The mystic lands of Egypt, Jordan & Israel

1st Aug 2014
Photo of The mystic lands of Egypt, Jordan & Israel 1/2 by Kritika Parwal
Photo of The mystic lands of Egypt, Jordan & Israel 2/2 by Kritika Parwal

Some occasions demand an established cliche… like the first post in a spanking new year! And so, true to the spirit, here I go. A certain dear human St. Augustine once said that the world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page…and I think I took it far too literally! Ok now that the salutations are well parked out of our driveway, here we go… into a backpacking journey through the Mid East, mesmerizing history and peace… into the mystic lands of Egypt, Jordan & Israel!

  A Fly into Cairo: The sojourn begins at Cairo International. Strongly recommended that you switch off all the electronics on yourself and deep dive into the ineffable mysteries of Arabia… cute sheikhs with their uber cool Keffiyeh, double hump camels, Aladdin's treasures, magic rugs and Belly dancing swirls! 

  B. Take a bus to Giza: Next up, take a bus to Giza… Now this is quintessential Egypt… pyramids, sphinx, camels… et al, and I am sure you already have your photo checklist ready! 

 C. Hitch your way into a van to the Blue and the White deserts: From either Giza or Cairo, get a van to take you to the Bahariya Oasis. Bahariya is the gateway to the Egyptian deserts. Enjoy a traditional welcome with some folk music and chai before getting on to a 4X4 into the deserts.

D. Hop onto a Felluca for a cruise on the Nile: Drive your way back into Cairo before getting on a traditional boat called Felluca for a surreal cruise into the placid Nile. Egypt is sincerely a Gift of the Nile and the emotion can be best experienced riding the waters of the bewitching river. The three day cruise shall take you to Abu Simbel, Aswan and Luxor. These land pit stops are a splendid way to absorb in some local architectural marvels such as the Ramses statues and the Valley of the Pharaohs. The big point to remember here is not to miss out the Esna lock at Edfu where numerous beautiful vessels queue in to sail out of the canal.

E. Take a bus to Hurghada: Hurghada is a cute beach town on the Western side of the Sinai peninsula and is known for its junk and merry parties. Do take a trip around Ras Al Mohammad National park for sighting some dainty marine shoals and coral.

F. Ferry your derriere across the Red sea into Sharm El Sheikh: Take a ferry to the other side of the Sinai peninsula. Vanilla speak, Sharm is a snobbier cousin of Hurghada with more upscale people, eateries and hotels.

G. Hike up Mount Sinai: Next up, hike your way up Mount Sinai, where the Moses delivered the ten commandments. 

H. Scuba down the gorgeous Dolphin Reef: Red sea is one of the coolest diving sites in the world and we have been saving our gear for here! If you can spare two days, earn your PADI here at a WW II ship wreak… do it in style!

I. Stroll through Petra: Dawdle through its numerous alleys and lanes, marveling at the colored rock formations and the history trapped in them.

  J. Try some buoyancy experiments in the Dead Sea: Dead sea is any science student’s travel dream! Leisurely read a book while floating in the saline sea and absorb in an experience of a lifetime. The water is said to have therapeutic properties and naturally relaxing.

K. Get your visa stamped for Israel on your bus to Tel Aviv: Keep your passport on you when you take a bus to Tel Aviv to get an Israeli visa stamped. Tel Aviv’s shoreline is one to fall in love with! Take a memorable bite of the Mediterranean at the famous Banana beaches and Jaffa Promenade. Do-O-meter rating: 6/10 (A difficult place for backpacking given the baleful of con men, nevertheless cheap & a lot of fun!) Dough in the pocket rating (from India): 8/10 (Just a teeny meany hole in the pocket!) Visa hassle rating: 10/10 (Fairly fairly fairly easy to obtain.)

Gape awestruck at the finery of the Egyptian Papyrus at the famous museum, wander and haggle and have a cup or two of the traditional Koshary tea with the locals in the Khan Al Khalili marketplace.

Photo of Tel Aviv District, Israel by Kritika Parwal

Walk into the pyramids for an extra fee, check out the mummies and the ancient pottery and quietly remember your high school History teacher!

Photo of The mystic lands of Egypt, Jordan & Israel by Kritika Parwal

The White and Blue deserts are truly gorgeous lovechild's of nature and science and a sight to savor! Don’t miss camping into the desert in the night and sleeping under the stars for anything.

Photo of The mystic lands of Egypt, Jordan & Israel by Kritika Parwal

Take a day or two off here and do pretty much nothing in this pretty little town!

Photo of The mystic lands of Egypt, Jordan & Israel by Kritika Parwal

Take a little detour away from backpacking and stay a night at the Oberoi Sharm, its truly the stuff dreams are made of! Live up the good life before we move East in the search of peace!

Photo of The mystic lands of Egypt, Jordan & Israel by Kritika Parwal

The queer yet blessed peace here is something most tourists passionately rave about.

Photo of The mystic lands of Egypt, Jordan & Israel by Kritika Parwal

Petra is a fascinating natural wonder.

Photo of The mystic lands of Egypt, Jordan & Israel by Kritika Parwal

Dont miss the Nahalat Binyamin craft fair for some indulgence into the local way of life and spend an eventful evening at the Rabin Square.

Photo of The mystic lands of Egypt, Jordan & Israel by Kritika Parwal