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Female Solo Traveller looking to travel through to West Bank

Melbourne, Australia
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9 posts
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Female Solo Traveller looking to travel through to West Bank

I am trying to map out my itinerary to Israel, Jordan and Palestine Authority from Dec - Jan. This will be my first time travelling to the Middle East and I have no idea where to start! I have a huge interest in seeing the West Bank while I am there. I have heard stories of tight security measures such as checkpoints to the West Bank. I am most interested in seeing the town of Tubas, but how to get there would require some pre-planning. Any suggestions on how I can go about arranging transport, a driver or even a guide would be much appreciated (or any other security tips for a western women getting through checkpoints).

Also, I was hoping to be in Bethlehem on Christmas, but as a solo traveller not sure if it would be a safe time to travel at such a busy and congested time especially with the Nativity procession.

Appreciate any tips and suggestions! Thanks

Gippsland, Australia
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for Jerusalem
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1. Re: Female Solo Traveller looking to travel through to West Bank

Hi Carolena and welcome to Trip Advisor. It is good to see another Melbournite going to Israel and the PA. :)

My husband and I have been into the West Bank several times, but we have always felt more comfortable going with a private guide or a tour. Some places are more easy to get to than others. The West Bank is divided into three areas, Area A is completely under Palestinian control at the moment and an Israeli guide is not allowed to go there for their own safety. Places in Area A include Bethlehem, Jericho, Nablus, Hebron, Ramallah and Jenin. There are a couple of tour groups who operate day tours from Jerusalem that you could look at. www.abrahamtours.com and www.greenolivetours.com

I think you should know in advance that the green olive tours are very political and you only hear the Palestinian side on them. There is, if course another side. :) I would suggest that perhaps the dual narrative tour to Hebron done by www.abrahamtours.com would be a good option because you get to hear two different sides to living in that difficult area.

I gather you have to have tickets and permission to be at the Christmas celebration in Bethlehem. I am sure one of the regular posters from Israel will be able to advise you about this. If you don't get a response in this forum then ask in the Israel forum.

The situation in the West Bank is very complex so whilst many people visit Bethlehem without a guide (it's close to Jerusalem) it is good to have a day tour or private guide take you places that are off the beaten track. I don't know Tubas, but looking at the map it appears to be not far from Nablus. We went to Nablus, Sebastie (Biblical Samaria), Mt. Gerizim (which overlooks Nablus) earlier this year and the guide we chose was from www.twinstours.org and I would be happy to recommend that you contact them if you want a private guide. Tony Moubarak was the twin that guided us and he was a very lovely man who would look after you well. Private guides are expensive though. You are looking on average at $600-$700 per day for a licenced guide who will drive you. (Don't go with an unlicensed guide because as in any country, the info you receive could be wildly incorrect).

For the main part of your tour to Israel I would suggest that you ask for ideas on the Israel board. There is a wonderful group of regular posters there who give great advice. Please give some idea of what kind of places you are interested in seeing and which religion (if any) because it makes a big difference to the places you will want to see.

Have a wonderful trip! :)

Melbourne, Australia
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9 posts
14 reviews
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2. Re: Female Solo Traveller looking to travel through to West Bank

HI Heather! Wow this is fantastic info, always appreciate a warm Melbournite welcome :)

So much to consider, and plan. I think as it is my first time to the Middle East it would be wise to arrange tours and hopefully get a chance to go off the beaten track as you have mentioned. I had no idea about getting permission or tickets to Bethleham... thank Goodness you mentioned that.

Will review my options and take it from here. Once again, thanks and will keep you posted on my plans!

Israel
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for Israel
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3. Re: Female Solo Traveller looking to travel through to West Bank

As regards Bethlehem on Christmas you need to check with the Christian Information Center - they will have the necessary information and contacts to request tickets as soon as that can be done.

NYC/Israel
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for Israel
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4. Re: Female Solo Traveller looking to travel through to West Bank

Understand that to go to Bethlehem on Christmas you need tickets to get to the Church. You do not need permission to go to the city. Tickets are crowd control and nothing more. Generally speaking ( and there is no reason to assume it will be different this year) there are shuttles from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, going free of charge at Christmas time. This is arranged by the municipality. This info will also be on the site Oreet mentions.

Israel
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5. Re: Female Solo Traveller looking to travel through to West Bank

Tubas is certainly not on the tourist trail. I assume you have some particular reason for wanting to visit there, such as a family connection. If you do have family or friends there, you should ask their advice about the advisability of going there as a solo female. You should be aware that cultural norms in Palestinian villages that are not accustomed to seeing Western tourists, particularly solo women, are not what you may be used to or what you expect.

Bear in mind that Heather travelled with her husband, to places that are used to seeing tourists. It sounds as if you are planning on going well off the beaten track without a male companion. You should consider this very carefully. Many parts of the West Bank are extremely conservative and it just isn't done for women to travel alone.

"Western women getting through checkpoints" is the least of your worries. Tourists - of either sex - are usually just waved through.

6. Re: Female Solo Traveller looking to travel through to West Bank

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7. Re: Female Solo Traveller looking to travel through to West Bank

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Gippsland, Australia
Destination Expert
for Jerusalem
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8. Re: Female Solo Traveller looking to travel through to West Bank

Mazara T, advertising yourself on a Trip Advisor forum is not allowed so you will probably find that your post gets deleted within a short time.

Best wishes - I realise this must be a difficult time for tour guides,

Cairo, Egypt
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9. Re: Female Solo Traveller looking to travel through to West Bank

Hi There! I am excited and jealous of your upcoming trip :) I was in the West Bank as a solo female traveler last April. I had no real issues as a woman alone.

I traveled between Jerusalem, Ramallah and Nablus. I hired taxis to take me in between cities and it was always a positive experience, although a little expensive.

You should be fine as long as you take normal safety precautions. Just dress conservatively and ignore the stares.

In all, the west bank is incredibly beautiful and the people in major cities are very warm and hospitable.

New York City, New...
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10. Re: Female Solo Traveller looking to travel through to West Bank

Hi Carolena,

I literally just got back from Jordan, Israel, and West Bank! My trip was very short, but hopefully what I'm about to tell you will be helpful. FYI, I'm a US citizen.

I flew into Amman airport, stayed overnight in Madaba at Mosaic City Hotel (do this if you're planning to cross the King Hussein/Allenby bridge to Israel, it's closer to both the airport and the bridge!). I crossed into Israel the next morning via Allenby bridge. I arranged a tour in advance with Green Olive, which I absolutely recommend, specifically my guide Yamen, who was incredible. He was very knowledgeable and such a fun guy. I have not roamed around the West Bank myself, but I would guess it's much better to use a tour guide to make the best use of your time and to ensure you see everything you want. The other posters are right, there is obviously a dual narrative, but seriously, when else are you going to get the palestinian perspective? I don't know about Abraham tours, but through green olive, i learned a lot about what the palestinian people are going through, and my tour guide even took me to his home and I had coffee and met his family.

As for border control, it was all very painless. You can contact me for any specifics, but honestly, it was much easier than I expected. All the posts/reviews I read talked about how painful it was and how long it took and how you have to get to the bridge at 7am. Not true at all these days, based on my experience at least. The West Bank area in Bethlehem was completely safe, and your tour guide will be able to alert you to any potential demonstrations or activities, so another reason not to go on your own (just to be safe!).

Good luck, and I'm so jealous you get to spend so much time and see much more!!! Definitely check out the Banksy graffiti sites, Yamen can show you everything!

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