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Thread: Going to Israel. Some suggestions & advice needed.

  1. #1

    Default Going to Israel. Some suggestions & advice needed.

    Odd... I would have thought there would be a prefix for "Middle East". Anyway, I digress...

    I am going on a business trip to Israel where I would have 1.5 to 2 days spare time (non-consecutive days though). Any recommendations on sights, day tours, etc.? Is it OK to bring a DSLR? How is the security there like? Other travel tips & things to be aware of would be appreciated too.

    Thanks!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Going to Israel. Some suggestions & advice needed.

    Anyone with any advice out there?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Going to Israel. Some suggestions & advice needed.

    Go there with proper documentation, wear appropriate attire in religious sensitive places.

    Israeli security at the airport is notoriously tight, and they do occasionally ask you to present documentation on the spot at the airbridge. I expect you also have a secondary passport too. Also, the x-ray scanning machines have a habit of "spitting" out your luggage. So make sure whatever is fragile inside is padded properly.

    And if they ask you questions at the airport, answer them properly and don't give them an excuse to haul you to a corner for interrogation. They are very serious and sometimes incredibly paranoid.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Going to Israel. Some suggestions & advice needed.

    See if you can get someone to guide you to go Incense Route. Not a bad place for photography
    また再建しましょう~ ^_^

  5. #5
    Senior Member shierwin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Going to Israel. Some suggestions & advice needed.

    1. The day and night temperature can change a great deal; have warm clothings/jacket.
    2. Pack your own bag and know what's in the bag. Security may ask you to list them out.
    3. Their diet no pork. They don't mix red meat/diary products at the same meal. Fish can. Best that you eat what's served to avoid complication.
    4. Friday is Jew half day, Saturday off and work on Sunday. Public transport may be a problem on Friday afternoon. Much reduced frequency.
    5. And finally nothing is cheap in Israel. What you pay for a simple "hawker" meal, you can easily host 2 additional friends at our hawker centre with free flow.
    Half a roast chicken US$21.
    Try their Pita bread (served kosong in a basket)... real good and come with dips
    6. Get rid of the shekels on departure. USD is popular. You give USD and they give change in shekels. To minimise damage just before departure, have small USD to clear your bills, or you'll have a bagful of shekels change to spent!
    7. Places to visit if time permit: Jerusalem, Masada, Kibbulz (form of commune)
    8. Be wary and use common sense as to what you do, what you say and where you go.
    9. Israel is steep in religion, culture and still a nice place to visit.

  6. #6
    Senior Member oracle0711's Avatar
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    Default Re: Going to Israel. Some suggestions & advice needed.

    i assume u are from Singapore.

    I went there in 2003. Nice place and my full my 10d and tripod was with me throughout. June is the best time (according to friends from Israel).

    If possible get a local guide or join some local tours (and make sure your guide speak English). Mine was the same tour guide that brought Neil Armstrong around when he was there... a professor to be exact. Learned a lot about the history of Israel

    A few things to take note (based on my exposure back then).

    1) If you are a Singaporean and you do travel to Islamic countries, like Indonesia, Malaysia, ... I would say not to have your passport stamp with the Israel immigration stamp. This might get you into some difficulties when u travel to Malaysia, Indonesia...

    2) Weather can swing between day and night so do bring something to keep you warm

    3) Beware of pickpockets and always be vigilant when you are alone. Crowded places are plenty especially small lanes like the Armenian quarters, Arab quarters when you are likely to visit since there certain biblical trials that are already touristic sites today.

    4) Read up places to go and places to avoid for safety reasons. In the event if you are moving from Israel to other neighbouring parts that are borders outside Israel, do be very very careful. Your tour guide might get u to sign an indemnity document to indemnify them of any responsibility should anything happen to you. It happens to us when we try to get into Jordan.

    5) On my last day and while waiting at the airport, there was a bomb threat. Good thing nothing unfortunate happen to us.

    Wishing you a good trip. It is worth it and I am looking forward to go there again.

    cheers

    Daniel

  7. #7

    Default Re: Going to Israel. Some suggestions & advice needed.

    Thanks for the tips!! Will read in more detail when I am feeling better -- came down with a cold & can't concentrate very much now .

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Going to Israel. Some suggestions & advice needed.

    nyx88 is from Malaysia.

    Yah, you better be more careful unless you got a secondary passport.

    You'll be alright with a 18-200 but bring along your WA too.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Going to Israel. Some suggestions & advice needed.

    if he is holding Malaysian password, it will difficult to get in. They interviewed my friend for 30 minutes with pilgrim visa.

    good luck.. it is nice place to visit.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Going to Israel. Some suggestions & advice needed.

    Quote Originally Posted by agape01 View Post
    nyx88 is from Malaysia.

    Yah, you better be more careful unless you got a secondary passport.

    You'll be alright with a 18-200 but bring along your WA too.
    I heard, can get in by land from Jordan? And not to get passport stamp.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Going to Israel. Some suggestions & advice needed.

    Quote Originally Posted by oracle0711 View Post
    i assume u are from Singapore.

