Traveling to Jordan from Israel

Your trip to the Holy Land can include a short tour to neighboring Jordan. Israel and Jordan have friendly relations, and the two countries share a border and three border crossings - Jordan-King Hussein Bridge Allenby Crossing (closest to Jerusalem and Amman); Jordan River Sheikh Hussein Crossing (near Beit Shean), and the Wadi Arava Rabin Crossing in Eilat (the closest crossing to Petra). Some nationalities can get a visa at the border, while others need to prearrange their visa with the Jordanian Embassy.

The top attraction in Jordan is the ancient city of Petra. This stunning archaeological site encompasses a desert city created by the Nabataean people over 2,000-years ago. The ingenious Nabataeans carved Petra out of red-hued rock cliffs. Merchant caravans stopped in Petra, along the ancient trade route through Arabia.

The easiest way of traveling to Jordan from Israel is with a group tour. There are day trips from Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Eilat in Israel to Petra. Longer package tours from Israel to Jordan can include a visit to the Jordanian capital Amman; Jordan’s Red Sea port, Aqaba; the archaeological sites of Jerash, and the mosaics of Madaba. Among the popular things to do in Jordan, is a safari adventure in the rugged desert canyons of Wadi Rum.

Wadi Araba Border Crossing

When visitors come to Israel, depending on how much time they have they often want to combine their stay in the Holy Land with a trip to one of its neighbouring countries - Egypt or Jordan. And whilst Egypt has the lure of diving spots, it’s Jordan that most tourists head to, for a chance to see the magnificent lost city of Petra, nestled in the desert.Tourists on a day tour in Petra, Jordan. Photo credit:© istockphotoTravelling in Israel and BeyondIndeed, in the last ten years, there has been an explosion of interest in tours to Petra - it’s an archaeological/historical/geological/engineering wonder, that’s for sure, and with it being reasonably close to Israel, there’s no reason not to take a couple of days to travel there and experience one of the seven new Wonders of the World. Travelling to Jordan OverlandIsrael has three border crossings with Jordan - in the north, the centre and the south of the country. Most tourists opt for the third one, at the edge of the city of Eilat. It is known as the Wadi Araba or the Yitzhak Rabin border crossing. In this article, we're going to take you through the entire process - travelling from Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, down to Eilat, located on the Red Sea. Then, from Eilat to the actual border crossing, we’ll go through the hows, wheres and whys - what time the border opens, what time the border closes, how much a visa for Jordan will cost you and how to continue onto Petra, Wadi Rum or Amman, once you reach the other side! OK. Are you ready to find out more?A jeep tour in Wadi Rum Desert, Jordan. Photo credit: © istockphotoHow do I get to the border with Jordan from central Israel?Travelling from Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and other parts of the country is not too difficult, since Israel is a small country with well-developed infrastructure. Essentially, there are three ways - public transport (in the form of an Egged bus), rental car (easily available) or a short flight from Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv to the Ilan Ramon, which is 15km from Eilat.Egged is the national bus company of Israel (its green buses are a familiar sight, all over Israel) and they run to Eilat regularly from the big cities. Getting from Tel Aviv to Eilat or from Jerusalem to Eilatwill take around 5 hours and a one-way ticket will cost you around 70 NIS. Buses leave every 2 hours and begin running at 6 am.Eilat is approximately 397 km from Tel Aviv, and 352 km from Jerusalem so, if you don’t hit traffic or stop for coffee, you could technically arrive in 4 hours. There are a number of car rental companies you can turn to - Budget, Shlomo Sixt, Hertz and Eldan included - and prices can be quite competitive, especially if you shop around on the internet.Flying from Ben Gurion to Ilan Ramon airport is your fastest option - it’s a quick and painless 55 minutes in the air and you only have to be at Ben Gurion an hour before departure. Both Arkia and Israir offer regular domestic flights which can start from 150 NIS one way (approx. $46).Al-Khazneh, the Treasury temple at night, Petra, Jordan.Photo credit: © istockphotoHow do I get from the Ilan Ramon airport to the Wadi Araba border crossing?You’ll land in Eilat’s new airport, Ilan Ramon, which is a state-of-the-art facility that opened recently. Located just 15 km north of Eilat, it will take you about 20 minutes to travel from the airport to the city centre. You can journey there either by private taxi (which you can find at a stand outside the building), order anairport transfer beforehand (best done by using a reputable Israeli tour operator like ourselves) or use public transportation in Israel. If you’re taking a taxi, you can ask the driver to drive you straight to the border. You should expect to pay anywhere between 130-150 NIS (40-47 USD) for the entire journey (feel free to bargain) and the journey should take around 20 minutes. Ordering a private car will cost more - anywhere from 200-300 NIS (62-95 USD).If you’re taking public transport, you can use numbers 30, 31, 32 and 50, which all stop at the Eilat Central Station. These public buses run every 20 minutes from the airport to the city. Once you’re in Eilat, you can then pick up their hourly bus in the direction of the border crossing. The only ‘problem’ is that it will drop you around 1.5 km from the border. This means if you have a lot of luggage or are travelling in high season (when it’s very hot) it might not be a good option.However, the cost of using public buses means that you will be able to travel all the way from the Ilan Ramon airport to the Araba/Rabin crossing for less than 10 NIS/ 3 USD (which is very reasonable, in price terms). If you’ve come in a rental car, the good news is there’s a large parking area close to the border where you can leave your car for free (it is