriental rugs, Armenian ceramics, embroidery and needlework and other arts and crafts.

    Clothing and Jewellery
    Israel is famous for its exclusive lines of bathing suits (Gottex, Gideon Oberson), and they're often available at bargain prices. Other luxury clothing worth shopping for includes furs and leather coats. Complement these purchases with silver jewellery or diamonds.

    Dead Sea Products
    Skin-care products made from mineral-rich Dead Sea mud are also excellent souvenirs. Take home a mud mask or maybe some body oils to extend that relaxed holiday feeling.

    OPENING HOURS:

    Most stores are open Sun-Thurs, 09h30-19h00 (some may close between 13h00-16h00) and in Jewish areas, Fri, 08h00-14h00. Shops in Muslim areas are open Sat-Thurs and close on Friday. Shops in Jewish towns are closed on Saturday, but you can find some shopping malls and outdoor markets open along the country's highways. Christian shops are closed on Sundays.

    TAX REFUND:

    Visitors buying goods worth USD50 or more at a Ministry of Tourism approved shop (there are many) are entitled to a discount of at least five per cent on the purchase price plus a refund of VAT (currently 17 per cent) at the port of departure. In order to qualify you must be a foreign passport holder who is not an Israeli citizen, and you must make your purchases in foreign currency (cash or international credit card). 'Cashback' on purchased items can be claimed from the Customs Office at the airport.

    FOOD:

    The main point of debate among food writers about Israeli cuisine is whether there is one or not. We recommend ignoring the talk and diving straight into the tasting, and there's plenty of that to do.

    The enormous variety that is Israeli cuisine reflects the society: Israel's food has been greatly influenced by immigrants from more than 80 countries - from Morocco to Hungary, Ethiopia to Argentina. Add to that inspiration from its Middle Eastern and Mediterranean neighbours and the Far East destinations visited by many Israeli backpackers and you have a veritable culinary melting pot.

    Luckily, eating is Israel's national past time. Cafés and restaurants often stay open into the early hours of the morning (especially on Thursday night); no national holiday is celebrated without a special food and the buffets served at family celebrations are legendary.

    Israel's food has also been influenced by Jewish and Islamic dietary requirements. Jewish (or kosher ) dietary requirements are that meat and diary products are not served during the same meal - this makes it relatively easy for vegetarians to find places to eat out because many restaurants are dairy-only. In addition, consumption of meat from certain animals and seafood is also forbidden. Note that although kosher food is predominant in Israel's hotels, many restaurants are not kosher.

    SPECIALITIES:

    Start your romance with Israel food with the most important meal of the day - breakfast . Israeli breakfasts are infamous and you do not need to be staying at a top hotel to have the best. Choose from a table groaning under the weight of homemade cheeses, yoghurts, cereals, breads, vegetable and fruit platters and salads, omelettes - the list is endless. Traditionally a dairy meal, the lack of meat is soon forgotten after you've gone back for your third serving.

    Many of Israel's restaurants offer international cuisines such as Thai, Italian, Chinese and so on, however even when the food is not indigenous to Israel more often than not the dishes are still made from home-grown produce with native ingredients introduced in house specialities. Halva parfait served as dessert at a steakhouse, aubergine salad and locally-caught fish at the sushi bar are just a couple of examples.

    This approach corresponds with the new wave of Israeli cuisine, labelled "Med-rim" by food writers. This describes the recent trend among Israeli chefs to exchange the flavours of the Diaspora for a return to the tastes, recipes, herbs, oils and spices native to Israel. The result is a mix of flavours and ingredients with local roots. For a real insight into original local food have a meal at the "1st-century" Roman restaurant in Jerusalem, Cardo Culinaria, which serves only food of that era, before tomatoes, potatoes and sugar were known in the region.

    Of course you don't have to eat in a restaurant to eat well in Israel and you'd be mad not to taste the Israel's Middle East version of fast food. Try some falafel (a sandwich of fried chickpeas and herbs, served with salad in pitta bread) and shwarma (pitta wrapped around thin slices of grilled meat) both served with houmous of course. Take-away mangal, (barbecued meat) means grilled skewers of lamb, poultry and a variety of offal including foie gras over large, flat, freshly baked Iraqi pittas. Some of the best places to find these foods are the streets around Machane Yehuda market in Jerusalem and the Tikva Quarter of South Tel Aviv.

    Eat out at a fish restaurant at one of Israel's coastal resorts or around the Sea of Galilee. As well as St. Peter's fish, Israel's only native fish, freshwater fish such as salmon and trout are also on offer, the results of Israel's pioneering in artificial pool harvesting of fresh water fish. A variety of saltwater fish such as red mullet, sea bass, and grouper are available fresh from the Mediterranean. Fresh fish is typically served grilled whole with lemon and garlic.

    Israel's dessert speciality is often a refreshing platter of fresh fruit according to season - chilled watermelon served with salty feta cheese is particularly fashionable during the hot summer months. Any sweet tooth will be easily satisfied by some baklava, the extremely sweet squares of honeyed filo dough filled with pistachios and almonds or halva, a sweetmeat consisting of crushed sesame seeds bound with honey.

