Many travelers still have the outdated impression that getting to Ramallah is difficult or even illegal, this is no longer the case. There is a thriving backpacker scene all over the West Bank, and people without any knowledge of the situation can visit easily and safely. Embassy travel warnings are notoriously unreliable and are clearly linked to political considerations.
By Air The West Bank does not have an airport, so the two options to get to Ramallah are via Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport, or via Amman in Jordan. Palestinians are not able to enter via Israel and thus use the Jordanian option when flying in from elsewhere. Jordan is a more expensive and long-winded option and should be avoided if possible, although Ben Gurion comes with its own challenges including possible questioning and delays at the airport. Having said that, most people have no problems at all getting into the West Bank, it just helps to be informed and prepared.
From Ben Gurion Airport, visitors can catch a Sherut to Jerusalem (45 mins) and then either take public transport from Damascus Gate to Ramallah (30 mins), or take a taxi. Taxis from the airport to the West Bank must be arranged in advance, which can be organized your hotel/hostel.
From Amman, visitors need to make their way to one of the two bridges between Jordan and the West Bank taxi, and cross into Jericho. From Jericho, it is a 45 minute Serveece to Ramallah or a taxi.
By Public Transport
There is a bus from East Jerusalem, from the bus stop near Damascus Gate, just 1 block uphill towards the Jerusalem Hotel. Bus numbers to Ramallah, all running the same route, include 18, 19, and 218, 219. The bus passes through Qalandia checkpoint, without stopping to be checked. It takes about 30 minutes to get from East Jerusalem to Ramallah. Doing the trip in reverse requires passing through the checkpoint, but passports/visa information is not collected, and therefore a visitor to the West Bank does not automatically enter any database or list.
Collective taxis (locally called “servees”) regularly travel to Ramallah from most cities within the West Bank. Simply ask. These are great forms of transport during the day as they are cheap and leave frequently from most locations. The bus leaves when it is full (about 7 people), so it may take a while outside of normal hours or from less populated locations. In most cases it is just a question of waiting for a little while until more passengers join. If you are impatient then you can offer to pay the fare for the remaining seats. Sometimes others waiting in the taxi are keen to join this approach.
By Car It is certainly possible to rent a car in both Israel and the West Bank, although take care to check the small print regarding where the cars are allowed to travel. Most rental companies in Israel do not allow their cars to enter into the West Bank due to insurance policies. Exceptions in Jerusalem include Middle East and Dallah, which also have offices in Ramallah. There are some rumours that cars with Israeli license plates are targeted with stones etc in the West Bank. This is not true, and you will find many cars with yellow license plates. People often forget that 20% of Israel citizens are Palestinians, who come to the West Bank regularly to work, play and visit family. It is of course important to check your surroundings and make sure that you do not park in an unsafe area, but this applies to all places, whether in the West Bank or in New York City.
It’s really simple. What is one thing today you are really grateful for? What is another? If you can list 3 things a day, you’ll see you have much more going for you than you thought. Soon your list will get so long you’ll be beaming with energy.
- Coffee and beer shouldn’t be thought of as magic bullets for creativity.
- They are ways to create chemical changes that occur naturally in your body.
- Quality sleep, a healthy diet, and allowing yourself to take breaks.
We are all human as well and humans are not perfect creatures. When you learn to accept yourself, true happiness quickly arises.