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littlera  
#1 Posted : Saturday, January 19, 2013 12:00:00 AM(UTC)
littlera


Posts: 685

We have our two Gate 1 tours selected for this year (China and Tibet; Thailand with Phuket) and are thinking ahead for 2014.  We think we want to go to Israel and Jordan, and would like any insight from those of you who have alerady completed this one!

First and foremost, is it safe????  There has been a lot of sword ratteling lately with both Iran and the Palestinians.

Did you enjoy the experience?  Does the tour tend to be people on a religious pligrimige, or a good mix of all sorts of people?  Is the tour pouplated with seasoned travelers or "first timers?"

How about the optionals - which ones to take?   We note there is a rather pricey restaurant package available, and have no idea whether to book or not.  I wonder if there are problems finding and getting restaurants independently where dinners are not inluded.

Thanks,

littlera
Randy and Deanie
Up next:
14 Day Treasures of Sri Lanka. 3/21
14 day Classic South Africa with Victoria Falls 11/20
12 day Kaleidiscope of Scotland 7/20
11 day Classic Colombia 3/20
Been there, done that:
14 day Majestic Balkans 5/19
16 Day Spiritual Southern India 11/18
14 Day Holland. Germany,Luxembourg & Belgium with Paris. 5/18
15 Day Indonesia: Java & Bali 10/17
13 Day Classic Costa Rica with Tortuguero and Manuel Antonio 2/17
18 Day Nepal & Bhutan 9/16
13 Day Kasbahs and Deserts of Morocco 5/16
15 Day Classic India with Ranthambore 11/15
11 Day Classic Baltics 6/15
11 Day Kaleidoscope of Guatemala and Honduras 1/15
13 Day Kaleidoscope of Ireland 9/14
14 Day Israel and Jordan - 5/14
15 Day Kaleidoscope of Thailand with River Kwai 11/13
16 Day China with Tibet and 3 Day Yangtze River Cruise  5/13
8 Day Classic Ecuador and Amazon Adventure 10/12
13 Day Turkish Treasures 5/12
10 Day Affordable  Peru  10/11
16 Day Affordable Bangkok, Cambodia and Vietnam 10/10
15 Day India's Majesty with Nepal  10/08
10 Day Greece with cruise 3/04
LuvToTravelWorld  
#2 Posted : Thursday, January 24, 2013 12:00:00 AM(UTC)
LuvToTravelWorld


Posts: 681

Randy, I may also be interested in this trip in April 2014, let me know what dates your interested in.  I want the 15 day w/ Eilat.


Sharon
Sharon ~ Florida, USA
LuvToTravelWorld
https://youpic.com/LuvToTravelWorld

Next: Vietnam&Cambodia 2017, Russian Cruise 8/17, Baltics 8/2017
Done (and rated): 
17 day Discovery China&Tibet 10/16 3 1/2*
Ethiopia, on own, & 10 day Tanzania 6/16 5*

10 day Copper Canyon and Mexico 12/15, 3 1/2*
11 day Guatemala/Honduras 1/2015, 4*
14 day Greece 9/2014, 3* 
7 day Dubai 2013 11/2013, 4* with
15 day Thailand, Angkor Wat, Cambodia 11/2013, 5*
11 day Ecuador and Amazon 5/2013, 4*
10 day Costa Rica w/ Tortuguero, 11/2009, 4*, & 2/2013, 3*
10 day Affordable Peru, 5/2012, 5*
15 day France, 9/2012, 3 1/2*
15 day Turkey , 9/2011, 5* 
15 day Egypt/Nile Cruise, 2/2009, 4*
Globus trips..... Scotland Highlands, Norway, U.K., Ireland, Alpine Countries, Italia, Spain, Morocco, Portugal
 Independently toured South America- Chile, Argentina, Iquazu
littlera  
#3 Posted : Thursday, January 24, 2013 12:00:00 AM(UTC)
littlera


