Getting around Israel is easy. I had flown from the rather large Romania, where everything is far apart, so when I arrived in the tiny Israel, everything seemed close and easy. For example, when I arrived in Tel Aviv, someone directed me to the wrong train, heading the opposite way of downtown Tel Aviv. 30 minutes later I was half way to Jerusalem, on the other side of the country! And it only cost a few dollars!
Later on when I wanted to get from Israel to Jordan overland, I found a lot of either conflicting or outdated information on how to do it. I was forced to just sort of wing it, but I took notes of how much everything costed, so i could share here.
Getting from Tel Aviv to Ammon, Jordan.
First of all there are three borders with Jordan. There’s the south border, between Eilat and Aqaba, the central border near the Dead Sea, and the northern one at King Hussein Bridge. Basically everyone said to forget the central border because it’s the only one allowed to the Palestinians and can take many hours to cross.
I wanted to make a big circle, so chose to exit Israel at the King Hussein border, and re-enter at the Aqaba one. So here’s how to do it. I’ll use Tel Aviv as the starting point, since it’s pretty central.
First of all, you have to get to Beit Shean. There are two buses a day, one early and one around 4 pm. I was at the station at noon, and didn’t want to wait that long, not to mention arriving in Amman after dark, so I found a much sooner bus to Afula, and then another to Beit Shean by 2 pm. Either way, the bus from
Tel Aviv to Beit Shean will cost 42 Sheckles. From here it gets expensive.
From the last bus stop (it’s the closest to the border), you have to take a taxi. They start off with a high number, but I was able to get them down to 50 S (only a 5 minute ride!). If you are lucky like I was, you will find 2 people to share the ride and cost.
Once at the Israeli border, you go through a quick customs. First you have to stop at the first window and pay for the exit fee which is 100 Sheckles. At this window they also exchange money, but DON”T DO IT. They charge a high commission. My advise is to exchange at the Tel Aviv bus station, and leave yourself just enough Sheckles for the bus and taxi and exit fee. After the exit fee it’s only Jordanian Dinar.
The passport control and customs is easy. They act interested, maybe ask a few dumb questions, then stamp your card. They seemed bored when I was there and wanted drama. When I arrived in Tel Aviv, they didn’t even ask if I wanted a stamp in my passport, the just gave me a card with the stamp on it. At this border, they wanted to give me an exit stamp! Why?? I don’t even have an entry stamp there, why give me an exit stamp? They acted offended that I didn’t want one, but they gave in and stamped the card. Again, I think they were just bored and had no intention of doing it anyways. I was still out of there in 2 minutes.
From there you walk through the building and to the back door where there’s a bus waiting to get filled. It costs 5 dinar for the literary 2 minute drive across the river to the Jordanian side. ( Just more money).
The bus drops you off at the customs building where you have to buy your visa. Most everyone has a on-arrival visa, and for Americans it was 20 JD. Once you buy that, it’s taxi time again. There is no bus going to Amman or Dead Sea or Petra. There is an actual taxi office with set prices, so you wont get scammed, but can’t haggle either.
From here the taxi costs 45 JD, or 60 to Dead Sea. (there’s NO cheap accommodation at Dead Sea. $200 a night at the time). There is no bus from the border. You can hopefully ask around and find people to share the taxi to Amman, and share that cost.
Total cost of getting from Tel Aviv to Amman:
Bus to Beit Shean – 42 IS or
Taxi to border – 50 IS or
Israeli exit fee – 100 IS or
River crossing – 5 JD
Jordan Visa fee – 20 JD or
Taxi to Amman – 45 JD or
Total: equivalent of about $151 alone, from Tel Aviv. Obviously a bit less from closer to the border. Taxis can be negotiated and shared.
NOTE: Most are set prices, but taxi costs vary, whether you haggle or can find people to share with. Also to be noted that Jordan Dinar is about equal to the Euro, so easy to remember the conversion.