Looking back on my time in Jordan, something so simple and seemingly boring, was one of my favourite experiences: Sleeping in the Wadi Rum, exploring the mysteries of Petra and floating weightlessly in the Dead Sea. If you’re looking for slightly off the beat path vacation this year, Jordan is the best place to visit.
Despite the proximity of Jordan and Syria, Jordan is a safe country to visit. Convinced?
Fly to Amman. We took a two days trip to see the capital city and Northern Jordan before heading south, stopping at landmarks like Mount Nebo and the town of Madaba. Spent a day at the ancient city of Petra before finally arriving at Wadi Rum. Then headed straight to the Dead Sea.
HOW TO travel
We rented a car along with a driver. Would recommend the same.
Amman, the capital of Jordan, is westernized but maintains its Middle Eastern flair, brimming with mouth-watering food and incredibly hospitable people. The city that can cater every mood, makes it a must visit. Plus, you will land here anyway.
THINGS TO DO IN AMMAN
I’m not a history freak, so wouldn’t mind skipping this place from itinerary but we combined it with visit to mount Nebu. if you’ve visited Athens and Rome, its not necessary for you to visit all the ruin sites in Jordan. But if you haven’t, then you should definitely visit this most interesting roman site of Jordan. The entrance is 10 JOD. Don’t worry if you haven’t booked a guide in advance, you should be able to hire one at the gate. However, to be sure, it would be best to hire one before arriving.
Being fond of mosaics, I insisted the driver to take us through the city of Madaba so that I can have a glimpse of the beautiful St. John the Baptist Church. the incredible mosaic architecture attracts tourists to visit it.
Mount Nebu, a 15 minute drive from Madaba, is considered the most important holy site in Jordan. Situated 710m above sea level, the stunning panoramic views of the valley and River Jordan below, makes mount Nebu a drawcard for many tourists. According to The Bible, Mount Nebo was where Moses lived out his final days. It is believed that Moses’ body may be buried here or somewhere close by.
Wadi Rum, is famous for its stunning desert landscape, spectacular sandstone mountains, desert valleys, canyons, dunes and arches. Known as the World of Indiana Jones, Wadi Rum has been used as filming location in ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, ‘Prometheus’ and ’The Martian’. The vast Mars-like landscape is unlike anything else found in Jordan, and perhaps the region.
Some famous things to do at wadi rum
We arrived at wadi rum after spending the previous day in jerash and mount Nebu. i remember before the start of dessert, on a small tarmac road which seemed to go nowhere, there we switched into a 4×4 vehicle which seemed ages old, but there was no option. We headed towards the bedouin camp and for a moment it felt that I was riding a vehicle from the movie Madmax. Enroute we stopped at some sand dunes for photoshoot. The car took us to the highest point in wadi rum to view the spectacular mars like sunset, and it really felt out of the planet or I was transported to the Madmax scene(though it was not the Madmax movie location). I was really exited to hear that we were dune bashing in the Lawrence of Arabia sets. Finally, we reached our campsite after the night fell. It was dark, we were at our Bedouin-style tent with steep cliff on one side and the dessert dunes on the other. Later that evening everyone staying at the camp gathered together inside the large tent to have dinner. The following morning
Staying overnight in Wadi Rum for at least one evening is highly recommended. Options of staying depends on where your budget and interests fall, from Bedouin camps to luxury campsites, it has all.
As we were running out of time and had to head further, we missed a ride in the hot air balloon. I do recommend to experience this great adventure, and feast your eyes looking down at the spectacular red sand view from the balloon.
WADI RUM PRO TIPS
Hidden in a valley surrounded by desert and mountains, is an entire town sculpted in stone. This town of Petra, a world heritage site by UNESCO, is the biggest reason why people visit Jordan. Been around since the 6th century, Petra has unique history that blows your mind as you travel there and learn about it.
Opening hours: Petra is open to visits 06:00-17:00 in winter, and 06:00-18:00 in summer, daily throughout the year.
Remember: Get an early night and prepare yourself for an early start!
HIGHLIGHTS IN PETRA
Our driver dropped us at the visitor centre from where we purchased the tickets. We walked through a rugged terrain leading from the visitors centre to the commencing of the SIQ. You can also hire horse to reach the Siq as the surface is rough to walk with loose pebbels and rocks.
PRO TIP: Hike the “Secret Trail” to above the Treasury in Petra
Being heavily crowded, we asked a random guide how can we get the postcard perfect picture. The guide pointed towards the top of the cliff opposite the treasury and said “if you dare to climb, you’ll have an aerial birds view from the top”. So we began our short adventurous journey to the treasury viewpoint,. The climb was very steep and the rocks were slippery. We reached a bedouin style tent which was eventually the point of the best view. As we saw down, we were overlooking the treasury.
The result is one of my favorite travel pictures of all time.
The guide tipped us on a much better way back instead of backtracking all the way.
As we took the trail to the treasury viewpoint, we missed to walk the main trails heading to the High place of sacrifice, royal tombs and the Monastery.
Though we missed by the Petra by night, but I would recommend doing it on those specific day of the week when the candles are lit.
PETRA PRO TIPS
I remember seeing the pictures of tourists reading newspapers whilst floating on the Dead Sea. Ever since then, a float in the Dead Sea had stayed firmly on my bucket list.
As we headed towards Dead Sea, we came across breath taking views along the route, from the Jordan Valley Highway to up along the Dead Sea. The Hilton Hotel is a masterpiece and I only wish I could have stayed longer. It just didn’t live up to the hype I had created in my head.
Don’t neglect to slumber in the perfect mud that has proven to be soothing, due to the high concentration of salts and minerals. But remember, the salt stinges EVERYTHING (any cuts, scrapes, dry skin) which isn’t good.