    Mezze:
    Meals in Israel often begin with an array of small, appetiser-like dishes, shared family-style. All of these are accompanied by a number of spicy condiments including zhoug, an extremely hot relish of chilli paste, parsley and coriander. Arguably a meal in their own right, mezze are an ideal way to taste a wide variety of dishes and flavours.

    Typical mezze will always include:

    Houmous: A blend of chickpeas, sesame-seed paste, lemon juice and olive oil plus hot pitta to dip into the various spreads. Houmous is only improved upon with a topping of foul (pronounced fool), a slow-cooked stew of dried fava beans.

    Tahini: Savoury sesame seed paste.

    Tabbouleh: A salad of cracked wheat, vegetables and herbs.

    Kibbeh: Lamb and cracked wheat patties; and

    Moroccan cigars: Deep fried filo sheets stuffed with a mixture of minced lamb, onion, parsley, cumin and cinnamon.

    Drink
    Although not a nation known for its drink, Israel produces excellent wine to accompany any meal ranging from light white to dry red and sweet rosé. There are more than 21 wineries in Israel, most located in the Carmel, Golan and Galilee regions. Many are open to the public, including the Rishon-le-Zion, Katzrin (Gamla) and Zichron Yaacov wineries.

    Local brand beers Macabbi and Goldstar Beer are sold alongside a full range of European and other international beers. There is also a good choice of local brandies and liqueurs.

    Liqueurs include Hard Nut (a walnut concoction of Eliaz winery), Sabra (chocolate and orange) and Arak (an anise drink).

    CURRENCY:
    1 USD = Approx 3.54 Israeli New Shekel

    Currency: Israeli New Shekel (IS). IS1 = 100 agorot
    Notes: IS200, 100, 50, and 20
    Coins: IS10, 5 and 50, 10 agorot

    Credit cards: Major credit cards are all widely accepted.

    EXCHANGE

    You can exchange foreign currency at banks, hotels, and bureaux de change. Most major currencies are accepted, but US Dollars are usually preferred. Traveller's cheques are also easy to exchange.

    Banks are generally open Mon, Tues, Thur and Sun 08h30-12h30 and 16h00-17h30; Wed 08h30-12h30; Fri 08h30 - noon. ATM's are also abundant, and most will take foreign-issued credit cards. You will be charged per transaction however.

    COSTS:

    Below are approximate costs for the following items:

    Glass of beer IS12
    Bottle of wine (supermarket) IS22+
    Litre of petrol IS46
    Bottle of mineral water IS6
    Can of coke IS5
    Taxi from airport to Jerusalem IS140
    Packet of cigarettes IS17

    SERVICE CHARGES:

    Hotels and restaurants almost always add an automatic 12% service charge to your bill and if they don't, this is generally what you would be expected to add as a tip. You should give porters around IS2 for each piece of luggage and though cab drivers do not necessarily expect a tip, they will obviously appreciate a bit extra - just rounding up the fare will suffice.

    VACCINATIONS:

    No vaccination certificates are required to enter Israel unless arriving from areas of known infection. Tetanus and hepatitis A inoculations are recommended for those visitors planning to travel outside of the cities.

    HEALTH CONCERNS:

    The water is considered safe to drink in most parts of Israel, but is highly chlorinated, so many travellers prefer to drink bottled water, which is widely available. In very rural areas, it is best to stick to bottled water, as the water supply cannot be totally relied upon for sanitation.

    In general, Israel has a high standard of medical facilities and tourists may go to all emergency departments and first-aid centres. It is highly recommended to take out adequate travel insurance to cover the costs of any medical treatment you may need whilst away as well as repatriation in the event of an emergency.

    Health centres are marked by a red Star of David on a white background.

    PERSONAL SAFETY:

    Due to recent terrorist activities, visitors should contact their Foreign Office for up-to-date information on safety within Israel before travelling.

    As a general guide, in the current situation, visitors should avoid the West Bank and Gaza regions unless visiting tourist destinations by daylight. Travel after dark is not recommended in any region. Avoid the old city of Jerusalem in particular at night, and remain cautious at religious sites on holy days, Fridays and Saturdays.

    The most recent terrorist actions have taken place in highly frequented shopping and pedestrian areas and on public buses, so these should be avoided as far as possible.

    Visitors should take care to respect local cultures and to dress modestly.

    Basic precautions against petty crime should be taken, though theft is not a major problem in Israel. Be careful with valuables, however, and try to avoid carrying large amounts of cash or other valuables on your person. Leave most valuables in your hotel safe and keep an eye on your bags and money at all times.

    PHRASEBOOK:

    Although a wide variety of languages are spoken in Israel and English is widely understood, the official language is Hebrew. Most people in hotels, shops, restaurants and public offices will be Hebrew speakers, except in Arab areas, where Arabic is the language of choice.

    English Hebrew pronounced as..
    Hello Shalom
    Good Morning  Boker tov
    Good Evening  Erev tov
    Goodbye  Shalom
    How do you get to? Eich magi'im le?
    Excuse me Sleecha
    How much does this cost?  Kama ze ole?
    Thank you Toda
    Please  Bevakasha
    All Right/OK  Beseder
    Bill  Cheschbon
    Why? Lama?
    Where? Eyfo?
    What?  Ma?
    I do not understand      Ani lo mevin
    How are you? Ma nishma?
    Money Kesef
    Yes Ken
    No Lo

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    Information

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