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Dont forgot you passport, you definitely need it as you are entering an Arab city. This was another excellent trip with "Isaac" (Zahi Shaked), and a Palestinian guide, both were very knowledgable and friendly. They took us around Bethlehem, including the lactation grotto church and church of the nativity. They provided local food at a reasonable cost, which we ate nearby and had a chance to buy the locally crafted figures made from the olive trees growing in the picturesque hilly landscape around Bethlehem. This gives you an idea of how the shepherds lived during Jesus's birth and the part they played in communicating the news of the birth of Jesus. As this is a half day tour, you will be dropped off in Jerusalem, so you have to make your own way back to you accomodation.
I have been to Jerusalem five times . This by far is the best tour I have taken. The small bus was clean modern and very comfortable . I will return and use this tour again and again
Very good. Just don't forget to take your passport. Ossy is a great guide.
Don't miss the chance to buy olive wood stuff - difficult to find it in other cities.
Interesting place, but I missed a feeling of authenthicity there, with that church full of icons, decorations and crowds of people. I did appreciate, the fact, that we were transported in private cars, which brought us close to all places. Nice too, that our group was so small, we were allowed to ignore the big queue of people and could squeeze in between. I do have to doubt, if the people in the queue appreciated it too.
Excellent exploration of three main sites in Bethlehem and usefully dropped off in Jerusalem to make your own way back I recommend the train as it goes through some epic countryside.
The half day tour was exciting and the tour guides, especialy the Palestinian guides were excellent. To be commened. The only issues were it was running very late and they forced a certain gift shop and restaurant upon the group. It was as if they were getting a cut of the service. They should have put a time limit on the gift shop and ended the tour immediately after, not forced the restaurant. Not many wanted to go.
This was a great tour. The Palentian guide was excellent and we had a really nice time.
Angela B Bulgaria
Very quick get in, see the sites and get out again trip. Was a great trip though.
A well-organised and enjoyable trip with helpful, friendly and informative tour guides. We had no hold-ups going through the checkpoint as other travellers have reported. Unfortunately I did not read the small print that said the tour started in Tel Aviv but ended, somewhat inconveniently, in Jerusalem. The tour company were going to charge 140 NIS to travel back to Tel Aviv. Luckily we were able to make alternative arrangements.
This tour is unusual in starting in Tel Aviv and ending in Jerusalem. This is not stated in the initial information and was the reason I booked. Another member of our party, an Australian who had also booked through Viator was given a taxi back. I think the itinerary should be clarified as a taxi trip costs 320 shekels.
Communication from me via email was efficient and easy, however that company not having my reservation caused a one hour and 15 minute delay for my pick up. I had to call the company to get picked up. The bus ride to the transfer point was timely and the bus was clean, the tour guide was knowledgable and easily understood and made sure I found the correct bus to be on for my tour, he was going to Masada I was going to Bethlehem. The transfer bus was clean and the driver was nice. The driver and guide from Bethlehem were excellent! We were able to avoid long lines, they had incredible knowledge, made sure all 8 of us on the tour had a chance to see and photograph everything we wanted, and made sure we were on time for all sights. After the tour we were taken to a store that had quality items as well as kitsch items. I did not feel pressured to purchase. I enjoyed the hospitality of tea or coffee. The bus back to Jerusalem was late and the driver dropped us at Jaffa Gate instead of the hotel due to of the ladies on the tour requesting that they be dropped off at the Jaffa gate. The driver refused to take us to the hotel that was the original drop off point. We had to walk. Thankfully one of the other tourists knew where we had to go. My rating for the tour guide and driver in Bethlehem is a five plus, my rating for the Bein Harim part in Jerusalem and my pick up 2.5.
It was just ok. Nothing spectacular about the tour. Its just a pretty good way to get around places. Less time spent on each destination except the gift shops that they want you to spend your money on (typical tourist trap). I did three consecutive days with this company and its all the same.
The guide was good but then there was no one to pick us up after the tour when it was downpouring outside. They also forget to tell you that if your staying in Tel Aviv that they will shuttle you to Bethlehem, but you will have to find your own way back.
While the trip was well organized I was disappointed. Since the tour was Christmas Eve I expected a little more flexibility. Everyone on the tour wanted to spend some more time in Bethlehem and then make our own way back to Jerusalem. We were soundly encouraged to stay with the group or we could be 'stranded at the border late at night'. The tour ended at 1pm just as the celebrations were beginning in Bethlehem. I was also very disappointed that the tour would pick up customers in Tel Aviv and then return them to Jerusalem. I have never been on a tour (been travelling the world the past year) that didn't bring guests full circle back to the location that they were picked up from. Adding a second mini bus that would return to Jerusalem later in the day would give customers the option of staying a little longer on this most holy day to Christians. And offering a shuttle back to Tel Aviv is the least that could have been offered. I was given no help whatsoever and had to make my way back to Tel Aviv on my own (by taxi)... which cost as much as the entire tour. I have used Viator for tours in Europe and was very pleased but this tour of Bethlehem does not meet those same standards.
1. The whole scheduling seemed to be chaotic and not well planned.
2. The best part of the tour was the tour guide in Bethlehem, Ishem (spelling). Ishem was very knowledgeable about the City of David and answered my questions.
3. the taxi ride from the Mt. Scopus Hotel to the checkpoint at the entrance of Bethlehem was not in keeping with a quality tour service. The taxi was dirty and stunk of cigarette smoke. Additionally, the driver just dropped us off and told us to meet someone named Ishem and Irias (spelling) our guides who would be driving a black BMW. No security whatsoever was provided. Due to poor instructions from the taxi driver, we waited outside the checkpoint for 30 minutes before I called Shani to ask what was going on. Viator should provide an escort through the checkpoint instead of leaving your customers standing around trying to figure out what to do.
4. the last stop on the tour was the gift shop that just so happened to be operated by Irias' family. There was a lot of pressure to buy souvenirs and overpriced jewelry. Bad move here.
5. You should state in BOLD letters on the 1/2 Day Bethlehem tour that you do not take tourists back to Tel Aviv. I didn't learn this until the shuttle bus driver was taking us back to the Jaffa gate.
6. The shuttle bus driver dropped me off at an intersection near one of the Share Taxi's and said "look for the yellow, white, and blue minibus" to take me to Tel Aviv and pointed up a hill. The driver should have taken me right to the drop off, a distance of about 150 meters.
7. I expected the tour in Bethlehem to last about 4 hours based on what is stated in the description. We didn't get to through the checkpoint until 11:20am and the tour was done by 1:30 pm, so just about 2 hours in length.
It is ridiculous that they trip picks you up in Tel Aviv and ends in Bethlehem and then they have the nerve to tell you it will cost $140 each to get back to Tel Aviv. It is more problematic as Tel Aviv is in one country and Bethlehem in another (Palastine) with all the problems that implies. I would not recommend this trip to anybody! If you cannot do better than then JUST DROP THE TRIP.
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