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Middle East See the Promised Land, the Red Sea, magnificient ruins and mosques, oil-rich metropoles. When you're done with that, go skiing and rock climbing ! See Europe by train
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Old 05-12-2006, 06:27 AM   #1
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Hey, I really need to go to the dead sea. I have had problems with my skin for years and altough not all that bad as they once were I would like to go to the dead sea to be fully cured (as I'm sure it would). However, as much as I'd like to go and also to Israel in general I am totally put off by the safety issues. For people from and who have been to israel can you offer me any advice and recommendations on the situation and travel. Is the dead sea region safe? and what would be my best options in terms of where to fly to? and wehre to stay? Would I be best getting a holiday package deal or going independently finding my own flights and acommodation?

I would really appreciate the advice as this is something I would really love to do but feel very apprehensive about!!

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Old 05-12-2006, 02:40 PM   #2
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Oh, why's dev off poking around in the Egyptian Museum when we obviously need him here...?

I'm headed to Israel at the end of the month, and one of the places on our ironclad itinerary is a trip to the Dead Sea. Its a university-sponsered trip, we had miles of paperwork and red tape to go through to be allowed to go to Israel but we've triumped. I believe as long as you stay away from the west bank and gaza and dont act like a moron (Im not saying you will, just cutting to the chase) then you should be fine. Be respectful (as is the case anywhere really) and be tactful.

As for getting there, I would reccomend first getting a really good guidebook on Israel. Mine is LP because it was a gift from my trying-to-be-supportive mother but really I dont prefer them. Guidebooks are a matter of taste. So get your hands on one, read up. I know that Desert EcoTours runs tours to the dead sea from the Red Sea city of Eilat. They are very highly reccomended, not dodgy at all. I believe its also pretty accessible from Jerusalem, that's how we're going.

Im sure devon (goyincognito) could give you a much better run-down, he'll be back with us soon. From everyone Ive talked to, Israel is pretty liberal and has kind of a european feel. Of course, I havent been there yet. Just sharing what I've been told...

Best of luck to you..

If you dont mind me asking, what sort of skin problems? My skin is fine but I have this terrible obsession with fancy skin products and Im really looking forward to go cosmetics shopping there.. hehe...
"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did."
-T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom

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Old 05-12-2006, 09:00 PM   #3
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Originally posted by bellelass@May 12 2006, 07:40 PM
My skin is fine but I have this terrible obsession with fancy skin products and Im really looking forward to go cosmetics shopping there.. hehe...
Steph you are gonna love the Dead Sea, they have these places where they cover you in this very dark rich mud which is has all sorts of minerals and stuff and they say it does wonders for your skin.
And right in front of the Dead Sea they have the factory for the Ahava lotions... which get minerals right from the sea across. My mum used to love them when we lived in the Middle East-
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Old 05-15-2006, 03:47 AM   #4
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The Dead Sea area is fine. You can take local buses there, they have hotels to stay in around there -- basically it's a resort. People have been going there as tourists for years. Check it out here.

When I was there, I took a day to see the Ein Gedi National Park. I still remember the literature they pass out to you there, giving advice on interacting with wildlife. If threatened by a leopard, it said, you should throw stones at it to scare it off...

Seriously, DO go to the Dead Sea. Like Bellelass says, if you stay away from the West Bank or Gaza, you should be fine. Not saying you CAN'T see those areas safely, just it'll take more care.

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Old 05-15-2006, 02:20 PM   #5
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I haven't been to the Dead Sea as of yet, but let me ask - are you thinking of staying there for a few nights, or also touring more of Israel? If so, look into staying on a kibbutz hotel such as Ein Gedi. Kibbutzim provide facilities comparable to a hotel at a much lower cost, and are much more authentically Israeli.

Israel is a safe place to visit as long as you exhibit good personal security measures. The Dead Sea is a tourist destination but it's also kind of off the beaten path which makes it even more safe. By "good personal security measures," I mean always be aware of your surroundings, don't follow a set routine all the time, be heathily paranoid of everyone else and things around you, etc.

It's really just common don't have anything to worry about. Besides that, just make sure you're not flying blind--keep informed, read up on announcements from your government regarding security suggestions, etc.

By all means, though, check out both package deals and your own accomodation for the price difference. If you are able to rent a car and you're willing to get lost for a while and have a real adventure (Israeli drivers are ) it would most probably be cheaper to find a room in a kibbutz hotel near the Dead Sea.

I recommend this, but this is coming from someone who is firmly addicted to the adrenaline rush of that "Oh Fuck" feeling you get when you realize you're lost, then feeling subsequently like a million bucks when you figure everything out and conquer the language and culture barrier and come out sitting pretty. I'm not biased, really I'm not.

As for flying in from the UK, I believe your only option is Ben Gurion airport, so you're really going to have to either have organized transport in a tour or rent a car, as it's a good 100km from the airport to the Dead Sea.

Good luck and let me know your plans if you have any questions or need any help with research!
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Old 06-27-2006, 06:33 PM   #6
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Hey there! I just got back from Israel, was there for two and a half weeks, and not once did I feel unsafe. I was evacuated twice for bomb threats, though, once from the Wailing Wall and once from a train outside of Tel Aviv, but it was relatively a minor issue and everyone acted like it was routine. Seriously, the biggest problem you're going to have there is the little kids pick-pocketing you and the shopkeppers trying to rip you off. It's safe otherwise, just stay out of the Gaza Strip/West Bank area for the most part -- unless you REALLY want to go to Bethlaham, but still be smart.

As far as transport, you have to fly into Ben Gurion in Tel Aviv unless you fly into a small, but expensive, tourist airport in Eilat. Once at Ben Gurion, if going directly to the Dead Sea, try getting a ride aboard a "sharoute" (pronounced sah-root). These are bus-taxis that generally take 4-5 people and their luggege to a destination, and usually have rates that are MUCH more reasonable then the private taxi drivers or locals trying to earn a buck.

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Old 10-08-2006, 08:21 PM   #7
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I've been on a number of dead sea tours and they are awesome... U learn so many things and get to c stuff u would ussually be yourself... But u can also enjoy the dead sea by yourself although getting from one place to another might be a bit of a problem... also if ur going to the dead sea don't miss Eilat... I think its like 4 hours away but definetly worth it!
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