Are You Planning to Visit the Dead Sea? Here’s What You shouldn’t Miss

The Dead Sea is undoubtedly one of the most popular tourist attractions Israel has to offer, and for good reason. The Dead Sea is, in fact, the lowest place on earth, and its unique qualities make it a must-see while you’re in Israel. Not only is the Dead Sea hauntingly beautiful, with its many amazing beaches – it has also been proven to bring about health benefits due to its extreme salinity and high mineral content. But a visit to the Dead Sea isn’t just about lounging around on the beach and having a few drinks – if you really want to make the most of your holiday to the Dead Sea, here’s what you shouldn’t miss.

The Masada National Park

The Masada National Park overlooks the Dead Sea, and the views from this area are simply breathtaking. You can reach the Masada ruins and the park via cable car, although if you’re feeling up to a bit of activity, you can hike there as well. The plateau on top of the park is about 60 meters above sea level, and it measures around 550 meters by 270 meters. The Masada ruins are the site of a siege which took place centuries ago, and its story is definitely something worth knowing.

Ein Gedi Nature Reserve

If you want something equally spectacular, you should make it a point to visit the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, and if you’ve never seen a wadi before, this will definitely take your breath away. The Nature Reserve has two canyons, Wadi Arugot and Wadi David, and each canyon has a separate entrance. If you’re looking for physical activity, you can take a hike to Wadi Arugot, which has fewer crowds compared to Wadi David. Wadi Arugot features trails beside the streams, and although some trails may be a bit challenging, the scenery makes it more than worth it.

Qumran National Park

Qumran National Park has an important historical significance, as it is the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. It is also the site of an ancient settlement which existed from around the time of Jesus until approximately 68 AD. Qumran National Park has an elevated walkway from where you can see the channels, the aqueduct, and even the cisterns used by the ancient community. Other interesting sights in Qumran National Park include the ritual baths, the scriptorium, and the refectory (where the people ate their shared meals).

Ein Bokek Beach

Ein Bokek Beach is known for its long and broad shoreline, and it is a beach that’s open to the public. Ein Bokek Beach also features a beautiful promenade along with shelters from the sun, showers in the open air, changing rooms, gym facilities, and bathrooms.

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Things to Know Before Flying to Tel Aviv

Travelling to Tel Aviv is one of the most unforgettable trips I’ve ever had. Did I enjoy it? Definitely. However, if I could go there again, there are some things I’d do differently. If you’re a first-time traveler to the Holy Land, you might want to learn some important things first.

Familiarize the City’s Weather

Fall and spring seasons are the best time to book Tel Aviv flights. During these months, the city will usually experience rain. However, they are better than winter when it’s cold or summer when it’s dry and hot. According to the Ministry of Tourism, August is the peak season in Israel’s tourism industry. If you don’t like the crowd, you can go to the city in April, May, June, July, or September.

If you are going to go to higher elevations such as the mountain fortress of Masada, prepare for cooler temperatures. Bring clothing that you can easily layer, so you can cope with the changing temperature of the daytime and nighttime.

Know How to Communicate with the Locals

The language barrier is a common problem among travelers. Though Arabic and Hebrew are the official languages of the country, people widely speak English. Thus, you’ll have little trouble finding someone who can understand you.

Aside from the language, you must also know about the culture of the country you’re going to. It will pay to read about the history of the Tel Aviv and Israel so that you will not find yourself in any awkward conversation.

Deal with Merchants and Businessmen the Right Way

If you’re planning to visit the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv, then you should learn how to haggle. Merchants usually give a much higher price for their items as they already expect their buyers to negotiate over their cost.

When it comes to tipping, the average tip in bars, restaurants, and tour guides is around 10% to 15%. However, tipping is not common outside the tourism and food industry.

Learn How to Deal with Shekels

Shekei is the currency of Israel. Before you go to the country, it’s better that you exchange your currency to shekels. You will have a better deal if you go to an independent  money changer station than your hotel. Hotels usually give a lower rate than those posted in the bank of Israel.

If you are using an ATM, there are machines that process international withdrawals. You will receive cash in shekels. However, you should be aware of the transactions fees as they are usually high.

Listen to the Latest News

Tel Aviv welcomes more than a million of visitors a year. Thus, the police and military forces are trained well to keep them safe. True enough, Israel is safer than many other nations. Their crime rates are lower than the US. Still, conflicts can arise and escalate without warning. Be sure to listen to the latest news before the day of your trip to learn whether there threats to the safety of tourists.

Final Thoughts

Be a smart traveler and plan your trip to Tel Aviv carefully. That way, you can enjoy your holiday in the Holy Land to the fullest.