Tel-Aviv is all about marketing. First time my expectations were so high due to all the web pics and things to do that I found on-line. I was so disappointed. Second time was better and third time was even interesting. So keep coming back to discover this cities.
Why a 2.5 stars destination? Very expensive for what it is. A different culture where negotiation in markets is a must otherwise you pay double. Always pay attention on what you pay, either taxis or food. For Europeans it is an effort, as we are thought to be tolerant and exercise acceptance.
So let’s be honest and start the DON’Ts (there are a lot of DOS also in another post I plan to write about Tel Aviv and Jerusalem):
- first of all, don’t go if no generous budget.
- don’t underestimate the cost of everything there starting with accommodation till food and night out. Everything is expensive, VERY EXPENSIVE, more than Paris and even Ipanema.
- don’t go without checking visas, papers. Also it is important to know that an Indonesian visa on your passport is a problem (and other Muslim countries). I had one but it was from when I traveled to Bali. I was still questioned about it. Be relaxed and everything will be OK, if you are not guilty.
- don’t go without travel insurance, copies of your documents to use them when go out, some cash or at least avoid exchange at the airport. Use ATM’s. Don’t rent a car as public transport is very convenient, even for Jerusalem.
- be patient as you’ll be double checked on the flights to Tel Aviv and sometimes questioned as it is the procedure. Try to understand the situation and the area where you’re travelling to.
- don’t expect 5 stars accommodation when in Tel Aviv and looking for budget or medium price. It is so expensive and the Airbnb flats or rooms are medium price and very low quality. They do not invest in decoration or renovation and I can understand that.
- don’t underestimate the religion and the rituals in their everyday life. Be very respectful about and avoid unnecessary conflicts. If you know the history you suddenly understand how to behave, so read about before travelling.
- don’t miss Jerusalem while in Tel Aviv. It’s an hour by bus. While in Jerusalem pay attention on the things to do out of the cities walls in the western area, and do not buy there for souvenirs as silver is not really silver.
- don’t be surprised to find them quite rude and noisy people compared to Europeans. It’s just a personal perception and many of my friends agree upon.
- most of the major touristic attractions are over-rated, for example the spice market, the beach, the Bauhaus architecture, Carmel market and it’s surroundings. I was though impressed by Old Jaffa streets and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art tamuseum.org.il, especially the architecture.
- Tel Aviv is not a shopping destination – just to remember and to bring everything you need. Summer is very hot so pack accordingly, bring your own sunscreen, swimming suit.
- don’t forget Sunday is a working day, so it can be busy on your way to the airport or Jerusalem.
- the food and wines are over-rated and over-prices. Maybe the choice of hummus can be impressive.
- don’t be afraid about communication. English, French and Russian are common.
- don’t be afraid of the army, by the contrary. Gives you a sense of security.
- and to close the list, souvenirs are expensive and ugly. Local hand made is way too expensive.
Why I still go…….I have no idea except the general feeling of the city and the contrasts that are so appealing. It is marketing but it is so well done; it’s a lesson.