I posted the piece below on the Jordan site last night in answer to an earlier question and I thought it might be helpful to post here also.
We had a marvellous 2 days in Jerusalem and Bethlehem at end of June. We stayed at St Marks Luthern Guest house right in the heart of the old city (see separate review).
We recently made the journey from Jordan to Israel. We were a family of 2 adults and 2 children in their late teens from Dublin, Ireland.
We arrived at the KH bridge on the Jordan side at 8am , the queues were short so after completing forms, paying our 8 JD exit tax and temporarily surrendering our passports, we boarded the bus about 20 minutes later.
We had to wait until the bus filled up. At this point we paid our 3JD bus fare.
NOTE- as we had arrived at Amman airport a few days earlier our visa (20JD) allowed us to cross the border at KH Bridge and return at the same crossing (I think there is a time limit of 14 days ) without having to get another Jordanian visa.
About an hour after we boarded we set off on the short journey across the border. We received our passports back at this point, we had to go through 2 more checks on the Jordanian side and then reached the Israeli side about 20 minutes later. There were a number of buses already queuing but we were lucky and the bus brought us straight to the drop off point.
First check point was for luggage. As were were staying for one overnight in Jerusalem we brought our essentials in our ruck sacks so we had no suitcases. This speeded things up as we had no luggage so we could queue straight for the security checkpoint. They put a sticker on our passports to signify we had no luggage.
After this check point we had 2 more checks to go through (relatively quickly) before we queued to talk to an immigration officer. This was the part we were most apprehensive about as we understood that it could take
ages and we could be asked a lot of awkward questions.
We waited about 5 minutes, there were 6 booths open and our Israeli officer was most polite and courteous. He asked us the purpose of our visit and we said to visit the holy sites in Jerusalem , he asked us what sites and we mentioned some of our intended areas . He then asked if we would be leaving Jerusalem and while we immediately we said "no". We then thought we might like to go to Bethlehem so we said "we might go to
Bethlehem". He gave us a strange look and I asked him with a surprised expression, "is that alright"? He said "yes I suppose so", and made a quick telephone call in Hebrew (I presume) , and then gave us our passports back with all the necessary Israeli stamps, wished us well and we were free to proceed. I expect because we were going to go to the Palestinian controlled city of Bethlehem he just wanted to question our motives. But as Christians why should we not go to see the birthplace of our Lord as it is so close to Jerusalem.
2 more security checks later, where we surrendered some previously completed forms and we were outside. It was all relatively quick, I suppose as we had so many checks to do the time passed quite quickly.
We got a Sharut from the booth outside the terminal building , we paid 38 NIS each to go to Jerusalem and at 11.15am (three and a quarter hours after we arrived at the Jordan border crossing we were in Jerusalem just outside the walled city at the Damascus gate. The journey took about 35 minutes from the border and we arrived very grateful that no pedestrians had been injured by our mad driver as he twisted and turned the vehicle around the streets of Jerusalem.
For our return to the border the following day , we got a taxi driver who had looked after us in Jerusalem to bring us . It cost us 170 NIS, a little expensive but for 4 adults we were guaranteed that we would get there in about 45 minutes in the late afternoon. This driver respected the speed limit !! We had priced it in the tourist office and from other taxi drivers and we were there or there abouts with our fare. We could not get the guarantee of a Sharut back to the border (don't know why?) in the evening and any way the price of a taxi for 4 adults was only a little extra (170 Vs 152).
We arrived at the border crossing at about 4.30 in the afternoon (Thursday, so it was open until at least 9 or even 10pm). We went inside and a lady escorted us to the pay booth to pay our exit tax of 171.50 NIS each. We then had our passports examined by an officer at the booth - no questions what so ever, 3 minutes later on the bus and then after about 5 minutes, the bus left and there only about 10 of us on the bus.
It went straight across the bridge, stopping at a Jordanian check point and then on to the Jordanian border depot. We paid our 3JD bus fare, surrendered our passports to Jordanian authorities and went inside the terminal building to get out bags scanned etc. 10 minutes later we got our passports back and we were on our way. Very smooth, from the time we entered the Israeli terminal to the time we left the Jordanian side was 25 minutes, I could not believe how quick it was .
In summary, it was worth the hassle, we wanted to see Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Doing it all in one day is very long and tiring, the overnight certainly made a big difference.
Having no luggage also speeded things up .
Being a family of 4 I think also made the passage through the immigration a little easier as our questions were very straight forward compared to some of the readers tales earlier in this and the Jordan Forum.
Be prepared for the costs, I have detailed them above - its not a cheap experience.
Recommended.Edited: 4:59 pm, August 04, 2011