Travel to the West Bank / Palestinian National Authority – Episode 256

categories: asia travel, middle east travel


The Amateur Traveler talks to Matthew Long from about his trip to the West Bank or the Palestinian Authority.

Mathew did day trips into this emerging state from Jerusalem and tells us about visiting Jericho and Bethlehem, the city of David. The Dead Sea was a well-known highlight while Hisham’s Palace proved to be an unexpected highlight. The area boasts monuments dating back to the Jewish patriarchs such as Rachel’s Tomb, where childless women come to pray, and the ruins of the community of Qumran, where the dead sea scrolls were found. Do you know what you should skip doing the morning before you go to the Dead Sea? Matthew will tell you.

right click here to download (mp3)
right click here to download (iTunes version with pictures)

Show Notes
West Bank
hotels in Bethlehem
hotels in Jericho
Rachel’s Tomb
Rachel’s Tomb on Wikipedia
Hisham’s Palace
Mount of Temptation
New Jerusalem Tours
Dead Sea Scrolls
Dead Sea
City of David
Dead Sea Center


TSA – Traveling with Food or Gifts
I missed my hotel stay because…’the dog ate my passport’


Gabriel – 3 words for Singapore – “Hot, Humid, Engineered”
Sandra – “these podcasts sparked my love of travel”
Patrick is listless
Paul is all caught up

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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

3 Responses to “Travel to the West Bank / Palestinian National Authority – Episode 256”



Hi Chris,
I listened to this episode with my usual skepticism of any talk about the PA. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the guest was fairly balanced in his discussion of the PA. There are two things I want to correct your guest on though:
1) The Golan Heights has never been considered part of the PA.
2)There are 3 security areas in the PA controlled areas: Area A, B and C. Area ‘A’ – full control of the Palestinian Authority. This constitutes about 2.5% of the land area.
Area ‘B’ – Palestinian civil control and Israeli security control. These areas constitute about 25% of the land area.
Area ‘C’ – full Israeli control, except over Palestinian civilians. These areas constitute 72.2% of the land area.

Jewish Israelis are generally not allowed into Area A, but are allowed into Area C and some parts of Area B.

Erik Smith


Chris- I visited the West Bank on my Israel trip in May of 2010 (the one inspired by an Amateur Traveler episode), and I did it on a day trip from Jerusalem with a guide recommended by the guest on your Israel podcast (episode 167), Douglas Duckett. He was excellent, and I would highly recommend him to anyone else who wants to go to the West Bank while staying in Jerusalem. (I am sure you can get his e-mail address from Douglas or myself). I went out in the Judean Desert to a 7th Century Monastery known as Mar Saba. I also visited The Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, which was one of the most fascinating parts of my whole month-long trip. We also visited the Shepherd’s Fields and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
I agree with the guest- I wouldn’t want to do this as an independent traveler, although I am sure it could be done.
Two other side notes, I’ve heard that Nablus is a fascinating city to visit to get a look into the real life of the Palestinians. I did not get to visit there, but someday hope to. Secondly, most of the big rental car companies do not cover trips into the West Bank, but I drove from Jerusalem through the West Bank on roads 1 & 6 to get to the Galilee, and those were ok because they are Israeli controlled. I did have to go through a pretty intense checkpoint when re-entering Israel proper.



By the way, for independant travelers: the easiest way to get to the Westbank is to go to the bus station at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem (it is right next to the old city) and take a bus to Ramallah. The bus station has signs in English, or just ask around, people will tell you which bus to take. The bus ride costs 8 shekel and lasts 1 hour. Buy the ticket from the driver. From Ramallah you can go to any major Palestinian city by bus without probems.

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