On dry land, you can’t get any lower than visiting the Dead Sea, the salty lake that shares its banks with Israel and Jordan. Driving in on the world’s lowest road, float in the famously buoyant waters 423 metres below sea level. 67 kilometres long and 18 kilometres wide, this lifeless sea is 8.6 times saltier than the ocean, which is why you can comfortably sit back and read a newspaper during a dip. The health benefits of the mineral waters and thick mud of the Dead Sea have been prized since Biblical days, making it one of the world’s first health resorts. A drop in groundwater and flow of water from the Jordan River has resulted in significant shrinking of the Dead Sea, causing much concern for the tourism and cosmetic industries that support it. Something to do before you die: dip in the Dead Sea.
Length of Trip : 3 Hours
Cost : On the Israeli side, entrance is free, although do bring a few shekels if you want to buy beauty products made from the Dead Sea's famous mud. On the Jordanian side, entrance fees for tourists at Amman Beach is about in the range of US$40. Many hotels sell day passes.
Best time to go : April-May or October-November. Keep Jewish and Muslim holy days in mind when planning your trip.
Wheelchair friendly : Yes
Family friendly : Yes
Where to eat :
Israel: Though eating options at the beach are limited, there are fast food restaurants as well as falafel bars in the shopping malls in the nearby town of Ein Bokek.
Jordan: Restaurant options are sparse and overpriced. Packing snacks or a picnic lunch is recommended. Terrific food at the Movenpick if you're staying at hotel.
Where to Stay :
Isreal: The Dead Sea is quickly and easily accessible from Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Eilat. There are great hotels and hostels at every price level in all three cities.
Jordan: Since the Dead Sea is quite far from both Amman and Aqaba, a night in a hotel or hostel near the Sea might be a wise choice. Unfortunately, there are only higher end hotels in the area. I had a terrific stay at the Movenpick Hotel and Spa. Other options include the Holiday Inn Dead Sea
Getting There :
Israeli Side: The two best points of access are Ein Gedi and Ein Bokek. Both are accessible by car, or by bus from Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, or Eilat.
Jordanian Side: The Dead Sea is a popular day trip from Amman or Aqaba. Though a bus runs from Amman to the Dead Sea once a week on Friday, your best bet is taking a taxi or renting a car.
Note from Robin : Both Israel and Jordan have hotels and cosmetic factories that capitalize on visiting tourists, and the mud they will inevitably buy when they do. Rich in minerals and with qualities that treats acne, psoriasis, dry skin, hives and dandruff, the mud of the Dead Sea is processed and sold in small tubes at prices far beyond the going rate for backyard dirt. One of the many benefits of actually visiting the Dead Sea is that you can slather your body with as much of this storm-cloud coloured mud as it can bare, feeling it pull the toxins right out of your skin as it begins to dry.