An Experience at Ein Bokek, the Dead Sea

Gil Caspi |

How low is the Dead Sea? Can you really float in it? What causes us to float? Which ailments does the Dead Sea cure? How many hotels exist in Ein Bokek? How much do they cost? Why is it called the Dead Sea, when we have lots of lively fun in it? To all of these questions and more – you can find answers and lots of information on the Internet.  What you won’t find (and what I won’t tell you) is how to get the best out of the Dead Sea, maximize your time in Ein Bokek, take advantage of the exciting new tourist complex, and make your stay an unforgettable experience.   

In preparation for the up-and-coming Shavuot Holiday, I visited four hotels that will be the first to open their doors – after a period of waiting and anticipation – in accordance with Ministry of Health guidelines that apply to them all. I interviewed their representatives and inquired how they were preparing for the number of people who will be coming and, on that, I will expand upon later. In the meantime, I will just add that they are very excited and happy to be back hosting and pampering their guests.

Let’s go! A tour of Ein Bokek’s tourist complex in the southern part of the Dead Sea – off we g-g-go!

The Dead Sea Beach. Photograph: Gil Caspi

The Dead Sea Watch

The Dead Sea Watch is not just a proverb. In the Dead Sea Land, time works differently… It’s highly recommended to get up early and enjoy some of the most beautiful sunrises (if not the most beautiful) that can be seen around the globe. The sun rises on the other side of the Dead Sea, to the east, over the Moab Mountains of our Jordanian neighbors. At first, you see reddish-orange hues, sometimes purple shades and then, slowly, the sun comes out in all its glory. Now, imagine yourselves sitting on the balcony of one of the hotels in Ein Bokek (with a pampering cup of fresh coffee, of course), witnessing this spectacular event. Wow!!! A stunning start to the day, which will just make you want to see, experience and do more in the Dead Sea Land.

Sunrise in the Dead Sea. Photograph: Gil Caspi

More sunrise images from the public beaches at Ein Bokek and Hamei Zohar – this time with the lyrics of a song: “The blue Dead Sea will ripple silently and, from above, a small cloud will set sail…”               Photograph: Gil Caspi

The Ein Bokek tourism complex has a well-kept promenade, always clean, and wide enough for large numbers of people to pass at the same time (in fact, the Dead Sea Marathon takes place in the complex). You can continue your day with a walk along the Ein Bokek promenade (don’t forget to change out of your pajamas…) And yes! You can turn it into a run. Ahhh! All along the public beaches you will notice that, with much forethought and consideration, various fitness devices for the well-being and use of the general public, have been placed. Thirsty? Want to freshen up? There are plenty of drinking facilities, taps, showers and benches. A bit tired now? Are you done with morning exercises? You can go back to the hotel for an indulgent breakfast and then choose how to spend the rest of your day. Shopping mall, stores and more, all in easy-to-find proximity All within walking distance of the hotel.  A new classy mall where you’ll find everything. Try to challenge them – you won’t succeed.  Did someone mention food? We’ll say it again – Cafe Greg for the serious types, a whipped cream and ice-cream parlour for those with a sweet tooth, Mexican food for those who like their food fast, speedy and tasty, kosher food, and more, more and more… Apropos Kashrut! There’s a regularly active synagogue – additional information can be obtained at your hotel.

       You don’t feel like shopping? Go to the beach – the earlier you get there, the better. The weather’s wonderful in the early hours. Don’t forget to take Selfies reading the newspaper while floating on the water! In any event, it’s an integral part of the experience. Find a corner on the beach, grab a chair and enjoy one of the most peaceful places you’re ever likely to be. The beaches are very clean, there are lots of trash-cans, the organization of the areas is exemplary, with showers and clean toilets and at all times you can see local workers toiling constantly to ensure the continuation of a safe and enjoyable experience. Another hot recommendation is to purchase the famous mud and try it out, if only for the photos and the laughter afterwards.

Ein Bokek Promenade Photograph: Gil Caspi

A bike ride along the Ein Bokek promenade can be had and you can rent a bike at almost all the hotels!

Photograph: Gil Caspi

Play around and smear yourself with medical mud! The Photographer, The Photographed, The Mud-Smearer: Gil Caspi

Floating self-portrait by cell phone: Gil Caspi

I will again mention and remind you of the public beaches (Ein Bokek and Hamei Zohar) which are under the jurisdiction of the Tamar Regional Council. I will give them a score of 11 out of 10 – with cleanliness and order of the highest level, courtesy and outstanding service, from the first of the cleaning workers to the last of the lifeguards.  These beaches are already open and beginning to fill up.  The order and cleanliness are clearly evident, as can be seen in the following photos:

Extra Pampering at the Dead Sea Land Hotels

Feel like hanging out at the hotel? Great! The hotel will provide you with a variety of activities and offers – from spas and salt pools to fresh water swimming pools and a wet-bar (all under the guidelines and supervision of the Ministry of Health). The Dead Sea hotels that have been prepared for opening in the coming days, are: the Hod Hamidbar Hotel, the Milos Hotel, the Harrods Dead Sea Hotel and the Leonardo Club Hotel. They are all “on the water”, a few dozen meters walk from the shore of the Dead Sea. Take a towel, a bottle of water and off you go… straight into the sea where you can float to your heart’s content – like a turtle on its back!

It’s important to note a number of things: all hotels have been prepared to host their guests in a very personal, pampering and safe manner (in accordance with Ministry of Health guidelines). There is no additional charge for room service and each guest will be asked to complete a questionnaire, so that the hotel staff can provide the most gratifying and suitable hospitality to him/her, personally. The beaches near the hotel are under the responsibility of the hotel, in full cooperation with the local council – Tamar Regional Council. The earlier you book, the better! Try not to become too attached to the comfy bed in your room, in case you become fossilized! You have enough time to sleep when you’re at home. 

Pay attention! After your “siesta“, you must take another dip in the sea – we’ll call it a “float-fiesta“. After this dip – healthy for both body and soul – it’s time for a walkabout because, don’t forget, you’re in the place with the most spectacular view in the world!

Water in the Desert

Next to the Ein Bokek complex is Nahal Bokek, a short, easy trail with an abundance of fresh, cool water.  Sorry to ‘disappoint’ you but, even if you crawl along this trail like a Red Indian, you’ll still reach the end well within an hour and a half.  You’ll enjoy a shady trail with plenty of birds and dragonflies.   It’s a delight!

Nahal Ein Bokek Photograph: Gil Caspi

Just Before the End of the Day

Look at your Dead Sea watch – almost evening? Come and eat! Again! The hotel’s chef has prepared a surprise for you. It’s worth checking with your hotel on cultural events and entertainment there and in the Dead Sea Land. Also, it’s always possible to call the local hotline for such info.  The hotline services the Ein Bokek area and is available 24/7 on phone number: 106.

And now, off you go to bed because tomorrow, you’ll wake up to another sunrise that you really don’t want to miss!

You’ve arrived on vacation in Ein Bokek – it’s the real thing! Mmmm…  Ahhh…  You chose a vacation that’s fit for a king!

The Dead Sea and Tourist Complex Photograph: Gil Caspi