A full review of Tourist Israel’s tour “Masada Sunrise, Ein Gedi and the Dead Sea.”
I was making my travel plans in my hostel in Tel Aviv. I had heard a lot of good things about Masada, so I tried to ask about bus information from the guy who was working there. I told him that I really would like to see Masada at sunrise.
“No, there’s no point in going there just to see Masada. It’s nothing special.”
I was so disappointed when I heard that because I had had high expectations for Masada. Luckily, I didn’t listen to him, and I decided to see Masada anyways. I tried to search for early morning busses so that I could see the sunrise. It turned out that the earliest bus was already too late for the sunrise, and I didn’t want to stay there overnight.
I decided to do another tour with Tourist Israel. You can read my full review of their West Bank tour here. This time I booked Masada Sunrise, Ein Gedi and the Dead Sea tour which is a self-guided tour, meaning that a driver will only take you from place to place. Again, I would recommend you to start your tour in Jerusalem, and not in Tel Aviv, because it’s cheaper and the pick-up time is one hour later.
The tour started very early in the morning, as the pick-up time from Jerusalem was 4 am. We drove straight to Masada, and our driver left us there. However, it was just a little past 5 am, and he didn’t tell us that the place is going to open at 5:30 am. It was quite cold outside, and I’m sure that all of us would have wanted to wait inside the car instead.
At 5:30 we started our hike. The path is pretty straightforward. However, we were a little bit unsure in the beginning. There’s a crossroad with two signs: to the left is a Snake Path & cable car, and to the right is a Snake Path. We were not going to take the cable car, so we continued right. The path started to go downhill, which was the most confusing part of this because obviously, we wanted to go up. But don’t get confused, this is the right path! After this, it was just straight climb to Masada.
For me, it took 45 minutes to hike up, but I was stopping all the time to take pictures. You could probably do it faster without photo breaks. There are no words to describe how beautiful the sunrise was, so I let the pictures speak for themselves.
I recommend you to take packed breakfast/lunch with you because you’ll be starving after the hike! Our driver was waiting for us at 8 am, and we then continued to Ein Gedi Nature Reserve. We had one hour to explore the area, and that’s enough to walk to the waterfall and back. I also saw a bunch of the cute animals. I learned that they are called hyraxes. I’ve seen these same animals in Africa, but at the time I didn’t know what they were called.
After Ein Gedi we made a quick lunch/shopping stop at AHAVA factory where they have skin care products made of mud and mineral-based compounds from the Dead Sea.
Last but not least was the Dead Sea. I had been swimming there just a day earlier because it was also included in the West Bank tour, so instead of swimming, I took a lot of pictures.
A price for this tour is $59 excluding Masada (29 NIS) and Ein Gedi (29 NIS) entrance fees. It’s a self-guided tour, so basically you just pay for the transportation. However, I think that it’s worth the price because you get to see Masada at sunrise and you don’t have to pay almost $40 for a bed in a dormitory (yes, that’s the price for the only hostel in Masada). And seeing Masada at sunrise should be on everyone’s must-see list!
Masada is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you can read more about it and its interesting history here.
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