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There are 3 border crossings from Israel to Jordan and Jordan to Israel. 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 cross the board from Israel to Jordan here going from Eilat to Aqaba.
In my time travelling 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 bus station which only took 5-8 minutes.
I had read that some people ask the bus driver to stop at Eilot which is the last stop before Eilat and then walked to the border. If I hadn’t had my heavy backpack this would of been possible as it wasn’t too far but with all my bags and in the heat I decided to get a taxi and was glad I did.
I had read that they charge you a lot for the taxi from Eilat to the Jordan border crossing just because they can! The taxi driver started off by saying 50 ILS/ £8.30, I said 30 and he said 35ILS/ £5.80 which I had read is a price that other people have paid and therefor got in the taxi to the border to exit out of Israel and into Jordan!
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 I didn’t have to pay for a visa into Israel.
I then got my exit stamp for Israel and followed the signs towards Jordan by foot, and they were quite funny signs!
I went through a nice air conditioned duty free shop and once once I was at the Jordan border I got my bags scanned. This is where I noticed the difference between Israel and Jordan! Here there were no straight backed men with huge guns like in Israel, and instead 4 men were 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!
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 for Jordan! I believe its because they are trying to promote tourism in the Aqaba area. I know that if you arrive into Jordan 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 got stamped into the country and headed out to get a taxi from the Jordan border to Aqaba 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 is 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.
I wasn’t a huge fan of Aqaba to be honest, I went diving in the Red Sea though which was something I wanted to do and then I was ready to leave the next day to the Wadi Rum Desert which my hotel owner also organised for me!