Petra Stories and Tips

Crossing the Border

We left Israel from the Yitzhak Rabin terminal. This is open on weekdays from Sunday through Thursday, from 6:30am until 10pm, and Friday and Saturdays between 8am and 8pm. We drove down from Tel Aviv to the terminal near Eilat, and parked the car in the parking lot alongside the terminal. We asked someone who worked there if this would be alright, and he replied with, "It’s up to you." We took our chances, and luckily the car was still there when we returned, apparently we seemed to be the only people who were taking the chance.

A fee of $15 is charged in the Israeli terminal to outgoing tourists. This is followed by 5 JD in the Jordanian terminal. Make sure that your passport is valid for at least 3 months or you will come across some problems.

When the people that work there let you know how much time it will take to process the paper work, don’t let them spit out any old number. If they say 30 minutes, ask if it can be 15, chances are they’re just sitting around smoking cigarettes and chatting—really friendly guys, not super speedy. It was a really hot day in July when we were there, and sitting around waiting in the heat was uncomfortable.

After everything was cleared up at the terminal, we had to walk over to Jordan. It is a short walk, and you can see the Jordanian flag in the distance. This is where we met up with our driver, Fares Mashaleh. He was a super nice guy, who acted as our first tour guide, and even ended up picking us up at the end of our trip. His number is 00962.777.550254. On our way up to Petra, about a 2-hour drive, we stopped along the way at a few lookout points—one of them including some great side-of-the-road shopping. I bought an adorable little vase here, and some of my friends found some nice jewelry.

Fares Mashaleh, the driver, was trying to convince us to sign up for a tour on the following day. It actually sounded like it would be a lot of fun, and we had to explain to him that we would only be around for one day, and had already made our plans. If I had more time, or if I make it out there again, I would definitely take him up on it. He described heading over to a great spot to watch the sunset, which sounded great, but we had to get back to Israel in time to meet up with our other friends.

With all of the border crossing and taxi fees, along with the tour guides, this trip can add up to be a bit pricey. It was definitely worth every penny!

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