From the blog

Amman to Jerusalem – crossing the border

We decided to cross into Jerusalem from Amman, Jordan.  It is relatively easy to do although pretty time consuming for such a small distance.   Flights were around $450  for the 45 mile distance.  There is also a service called www.amman2jerusalem.com that offered to take us from our hotel in Amman to the border (we would have been on our own at the border crossing – which to us sounded like the scariest part).  The service would then pick us up on the other side and take us to the hotel in Jerusalem for $250.  

The decision was quite simple – an Uber from the hotel in Amman to the Allenby Crossing (which cost us $26) sounded like the best bet.  Our Uber driver was quite confused on the route so we had to help him as best we could (please note that googlemaps is incorrect on the route to the crossing and it is best to follow the road signs to the Dead Sea and then to the King Hussein Bridge/Allenby Crossing). 

Alternatively there is also a bus which leaves the Jett Bus Station (in the north) at 6:30 am for 2 JD (it was recommended to get there at 6:00 am as the queue for tickets can be quite long).   To avoid getting there that early we were advised to pick up the tickets the day before.  The bus takes 1 hour from the station to the border crossing.

Once we were at the border, we entered the small building (after our backpacks went through the xray machine), we had to give up our passports to the clerk and paid the 8 JD per person (the exit tax).  We waited in the small waiting room with the others.  The bus from the border across the King Hussein bridge runs approximately once per hour, however does not leave until it is full (so we were prepared to wait).  

Once the waiting room was quite full (this took about 30 minutes) we were told to get on the bus which was waiting for us outside of the border crossing building.  About 15 minutes later the border crossing guard brought out all of the passports and distributed them on the bus.  

Although the route that this bus takes you on through  “no mans land” is only 5 km, the process is quite lengthy.  There were many stops and numerous check points until we finally arrived at the Israeli border.  This 5 km ride took approximately 45 minutes – although I have heard it can be longer.

Israeli Visa

The bus driver opened the doors in front of a nondescript building.   At first without direction, we were not quite sure where to go…. but we figured it out and entered the building with the luggage carts.   We went through passport control, answering a few questions and ultimately received the ever important State of Israel Border Control piece of paper (which is the visa which must be kept on you at all times during the visit to Israel – as it gets checked frequently).

Foolishly we did not follow good advice and forgot to exchange some currency into NIS (the New Israeli Shekels).  Amman has plenty of exchange booths which would have gladly and cheaply taken our USD or JD and exchanged it into NIS.  The only “ATM” at the border was a small manned booth which takes your credit card and charges 3% for any currency that you withdraw or exchange.  The buses do not take anything but NIS – so we were stuck with the fee.

As we exited the border building there were plenty of large buses which go everywhere but Jerusalem.  The Jerusalem bus is all the way to the right of the building around the corner.  It is a yellow and white mini bus marked Taxi.  The ticket booth is located on the side of the border building closest to the bus.  Per person cost was 42 NIS plus 5 NIS per piece of luggage or backpack.  This bus will not leave until it is 100% full.  We had another couple waiting to board the bus, yet the bus only had one empty seat.  We had to sit there and wait until that 1 seat was filled.

Once full, the bus driver took off at great speed (maybe he was trying to make up for lost time)….  We went through a few more check points and about 45 minutes later arrived at the Damascus Gate of Old Jerusalem with great anticipation to see this amazing city!

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