Dead Sea (Israel)
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Dead Sea (Israel)
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|District (mahoz):||South District|
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The Dead Sea, the most salty body of water on the planet Earth and the lowest point on the planet, is shared between Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian territories (West Bank. The Israeli and Palestinian side has only one road, Road 90, which continues south towards Eilat and Egypt, and north towards Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Wait at any point on Highway 90 (preferably a bus station) head north to the Beit Ha'arava Junction. Get off at the Beit Ha'arava Junction, and continue at the trempiada at the beginning of Highway 1 going east to Jerusalem. From here, it is best to wait for a ride that is going directly to Jerusalem without any stop, unless your goal is not actually to get to Jerusalem, but a town along the way, such as Betlehem or Ma'ale Adummim, in which case there should be people headed there as well.
To Eilat and Egypt
Just stand on any point on the road, on the bus station heading south. Continue south till you reach Eilat.
To the Golan Heights
Wait at any point on Highway 90 (preferably a bus station) head north to the Beit Ha'arava Junction. From the Beit Ha'arava Junction, head north on highway one until you reach the Tsemach Junction at the bottom of the Kinneret. From there, there is a trempiada up to the Golan. People either drive up to Highway 92 or Highway 98 from there. Highway 98 goes right up to the Golan, and Highway 92 runs along the west coast of the Kinneret from where you can pick up Route 789 at the Kursi Junction, or Highway 87 to the Golan. Route 789 connects to Highway 98 from where you can chose to either continue north or head south. Highway 87 also connects to 98, but a bit later, and it also turns west over the Kinneret or east through the center of the Golan until it picks up 98 at its end.
From the city center you have two options:
1. You can either take service taxi ("Sheirut") Number 36, from Damascus gate of the old city, in the direction of Abu Dis, a ride of 5 NIS only. Go down in Maale Adumin junction and continue hitchhiking west. If you take this ride you get directly to road #1, from which you need to continue hitchhiking westwards towards the Dead Sea.
- Craig found it easy to get a lift even from inside Jerusalem. A bus stop in front of the Hebrew University looked perfect to set off. Since recently you can get there hitchhiking from in front the Damascus gate (sounds strange, but worked numerous times: 10 mins, 5 mins).
2. Or take buses 25, 4 or 4A from West Jerusalem to get to Har Ha'tsofim Junction, (French Hill). The place is usually crowded with hitchhikers, and drivers stop often. Most likely they will go only half ways, in which case you should ask to go down in the entry junction to their settlement, and continue hitchhiking from the bus station.
When reaching the Beit-HaArava junction, next to the border with Jordan, the road turn south and from there you can ask to get off in any location at the shore of the Dead Sea.
Sleep and Eat
The Dead Sea does not offer too much accommodation options for the budget traveler. One obvious option on the Israeli side is the Ein Gedi Youth Hostel. An other option is Camping, which is possible in all the seasons of the year. The best place to camp is in Ein Gedi's beach, 500m south of the kibbutz entry. Camping there is free, while using the public toilette cost 1 NIS and the showers cost 5 NIS. The local kiosk charge outrageous prices for food and drinks, but if the restaurant is open you can buy some cheap falafel or just pita bread.