    I went there in 2003. Nice place and my full my 10d and tripod was with me throughout. June is the best time (according to friends from Israel).

    If possible get a local guide or join some local tours (and make sure your guide speak English). Mine was the same tour guide that brought Neil Armstrong around when he was there... a professor to be exact. Learned a lot about the history of Israel

    A few things to take note (based on my exposure back then).

    1) If you are a Singaporean and you do travel to Islamic countries, like Indonesia, Malaysia, ... I would say not to have your passport stamp with the Israel immigration stamp. This might get you into some difficulties when u travel to Malaysia, Indonesia...
    Daniel,
    How to avoid them putting a stamp in the passport? Is there some other options that a traveler may request?

  12. #12
    Member AL1974's Avatar
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    Default Re: Going to Israel. Some suggestions & advice needed.

    If you do not have passport for Israel only, before you pass them your passport at the immigration arrival counter, inform the officer to stamp it on a separate piece of paper (yellow post-in), so that your passport will not be stamped. Same on returning.
    Sometimes depends on their mood and various questioning may start.

    Bring less electronic stuffs or contain all your electronic/electrical appliance separately.
    Go early. I was stuck at the security inspection point for 45mins and they bother whether u r going to miss your flight or not.
    If you have two passports, bring along the other one, to avoid further questioning cos they know Singapore will have separate passport soley for Israel.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Going to Israel. Some suggestions & advice needed.

    - if you have a malaysian or indonesian chop on your passport, good luck to you.

    - friday is shabbat, so everything's on the down low.

    - the folks at the waqf aren't very friendly, it opens 10-6pm

    - do not stay in the Old City after the hours of darkness, esp the Arab/Muslim quarter

    - go to the airport at least 3 hours before your flight, and prepare to show your passport BEFORE you even step in

    - cover your head when you are at the Western Wall with the provided paper kippahs

    - Israeli Schwarma, Falafel are standards and aren't expensive.

    - You can exchange your USD with zero commission across the country at various money changers found in places tourists frequent

    - expect to have all your camera equipment x-rayed, and a long process of "conversation" at the aiport and to turn on your laptop to show that its real

    - do not throw away your ticket stubs to various attractions, as it will help back up your story when questioned at the airport. be polite and patient. its Israel for goodness sake

    - you'll have your bags checked when entering buildings and in crowded alleys. Israeli soldiers will be on standby to check most people

    - people are naturally paranoid and suspicious of strangers, you'll sorta get used to it after a while.

  14. #14
    Senior Member azul123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Going to Israel. Some suggestions & advice needed.

    Quote Originally Posted by louismuhammad View Post
    Daniel,
    How to avoid them putting a stamp in the passport? Is there some other options that a traveler may request?
    They stamp on your immigration card instead of passport, this is common thing for them, they know alot of places with give problems when a person have visited State of Isreal. I believe Malaysian or Indonesian will have a bit of a problem.

    My visit there 2 years ago, in our tour there was a Singaporean with his Indonesian wife was stuck for 2 hours in immigration and later learnt it was because his wife is Indonesian and that caused them to be thorough.

    For me the best place was seeing BaitulMaqdis, which is next to the Temple Mount and also learning about the history of the place... getting a good guide with concise knowledge who can tell you about the history of the place is all worthwhile.

    A visit to the Dead Sea is also good, can buy back special mud for skin... I dunno if it does any good my wife bought alot of that stuff and gave to friends.

    ../azul123

  15. #15

    Default Re: Going to Israel. Some suggestions & advice needed.

    my israeli boss always tells me how safe israel is
    pedantic.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Going to Israel. Some suggestions & advice needed.

    1. expect detail security clearance and dont get upset with them. it is a 'norm'
    2. answer officials questions directly and confidently. not sure what they are asking, ask them politely and confidently to explain
    3. do not comment on religious / political issues
    4. enjoy the historical site but good to read up first
    5. if u very concern about the stamping, can go to singapore immigration to ask if they still issue a separate passport (I had mine done without charges few years back, not sure if they still issue)
    6. have your paper work done before departure
    7. it is ok to bring SLR
    8. site seeing better to follow guided tour (book from hotel / tourist office)
    9. common for people to carry firearms, dont be alarm but avoid being too curious
    10. do not wearing bulky waist bag below your clothes

    have fun and bring lots of sense of humour! dont forget to share your pics here!
    Last edited by starrynight; 17th May 2010 at 11:02 PM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Going to Israel. Some suggestions & advice needed.

    Alot of on what to do n not to do .

    Here's my 2cents worth on where to go ...

    From what I know ....

    Actually where you visit more or less depends on where you are based . coz northernmost to south of Israel is around 10hrs drive . While east to west is around 4 hours or so ( due to the hills in between ) .

    Public transport is almost non-existant and as buses were quite popular with bombers , my advice to you is to rent a car for the sight see-ing in Israel . Right hand drive over there . BUDGET I recommend due to the USD300 max accident coverage. As for places to go , too much to list ... PM me if you still have not left for Israel

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