Traveling to Israel for the first time?
Besides trivial issues like weather, history, time zone and borders, there are quite a few extra things that Chinese tourists in Israel and businessmen better know when visiting Israel.
TAO has collected some information that can be helpful for Chinese tourists in Israel on various situations. Here is our guide to what *REALLY* matters:
- Payment in shops – The local currency in Israel is NIS (Pronounced as SHECKEL 谢克尔)and it is the only one accepted throughout the country. However, in many tourism oriented places, U.S dollars are widely accepted as a means of payment as well. Anyway, in shops and restaurants where U.S dollars are not accepted, in credit cards such as Master Card and Visa will be accepted, but not always American Express and Diners Club.
- Local Security Arrangements – Being located in a conflict area, Israel has some inner security arrangements that might seem odd and perhaps
even shocking to first time visitors. You will often be asked to open your bag and show its content to the security guard in local malls, train stations and even some hotels. Also, during tours in sensitive locations like Golan Heights or Jerusalem Old City, it is very important to never lose sight with our Chinese speaking tour guide.
- International security arrangements – Passport stamps from other countries. In addition to the security issues mentioned in the previous point, Israel has also quite a strict passport control policy for visitors who have visited some countries prior to their arrival to Israel. So, if your passport has a stamp from one the following countries, prepare to be sometimes questioned a bit longer (or more than a bit) at the passport control point after landing: Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Sudan, Yemen, Oman, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Somalia.
- Smoking – Similar to the current tendency in the world, smoking is strictly prohibited in all hotel rooms, restaurants and other venues and public places in Israel. However, some restaurants and conference halls has a designated smoking room or area that can be used. Still, Israel’s smokers percentage of the total population is roughly 25%, and smoking outside hotels, restaurants or simply while walking on the street is very common. In BG airport you can find a few small smoking spaces (for up to 4 people), but no large smoking room as before. A lot of Chinese tourists in Israel do miss it 🙂
- WiFi – You can find free WiFi network connection almost everywhere in Israeli cities. It can be found in all 4 and 5 stars hotel (Although in some hotels free WiFi is available only on the lobby floor), restaurants, cafés, company offices and even trains and buses. However, the networks will often be protected by password, which you can ask for, or just get it when checking in the hotel. Wifi network in BG airport is free at only a small part of the airport, in most of the spaces it involves registration and payment in order to sign-in.Also important to mention, WiFi network connection is available in all of TAO company’s buses and minibuses.
- Electricity – Both China and Israel use 220-230V
residential voltage system. However, the electric plugs and sockets used are not the same, and therefore Chinese tourists in Israel will need a simple adapter (Not a transformer but a simple adapter), to help your electric devicesand chargers fully function in Israel. Some hotels are handing out these adapters when checking in, but not all of them and they tend to often ran out. Anyway – TAO Companyis taking care of this issue! We provide free adapters to all of our delegations when arriving to Israel.
- Working hours – Israelis generally work from about9:00 until 18:00, Sunday through Thursday. Some also work on Friday mornings until 12:00. Note that most businesses close early on Friday afternoon in order to observe the Jewish holy day (Shabbat) which begins at sundown on Friday and ends sundown on Saturday. During this time, businesses and public transportation are closed – this includes banks, government institutions, private companies and many more.
- Emergency Number – While staying in Israel, TAO’s tour guide and local staff will be available and happy to assist in any difficulty that might come up. However, it’s better to know the local emergency number just in case:
Fire fighters 102 These are local numbers that can be dialed free of charge (even without SIM card) from any cellphone.