Posts: 685

This may work for us, too.   I am also interested in the version that spends a few days in Jordan.  Saw a documentary recently about Aman, and it looked uber intresting - more than I would have thought.  Also, that tour INCLUDES the day tour in Petra, while it is about $300 per person option on the Eliat trip, which does not go to Aman.  Any interest in that trip?  What other factors should be considered in comparing these two trips?
Randy and Deanie
Up next:
14 Day Treasures of Sri Lanka. 3/21
14 day Classic South Africa with Victoria Falls 11/20
12 day Kaleidiscope of Scotland 7/20
11 day Classic Colombia 3/20
Been there, done that:
14 day Majestic Balkans 5/19
16 Day Spiritual Southern India 11/18
14 Day Holland. Germany,Luxembourg & Belgium with Paris. 5/18
15 Day Indonesia: Java & Bali 10/17
13 Day Classic Costa Rica with Tortuguero and Manuel Antonio 2/17
18 Day Nepal & Bhutan 9/16
13 Day Kasbahs and Deserts of Morocco 5/16
15 Day Classic India with Ranthambore 11/15
11 Day Classic Baltics 6/15
11 Day Kaleidoscope of Guatemala and Honduras 1/15
13 Day Kaleidoscope of Ireland 9/14
14 Day Israel and Jordan - 5/14
15 Day Kaleidoscope of Thailand with River Kwai 11/13
16 Day China with Tibet and 3 Day Yangtze River Cruise  5/13
8 Day Classic Ecuador and Amazon Adventure 10/12
13 Day Turkish Treasures 5/12
10 Day Affordable  Peru  10/11
16 Day Affordable Bangkok, Cambodia and Vietnam 10/10
15 Day India's Majesty with Nepal  10/08
10 Day Greece with cruise 3/04
LuvToTravelWorld  
#4 Posted : Saturday, January 26, 2013 12:00:00 AM(UTC)
LuvToTravelWorld


Posts: 681

There may be an issue about crossing the border from Jordan into Israel or the otherway around.  Visas or something I can't remember now, but there was a reason I didn't want the hassle.  Maybe someone else knows?
Sharon ~ Florida, USA
LuvToTravelWorld
https://youpic.com/LuvToTravelWorld

Next: Vietnam&Cambodia 2017, Russian Cruise 8/17, Baltics 8/2017
Done (and rated): 
17 day Discovery China&Tibet 10/16 3 1/2*
Ethiopia, on own, & 10 day Tanzania 6/16 5*

10 day Copper Canyon and Mexico 12/15, 3 1/2*
11 day Guatemala/Honduras 1/2015, 4*
14 day Greece 9/2014, 3* 
7 day Dubai 2013 11/2013, 4* with
15 day Thailand, Angkor Wat, Cambodia 11/2013, 5*
11 day Ecuador and Amazon 5/2013, 4*
10 day Costa Rica w/ Tortuguero, 11/2009, 4*, & 2/2013, 3*
10 day Affordable Peru, 5/2012, 5*
15 day France, 9/2012, 3 1/2*
15 day Turkey , 9/2011, 5* 
15 day Egypt/Nile Cruise, 2/2009, 4*
Globus trips..... Scotland Highlands, Norway, U.K., Ireland, Alpine Countries, Italia, Spain, Morocco, Portugal
 Independently toured South America- Chile, Argentina, Iquazu
Cheng_PVE  
#5 Posted : Tuesday, January 29, 2013 12:00:00 AM(UTC)
Cheng_PVE


Posts: 17

We went on that trip last May. We had a great time. We originally considered a cruise that stops at Israel and Jordan. Based on our trip on Gate 1 we are glad that we took the land route.

There is no "safe" or "unsafe" period in Israel - not any time that can be predicted any way. So any reservation you take is going to be the same any way. Just go there.

In general Jordan is a very safe place too. There is some dissatisfaction with recent elections but I urge you to go anyway and not worry about safety. We went to Egypt five years ago. I doubt we would go now. So go while you can.

One great thing about trips to places like Israel/Jordan is virtually everybody on the tour is seasoned traveler (someone on our group had been on Gate 1 10 times), so the trip is enhanced by the shared experience (and disciplined co-travelers).

