“Regional Travel” has become a growing trend in the global tourism industry. There is a natural desire to expand horizons and explore new markets. However, travelers visiting Israel oftentimes overlook the possibility of seeing marvelous attractions in neighboring countries. What exactly is Mideast regional travel vis a vis Israel?After hitting all the classic sites like the Wall, Masada, Kinneret, Golan Heights and museums, many tourists yearn for a taste of the exotic. All that one has to do is look Eastward to Israel’s largest contiguous border – the Israel-Jordanian border. An excursion to Jordan is the sine quo nonsolution to the desire for regional travel.The options for a trip to Jordan from Israel are quite varied and range from the 12-hour jaunt to Petra or the 8-day comprehensive excursion. Petra, the famous red rock Nabatean city of UNESCO world heritage fame, is the signature destination for all visitors to Jordan. However, this destination should be approached in the proper fashion in order to get the most out of such an important tourism site.Many people choose to make the 1 day trip to Petra, with a border crossing in Eilat. This type of trip is also accessible for travelers located in the Tel Aviv area where they can catch the first domestic flight to Eilat From Sde Dov Airport, and catch a return flight to Tel Aviv in the evening. However, this might be the fastest way to visit Petra, but it is definitely not the most auspicious plan.It is much more propitious to book an overnight excursion to Jordan and to make your border crossing in the North at the SheikhHusseinBridge. First, you will make a visit to Jerash, known for its exquisite Greco-Roman ruins, and then you will travel South until you reach Petra for an overnight. This way, you will be able to visit Petra during the morning hours before all of the crowds arrive in the daily tour buses.One of the unique natural features found at Petra is the natural sunlight and the way it changes as the sun passes across the heavens. This is something that you will be able to observe if you begin your tour of Petra in the Morning. You will also benefit from the opportunity to explore on your own after the guided tour. All you will need is 35 hours of free time, and then you can discover a bit of Middle Eastern regional travel.
By Brent J. Mitchell