There are many exotic places in the Middle East. However, we rarely know what is happening there. That is not a joke but some of my classmates know nothing another than ISIS. When I share my travel experience, they often react like “WTF you are doing”. Hope the following would help you understand more about Israel, the famous place we all know, the birthplace of Jesus and the home of religions.
They have a well-developed public transportation system, which is quite surprising. If you have an opportunity to visit Jerusalem, you would be amazed by their tram system. It is newly operating in these stops and quite similar to those in Europe. (Most importantly, many handsome guys in the train haha) Tickets can be purchased at ticketing machine or counter. I would say the price is relatively similar to Western Europe. I took a station from the airport and it costs me 3€.
We were discussing the issue of “skipping tickets”. My host shared with me that it is fine for not buying tickets in Tel Aviv. They rarely check your tickets when you are taking bus or tram. However, you should purchase a ticket in Jerusalem. Otherwise, there is a heavy penalty if you are being caught. My paper money was not working so I didn’t buy the tickets at that time. The in-train announcement kept mentioning that “please make sure you have the validated ticket” and I thought they were talking about me every time.
Ben Gurion airport to Tel Aviv city center only takes 15 minutes
There is bus service from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which costs 4€ for a single trip. If you took a bus in Tel Aviv Central Station, there are 7 floors in total. The 403 direct bus to Jerusalem is located on 6/F, Platform 6 or 7.
Moovit is commonly used by the locals for checking the public transportation way. Google map here is not working here. Once I tried to reach the Jaffa Clock Tower near my host’s place, I was taking the wrong bus and even drop off at nowhere. It was 10 pm and there was no one in the street.
Sabbath is Judaism’s day of rest and seventh day of the week. According to halakha (Jewish religious law), Shabbat is observed from a few minutes before sunset on Friday evening until the appearance of three stars in the sky on Saturday night. Shabbat is ushered in by lighting candles and reciting a blessing.
Shabbat observance entails refraining from work activities, often with great rigor, and engaging in restful activities to honor the day. All the shops are closed during Shabbat except the Muslim stores. The key issue would be the public transportation. Public transportation is not available during Shabbat. To be honest, I think there is nothing more shocking than almost all stores are closed on Sunday in Germany. It’s better to stay near the city center if you visit the country on Friday to Saturday, like Old City in Jerusalem, rent a car and book a tour at less 2 days before Shabbat. It would be quite inconvenient if you are doing inter-city travel by public transport.
I didn’t do research before traveling and even missed the chances to visit dead sea because of Shabbat!!! I was trying to convict myself that it’s not wise to visit there because it is quite difficult for me to make a selfie in the sea.
You may be curious about the dressing of people with different religions and even the soldiers, but it’s better to ask for their permission before taking photos. Same with some buildings, some architectures look like tourist attractions. However, they may be the residential area or private-owned by someone. Be respectful and polite all the time.
If you are visiting Jerusalem, you will see a massive amount of soldiers and police forces on duty. Most of them are chilling and waving with you in a friendly way. But photography is prohibited often.
People here can speak English in general. But if you are looking for directions, it’s better to find your own way than asking the locals. WiFi is available anywhere in the city center. But I bought a SIM card when I decided to visit Jerusalem alone for 2 days, the minimum usage is 10GB and costs 20€ in the airport. Even though I traveled for four days, they have limited choices for tourists sim card. If you have any local friends here, you may ask them to give you their SIM cards under their accounts, most of them have 10 GB data for 6€ per month. I bought in central bus station which costs me 15€.
The average price per night in Tel Aviv is 30€ per night while the price is dropped when I visited Jerusalem, which is around 10€ after Trump announces moving US embassy to Jerusalem. There is an extensive network of Couchsurfing community, here so you can have a try on it. If you are female solo travelers, there are quite a lot of invitations from the hosts after posting your public trip. Like visiting other countries, It is important to get to know your hosts, like their cultural background and lifestyles, rather than finding a host in a hurry.
my hostel in Jerselum
price of goods
I would say the price in Israel is similar to Germany or the UK. It costs around 8-10€ per meal on average. Surprisingly my Finnish friends said some of the Finnish wines sold here are 2-3 times more expensive than in Finland. My host even said that the GDP per capital of Israel is almost the same with the UK in recent years. Recently, there is an increase of services offered by budgeted airlines, which attracts more visitors from Europe, especially Poland and Germany to visit the country. That may explain the high price of goods.