forbidden to take an Israeli car into Jordan).Wadi Araba/Yitzhak Rabin border crossing, Israel.Photo credit: © istockphotoIs the Wadi Araba/Yitzhak Rabin border crossing currently open?As we all know, Covid restrictions are changing constantly. At the height of the pandemic, this border was sometimes closed entirely and at other times working on limited opening hours (09.00 to 13.00). But the good news is that, yes, as this goes to publication, the Wadi Araba/Yitzhak Rabin border is currently open for tourists. At present, these are the guidelines you need to follow, in terms of the Corona situation:1. You will need to show proof of a negative PCR test that you have taken no more than 72 hours before crossing the border. The test needs to be carried out by a recognised institution - home tests are not acceptable. There are many clinics and shopping malls across Israel at which you can take this test.2. You must present then a confirmation of entry form to Jordan - of course, it can be filled in online.3. When you arrive at the Jordanian side of the border, you will be asked to take another PCR test. You will have to pay for the cost of this test.Whilst things seem to be moving in a forward direction, vis a vis the pandemic, to save you major time, energy, cost and frustration, we strongly advise that you check with the Israeli authorities before you set off for the border.Camels in Petra.Photo credit: © istockphotoWhat are the operating hours for the Araba/Rabin border crossing?Regular working hours at Israel’s southern border with Jordan are: Sunday to Thursday 06.30 - 20.00; Friday and Saturday 08.00 to 20.00. Please note that the border crossing is closed on two of the major Jewish holidays, Rosh Hashanah (the New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). Additionally, when political tensions arise between Israel and its neighbours, the border may be closed at short notice. If you’re planning on travelling to Jordan from Israel during an ‘outbreak of conflict’ then keep up-to-date with the local news.Is it possible to buy a visa on arrival at the Araba/Rabin border crossing?The good news is that, for the majority of people, it is very easy to purchase a visa for Jordan on arrival at the border. This can be paid for either with cash or a credit card (see below). Woman in the dunes of Wadi Rum, Jordan. Photo byKaram HamadnehonUnsplashWhat are the facilities like at the Araba/Rabin border?The facilities at this crossing are very modern! As mentioned before, there is a free parking lot close by, vending machines (for buying drinks and snacks), a currency exchange stand and a decent Duty-Free section, stocked with perfumes, alcohol and chocolate. The Araba/Rabin border crossing is also accessible for disabled people. At the car parking lot, there are spaces reserved for those with disabilities. Additionally, the Yitzhak Rabin terminal has passages that have been widened so that wheelchairs can be pushed through with ease. (Wheelchair use is free of charge).There should also be luggage porters there, if you need help.How much will a Jordan visa cost me?At the time of writing this, a visa to enter Jordan will cost you 40 JOD (which is approximately $56) a double-entry visa will set you back 60 JD ($85.00 USD) and if you, by chance, need a multiple-entry visa, expect to pay 120 JD ($170). A bridge in Eilat. Photo credit: © istockphotoWhat happens once I’ve left the Israel side and arrived in Jordan?Once you’ve arrived at the Jordanian side, you will have to show proof of your Corona test from Israel and then a subsequent PCR test, carried out by the Jordanian officials. You will then need to purchase your visa (see above). Once you have a visa, and all your Corona work has been deemed to be in order, you will pass through to the exit terminal. If you are travelling with a group, this will be where you rejoin your guide/bus.If you are travelling independently, you are going to find yourself at the mercy of a ‘taxi cartel’ that operates between the border and Aqaba. It is only a 12-minute journey but there is no public transport, so you really have no other option than to pay the set fee of a taxi.This can be anywhere between 10-12 JOD. Simply tell the taxi driver to take you to the bus station in Aqaba, you can then find monit sheruts (ten person vans) that operate regularly, and will take you on to Petra or Amman. The Jordanian flag.Photo byYazan obeidatonUnsplashCan I take a Guided Tour to Petra?Yes, you can, and this is something we’d recommend for many reasons. If you take a group tour to Petra, there are many things you won’t have to deal with - visa and language issues, haggling for a taxi to take you from the border to Aqaba, finding transport onto Petra, looking for accommodation and - of course - queuing up for your entrance tickets (in high seasons, the lines can be very long).You’ll also have the services of an experienced guide - someone who speaks fluent English (or perhaps even French, German or Spanish) but knows Arabic too, which is really helpful. He or she will know all the ins and outs of your trip, how to make things go smoothly from start to finish and of course, will always be there in the event that a problem arises.If you book one of Bein Harim’s guided tours to Petra and Jordan from Eilat, a bus will pick you up from central Eilat and take you directly to the crossing. Once there, you will be met by one of our representatives, who will assist you in dealing with the practicalities of crossing. It is a quick and painless way of dealing with the international border, and many people who have taken our trips say that it’s one of the best things about travelling with a guide - knowing that any potential difficulties will be taken care of.Having said that, it is possible to travel to Petra independently - just be aware that you may encounter some hassles along the way, in terms of bargaining for transport, from the border to Aqaba and then onto Petra itself. It will also require more time, of course.A hotel in Wadi Rum, Jordan.Photo byNikolay HristovonUnsplashCan I cross back from Aqaba to Eilat?Absolutely. The border crossing works both ways - just take a taxi from Aqaba to the border and, once there, present your passport to the Jordanian authorities. Depending on how many days you have spent in Jordan, you will be asked to pay an exit tax of 10 Jordanian dinars. However, if you have both arrived and are departing from this crossing, and you have stayed more than 3 nights, this tax will be waived. In terms of Corona paperwork, you will need to:1. Present a confirmation of entry form to Israel:2. Show proof of a negative PCR test to the Israeli authorities. This needs to have been taken not more than 72 hours before entry to Israel & to Jordan and, as with above (crossing into Jordan) cannot be a home test.3. Take a PCR test at the Israeli border, before being granted permission to travel on into Israel.Now all that remains is to wish you a good journey!Boat in the Red Sea, Eilat.Photo credit: © istockphoto
