Eilat, Israel’s resort city

Hello World!

We are in Israel! Some of you probably already know that from our last blog with Tourist Israel (BLOG).

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We have chosen to have our “base” in Eilat, the most southern Israeli city, mostly because our Ryanair flight landed there. We didn’t know much about this city and what we’ve found out is that it is basically resort city on the Red Sea devoted to sun, fun, diving, nightlife and activities in it’s surrounding area. Being very close to Egypt and Jordan, there are several tours you can book from Eilat to Pyramids of Giza and Petra.

Find more tours here -> EGYPT
-> JORDAN

It is also a great base for exploring northern Israel. We booked Dead Sea, Jerusalem & Bethlehem tour. Find tour -> HERE

Find more tours here -> MASADA
-> NEGEV DESERT

AIRPORT
It is the smallest airport we have ever landed in! Even though it is not allowed to take pictures, I managed to snap quick one with my phone :).

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  • check if you need visa to enter Israel as a tourist
  • passport control will give you ENTRY CARD. They do not put stamps in your passports due to “stamp juggle” (several countries denying entry with Israel stamp). Entry card is an evidence of your legal entry into Israel and may be required, particularly at any crossing points into the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
    Keep it with your passport until you leave Isreal.
  • passport control will give you EXIT CARD. Keep it with you until you pass passport control in country you are traveling to.

TRAVELER’S TIP

  • take a bus to the city! Bus route No.282 will take you from Ovda airport to Eilat Main Bus Station, without intermediate stops! Price is approx. 10 EURO per person, for return ticket. You can buy a ticket from the driver (cash only, in Israeli nis.) or at Ovda airport, next to a baggage carousel at special point. City Transportation website is actually in English and you can even book it online -> HERE
  • don’t change money on the airport, unless you really need it. If you need it for a bus transfer to the city, then change only exact amount you need for bus ticket. There is “Exchange office” on Main Bus Station (final stop  of No.282 bus) with much better rate.

ACCOMMODATION
We’ve booked an apartment in the city, close to Main Bus Station and Eilat City Airport, since we wanted to get that “local feels”. However, like I said at the beginning, Eilat is resort city, so you can find numerous hotels on the Read Sea beaches.

Find accommodation -> HERE

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ATTRACTIONS

  1. Dolphin Beach
  • take a bus No.15 from Main Bus Station. It is 15 minute ride that costs approx. 3 EUR.
  • bring snorkeling gear, there is live Coral Reef underwater on Dolphin beach
  • bring a book, buy a drink at the bar and chill in the lounge located in wooden complex on the beach (you can also find food at the bar for a reasonable price)
  • swim with Dolphins at Dolphin Reef

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2. Explore the Underwater Marine Observatory

3. Visit Timna Park

4. Try a new water-sport: windsurfing, kite surfing, water skiing, stand-up paddle boarding, and parasailing. Wohooo!

5. Relax on the Eilat Beaches

 

 

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6. Go shopping, Eilat is a tax-free zone! Eilat’s main shopping area is around the Ocean Mall shopping center and along Eilat’s Promenade.

7. Explore the Main promenade! There you will find stylish restaurants, clothing stores, cosmetics & gifts shops and so much more.

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8. Try the food!

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9. Try 24/7 Eilat bakery!

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10. Tag us in your pictures! If this blog helped you with your Eilat trip, tag @dianomaya in your pictures on Facebook or Instagram.

See you next time from Amsterdam! Yes, we are flying back to Europe! Any recommendation for us?

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Israeli adventure with Tourist Israel

Hello World, we are in Israel!

We flew from Budapest to Eilat, on Ryanair flight, to get some summer. Remember our Budapest blog? Europe was cold for too long, we had to fly away!

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Eilat is Israel’s the most southern city, where you can find beaches, coral reefs, dolphins, nightlife and desert landscapes. However, this wouldn’t be a full Israel trip if we didn’t went to see Jerusalem & Dead Sea.
So, we contacted few agencies and Tourist Israel had the best response! They were easy to talk to, client oriented and their prices were fair. We booked Dead Sea, Jerusalem & Bethlehem tour. Find tour -> HERE

Tour starts very early, so don’t forget to set your alarms! Tourist Israel bus picked us up in front of the hotel, around 5:45 am. We drove north through the Arava Valley and our bus driver was the best! He was, very informative, describing all the places we were passing by. You cannot hear those kind of stories in the news or find it in any book.

Btw. can you see Lot’s Wife in picture below? Let your imagination run wild!

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First stop on our tour was the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth.  Although its name implies otherwise, the Dead Sea is actually a lake with very high salinity. On the shores of the Dead Sea are white crystals of salt, covering everything! It’s unusual high salt concentration, also, means that people can easily float in the Dead Sea. So, we floated!

