Egypt, Jordan, Israel & the Palestinian Territories

Trip Code: XESIC

Why we love it

Be amazed by the beautiful scenery as you cruise down the Nile on a felucca., Explore vibrant Cairo with its bustling markets and colourful streets., Experience the feeling of weightlessness as you float in the super-salty Dead Sea., Spend the night trying to count the billions of stars or chat with the locals at our Bedouin camp in Wadi Rum., Discover the sights, sounds and tastes of Jerusalem's Old City., Hear the personal stories behind some of Bethlehem's graffiti walls., Take a cable car to view the incredible caves of Rosh Hanikra.

Is this trip right for me?

We use a variety of accommodation on this trip, including shared accommodation on a felucca and in a desert camp. 

Walking around the ruins can be uneven, dusty and rocky, bring comfortable walking shoes. In places like Petra you can expect to be walking in the elements for most of the day.

Some hotels may not have lifts. Please be aware you may need to climb stairs with your luggage to reach your hotel room for the night.

Sites can get congested during peak travel periods with coaches of large pilgrim groups. We do our best to plan our visits around these times but sometimes it is unavoidable. There may be delays, queues and private services that prevent us from entering the site. Your trip leader will manage this as best as they can on the day.

The temperatures in the region can be extreme – from very hot to very cold (snow in some places) during the year. Please be prepared for the season you wish to travel in.

Before booking on this trip we recommend that you read the ‘Safety’ section in the Essential Trip Information regarding special safety considerations for Middle East trips.

Accommodation aboard the overnight train is in two-berth cabins which convert to bunk beds. All bedding is provided on board and western-style toilets are located in each carriage. Keep in mind general train cleanliness may not be to the same standards you are accustomed to.

Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Territories are by no means cheap destinations and you should budget accordingly. The good news is that you will have expert local leaders to help uncover the best deals!

Known as 'baksheesh' in the Middle East, tipping is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry. If you are satisfied with the services provided a tip – though not compulsory – is appropriate and always appreciated. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. Don’t be taken back if this tipping culture is even more apparent in Israel.

Important information

1. This trip starts in Cairo on Day 1 at 4 pm. This allows time after the welcome meeting to explore Cairo.
2. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Day 2,7 (Sleeper Train), Day 5 (Nile Felucca) and Day 9,10 (Desert Camp) where you will be in shared accommodation, and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
3. This trip has an international flight included, luggage restrictions of 23kg checked and 7kg cabin apply on this flight.
4. Accommodation in Wadi Rum is in Bedouin tents, bedding is provided, but in the colder months November-March you may want to consider bring a sleeping bag. Bathrooms in Wadi Rum are on a share basis.
5. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest information on travelling in Egypt before your departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas of your itinerary. We have links to prominent government travel advisories and regular updates on issues affecting this trip on our Travel Alerts page: www.intrepidtravel.com/travel-alerts
6.Important alert: Yom Kippur day in 2023 will be on 24-25th Sep. We'll need to make below changes to departures during this time to ensure you'll be able to experience all included activities on your trip:
Departure code: XESIC230906
D19 - Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, Rosh Hanikra, Knights Fortress in Akko. Overnight in Nazareth.
D20 - Nazareth walking tour & Church of Annunciation. Overnight in Nazareth
Departure code: XESIC230909
D16 - Bethlehem tour in the morning and home cooked lunch with a local Palestinian family
D17 - Jerusalem old city guided tour (except for Courtyard of Dome)
D18 - morning visit Courtyard of Dome and continue to Jericho as per original itinerary.

What to bring/pack

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg.

Many travellers carry their luggage in a compact smaller suitcase or backpack with wheels. We recommend your bag has carry straps or handles so it is easy to lift and carry for the times you are unable to wheel it (ie. on rough surfaces or up steps).

If you are taking overnight trains, or primarily using public transport then the smaller your luggage the easier it will be to store under or above bunks. Large suitcases may not be able to be taken on board. A lockable bag or small padlock for your bag will be useful especially when travelling on public transportation as well.

You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, swimming suit, waterproof pouch/bag for phone, hiking shoes and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day.

Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:, https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list, WATER BOTTLE
Please bring your own water bottle to refill along the way. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please use the water dispensers which are provided on some of our vehicles and at some of our accommodation. Your group leader or local representative will advise whether tap water is safe to drink in your destination and if it is you can simply refill with tap water. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day. If you are walking or trekking as part of your trip you will need to carry at least 2L of water with you.

Physical rating

3

Despite the 'off-road' nature of this trip, it can be enjoyed by anyone who is reasonably fit. Please be aware that any visit to Petra requires a fair amount of walking. The amount of energy you expend there is largely up to you. The program in Wadi Rum involves a mixture of camel riding and trekking.

Joining your group

Pharaohs Hotel, 12 Lotfy Hassona, Dokki, Cairo, EGYPT, Phone: +20 227359595

The Pharaohs is located in a modern area of ​​Cairo, 100 meters from the banks of the Nile River, facing Gezira Island. It offers rooms with air conditioning and satellite TV.

Alternate Joining Point


Joining instructions

Intrepid can assist with pre-booking an arrival transfer from the airport - enquire with your agent. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your departure.

For your confirmed arrival transfer, you’ll be met before you reach immigration by a representative holding an Intrepid sign. This representative will assist you in obtaining a visa on arrival if required, before guiding you through immigration, luggage collection and to a waiting vehicle. In case of flight cancellations, changes, if you experience severe delays at any point, or if you are not able to find the representative, please contact the transfer operator directly: +20 12 2100 5565. You can also reach our local operations team on +201096811067 for further assistance.

Alternatively, you can take a taxi from the airport to your hotel. The journey will take approximately 45mins, depending on the traffic, and cost approximately EGP300.

Finishing your trip

75 Hotel, Allenby St 75, Tel Aviv-Yafo,, Tel Aviv, ISRAEL, Phone: +97 235212518

Alternate Finish Point


Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 20

Lunches included: 3

Dinners included: 8

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader or local representative will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies, please let your booking agent know prior to departure.

Climate & seasonal information

SUMMER IN EGYPT
As the days get warmer, temperatures can start to soar, particularly in Upper Egypt (Luxor and Aswan). From April to October, to avoid the midday heat, some days start very early (for example - 5am). Please be prepared for this - our schedules are designed to make touring as comfortable for you as possible.

The weather in Jordan can get quite extreme. Overall, it tends to be hot during the day and cold at night (in desert areas, expect it to be extremely hot during the day and freezing at night). Yet during winter it can get bitterly cold, with snowfall occurring in some parts of the country.

Travelling during the summer months (June, July and August) can be challenging for those not accustomed to the heat, so visiting Jordan during spring and autumn is recommended for those who wish to escape the hotter temperatures.

Consider your travel dates when packing for your adventure. Whilst the camps in Wadi Rum do have blankets you may want to consider packing some thermals or additional layers.

WEATHER
In summer temperatures are usually between 27 and 32 degrees Celsius. Tel Aviv and Tiberias tend to be hot and humid. Jerusalem is dryer and cooler, particularly at night. Masada & Eilat are extremely hot, often above 40 degrees Celsius.

The winter months in Israel (December through to February) can be quite cold. Temperatures in northern parts of the country can drop to freezing overnight. There’s often heavy rain and snowfall around these areas. You will need to be prepared to travel in varying temperatures over these months. Temperatures generally range between 10 and15 degrees Celsius during the day.

RAMADAN
The important month of Ramadan will be in progress 10 March to 08 April 2024 and 1 March to 30 March 2025 and  and the Eid ul-Fitr festival will be held directly at its conclusion for 3-4 days. Ramadan is a festival of sacrifice where the devout refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. During Ramadan, business hours are shortened, including opening hours at some tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and many restaurants will be closed. While you should expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month is a fantastic opportunity to travel in a Muslim country and witness this unique period, particularly the nightly celebrations when the sun sets and the fast is broken. Please note that although the Eid ul-Fitr festival can also be a fascinating time to travel it's a period of national holiday. Most government offices and businesses will be closed and some tourist site opening hours may be affected.

Yom Kippur means Day of Atonement and it is considered by Jews to be the holiest day of the year. What happens: This is one of Israel’s most special days. The whole country shuts down. No planes land, no shops are open, no public transportation runs, no cars are driven, no TV is broadcast, no food is served in hotels. If travelling at this time, there will be itinerary changes.