By Sarah Mann

Israel and Jordan Borders

Israel is a country with an enormous amount to see and do, and many tourists find that a week or two isn’t enough to do it justice. However, if you have the time and inlincation, we’d highly recommend a trip across the Israel-Jordan border, where you can visit Amman, the Wadi Rum desert and, of course, the magnificent ‘lost city’ of Petra. Built by the Nabateans in 312 BCE (making it one of the oldest cities in the world), it’s a fantastic attraction which few who see it ever forget.Israel-Jordan Yitzhak Rabin/Araba Border Crossing.Photo credit: © Sarah MannBelow, let’s take a look at the three border crossings between Israel and Jordan, along with plenty of practical information and helpful hints. If you’re thinking of crossing the border, hopefully, this short guide will enlighten you and make your journey relatively smooth and hassle-free...There are three border crossings between Jordan and Israel.1. Jordan River / Sheikh Hussein / Beit Shean Crossing (North)Located in the north of Israel, relatively close to the Sea of Galilee (in the Jordan Valley), this is perhaps the quietest of the three crossings. The Jordan River border crossing operates every day of the year, save for Yom Kippur (the Jewish Day of Atonement) and Eid al-Hijra (the Muslim New Year). On religious holidays, hours are subject to change - you can check this on the Israel Airports Authority (IAA) or call them at (972) 03 972-3333. For almost every nationality, it is possible to acquire a visa at this crossing (prior permission is not necessary). Due to the Covid pandemic, this border is currently closed. Normal Operating Hours: Sunday - Thursday: 06:30 - 22:00. Friday - Saturday: 09.00 - 20.00. For further information, click here.Roman Theatre, Amman, Jordan. Photo credit: © ShutterstockTravelling to the Sheikh Hussein CrossingPublic transport:Superbus - the number 16 bus runs from Beit Shean and only costs 6 NIS (2 USD) but, unfortunately, does not go all the way to the crossing - it will drop you 1km away and you will either have to walk or take a taxi the remaining distance. Superbus can be reached at 1-700 700 181.Nazarene Tours - Nazarene tours run coaches several times a week, beginning in Nazareth early in the morning and arriving in Amman around 2 pm. The approximate cost is 90 NIS (28 USD) one way. For a detailed timetable, click here.Egged -Egged buses run to Beit Shean both from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and the journey, in both cases, takes approximately 2 hours and costs around 50 NIS (16 USD).Taxi:A private taxi from Beit Shean to the border (approx. 5 km) will take about 15 minutes. For the exact cost, call Oren taxis at (972) 52 912-9606.Private Vehicle:It is not always possible to enter Jordan with your vehicle - we would recommend parking at the lot next to the terminal (a fee is payable).Our advice: unless you have a good reason to cross here on your own, it might be easier to use one of the other two crossings (see below) since it is probably the least convenient and most costly way to travel between Israel and Jordan.Temple of Hercules in Amman, Jordan.Photo credit: © ShutterstockCrossingIsrael-Jordan Border overSheikh Husseinand Heading to AmmanOnce you have passed through the Israeli side and paid your exit fee (107 NIS, or 34 USD) you will need to take a shuttle bus (compulsory) a few hundred metres to the Jordanian side. The cost of this bus is 2 USD.When you exit the terminal, you will notice that you are more or less standing in the middle of nowhere and there is no public transport whatsoever on the Jordanian side. Once you’ve come to grips with this, you have two options for getting to Amman. A taxi to the city of Irbid will cost about 20 JD, and from there, you can take a bus to Amman. Alternatively, a taxi directly to Amman may take less time, but it could get pricey since the driver will also realize that. Whilst you are, at some level, a hostage to the taxi drivers there, don’t panic! A certain amount of negotiation is expected and it is in everyone’s interests that you take the cab, so don’t be afraid to bargain. A taxi to Irbid should cost around 20 Jordanian dinars ($30) and take an hour. To Amman, you should pay double, i.e. 40 JOD or $60 and it should take two hours.Crossing Israel-Jordan Border over Sheikh Hussein with a Tour GuideAfter paying your Israeli border tax, and crossing through passport control, take the shuttle (see above) to the Jordanian side. Please note: your passport must have at least 6 months duration remaining. Any VAT tax refund for goods purchased in Israel must be claimed in the Israeli terminal. Any individual with dual Israeli nationality must cross the border using their Israeli passport. At the Jordanian end, your English-speaking guide will be waiting for you, to give you any help you need. You will then be able to purchase your visa (approx 40 Jordanian dinars or 60 USD). There is a money exchange on site.Amman, Jordan. Photo by Stefanos Orovas on Unsplash2. Yitzhak Rabin / Wadi Araba Crossing (South)Located in the far south of Israel, 325 km from Amman, theWadi Araba border crossing sits on the Red Sea and connects the two resort towns of Eilat and Aqaba. Normal Operating Hours: Sunday - Thursday: 06:30 - 20,00. Friday - Saturday: 08.00 - 20.00.Like the Sheikh Hussein crossing, in the north of the country, this border is also