Traveling from Jordan to Egypt and back need not involve flying. While the two countries are not connected by land, they do have two geographic commonalities: Israel and the Red Sea. Traveling from one country to the next via land or water is not only cheaper than flying – it is quite easy.
I recently traveled from Egypt to Jordan via fast ferry and found that the journey was so quick and easy that I wanted to take the ferry back to Egypt from Jordan. Unfortunately, the Jordan ferry service seems to be not 100 percent reliable, and all ferries on the day I was to return were canceled – no reason given. This left me with only one cost-effective option of returning to Egypt: travel overland via Israel. This means of traveling between the two countries likewise proved to be quick and easy. Here’s what you need to know if you want to travel overland from Jordan to Egypt.
Jordan’s land border with Israel is in Wadi Araba and is just a several-minute drive from Jordan’s southern port town of Aqaba. There are no buses to Wadi Araba, but you can take a taxi for just a few Jordanian dinars.
You will need to pay an 8 dinar departure tax to leave Jordan.
Once you’ve paid the departure tax, you will take an approximately one-minute walk from the Jordan border terminal to the Israel border terminal. Here you will get an Israel stamp in your passport. If you don’t want the stamp because you might be traveling to Arab countries other than Jordan and Egypt in the future, ask them to stamp a separate piece of paper instead. They may or may not do it. Wherever the stamp may end up, at least it is free! There is no fee to enter Israel.
You now need to travel through Eilat, Israel to get to the border of Egypt. This journey takes 10 or 15 minutes. There is a bus stop across the street from the Eilat border terminal, from where you can take a bus to the central bus station in Eilat, then transfer to a bus which will take you to the border, which is called Taba. If you make this crossing into and out of Israel on the Jewish Sabbath, though, you are going to have to take a taxi because buses cease running from Friday afternoon to Saturday evening. A woman official at the Israel border called a taxi for me, because I arrived in the country on Saturday afternoon when bus service was frozen. This short journey cost the sizeable sum of 65.40 NIS (approximately 17.50 USD). The majority of the drive is along the coast of the Red Sea, so at least you getting a little bit of a view built into the trip if you do take a taxi.
After you arrive at the Taba border you have to pay 103 Shekels (approximately 27.50 USD) as a departure tax. But I was only in Israel for ten minutes! I exclaimed to the lady behind the counter. It doesn’t matter, said she. I still had to pay the fee.
You now take a one-minute walk from a building on the Israel side of the border to the building on the Egypt side, where your baggage will be scanned and your passport stamped. There is an ATM and money exchange in this building. When you walk outside you will officially have arrived in Egypt!
Once you exit the building you must walk for a couple of minutes to an area where there will be taxis waiting. These drivers are quite aggressive, so be prepared to dicker hard to avoid getting ripped off too badly, or have a ride with a reputable tour company like King Safari Dahab waiting to pick you up. If you do take a taxi, you can ask the driver to take you to the bus station, where you can then spend a very small amount of money to be taken to your next destination. I can tell you from personal experience if you decide to take a taxi to Dahab, you can expect to pay 250 to 300 Egyptian pounds after negotiating.
Traveling from Jordan to Egypt and back may not be as relaxing as staying in Honolulu hotels, but if you want to travel between these two countries, overland is a perfectly good way to go.