*Note: The use of the word Palestine refers to what the UN calls the ”occupied Palestinean territories.”
alQaws, 2 Hasoreg Street, Jerusalem. The Palestinean LGBTQ activist organization with information, news, and LGBTQ issues in the West Bank and beyond. www.alqaws.org
Jerusalem Central Bus Station, the central bus station for non-stop rides to Ramallah and the Dead Sea. Bus schedules and prices can be found online. www.mslworld.egged.co.il
US Department of State assesses how safe it is for American tourists to travel to the West Bank. Proper preparations should be made before traveling to and through the West Bank. www.travel.state.gov
Crowne Plaza Dead Sea, Ein Bokek. Tel: 972-8- 6591-919. A standard room costs $215 USD per night, and there is a minimum stay of two nights. Operated under the bylaws of the Inter-Continental Hotels Group, the Crowne Plaza at Ein Bokek offers a familiar space to relax. www.ihg.com/crowneplaza
Isrotel Ganim Dead Sea, Ein Bokek. Tel: 972-8-6387797. Ask for one of the recently renovated rooms with a view of the lake. The Esprit Spa includes an indoor sauna and mineral water pools. From $290. www.isrotel.com
Mövenpick Hotel Ramallah, 10 Emile Habibi Street, Ramallah. Tel: 970-2-298-5888. The first and only five-star hotel in the West Bank, with a 100-square-meter Presidential suite and standard rooms starting at $180/night. New, clean, gym, with a out- door pool. High-quality breakfast buffet. www.moevenpick-hotels.com
Cubes Pub and Khozama, Tokyo Street, Ramallah. The newest bar and night club in Ramallah, they keep a pretty low profile and their parties have a certain feel of underground house parties. Cubes is indoors, and Khozama is outdoors (not open in the winter). The website is a private Facebook page (look up QPub), and the management and name changes rather regularly. Your taxi driver should know where to go!
La Vie Café, 5 Qastal Street, Ramallah. Tel: 970-5- 296-4115. Restaurant and lounge with fresh ingredients from the rooftop garden. An exciting meeting place for ex-pats and progressive locals. Very community centered, with regular updates on their Facebook page regarding daily specials and events. www.facebook.com/cafelavie/info
Snowbar Garden Pool Restaurant and Bar, Ein Musbah, Ramallah. Tel: 970-2-296-5571. Pool, bar, and lounge surrounded by pine trees. Free Wi-Fi. Open May through October. Family-owned, and opened in 1994, SnowBar is a summer favorite for the Palestinian elite. www.al-snowbar.com
Al-Falaha, Tel: +970-2-290-5124. Rightfully famous for their musakhan, Al-Falaha is a little ways outside the center of the city and they have a few English-speaking staff members, Darna, Al Sahel St. near the Ramallah Municipality. Tel: 972-2-2950-590. Upscale Palestinian restau- rant, suggested for business lunches. They are also have a private VIP room for up 30 guests, and set menus for select holidays. www.darna.ps
Orjuwan, Tel: 970-2-2976-870. Upscale Palestinian-Italian fusion restaurant and lounge. Orjuwan offers a 150 shekel per person experimental dining experience. This off-menu culinary creation requires a reservation made at least 24 hours in advance. www.orjuwanlounge.com
SIGHTS & ATTRACTIONS
Cave of the Patriarchs, Hebron. Burial sites of sev- eral Biblical figures. Large stone walls protect the colorful interior. Security is quite intense. Take the 160 bus from the Jerusalem Central Bus Station. www.machpela.com/english
Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem. Basilica over the birth place of Jesus Christ. Renowned also as the oldest complete Christian church. A constant stream of visitors duck to enter the 1.2-meter-high doorway. www.whc.unesco.org/en/list/1433
Dar Zahran Heritage Building, Old City, Ramallah, opposite the Al-Balad branch of the Arab Bank. Tel: 970-2-2963470. The family home of the Ramallite Dar Zahran Jaghab family, the Dar Zahran Heritage Buildling includes an art gallery, a photo gallery of Ramallah from 1850 to 1979, and a souvenir shop. Very friendly English-speaking staff. A good starting point for your trip to Ramallah. www.darzahran.org
Dead Sea, the salty lake bordering Jordan and earth’s lowest elevation on land. There are several access points into the Dead Sea, including Kalya Beach (55 Shekels) under Palistinean governance, and Ein Gedi and Ein Bokek under Israeli governance. The most convenient way to get to the Dead Sea is via bus from Jerusalem.
Garden of Gethsamane, Old City Jerusalem. Where Jesus is said to have prayed for the last time. On the Mount of Olives near Jerusalem.You can’t actually enter the garden itself, but if you go early enough in the morning when there are fewer tourists, it is a peaceful and serene walk around. www.gethsemane-en.custodia.org
Monastery of the Temptation, West of Jericho. Tel: 970-2-2321-590. The gravity-defying Orthodox Christian monastery on the cliffs of the Mount of Temptation. Spectacular views over Jericho at the top. Take the Jericho Cable car. www.jericho-cablecar.com
Solomon’s Pools, Artas, near Bethlehem. Three ancient cisterns around three miles southwest of Bethlehem. A taxi from Bethlehem should cost around 30 shekels. The pools are a wonder to be seen, even if just in passing.