closed on Yom Kippur and the Muslim New Year. Also, as above, on religious holidays, hours are subject to change - (check with the Israel Airports Authority) and it is, for the most part, easy to purchase a visa at this crossing. The exit fee on the Israeli side is 107 NIS (33,5 USD) and should be paid either in shekels or dollars. This crossing has free parking, a currency exchange booth, vending machines and is accessible for disabled people. Due to the pandemic, this crossing is operating limited opening hours and closes each afternoon at 1 pm. This means day tours of Petra are currently unavailable.It is possible to purchase an entry visa for Jordanat this border (see above, the cost being the same as at theBeit Sheancrossing). Worth noting is that the longer you stay in Jordan, the less you will pay when departing this country (presumably this is to encourage people to stay longer than a day trip). If you arrive and depart from Aqaba, and have stayed more than 3 nights in the country, your exit tax of 10 JOD will be waived.View of Amman, Jordan.Photo by Ayman Yusuf on UnsplashTaking a Group Tour to PetraIf you travel as part of organised Petra tours, your entry documents will be organised by the company and guide. Without a doubt, if you want to travel to Petra, then you should use this crossing. You are far more likely to have a shorter waiting time and journeying to Aqaba, across from Israel’s Eilat - takes only 10 minutes, with Petra being another 2 hour’s drive.Traveling to the Yitzach Rabin Border IndependentlyIf you are driving, it is a long, straight road south to Eilat from the centre (about 4 hours drive from Tel Aviv/Jerusalem) and it is possible to park your car in the free parking terminal at the border. Egged buses also run regularly from major cities to the south and once you are at the bus station, either you can take buses that travel regularly from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to Eilat and once you have arrived at the bus station, you can either take a taxi to the border or a public bus. Quotes of 50 ILS ($15) from taxi drivers can usually be bargained down to 35 NIS ($10). It is a short ride, but the best you can do is try to bargain him down to 25-35 ILS (7.5-11 USD). If you want to save money, take the public bus (which leaves every hour and costs 4 NIS) and ask for the Eliot stop. The only problem is that you’ll then have to walk about 1.5 km further along, and in the summer when temperatures can soar way past 42 degrees (109F) this may completely exhaust you.If you rented a car, you can drive directly to the border terminal, where there is a free parking lot.The Siq, the entrance to the City of Petra. Photo credit: © ShutterstockCrossing Israel-Jordan Border at Yitzhak Rabin/ArabaThe actual crossing is usually quite fast and comfortable and whilst the terminal is not renovated, or air-conditioned, it usually takes no more than 30 minutes to half an hour. As before, you need to pay your exit tax but then you can simply keep walking (it’s a two minutes walk). On the Jordanian side, you can purchase your visa (if you don’t have one) and then head-on. Most people are heading to Petra and the first city that you have to pass through is Aqaba. If you’re not travelling as part of a tour to Jordan (i.e. on a coach) you’ll have to face the ‘taxi mafia’ to make the 12-minute ride to Aqaba, since there are no public buses. This can be amusing, irritating or downright infuriating, depending on your experience!Essentially, cab drivers there are trying to make as much money as they can since you really are a ‘captive audience’. It is quite common if you try to get into a taxi with one or two people you’ve met at the crossing, that the taxi drivers will shake their heads and tell you you can only travel with people you know. This way, they get more fares! The smartest way to deal with this is to arrange who you want to ‘taxi pool’ with before you come out into the parking lot, and insist to the cab driver that you are a group. Good luck!Cost of a Taxi to Petra or AqabaTaking a taxi directly to Petra is probably the quickest and most convenient way to travel on your own but it will cost you - around 50-55 Jordanian dinars ($70-$75). Alternatively, you can take a taxi to Aqaba (approx. 10 JOD or 15 USD - although you should bargain!) and then hire a taxi for a cheaper price (around 30 JODs/ 42 USD).If you have time, want to save some cash and are adventurous, you can also take the public minibuses, which leave from the downtown bus station there. They run from 6 am onwards, hold 10 people and only leave when the bus is full, so you might have to wait a bit. However, the cost is only 5 JOD ($7.5) and you’ll get to meet a few people too! Two hours later, ‘inshallah’ (’as God wills it) as they say in Arabic, you will have arrived in Petra.The Treasury, Petra, Jordan.Photo credit: © Shutterstock3. Allenby Bridge/King Hussein Bridge Crossing (Center)The Allenby Bridge border (named after a British commander during the time of the Mandate) lies between the first two borders (see above) and is situated on the Jordan River, about 5 km from Jericho and close to the Dead Sea.About an hour’s drive from Jerusalem (57 km) and another hour’s drive from Amman (53 km), this border crossing is situated in the south of the Jordan Valley. It is important to note that this crossing is only available for foreign tourists, diplomats and some Palestinians. Those who have Israeli citizenship can not cross into Jordan from here. Normal Operating Hours: Sunday - Thursday: 07:30 - 24.00. Friday: 07.30 - 15.00. Saturday:07.30 - 15.00. The terminal has a currency exchange booth, a cafeteria and restaurant, a section where you can buy the insurance and a VAT refund area. It is also wheelchair friendly.From Israel into JordanThe most important thing to know, in advance, is that if you are trying to cross into Jordan using this border crossing, you will NOT be able to purchase a visa here. You must apply for a visa at a Jordanian consulate beforehand (either in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv) and should allow anywhere between 3-10 days before it is processed.The most important thing to know before trying to cross into Jordan via the King Hussein Bridge, and perhaps the biggest drawback, is that Jordan does not issue visas at this border. You must apply for a visa at a Jordanian consulate beforehand, and it can take anywhere from 2-15 days to receive it. For more details, contact Jordanian consular services.The second thing to know is that this is the crossing at which you will probably wait the longest to pass. Many Palestinians from the West Bank, who wish to travel internationally, use this route to access the airport in Amman and as well as the high volume of traffic, there are strict security checks. Royal Tombs, Petra.Photo credit: © ShutterstockTraveling to the Allenby Bridge from JerusalemIf you are travelling as an individual you can either take a private taxi (approximately 400 NIS / 125 USD), a yellow taxi van from the Damascus GateBus Station in East Jerusalem (approx. 