There are 3 border crossings from Israel to Jordan and vise versa. As i wanted to visit Aqaba which is in Southern Jordan on the tip of the Red Sea i decided to get the bus from Jerusalem down to Eilat- Israel’s city on the Red sea and then over to Aqaba.
I’ve found that border crossings can either be horribly unorganised or perfectly simple and overall this was a very easy crossing and went much like i had read in other blog posts.
The bus journey from Jerusalem to Eilat was said to take 5 hours but took 4 hours with Egged Bus including a stop halfway.. bonus!
Once in Eilat i got a taxi to the border from outside the station which took 5-8 minutes.
I had read that some people ask the bus driver to stop at Eilot which is the last stop from Eilat and then walked to the border. If i hadn’t had my luggage this would of been possible as it wasn’t too far (make sure you have some water though as it can get very hot) but with all my bags i decided to get a taxi and was glad i did.
Again i read that they charge you a lot for the taxi, he started off by saying 50 ILS/ £8.30, i asked for 30 and he said 35ILS/ £5.80 which i had read that others had paid so i got in and off we went.
I paid the exit tax fee to start with in Israel which was 103ILS/£17.20, it was a bit annoying having to pay this but its unavoidable and i just thought of it as a type of visa fee as initially to get into Israel i didn’t have to pay for a visa!
I then got my exit stamp and followed the signs towards Jordan!
I went through a nice air conditioned duty free shop and once once i was at the Jordan border i got my bags scanned and this is where i noticed the difference between Israel and Jordan! Here there were no straight backed men with huge guns and instead 4 men just sitting around who proceeded to stare at me like i was interrupting their chat and then asked if i was carrying a walkie talkie.. umm no, its not the stone ages!!
I nearly missed the window where i had to get my visa from as it wasn’t very well signposted. This was interesting though, as i didn’t actually pay anything for my visa! I believe its because they are trying to promote tourism in the Aqaba area. I know that if you arrive into the Country via an airport the visa is about 40JD/ £40 (pretty expensive if you ask me!) i was a bit nervous that they might say something when i left via Amman Airport a week later or ask me to pay then but it was completely fine!
I then got stamped into the country and headed out to get a taxi where i paid 15 JD/£15.00 which was pretty pricey but theres no negotiation on price unfortunately and with no public buses and a long road into Aqaba theres no other choice!
Aqaba was a lot bigger than i thought. I had images of Dive centres for the Red Sea, a beach and a small town which is what you get the further South past the town you go but initially its just a small city/big town with lots of hotels, even more hotels being built and a public beach which isn’t for sunbathing and swimming as its in a very conservative area.
The hotel i stayed in- Al Amer Chalet 2, was pretty basic but run by a really nice and helpful guy and i had read this in the reviews which is why i booked there. I arrived at about 12:00 which was earlier than i thought and that afternoon he arranged for me to be picked up and do a dive near by and as i had ‘Diving in the Red Sea’ on my bucket list i was pretty happy to spontaneously get this done!
As we drove down the ocean front this is where i saw all the dive resorts and beaches where you can actually swim and sunbathe.
I got my Open Water Certificate last April in Bali, i was a little nervous as i hadn’t dived since then but it all came back to me and I was taken out by a local guy who heads to Thailand quite a bit so that was cool and he helped me do everything in regards to my equipment as i definitely did not remember how to do all of that! We saw a ship wreck which i hadn’t seen before and i got full use out of my new GoPro taking videos and photos, the visability was great so it was an afternoon to remember!
I wasn’t a huge fan of Aqaba, i went into the city later on to find an ATM and got shouted at and stared at a lot by the men there so i was happy to leave the next day to the Wadi Rum Desert which the hotel owner also organised for me!
**I made a video of my time in Jordan, check in out here to see more of this beautiful Country!