Tips:
a. go to old Jerusalem for one evening. It is 15 minutes of walk from the hotel. Evening experience is complementary to the day experience.
b. skip the guided Jerusalem Jewish area tour. Study the area somewhat and explore all areas, including the Christian area, on your own. It is really rewarding.
c. skip the Golan Height trip and go to Acco (Acre) instead by hiring a taxi from the Galilee Sea hotel front desk. It is much more interesting.
Cheng_PVE  
#6 Posted : Tuesday, January 29, 2013 12:00:00 AM(UTC)
Cheng_PVE


Posts: 17

It is a bit of hassle to cross the border to Israel. If the Israel agent stamps on your passport you may be unable to visit some very anti-Israel countries later on. So people suggest that you have the agents stamp on a piece of paper instead of on the passport itself. Unfortunately, the agent refused.

The security at the border crossing is very tight too.

But it cannot be helped, and it should not deter you from going.
littlera  
#7 Posted : Tuesday, January 29, 2013 12:00:00 AM(UTC)
littlera


Posts: 685

Cheng,

Thank you VERY MUCH for your insight and suggestions on Jordan/Israel.  It is just what I was looking for. 

I kind of figured the travelers on this tour would be of the seasoned variety!  I do NOT want to be a snob when it comes to my traveling companions, but I must admit I most enjoy interaction with people who have been to many places.  I learn so much from them, and it helps us plan for future travels.  We have seen 62 countries to date, and hope to add many more.  After one has seen the "major" sites of the world, it takes a little more planning to figure out itineraries that don't take you back through destinations you have already seen.  Having said that, I also enjoy the company of travel "beginners" as they are really excited and wide-eyed at almost everything they are seeing!

It was interesting (but not surprising) on our 2010 Gate 1 Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia tour,  of the 38 travelers in the group, EVERY ONE of us had already toured Egypt!  A seasoned group of travelers indeed.

As a follow-up, do you recommend taking the Jordan meal plan?  Unless I am missing something, this does not seem like a good thing to do for $30 per buffet meal.  Some research I did showed restaurant prices in Aman at least were comparable to the USA, where I would not pay that for any buffet I can recall.  I remember buffets in India were about $10 to $13 at the hotels.  We always ordered alacarte from the menu, and could get more food than we could eat for about $4 or $5.  The buffets were way too much food.
Randy and Deanie
Up next:
14 Day Treasures of Sri Lanka. 3/21
14 day Classic South Africa with Victoria Falls 11/20
12 day Kaleidiscope of Scotland 7/20
11 day Classic Colombia 3/20
Been there, done that:
14 day Majestic Balkans 5/19
16 Day Spiritual Southern India 11/18
14 Day Holland. Germany,Luxembourg & Belgium with Paris. 5/18
15 Day Indonesia: Java & Bali 10/17
13 Day Classic Costa Rica with Tortuguero and Manuel Antonio 2/17
18 Day Nepal & Bhutan 9/16
13 Day Kasbahs and Deserts of Morocco 5/16
15 Day Classic India with Ranthambore 11/15
11 Day Classic Baltics 6/15
11 Day Kaleidoscope of Guatemala and Honduras 1/15
13 Day Kaleidoscope of Ireland 9/14
14 Day Israel and Jordan - 5/14
15 Day Kaleidoscope of Thailand with River Kwai 11/13
16 Day China with Tibet and 3 Day Yangtze River Cruise  5/13
8 Day Classic Ecuador and Amazon Adventure 10/12
13 Day Turkish Treasures 5/12
10 Day Affordable  Peru  10/11
16 Day Affordable Bangkok, Cambodia and Vietnam 10/10
15 Day India's Majesty with Nepal  10/08
10 Day Greece with cruise 3/04
Cheng_PVE  
#8 Posted : Tuesday, January 29, 2013 12:00:00 AM(UTC)
Cheng_PVE


Posts: 17

I do not recommend the Jordan meal plan. We in general never buy meal plans not because they are expensive but because the meals restrict our freedom to explore. We bring some food, and we are constantly on the lookout for markets to buy water and fruits.

We were at a different Amman hotel than the one you would be staying at, so I cannot comment on your Amman hotel. But the one we stayed at was near small markets and falafel places, so we were very happy.