20 NIS) or an Egged bus 961 (approx 20 NIS / 6,5 USD). Please note that the Egged bus (like the other crossings) will not drop you directly at the crossing - it’s a 2 km walk from the bus stop.After showing your passport and paying an exit tax of 107 NIS (33,5 USD), you will need to take a 15-minute bus ride to the Jordanian side. This bus costs 5 JOD and 1.5 JOD per bag. The buses can be sporadic, so make sure you are not in a rush. After passing through customs, you can either take a minibus to Abdali Station in Amman (7 JOD or 11 USD) or a private taxi (approximately 50-55 Jordanian dinars or 70-75 USD).Crossingthe Allenby Bridgeback into IsraelVisas (if necessary) must be obtained from the Jordanian Embassy in Amman, before crossing here and private cars and tour buses cannot cross here - you will be required to change vehicles. Depending on how long you have stayed in Jordan, you will have to pay an exit tax when crossing the border from Jordan to Israel. If you have stayed more than 3 nights, it will be waived.Wadi Rum desert. Photo by Karam Hamadneh on UnsplashTips for the CrossingIf you’ve already read the above, you’ll quickly realise that public transport at the northern and southern crossings, on the Jordanian side, is pretty limited. This is why many people decide to take organised tours of Petra and Jordanor travel to Jordan within the framework of your Israel and Jordan tour package - it will save you a great deal of hassle.We recommend that you wear comfortable footwear whilst in Jordan (particularly when hiking in Wadi Rum or Petra) and as it is a Muslim country (albeit not overly so) to dress modestly. Women should aim to cover their shoulders and knees (no spaghetti tops or tight t-shirts). Drink plenty of fluids in the spring and summer months, as it is incredibly hot. We recommend not drinking water from the tap, rather buying it in sealed bottles (which are easily available throughout the country).COVID-19 UpdateAs of August 2021, travelling across the Israel-Jordan border is still relatively challenging, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The southern border, between Eilat and Aqaba, has re-opened but has restricted hours, with early afternoon closing. A review of this is planned for some time later in the summer.Insofar as the Beit Shean and Allenby Bridge borders are concerned, there is no concrete information as to when they will reopen since a rising infection rate means that tourists are still not able to enter Israel. As soon as Bein Harim begins receiving incoming groups, we hope to resume our regular tours to Jordan but, at this point, we do not know when this will be.Mountains around Petra, Jordan. Photo by Sam Power on Unsplash
By Sarah Mann

How to Travel from Israel to Petra & Jordan

When visiting Israel it is a pity to miss out on one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the ancient city of Petra which is just across the border in the Kingdom of Jordan. Here is a brief guide about how to make the trip from Israel to Petra and back again in as little as one day (although you could stay overnight in Jordan if you preferred). Since the signing of a Peace Treaty in 1994 the Israelis and Jordanians have a neighborly relationship and Israelis as well as tourists who are guests in Israel are free to cross the border for a day or more. Some visitors even choose to extend their visit and go on to the Jordanian capital of Amman before returning to Israel.Temple of Hercules at Amman Citadel in Amman, Jordan at sunset. Photo credit: © ShutterstockHow to travel from Israel to Jordan?If traveling with a guided tour to Petra you will change tour buses at the Israeli-Jordanian border from an Israeli tour bus to a Jordanian tour bus and if traveling independently you will have to change from an Israeli taxi to a Jordanian taxi when you cross the border. Driving from Israel to Jordan in a rental car is not possible. Travelers crossing in their own cars need an international driving license and vehicle license (translated into English if not already in English).The actual process of crossing the border can take longer than you might expect and depend on a range of issues it can take anywhere from one to three hours to complete the crossing. For this reason, if traveling independently try to leave early. All travelers arriving with a group must leave with the same group. Note that current regulations are subject to change so check with your tour company or embassy before setting off to the border.Inside The Rose City Of Petra.Photo credit: © ShutterstockWhat is Petra?Petra is an ancient city carved out of rose-colored rocks by the Nabataean civilization as early as 312BC. The city is in southern Jordan on the slopes of the Biblical Mount Hor (Jebel al-Madhbah). Petra has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its 27 intricate carved structures like temples, tombs, and public buildings carved out of the rock and for the ingenious water conduit system. During the Nabataean period, Petra was a major stop along the trade route which ran from the Arabian Peninsula and Egypt up to the Mediterranean and Syria. In the years following the decline of the Nabataean civilization Petra was also inhabited by Romans ad Christians who both left their mark in the form of a Roman amphitheater and Byzantine Churches. Petra