Israel – Journey to the Holy Land

As we are approaching Christmas, we have something special article, Israel, popular for spiritual journey. Israel article is contributed from one of my friend, Angelo who is willing to share his journey with us. For you, Feastntravel reader, you may also share your experience with us as guest writer. All article and photos must be belonged to you and allow us to publish on FeastnTravel.

Israel is a small country with big history, tracing back the times of Abraham, Isaac, Kings: David & Solomon, Jesus Christ and Prophet Muhammad.  History aside, its land have vast varieties  of geographic formation, from plains to valleys and plateau,  from desert to oasis and the sea.  All these were covered in this 12 days feast and travel in the country of Israel.

Highlights of the travel:

  • Jerusalem Old City
  • Holyland: Bethlehem, Nazareth, Galilee, Tiberias, Akko, Ceasaria
  • Mediterranean Sea – Tel Aviv
  • Dead Sea

Pre-Departure
Flight:
Booking a flight to Israel is quite a challenge, since few airlines are allowed to enter Israel airspace for security reason.  For instance, there is no direct flight for Singapore, if you’re residing in Singapore you either have take transfer flight from: Bangkok, Shanghai, or Hong Kong.  In this trip, we took connecting flight in Hong Kong via Israel Airline (EL AL): known for being the safest airline in the world as claimed by the land

Reference Guides and Maps:
Aside from reading several travel books on Israel (Frommers, Brandt, etc), Tripadvisor forums, Israel Tourism Websites, I would highly recommend to download the mp3 audio guides or Android/Apple apps of Jerusalemp3 which is sponsored by Municipality of Jerusalem.

Travel Planning: 
Israel transportation system is not as convenient and efficient as Singapore, there is only 1 light rail in Jerusalem, and 1 rail road going to Tel Aviv and around Israel.  So, we choose to join 3 group tours and a couple of private tours, while the rest are using audio guides or joining FREE city tours in Israel.  Watch out for the succeeding posts, to see how we Feasted and Travelled around Israel.

Departure
Expect to hurdle the following stringent security questions  before checking in your luggage (and even just getting your boarding pass for connecting flight) like :
a. What is the purpose of your travel?
b. Where will you stay in Israel?  How many days are you planning to stay in Israel?
c. How many times have you visited Israel?
d. Did you pack your own luggge?
e. Are your luggage with you all the time?
f. Did anybody ask you to carry any package item?
g.  Why did you have to fly from Singapore if you are Philippine passport holder?

We have to patiently answer all these questions twice: first from Changi, Airport (United Airline) –  Singapore Security personnel are the one asking  before luggage check-in; second  from Hong Kong airport ­-by Israeli staff .  And as if the questions are not enough, they even ask for the keys of our luggages; according to the airline staff, in case they need to verify suspicious item detected from scanning machines they can freely open the luggage; but they promise to return the keys when we have boarded the plane (which they did).  No complaints! since its for the safety of the passengers.  So that’s how safe the EL AL airline is!

Journey to Tel Aviv (Ben Gurion International Airport of Israel) was a smooth ride, but only weird thing is the flight path, instead of flying west ward of HKG  (passing over: Vietnam,  Laos, Myanmar, India, Pakistan, UAE, Saudi Arabia); this flight navigated north-west side, crossing: China, Mongolia, Russia, Kazakstan and Turkey – which are mostly desert terrains of neutral Asian countries.

Would recommend to pre select the food types from the EL AL’s website, and choose  their Kosher meals, to have the first taste of what to expect on the foods available in your destination.  If Halal is for Muslim, Kosher is for Jews (get it?)

Kosher food

Arrival
Landing at the airport after immigration (with few quetsions) we went to the nearest ATM to withdraw some local currency: New Israel Shekels (NIS).
1 SGD = 3 NIS / 1 USD = 4 NIS

To reach your hotels,  a normal 4 seater taxi will charge 300-500 NIS to Jerusalem.     I’m giving price range since the taxis in Israel prefer to test your bargaining skills than using their meters.  However, a cheaper transportation is by: Sherut taxi (Name of the taxi company is: Nesher Taxi).  This is a shared taxi which can accommodate 10 adults + luggages.  For a fee ranging at 45  for Tel Aviv– 58 NIS  for Jerusalem per person depending on the time and destination, and since it is shared it will drop each passengers to their hotels at a time.

We will continue our Israel on next article, so stay tune for interesting travel experience awaiting. Don’t forget to our Feastntravel webpage at Facebook, so you will be the first know at the time new article being published, at  here.

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One Response to Israel – Journey to the Holy Land

  1. Gelo says:

    Sharing this film featuring the Philippine – Jewish relationship. From it, one will understand why Philippine passport can enter Israel without Visa:

    An Open Door:

    http://youtu.be/Wq–fABVaYo

    http://youtu.be/GiAj9mNl3Dg

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