The hotel in Petra and Dead Sea are both pretty isolated. Fortunately, as the bus went along the highway (and as we make stops to the obligatory curio stores)  we have several opportunities to do grocery shopping and buy food. So we were pretty satiated.
ladventurer  
#9 Posted : Wednesday, January 30, 2013 12:00:00 AM(UTC)
ladventurer


Posts: 5

The information you posted is great as I am going on this trip (solo) on 3/1/13. I'll be staying at the Bristol Amman. Is that where you stayed? I didn't sign up for the meal package as it seemed exorbidant in price. Do you have any restaurant recommendations if you stayed at the Bristol? Did you do the Tel Aviv at night optional trip?
Cheng_PVE  
#10 Posted : Wednesday, January 30, 2013 12:00:00 AM(UTC)
Cheng_PVE


Posts: 17

We stayed at a different hotel. So I cannot say if the Bristol is conveneient or not. I suggest that you do a net search :bristol amman review and see if someone says if there is something close by.

Large group buses tend to stay in out-of-way places...such as the Jordan dead sea hotel (very plush) and the Petra hotel (likely plush too). Hotel meals are expensive and not always appetitizing. We would rather eat our own supplies, in local fast food places or on food/fruit we bought locally, on our own so we can follow our own pace.

We walked to old Jerusalem in the night from the hotel in 15 minutes. The guide says everything is closed, but at least before 8 the muslim area is full in business. We walked thru the entire Via Delarosa and watched throngs of pious orthodox christian pilgrims at the Holy Sepulchure. It was very rewarding. BTW, do bring a powerful flashlight on this trip.

We did not attend TelAviv at night since we had to catch our flight. In any case we are drained and do not see anything worthwhile on the ad.
Cheng_PVE  
#11 Posted : Wednesday, January 30, 2013 12:00:00 AM(UTC)
Cheng_PVE


Posts: 17

I did not take the Eliat trip, just the normal Amman/Petra/Wadi Rum/Northern Israel one.  Amman itself is just a stopping point. Jerash is ok (bigger than Ephseus) - of course my view is jaundiced because I have seen lots of Roman ruins.

I cannot imagine anything beating A DAY in Petra, though.
PLT  
#12 Posted : Thursday, January 31, 2013 12:00:00 AM(UTC)
PLT


Posts: 48

I did this Gate 1 tour in February, 2010 and was very pleased. Yes, Amman was great, but Petra was fabulous! You must go on a "Petra at Night" tour, if you are there M-W-F - it's from 8:30 to around 10. I had read about it online before I went on the trip - it isn't offered by Gate 1, you buy the tickets at the entrance to the Suq. The Suq and the immediate area around the Treasury was illuminated with 1,000 candles - it's beautiful! They serve tea to everyone and then entertain with local folk music. It didn't cost very much, and it was worth every penny. I was the only one in our group that did this - I highly recommend it. The hotels that are offered now are different, however the Petra hotel is right near the entrance.2b8f6744-c595-4618-95fd-38531fc7f214.jpg2b8f6744-c595-4618-95fd-38531fc7f214.jpg
ladventurer  
#13 Posted : Thursday, January 31, 2013 12:00:00 AM(UTC)
ladventurer


Posts: 5

Was obtaining a visa for Jordan at the airport upon arrival fairly easy?  I understand there's a currency exchange nearby to facilitate the process.
littlera  
#14 Posted : Thursday, January 31, 2013 12:00:00 AM(UTC)
littlera


Posts: 685

Another example of the value of these forums - exchanging great info from those who have been on the tours and found the little nuggets that one would just not have heard of any other way.

