Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sheikh Hussein Border / Jordan River Crossing

The Sheikh Hussein Border or Jordan River Crossing, connecting Jordan and Israel, is about 90 kms distant from Amman in the north. The border is open Sunday-Thursday 06:30-21:00, Friday and Saturday 08:00-20:00, closed on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and Muslim New Year (Eid El Jijara) only.

When arriving to the terminal you undergo the usual procedures like security check and passport control and payment of departure tax. On Jordan side this tax is 8 JOD = 12 USD per person, the Israeli departure tax is 96 NIS = 29 USD per person. Then board the shuttle bus running between the two terminals, which charges in Jordan 3 JOD per person and on Israeli side 8 NIS. Travelers arriving Jordan from Israel can obtain at this border the entry visa Jordan for 20 JOD = 30 USD per person. But note, all mentioned rates are subject to change.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Allenby Bridge/King Hussein Border Crossing

The Allenby Bridge, also known as King Hussein Bridge, is one of 3 border crossings between Jordan and Israel/Palestine. The Allenby Bridge connects with the West Bank and this side is controlled by Israeli authorities. Just as note, Israeli citizens are not allowed to use the bridge.

The crossing is open every day, closed on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and Eid Al Adha (Muslim Feast of Sacrifice) only. For the Jordan side applies: from Sunday to Thursday you have to be latest at 18:00, on Fridays and Saturdays latest at 10:30 am at the border. However, the opening hours are not guaranteed as sometimes the border closes earlier without notice. Especially if you plan to arrive in the afternoon it is to recommend to check the opening time with the authorities (Tel: 00962 (5) 358 1030).

Passenger procedure includes in both terminals a security check, payment of the departure tax, passport control, customs and to board the shuttle bus, operating between the terminals. Usually the shuttle bus leaves every hour, sometimes more irregular, so be prepared for waiting time. The shuttle bus from the Jordan terminal costs 3 JOD per person and 1.25 JOD per luggage. The Jordanian departure is 8 JOD (circa 12 USD) per person and the departure tax at the Israeli terminal is NIS 167 (ca 52 USD) per person. The taxes are paid in local currency, and you can find exchange shops in both terminals. The Allenby/King Hussein Bridge offers a faster VIP service, which is about 100 USD per person.

Because several countries refuse the entry if the passport shows an Israeli stamp, it is possible to avoid the stamp as follows: just ask already on the Jordan side not to stamp your passport, as it is known, the Allenby Bridge is the crossing between Jordan and Palestine/Israel. Inside the Israeli terminal you do the same. You have to fill a form and together with your passport hand it over to the immigration officer, who will stamp the form instead.

Important note for visitors arriving Jordan via the Allenby Bridge: it is not possible to obtain the Jordanian visa at the Allenby Bridge, so you need it in advance from your country of residence.  

In general, be prepared for waiting time in the Israeli terminal due to the security checks, and in some cases to be questioned by the immigration officers for the purpose of your visit. We are thankful for any advice from travelers who recently used this crossing.

Madaba Shopping

If you search for authentic Jordanian handicraft, Madaba is a place to go. The town is well known for its Byzantine mosaic art, and the Mosaic School is evidence for the importance of this craft. The school trains to conserve and restore the ancient mosaics as well to produce mosaics. So naturally you can find various, hand made mosaic souvenirs like vases, wall hangings and tables in Madaba. There are many shops around St Georges' Church and on the way to Mt Nebo where you can buy and watch how items are made.  
Other local crafts are rugs, pottery and hand-painted ostrich eggs. The eggs are decorated with tiny dots of paint to create various designs, depicting scenes of ancient mosaics and Jordanian folklore. 

© Petra Nights Tours

The artisans cut stone slices with clippers, to create the small pieces. Such kind of table mosaic takes in the average 5 months. © Petra Nights Tours

© Petra Nights Tours

© Petra Nights Tours

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Haret Jdoudna Restaurant Madaba

Prime address for lunch or dinner is the Haret Jdoudna Restaurant in Madaba. In a side street not far away from St George's Church, the restaurant is located in a charming 19th century house with a nice courtyard, serving Oriental Mezze, various Sawani and grilled dishes.
Tel: 00962 (5) 324 8650

© Petra Nights Tours

© Petra Nights Tours

© Petra Nights Tours

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sun City Restaurant Petra

Close To Petra Visitors Centre (just walk by the M√∂venpick Resort and some small shops) you find the  Sun City Restaurant in the 2nd floor. The buffet includes Arabic and western salads, soup, chicken, beef and different kind of desserts. The restaurant offer a la carte menu too. You can eat in the simple, clean 2nd floor or on the roof top with its Bedouin tent styled ambience.
Tel: 00962 (0)3 215 4123

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Wadi Mujib Siq Trail in Jordan

Wadi Mujib is the lowest nature reserve on the earth, at the coast of the Dead Sea. The area, consisting of valleys, mountains and several water flows, is perfect for hiking and trekking. From Amman you drive about 80 kms along the Dead Sea Road, where you see here and there lush vegetation due to small springs. Arriving to Wadi Mujib Visitors' Centre we decided for the Siq Trail, as especially in summer a water trail with shades is inviting.

A guide for the Siq Trail is not necessary, just pay the entrance fee (we paid 11 JOD each) and choose one of the life jackets. Short way along a bridge, you scale down a ladder and find yourself on the trail. Following the course of the water stream you get inside the gorge with towering sandstone cliffs. The farer you get, the higher the water level, and it is not always easy to walk against the currents, some spots are deep pools enough for swimming. A little difficult are the scrambles over small waterfalls, what is done with the help of fixed ropes. End of the trail is the largest waterfall of about 20 meters. Going back it is easier and more fun as with the current you can slide down the waterfalls. In general it is a very refreshing and adventurous experience in beautiful nature! Just bear in mind light closes and good, but older footwear like sports shoes, and a waterproof bag for the camera.  The Siq Trail is open from April till October, and visitors have to be minimum 18 years old.  

Along the Dead Sea Road. © Petra Nights Tours

Start of the Siq Trail. © Petra Nights Tours

© Petra Nights Tours

© Petra Nights Tours

© Petra Nights Tours

© Petra Nights Tours