is also called the Lost City as it remained hidden for many years before being rediscovered in 1812. In 1917 T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) led the Arabs in a revolt against the Ottomans at Petra.A couple in Petra. Photo credit: © ShutterstockJordanian VisasNationals from many countries do not require a visa for Jordan; check with the Jordanian embassy in your country or Israel to see if your nationality can travel visa-free.King Hussein Bridge (Allenby Bridge crossing) – Foreign nationals cannot get a visa for Jordan at the border and must be pre-arranged through the Jordanian embassy but those traveling with an Israeli tour group can have their visa arranged by the tour company.Wadi Araba Crossing– As of January 2016 those traveling outside of a group tour will no longer be able to get a Jordanian visa at the Wadi Araba crossing in Eilat and will have to pre-arrange a visa at a Jordanian embassy. If you have pre-arranged your visa at the Jordanian embassy there is no visa fee at the border but you need to pay the $65 border tax.Israeli tour groups can still get visas at the Araba border crossing. If traveling with an Israeli tour group you don’t need to worry about the visa situation as your tour company will take care of the details and let you know of any requirements. The crossing involves a visa fee of approximately $60 and on reentry into Israel, there is an exit tax from Jordan of approximately $13.The Siq, the ancient main entrance leading to the city of Petra. Photo credit: © ShutterstockCrossing from Israel to JordanThree border crossings connect Israel and Jordan: the Sheikh Hussein crossing, Allenby (King Hussein) crossing, and the Wadi Araba crossing in Eilat.1. Allenby Crossing (King Hussein Bridge Crossing)This is the nearest border crossing to Jerusalem, just an hour away; 5 km east of Jericho and 57km from Amman. The border crossing is open for travelers to Israel Sunday-Thursday 8 am-8 pm for entry and 8 am-2 pm for departures from Jordan plus Friday-Saturday 8 am-1 pm. The crossing operates throughout the year except for the Jewish Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) and the Islamic Feast of the Sacrifice (Eid al-Adha). The crossing is divided into a Departure Hall for Palestinians, Arrival Hall for Palestinians, Departure Hall for Tourists and East Jerusalem Citizens, and Arrival Hall for Tourists and East Jerusalem Citizens. This crossing is for Palestinians and tourists but is prohibited for Israeli citizens.2. Sheikh Hussein CrossingLocated in the north of Israel close to the southern end of the Sea of Galilee this Israeli/Jordanian border crossing is 90 km from Amman. It is open Sunday to Thursday 8 am-10 pm and Friday-Saturday 9 am-8 pm. Amman Citadel. View from atop.Photo byDaniel QuraonUnsplash3. Wadi Araba CrossingThis is the most common border crossing used for tourists traveling to Petra from Israel. This border crossing is located in Eilat on the shore of the Red Sea and is 324 km from Amman. This border crossing services Israeli and foreign tourists who travel on foot or in a vehicle. The Wadi Araba crossing is open Sundays-Thursdays 6:30 am-8 pm and Friday-Saturday 8 am-8 pm. This crossing is closed on the Islamic New Year (Hijra) and Jewish New Year (Yom Kippur). Entrance visas are not issued at this border crossing to individual travelers and should be arranged at the Jordanian embassy in your country or in Israel. People traveling in Israeli tourism company group tours do not require entry visas for this border crossing. If you make arrangements 24 hours in advance (or travel with a guided group that arranges it for you) and have a pre-bought entry ticket to Petra Archeological Site or official entry documents you do not have to stay the mandatory 24 hours in Jordan.4. Across the Red SeaRecent changes to regulations have caused some tour companies to include a tour to Jordan and Petra via the Red Sea and Aqaba. Israeli tourists are taken across the Taba border crossing in Eilat between Egypt and Israel. From there, there are regular ferries across the Red Sea to the Jordanian port city of Aqaba. It takes about 45 minutes to make the ferry crossing. From Aqaba, tours proceed to the ancient city of Petra.Liked this article? Join one of our Petra and Jordan tours. Eilat Aquapark. Photo byMichal IcoonUnsplash
By Petal Mashraki

5 Ways to See Petra from Tel Aviv

If you want to make the most of your trip to Israel then one of the great options is to include a side trip from Tel Aviv to Petra, Jordan. This UNESCO site and “World Wonder” is close enough to visit on a day trip from Tel Aviv. There are a number of ways to reach Petra, Jordan from Tel Aviv.One Day Petra Tour from Tel AvivThere are one day tours to Petra from Tel Aviv that include a flight from Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport to the new Ramon Airport near Eilat. Some tours from Tel Aviv to Petra do not include the half-hour flight which can be purchased separately. You are picked up from the Eilat Ramon Airport and the tour continues across the Arava border into Jordan and on to Petra. After touring Petra you are returned across the border to Israel’s Ramon Airport to take a flight back to Tel Aviv. This is the best option if you don’t have a lot of time but still want to see Petra. Petra Tour and Eilat from Tel AvivIf you have a little more time to spare then instead of taking a one day tour to Petra you could take a tour that includes time in Eilat. You fly from Tel Aviv to Eilat as with a one day tour but instead of continuing straight to Petra you get a day of leisure in Eilat and overnight accommodation in an Eilat hotel. The trip to Petra starts the following day when you are taken from your Eilat hotel across the Arava border and to Petra. At the end of a full-day tour to Petra, you return to Eilat’s Ramon Airport for your flight to Tel Aviv. This is an excellent option if you haven’t included Eilat in your itinerary and want to see this stunning Red Sea resort city as well as Petra.Multi-Day Tours to Jordan from Tel AvivFor those who have even more time in Israel, you could take a longer tour to Jordan and see more of the country in addition to Petra. There