Thanks for the super recommendation on the Petra by Night deal.  Surprised that Gate 1 does not offer this as an optional.  I'm 'gonna do this one, for sure when I get there.
Randy and Deanie
Up next:
14 Day Treasures of Sri Lanka. 3/21
14 day Classic South Africa with Victoria Falls 11/20
12 day Kaleidiscope of Scotland 7/20
11 day Classic Colombia 3/20
Been there, done that:
14 day Majestic Balkans 5/19
16 Day Spiritual Southern India 11/18
14 Day Holland. Germany,Luxembourg & Belgium with Paris. 5/18
15 Day Indonesia: Java & Bali 10/17
13 Day Classic Costa Rica with Tortuguero and Manuel Antonio 2/17
18 Day Nepal & Bhutan 9/16
13 Day Kasbahs and Deserts of Morocco 5/16
15 Day Classic India with Ranthambore 11/15
11 Day Classic Baltics 6/15
11 Day Kaleidoscope of Guatemala and Honduras 1/15
13 Day Kaleidoscope of Ireland 9/14
14 Day Israel and Jordan - 5/14
15 Day Kaleidoscope of Thailand with River Kwai 11/13
16 Day China with Tibet and 3 Day Yangtze River Cruise  5/13
8 Day Classic Ecuador and Amazon Adventure 10/12
13 Day Turkish Treasures 5/12
10 Day Affordable  Peru  10/11
16 Day Affordable Bangkok, Cambodia and Vietnam 10/10
15 Day India's Majesty with Nepal  10/08
10 Day Greece with cruise 3/04
Cheng_PVE  
#15 Posted : Thursday, January 31, 2013 12:00:00 AM(UTC)
Cheng_PVE


Posts: 17

Immigration at Amman airport is straightforward and an ATM is available there (even in small towns). Gate 1 pickup service is excellent.
ladventurer  
#16 Posted : Friday, February 1, 2013 12:00:00 AM(UTC)
ladventurer


Posts: 5

Thanks -- your info has been invaluable!
Diane and Steve  
#17 Posted : Wednesday, January 15, 2014 12:00:00 AM(UTC)
Diane and Steve


Posts: 7

Cheng thanks so much for taking the time to give us your input! It was very very helpful.   I think we will check out Petra at night for sure!  And the meal plan question had us wondering.  Good to know that there will be opportunities to gather food during the day.  

ladventurer- did you go?  What did you find?

We are getting very excited for our trip.    

Diane
littlera  
#18 Posted : Wednesday, January 15, 2014 12:00:00 AM(UTC)
littlera


Posts: 685

Diane and Steve,

We will see you in Israel!   We are on the same tour.  We will keep in touch on My Travel Mates.  Just received notice that you posted there.

Unfortunately, forget the Petra by Night outing.  Our tour (and all dates of same) spend Friday and Saturday nights in Petra.  The Petra by Night show is only offered on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  I looked into this at some length - some reviewers were not happy with the experience, and others loved it.  It is not in English, and there is only about 20 minutes of talking and someone plays a flute.

There may be some other way to go there in the evening.  I think the hotel is close.  There would be no candles, etc.  Bring a flashlight for this tour!  Either a real flashlight or the app on a smart phone.  My daughter turned this feature on on my phone - works great.
Randy and Deanie
Up next:
14 Day Treasures of Sri Lanka. 3/21
14 day Classic South Africa with Victoria Falls 11/20
12 day Kaleidiscope of Scotland 7/20
11 day Classic Colombia 3/20
Been there, done that:
14 day Majestic Balkans 5/19
16 Day Spiritual Southern India 11/18
14 Day Holland. Germany,Luxembourg & Belgium with Paris. 5/18
15 Day Indonesia: Java & Bali 10/17
13 Day Classic Costa Rica with Tortuguero and Manuel Antonio 2/17
18 Day Nepal & Bhutan 9/16
13 Day Kasbahs and Deserts of Morocco 5/16
15 Day Classic India with Ranthambore 11/15
11 Day Classic Baltics 6/15
11 Day Kaleidoscope of Guatemala and Honduras 1/15
13 Day Kaleidoscope of Ireland 9/14
14 Day Israel and Jordan - 5/14
15 Day Kaleidoscope of Thailand with River Kwai 11/13
16 Day China with Tibet and 3 Day Yangtze River Cruise  5/13
8 Day Classic Ecuador and Amazon Adventure 10/12
13 Day Turkish Treasures 5/12
10 Day Affordable  Peru  10/11
16 Day Affordable Bangkok, Cambodia and Vietnam 10/10
15 Day India's Majesty with Nepal  10/08
10 Day Greece with cruise 3/04
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