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INFO

  • you will be on the private beach
  • there is a gift shop nearby
  • there are changing rooms and showers on the beach (and in a gift shop)

TRAVELER’S TIP

  • bring swimsuit, towel and shampoo
  • bring swimming shoes or slippers (remember, beach is made of salt)
  • remove all your jewlary
  • bring (or you can buy in a gift shop) Dead Sea Mud
  • apply Dead Sea Mud before swimming  and don’t apply it on your face!

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Have you heard that the Dead Sea is shrinking? Scientists say that lake can only get smaller, but it won’t disappear entirely. Our driver told us that government has plans to reverse or stop this process, but (like in any country), environment comes before other decisions.

Why is Dead Sea so important, you ask?

Dead Sea black mud is known for improving skin natural progress, easing rheumatic pains and reducing stress, and the Dead Sea salt helps to treat a variety of skin diseases like psoriasis, cellulite, acne, etc. Because of all this, Dead Sea minerals are extensively used for making cosmetics. So, the Dead Sea has a huge healing and economic value. People from all around the world come to visit resorts in Israel (and Jordan) to heal. Both countries also export cosmetic products manufactured in the area. You can buy those cosmetics in a gift shop on the beach.

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Second stop, Jerusalem, the Holy City. Our driver left us in the Old City with Robert, our tour guide. Honestly, Robert is the most comprehensive tour guide we ever had! We learned so much, in such a short time. Jerusalem is city with remarkable archaeological and historical sites, population from all around the globe and three thousand years of history. I am not going to act like I know everything about the sites we’ve visited, I am leaving that to Robert. Ask for him when you come to Jerusalem yourself. I am good at photography (at least I think I am), so let’s line up Jerusalem TOP attractions we saw on this tour.

  • The Church of the Holy Sepulcher
    Site where, Christians believe, Jesus Christ rose from the dead and was buried.

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  • Muslim Quarter Market

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  • The Western Wall

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  • Exploring Jerusalem streets

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Third, and last, stop of our trip was Bethlehem, the city where Jesus was born. Bethlehem is about 30 minutes drive from Jerusalem, but it is a Palestinian city located in the central West Bank, so we had to cross Palestinian border.

TRAVELER’S TIP

  • Bring your passport (we weren’t checked at the border, but it is an official border)
  • Don’t take photos of the border (like you shouldn’t on any border in the World)
  • Check out the Palestinian Wall graffiti art
  • you can pay in Israeli Shekel, but vendors are also accepting U.S. dollars and EURO

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In Bethlehem we visited the Church of the Nativity, which is controlled by three Christian denominations (Armenian, Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic). The Grotto, site where Jesus was born, is under the church. The exact spot is marked with 14-point silver star. There are really long lines to see the star, so if you are not religious or just don’t care much about seeing the actual spot, skip going to the Grotto.

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TRAVELER’S TIP for Jerusalem & Bethlehem

  • you can pay in Israeli Shekel, but vendors are also accepting U.S. dollars and EURO

With Bethlehem our Tourist Israel tour is, unfortunately, over. We went back to our bus and drove back to Eilat. It is a long drive back, but you will be tired from all day activities that you will easily fall a sleep. Bring a neck pillow with you!

Thank you Tourist Israel for experience that definitely enriched our lives. Israeli adventure is something we recommend everybody to put on your bucket lists.

Find Tourist Israel -> HERE

Follow Tourist Israel on Facebook -> HERE

We staying for two more days in Eilat and than we are flying back to Europe! Any recommendation for us?

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Dubai Desert experience with Funtours

When in a desert city you must go and see some sand dunes. We contacted few agencies in Dubai and Funtours had the best response (you can find a lot of similar offers for dune bashing and dinner in desert). Funtours were client oriented (Frances was quick to respond and informative) and price was fair.

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They picked us with 4WDs in front of the hotel and we drove to the desert. Before entering desert, our driver, Zaki deflated tiers and for next 15 minutes we were dune bashing!! We sat in the back of our ride and let me tell you it is the best spot if you “like it rough”. If you have more sensitive stomach, sit in front. Car had metal frame, we hold on to it so hard that our fists hurt. There are times you don’t see anything trough the window, from all sand bashing around. Such a crazy experience, we highly recommend!

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We stopped for sunset photos on top of sand dune and were told to go out barefoot. Once our feet touched the sand we were in heaven. Sand was soft like baby powder! Thank you Zaki for the best ride, music, pictures and information’s! IMG_4199-1

Later, we went to dinner camp, in desert. Camp looked like a Bedouin home, rugs were on the ground and we sat on cushions. Food was alright. We had falafels, shwarma, BBQ, salads, humus and tabbouleh. We smoked some shisha, took few photos dressed like Bedouins and Maya did henna painting on her hand; regular touristy stuff. It was all included in package, so why not?

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But, the most amazing part of dinner was entertainment! Male dancers show was out of this world! Stay till end if you can! IMG_0803-1

We had amazing time in Dubai. Have you seen our “Top 10 list” in previous blog?

You can see our full Dubai video here:

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Dubai Top 10 things to do

Hello world! We visited Dubai!DCIM100GOPROGOPR7171.