Here are the dates of Yom Kippur for the next few years:
2023: September 24-25
2024: October 11-12
2025: October 1-2

In case of emergency

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader or local representative may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the group leader or local representative to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the numbers below:

Intrepid local operator : Available for phone call on +30 697 800 6335 

Intrepid's Local Operator: +201096811067

Intrepid local operator : Available for phone call on +972-(0)-58-690-6428 OR +972-(0)-54-721-4546

Intrepid's Local Operator: +962 7 9700 4051

Accommodations

The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation.

Throughout the trip, we request that our properties prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However, this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available.

OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

ACCOMMODATION STYLE
Some of the accommodation along the way is basic or simple, three and four-star accommodation in the Middle East (with the exception of Israel)  is often not equal to same-star facilities in some western destinations. Rooms are clean and comfortable, however, you may note some small maintenance issues that have been overlooked, please assist us by bringing these to the attention of your group leader or local representative so that we can follow up with our hosts. Many restaurants and hotels do not serve alcohol for religious reasons or due to local laws. Breakfast is included in 95% or our hotels, pleaser refer to our daily itinerary for meal inclusions.

TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multi-share basis. 

CHECK-IN TIME
Throughout the trip, we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However, this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.  Standard check-in time is 1400 hours.

PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (subject to availability), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

SHOWERS
Showers at some hotels only have hot water at peak times (usually morning and evening). Outside of these times, you may need to speak to reception to obtain hot water.

HEATING AND AIR-CONDITIONING
As a desert region, this part of the world has extremes of weather. Winter months (approx December to March) can be very cold. All of our hotel accommodation contains suitable bedding, and simple light bedding is provided during camping activities such as an overnight felucca, desert camps or at the Red Sea Beach camp stay. Most of our travellers find the bedding provided here adequate, but for your own comfort and if you are particularly sensitive to the cold, consider bringing your own sleeping bag, thermals, scarf, gloves and a warm jacket. Some of our guesthouses/hotels don't supply heating. In many cases, this would be a major financial and environmental strain on our hotels and the local towns. Summer (approx June to August) can be very hot everywhere we travel, which means that it can be quite uncomfortable for those not used to the heat. Not all our hotels have air-conditioning, and in those that do, it's not always functioning.

ROOM ISSUES
If you have any issues with your room, please speak to the hotel and your group leader or local representative right away so that the problem can be addressed without delay.

Transportation

SECURITY WHILE TRAVELLING
Occasionally you may experience a Tourist Police Escort in your vehicle and whilst not common convoys between select towns or regions are possible. This practice has been implemented by local authorities to monitor the safety and security of visitors to Egypt.

OVERNIGHT TRAIN
On this itinerary, you will be travelling by overnight sleeper train. The sleeper cabins are about 2x1.5 meters and are 2 berths. There are 2 beds on top of each other. Pillows, sheets and blankets are provided. There is also a compartment next to the upper bed for luggage storage and a small sink. Toilets are located at the end of the carriage. Each carriage has 10 cabins which are all lockable from the inside. If you have booked a single supplement you will be assigned to your own berth.

During your journey dinner and breakfast are provided however the meals are very basic and you may wish to bring along your own fresh fruit, snacks and water to supplement these.

OVERNIGHT FELUCCA ON THE NILE
On this trip you will be travelling and sleeping on a felucca. A felucca is a traditional wooden boat with broad canvas sails. The felucca offers some shade and protection from the elements. However, there is no cabin or enclosed section. You will be sharing a sleeping area with your fellow group members for the night and a shared bathroom facility (western style toilet). You'll sleep outside on a simple mattress, there is a wooden ceiling above you but the area is otherwise open. If you feel the cold you should consider bringing a sleeping bag. These can also be rented locally. Please advise your leader during the welcome meeting. You may also wish to bring a sleeping sheet from home. Conditions will be basic during your felucca trip. If you are prepared for this, you’re sure to have a memorable adventure. During the colder months (October to March) temperatures can get as low as 5°C at night.

Our Nubian sailing crew ( normally 2 for sailing, 1 for cooking ) provides all the meals, which are hearty and delicious.

We recommend that you pack everything you may need for the night in a small day bag.
The felucca will stop a few times during your journey and overnight stay.