In loving Memory of Alex Lyakh and Mindy Scraper
This page is dedicated to my dear friends Alex and Mindy who passed away on 03 July 2018 in an accident in Shannon Falls, British Columbia. Both were with me on my first trip to Israel.
Coined throughout history as the Holy Land, Israel is probably one of the first countries that children would learn in Sunday school. Besides the stories and rich culture, it offers a unique middle east experience and sites. It is a home to 8.6 million people of which 80% are Jews. It is also strategically located by the Mediterranean Sea, making it abundant with resources it needs. In the modern age, it has been called the “Startup Nation” because of its vibrant tech startup community. It also has one of the most well-equipped and advanced military. Young people are treated with the excitement in Tel Aviv while the young at heart can relax at the Dead Sea. Together, let’s explore Israel through this guide.
WHY I LOVE ISRAEL
In August 2016, I was invited here for a media trip by Vibe Israel. There is something different about the energy in Israel — something relatable; something real. After deep thinking and creative nights in Tel Aviv, I decided to stay. Up until today, I live here. This is my home.
Israel has been recently famous for its steep prices, being almost the same with Europe and Australia. Hostel dorms averages at 15USD a night and can go up to 25USD, while private rooms starts at 55 USD to 80 USD. It also depends on the season. Airbnb is also a great alternative if you want to immerse into local living. They have some of the most beautiful rentals in Tel Aviv and the average price is around 54 USD.
A diverse culture makes Israel a gastronomic heaven. Don’t just munch on the 3USD falafel, try other mediterranean dishes as well. Kosher and vegan options are widely available. You can choose from budget eats that starts at a 6 USD meal to a 50 USD meal anytime you want. Beer in bars started to become expensive, starting at USD 5 a pint and of course wine is cheaper at 3 USD per glass.
Buses are widely used by locals which starts at $1.5 USD. If you opt for speed, use the recently modernized trains that cost around $4 USD. The cabs charge $5.3 USD per 3-kilometer ride. Take note that public transportation is mostly not available during Shabbat
Things not to miss
The Dead Sea
Fancy floating at the beach? Do this effortless in one of the must visit sites in Israel, the Dead Sea. Known as the earth’s lowest place, it is also the world’s saltiest body of water. Due to the harsh conditions, no living organism grows here. However, it is aso famous for its healing and therapeutic powers, so never hesitate to soak in.
Divided into four quarters– Muslim, Christian, Armenian, Jewish and Moroccan, this archeological wonder is the heart of diversity in Jerusalem. Guests will be treated with various flavors, culture and history all at the same place. Its walls hold the most important stories of the world. It is also listed in the UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Probably one of the most prominent places mentioned in religious literature, the Golan Heights is an abundant agricultural area with its own unique stories. Artifacts dating back 700,000 BCE can be found in this area. The popular activity for guests is to soak into the rich wine experience. Israel has some of the most delicious wines that should be tasted by the world.
Acre or commonly called Akko, is a city in Northern Israel with its own personality as well, being located by the Mediterranean Sea. Also popular for pilgrims, the city offers a good balance of history, ruins and nature. Get yourself a treat of authentic local food at the Akko Market.
The lovely and lively coastal city of Israel surprises its guests with unique people, ecstatic nightlife and a breath of fresh air. Biking around is must do for first timers, as well as letting the time pass by the beach. A walking tour in Tel Aviv is also a must! Being one of the most important financial cities in the world, Tel Aviv represents a non-stop, 24 hour lifestyle of work and fun. It has been tagged as the city that never sleeps.
Jaffa Flea Market
Famous for its multiple mentions in various religious literature, Jaffa is the oldest part of Tel Aviv. There are museums, lighthouses, churches and mosques that can be visited in the small town. Above all, the must visit is the flea market! Open six days a week, this shopping haven for flea market fans has some of the finest pieces for your souvenir hunt. Bring some change and haggle well.
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