July and August are the warmest months of the year in the region. Get your very strong sunscreens, hats, eye-drops and whatever you need against sunstrokes and dryness. Temperatures during day-time will range between 28 and 35 degrees. Nonetheless, given its elevation of about 900 meters and proximity to the Mediterranean coast, Ramallah gets cool and very humid at night with temperatures dropping to ±15 degrees with coldish, wet breezes.
There is no law in Palestine imposing a particular dressing code, but there are certain unwritten rules as to what kind of clothing is appropriate. In general, we suggest you dress somewhat conservatively, which means long trousers and tops that cover shoulders and chest. For men regular wear is fine, inside Ramallah and beyond. For women, shorts, short skirts and cleavage-revealing tops are not recommended. In some parts of Ramallah sleeveless tops and below the knee skirts / long-shorts are acceptable. But in some neighborhoods that are more conservative you will be starred at and picked on. Outside of Ramallah (e.g. when on excursions), women should wear at least half-sleeves and have legs covered. Keeping a light scarf in reach to through around shoulders would be handy.
TAP WATER is not always drinkable, but one can as well find bottled or filtered tap-water.
SEWEGE NETWORK is rather old and basic, so please do NOT flush toilet-paper, rather, throw it in the baskets set aside for that purpose.
There are some options within the city, entry fees to pools range between 45 to 60 NIS. Bikinis are normal for females. The Dead Sea and Mediterranean beaches take a long time to reach because of the Israeli checkpoints, so it is hard to consider these an option during the ICCG 2015 program.
Residents of Ramallah are generally friendly, many speak English, and mostly will help if you have questions/problems. As elsewhere around the world, this does not constitute a license for blind trust.
While recently it has become unusual to see Israeli Army units in Ramallah city during the day, if they do appear and stop – usually in a jeep or tank – please leave the area immediately. Moreover, we recommend that you have a passport with you at all times, especially when you leave the city as you will be requested to show it at checkpoints.
OPENING / CLOSING HOURS:
Official weekend in the West Bank is Friday and Saturday. In Ramallah some business and institutions may open on Friday, but close on Sunday, particularly Christian organizations, e.g. the Municipality of Ramallah and Birzeit University close on Fridays and Sundays. So there is no regular weekend, there are combinations. What is important for you to know is that Supermarkets are open throughout the week, emergency pharmacies are always available, and public transportation is more irregular (but available) on Fridays.
LEISURE & ENTERTAINMENT:
Ramallah has many leisure options, and more so in the summer season. The Conference Kit you will receive upon registration will contain some information about activities on offer (exhibitions, concerts, hikes, etc.).
Drinking is allowed in places that have alcoholic beverages on offer such as restaurants and bars as well as in some supermarkets and liquor stores. Drinking on public streets is not a common or recommended practice.
Ramallah is not a cheap place, and prices differ significantly from popular neighborhoods to central locations. Prices of basic commodities (e.g. food) are reasonable if bought from popular markets or supermarkets, yet meals in Cafés and restaurants get pricy, especially sites frequented by internationals. Between daily transportation and food you should calculate about 70 to 80 NIS. This estimate includes neither costs of leisure activities beyond our official program, nor dinner that we will be providing daily.
CREDIT CARDS & CASH:
Paying with credit card works in few places only, so make sure you have cash on you. There are many ATMs around the city, but withdrawing cash from them is not always guaranteed due to Israeli restrictions on the Palestinian banking system. However, generally, you should have no problems. The Bank of Palestine which has an ATM at alManara Square works. We recommend you have some starting Shekel (NIS) cash on you when you arrive until you have figured out which ATM works for you. Calculate your trip costs and the pocket money you need for at least the first two days. Please note that there is no strict supervision over currency, hence you could pay in foreign currencies at supermarkets, cafés, etc. However, this is not-recommended because the exchange rate will be much higher than at an official money-exchange shops. You will see freelance exchangers on the street, these are also not recommended.
MEDICAL and OTHER CONDITIONS / NEEDS:
Medical services and response-time in Palestine are not optimal, but solutions and alternatives can be arranged. Hence, if you have any condition that we need to be aware of then kindly communicate it ahead of time to our team so that we are able to make necessary arrangements. In our June News Brief we have sent registered participants a link to a form where such information can be provided.
Unfortunately the local market is poor in terms of commodities for Lactose- or Gluten- intolerant persons. But there are few shops that do sell few items. Nonetheless, in the summer season there is an abundance of tasty fruits and vegetables at very affordable prices. For vegetarians, Palestine is a great place to be.
GETTING AROUND RAMALLAH:
There is no systematic public transportation network in Ramallah. There are either Taxis (at all times), or mini-vans which work as shared taxis and are referred to as servees (only during day-time). Regarding fares; taxis rarely use meters, instead, they collect fixed fares. Please check the fee before jumping into a cab. Within the city the fee often ranges between 12 to 20 NIS for regular distances. For the servees, these are either orange mini-vans or yellow cars with black-colored sides. These operate on certain routes, and have fixed fares which range between 2.5 to 4 NIS depending on distance.
alTireh Taxi: 02-2950948
alMasyoun Taxi: 02-2952552
Jerusalem – Ramallah:
alAqsa Taxi: 02-6273003
Imperial Taxi: 02-6282504
alAmman Taxi: 02-5834599
BenGurion Airport – Jerusalem – Ramallah:
Najeeb Transportation: +972-(0)522-860-975 / +972-(0)543-983-346 / firstname.lastname@example.org
PERSON 1 TBA
PERSON 2 TBA