is a range of Israel tours that include either a combination of sites in Israel and Jordan or just several days in Jordan. On an extended tour to Jordan from Tel Aviv, you would see places like Amman, Jerash, Madaba, Mount Nebo and of course Petra. Some of the multi-day tours from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to Jordan cross into Jordan via the Sheikh Hussein border crossing rather than the Arava crossing. All of the tours to Petra and Jordan include assistance at the border crossing, air-conditioned transportation, a tour guide and on multi-day tours accommodation is included. The tours leave on most days of the week and are conducted in several languages.Petra from Tel Aviv by Bus TourThe cheapest Tel Aviv to Petra tour option is by bus. Petra tours from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv by bus offer pick-up in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem; a drive past the Dead Sea, through the Aravah Valley and across the Aravah border from Eilat to Jordan. From there you continue to Petra for your sightseeing before making the return journey by bus to Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. The down-side of this option is a very early morning start and a long bus trip as compared to the other Petra tours from Tel Aviv that include a short flight. However, for those on a budget, it is an ideal alternative.Independent Travel from Tel Aviv to PetraIt is possible to travel from Tel Aviv to Petra independently. First, you will need to get yourself to the Arava border in Eilat. You can do this by taking a bus or flight to Eilat and from there a taxi to the border crossing. Remember to organize your Jordanian visa before traveling. If you are traveling without a tour group you cannot get a visa at the border. On arrival at the border, you will need to present your passport and visa. Once you have crossed into Jordan you will find taxis and self-proclaimed tour guides waiting on the Jordanian side ready to take you to Petra.The cost of traveling to Petra from Tel Aviv independently will include getting to Eilat from Tel Aviv; getting from Eilat to the Arava border; your visa fee(102-177ILS); exit tax from Israel (about 100ILS); transportation to Petra; entrance fee to the Petra Archeological Park(50JD-90JD); transportation back to the Jordan/Israel border; an exit tax from Jordan (about 10JD); transportation from the border to the Eilat bus station or airport and the price of your flight or bus back to Tel Aviv. If traveling from Tel Aviv to Petra independently we strongly recommend you visit your local Jordanian Embassy beforehand to find out about visa requirements.See our list ofPetra Tours from Tel Aviv
By Petal Mashraki

Jordan River Border Crossing

After two long years where many countries were hard to visit, and Israel was - to all intents and purposes - closed to visitors and tourists - we’re perhaps seeing a chink of light at the end of the tunnel. COVID rates are down, regulations are being relaxed and, once more, countries are opening to business, including us!North Theater of Jerash, Jordan.Photo byChijui YehonUnsplashHere at Bein Harim, we’re slowly returning to normal with the operation of our many Israel and Jordan tours and it’s a good feeling to see them running again - whether they’re daily, weekly, private, or entail crossing a border. In the case of 3-4 day Jordan packages, which we’re discussing today, even as we go to press, it’s not entirely clear how many different kinds of trips to Petra we’ll be offering in the near future, but rest assured there will be some! For anyone travelling to Jordan (whether in a group or independently), the lost city of Petra, with its feats of Nabatean engineering and beautiful coloured rock formations, has got to be the highlight of a trip. But it’s not the only place worth visiting in Jordan - there’s also the desert of Wadi Rum (made famous by Lawrence of Arabia), the capital Amman and the Greco-Roman city of Jerash.So, to recap, the good news is that if you’re heading to the Levant, it’s now possible to freely travel both in Israel and Jordan. Today, we’re looking at one of the three border crossings between Israel and Jordan - the one furthest north named Sheikh Hussein, which is probably the quietest of the three in Israel but still used on a regular basis.The Treasury, Petra, Jordan. Photo byBrian KairuzonUnsplashWhere is the border crossing of Sheikh Hussain?The border crossing of Sheikh Hussain lies on the outskirts of the city of Beit Shean, in the Jordan Valley in northern Israel. To drive there from either Jerusalem or Tel Aviv takes approximately two hours.What hours is the border crossing between Israel and Jordan open?The Jordanian border crossing here is open seven days a week, year-round, save for two days - Yom Kippur (the Jewish people’s most holy day) and the first day of Id El Hijra, the first day of the Muslim New Year. Specific hours are: Sunday - Thursday: 08:00- 18:00ִִ; Friday: 8:00 - 18:00; Saturday: 08:30hrs - 18:00.Do I need a visa to enter Jordan?The answer is yes, a visa is usually required if you want to travel to Jordan. However, the good news is that it is easily obtainable and can be purchased at the border crossing itself. So obtaining a visa for Jordan is really not too difficult. Here’s the lowdown:For most tourists of western countries, conditions to meet are quite simple. You must have a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the time you are planning to stay, and at least two blank pages in your passport that officials will use for stamps.For citizens of other countries, including South Africa, Indonesia, Ecuador and states that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), visa-free travel is granted, for periods of time that range from one to three months. The ruins in Jerash, Jordan. Photo byHisham ZayadnhonUnsplashHow much does a visa for Jordan cost?At present, the cost of a single-entry visa to Jordan, valid for one month, is 40 Jordanian dinars (JOD) which comes out at approximately $56. A double-entry visa, which is good for three months, will set you back 60 JOD (approx. $84) and if you need to travel back and forth regularly, then you may want