How to start this story? Well…Dubai has the world’s tallest building, hotel and residential building, the largest mall in the world, the world’s largest aquarium and the second largest man made marina on Earth. Oh, it also has beach, desert safaris, sky dive, amusement parks, indoor ski resort and many more things. Do we even need to explain why we chosen to travel there?

Unfortunately, we stayed only for 3 days (accommodation) and didn’t get to experience it all. Still, we enjoyed Dubai to the fullest and picked our Top 10 things to do in Dubai:

1. Dubai Desert Safari with dinner5-1

We will give you full insight to our Dubai desert Safari adventure in our next blog! Make sure you FOLLOW US, so you don’t miss it 🙂

2. Burj Khalifa – “At the top”6-1

We love seeing cities from the highest point and in Dubai we saw it from the highest building on Earth – Burj Khalifa.

Building is 828m tall and has open deck on the 124th floor. Ticket fees start at 125AED (approx. 35 EUR). Tickets are cheaper if you pre-book online. You can also go higher to the 148th floor, to the world’s highest observation deck, but it will cost you extra, 350AED (approx. 90 EUR).

3. Atlantis Waterpark and Palm Island

Thrilling high-speed water slides, river rapids, pools and beach equals full day fun. The best is that we show you this experience trough video:

TIP: pre-book your tickets online (saves money) and buy ticket with lunch menu included (cheaper then buying on site). Travel light (swimsuit and GoPro) and bring your own towel. There are lockers you can rent out, for a certain fee.

4. Dubai Fountain

Fountain is designed by the Bellagio people from Las Vegas and it is second largest choreographed fountain system in the world. Yes, again something the greatest!

Each night, from 6 pm, every half an hour Dubai Fountain makes 5 minute choreography followed by song and colorful lights. You will never see the same show twice! Here you can see our show (VIDEO). Show is free and you can enter it from Dubai Mall. Come earlier to pick a seat or you can have a drink at one of the restaurants on the lake where the show is located.

5. Dubai Marina

In Dubai marina, you can take stroll on lovely promenade and find coffee shops and restaurants with unreal skyscraper skyline view. It was definitely our favorite place to hang out in the evening. Follow sweet-smelling smoke in the air and you will find a shisha bar! Shisha is a water pipe used to smoke tobacco, now you get herbal flavor, such as apple, orange or strawberry. We found nice coffee shop, had something to eat, drink, smoked shisha and watched sunset over marina. It sounds perfect, right?IMG_4006

6. Jumeirah beach and Burj Al Arab

Dubai has fabulous sandy beaches, Jumeirah is just one of those. You can easily access it with a car. Our Hotel had shuttle bus riding to the beach every 30 minutes, so check with your accommodation if they have similar complimentary service. Jumeriah beach is nice place for afternoon chill on crystal white sand, getting the perfect tan by turquoise blue water. Like all beach destinations, there are lot of water sports to choose from, such as Fly board (number 7 on our list), jet ski, kite surfing and diving.

From Jumeirah beach, you can also easily walk to the Burj Al Arab, stunning hotel with curved glass facade. We know it from Roger Federer and Andre Agassi tennis match. Wouldn’t you like to play tennis match 200 meters above the ground? We wouldn’t, but you get the picture why this hotel is so amazing?IMG_4074-1

7. Fly board Dubai

This is something you can find nowadays anywhere in the world and we suggest you try it at least once in your life. Friendly advice, wear shorts and shirt, rather than swimsuit. Water is so powerful that it literally takes you pants off!

8. Old town & Dubai Creek

Dubai is a new “modern” city and it is advertised as that. However, they also have city’s historic district in Bastakiya Quarter with busy creek, spice market, gold market and few historical landmarks (Jumeirah Mosque, Al Fahidi Fort and Dubai Museum). There, you can see what the city looked like before all developments. We suggest bargaining when visiting the souks in Dubai.

TIP: Take waterbus along the Dubai Creek (price per ride/person is 2 AED or 0,5 EUR) . It’s a great affordable way to explore the old part of town.IMG_3957

9. Dubai Mall

The Dubai Mall has it all! Aquarium, skating rink, waterfalls and top brand clothing shops where you can get lost for the day even if you aren’t interested in buying anything!

TIP: pick up a map of the Mall! Burj Khalifa and Dubai Fountains entrances are in Dubai Mall, so combine those 3 in a day tour.

10. Boxpark district

We found this district on first day, by accident. We didn’t find it in tour guides and it should be. It is funky place along Al Wasl Road, home to boutique fashion outlets, cinema, restaurants and coffee shops. But, mind blowing thing is that entire area is constructed out of warehouse and shipping containers!! How cool is that?IMG_0488

Well, all good things come to an end. Hope our experience can help you to enjoy more! Let us know in comments if you found this blog useful for your trip to Dubai.

You can find accommodation here -> Dubai

In next blog we give you Dubai Desert Safari!

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