A Day Trip to the Dead Sea

Most people who live outside of Israel think the Dead Sea is a remote place to visit. But for Israelis and especially those who live in Jerusalem a trip to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on the planet, is little more than a local bus ride from the center of the city. About an hour from Jerusalem you can find yourself floating in the famous salt sea.

To organize your trip from Jerusalem you first need to find out the bus schedule from the central bus station. There are no English published times of bus departures and arrivals at the central bus station. One needs to phone the station and in some cases know Hebrew or one can simply go down to the bus station a day or two ahead of time and pick up a schedule beforehand. The central bus station is an icon of Israeli culture. A bustling place with soldiers, various religious people, students, tourist and a lot of shoppers. The central bus station is also a shopping center with all kinds of shops and a great food court where you can purchase anything from a falafel to a McDonald's hamburger. Most of the food is kosher and it is a great place to pick up a snack before your day trip.

The trip itself takes you from Jerusalem, through the Judean hills replete with bedouins encampments through winding roads that lead to the Dead Sea. One of the more popular places to visit is the Dead Sea Spa, which is located about 100 yards from the sea. Due to water evaporation, the Dead Sea is shrinking and one has to walk or get a ride from the spa to the shoreline. For about $10 you can receive a locker and a towel. After you change into a bathing suit a tractor vehicle takes you down to "the beach".

The shoreline is anything but soft sand - it is an encrusted mass of salt that is very sharp against bare feet. Therefore it is highly recommended that you wear sandals that you can walk in and take into the sea. After you have had your fill of floating in the sea, you can head back to the spa area where you can smear the famous Dead Sea mud all over your body. After showering off you can head back into the spa's restaurant for a nice cool drink while waiting for the bus to take you back to Jerusalem.

The whole day trip takes about six hours and although you have not done too much exercise you are pretty much exhausted. One note: take plenty of water. It's very hot at the bottom of the world.