to purchase a multiple-entry visa which costs 120 JOD (approx. $170).How do I travel independently to the Sheikh Hussein border?If you are not travelling to Jordan as part of an organised tour, then - to be honest - this is probably not the best border crossing for you to use, since it is the furthest distance from Petra of the three, and also not easily accessible by public transport. However, it is possible. From Jerusalem, you can take Egged bus 961 from the Central Bus Station, which takes 1 hour 50 minutes. From Tel Aviv, you can catch the 843 bus from the Central Bus Station on Levinsky Street - it is a huge building, and you should head to the 7th floor. The journey will take 1 hour 55 minutes. Arriving from either of these cities, you will be dropped off in the centre of Beit Shean and from there you will have to take a taxi to the border - this should cost you around 50 NIS ($15). If you are driving in your own car, it is possible to leave it at the nearby Kibbutz Maoz Haim, which costs approx. 40 NIS per day in parking fees.There is also a bus service that runs three times each week, from Nazareth to Amman. Operated by Nazarene Tours, it is a cheap way to get to the capital, since it only costs around 80 NIS one way. The bus leaves Nazareth at 08.30 and, traffic and border controls permitting will have you in Amman by 14.00.Beit Shean, not far fromSheikh Hussein Border Crossing, Israel.Photo byBriana TozouronUnsplashWhat Facilities are there at the Sheikh Hussein Border Crossing?Facilities are quite minimal - there is no bank and no major eateries, so come prepared with your own snacks and lunch. There is a small Currency Exchange where you can exchange notes. There is also a Duty-Free at the crossing, on the Israeli side. The terminal is wheelchair accessible and all staff speak good English. If you’ve forgotten snacks, there is a machine where you can purchase sweets, fizzy drinks, water, etc.What is the Procedure for Crossing the Border into Jordan?Whether you are travelling independently or as part of an organised tour, you will have to pay an exit tax to Israeli officials which stands at 107 NIS (about $30). Your passport will then be stamped and you will be free to continue on your way. You will then need to take a shuttle to the Jordanian side (walking is not an option) which costs 5 NIS (just under $2). Make sure you have this money in small change and give it to the driver of the shuttle.The shuttle will take no more than 3 minutes and will leave you on the Jordanian side of the border. There, you will be met by a Jordanian, English-speaking representative that works with your tour company and they will assist you, by taking your passports and organising the processing of your group’s visas. Once this is complete, you will soon be on your way. Please note that if you have dual nationality, between Israel and another country, you must use your Israeli passport to cross the border.If you are not in a group, after formalities have been carried out, you will find yourself in a deserted open space with just a few taxi drivers, all hungry for your business. There are no public buses from the border onto any Jordanian cities (Amman or otherwise) so you are really at their mercy - of course, they also want you to take their car, so it is possible to haggle about the price of a cab to the capital. In general, you should be prepared to pay around 50 JOD ($70) for this 90 km drive.Amman Citadel, Jordan. Photo byHisham ZayadnhonUnsplashDo I need to take a PCR test before leaving Israel for Jordan?Since yesterday, the regulations for COVID testing have been updated, both by Jordan and Israel. As things stand, this is the procedure you must follow:1. You MUST be in possession of valid personal health insurance that covers COVID-19 treatment for the entire period of your visit to Jordan.2. Before arriving at the border, you must visit the Gateway to Jordan platform to register your details online, filling in all the relevant information. Once you have done this, a confirmation will be issued to you by email/cellphone, containing a QR code. It is imperative that you understand that without this QR code confirmation, you will not be allowed to enter Jordan.3. No PCR test is required if you are making a short trip, but if you are staying longer than 72 hours in Jordan you may be required to take a test. Ruins of Amman Citadel, Jordan. Photo byHisham ZayadnhonUnsplashCrossing from Jordan via the Sheikh Hussein Crossing, back into IsraelThe first thing that is worth mentioning is that the longer you’ve stayed in Jordan, the less you will have to pay in departure taxes. No doubt this is to encourage people to book hotels and spend money in restaurants. The departure tax will be around 10 JOD (14 USD), depending on how many nights you’ve stayed in the country. If you have stayed more than three, it will be exempt. Whilst restrictions have been eased substantially since the beginning of the COVID pandemic unless you are an Israeli citizen you will still need to take a PCR test before you leave Jordan and once arriving in Israel. Here is the procedure:1. Two days (48 hours) before your planned arrival, fill out Israel’s entry statement form. In it include your personal information, and sign the health declaration.2. Take a PCR test in Jordan, any time up to 72 hours before your arrival in Israel. This should cost you around 20 JOD (28,5 USD).3. Pay in advance for the PCR test you will be required to take on arrival at the Israel border. This will cost you 80 NIS (25 USD) if you pay in advance, 100 NIS (31 USD) if you pay on the spot with a credit card and 115 NIS (36 USD) if you wish to pay in cash.4. Once you have left Jordan, and arrived in Israel, wait to take your test and then travel directly to your hotel, apartment or place of residence where you should enter isolation. Wait until your result is proven to be negative, or that 24 hours have passed before you venture outside.Please note that these rules and regulations are changing regularly and that they are subject to change at any time. If you are interested in tours to Petra and Jordan, feel free to contact us.
By Sarah Mann
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