Jordan has been on my bucket list and finally I decided to get up and go but not without preparation. And for that I got in touch with the experts! Mohammad Nawafleh from Jordan Bedouin Style tours & travels came like messiah to help me with my quest. Now these guys have assisted so many happy souls..errr travelers around Jordan that I simply relied on Mohammad about the things to do while there. And while at it….I also added “could you tell me a lil about food culture too?” And Mohammad spread a feast for me!! Well armed with all I had to know, now lemme give 8 reasons to visit this stunning kingdom.
Named amongst the new seven wonders in 2007 and a world heritage site since 1985, Petra is over 2000 years old. This old woman is known for her rosy complexion which comes from the red rose sandstone in which the temples, houses and tombs are carved. Petra was capital city of Nabatean empire to start with and saw Christian settling in around 4th Century whose signs remain in form of Byzantine church. After an earthquake destroyed this thriving city ages ago, Petra was rediscovered in 1812 by Suisse Johann Ludwig Burckhardt.
Petra captivates you right from the beginning when you step into Siq, a narrow gorge over 1 km in length and flanked by high cliffs that rise to almost 80 meters! As you reach the end of Siq, a stunning sight of carved out complex called Al Khazneh greets you which is almost 30 meters wide and 43 meters high. Royal tombs, Silk tomb, the Corinthian Palace tombs and streets of the bygone era welcome you to this majestic complex. Wear your hiking shoes here because exploring the chambers will require a great deal of walking and climbing. Do not miss Jabal Haroun just because you were too lazy to walk all the way because this is the place where you find the white tomb of Aaron, brother of Prophet Moses. (Now that is what we call some serious history!).
How to Reach:
By Road: Distance between Amman to Petra is 240.60 kilometers (149.50 miles) and a well constructed desert highway (route 15) joins the two. You can choose between JETT buses, minibuses and rental cars that can take about three hours to get you to Petra. With self drive cars, do note that GPS is not usually reliable since some roads are not updated.
By Air: Nearest airport is Queen Alia airport Amman which is 211 kilometers (131 miles) from Petra. Amman is well connected by flights from all major airports in the world.
Where to Stay: Our top picks for Petra are:
- Luxurious and elegant- Petra Marriott Hotel
- Dazzling white beauty- Moevenpick Resort
- Petra Guest House
There are of course, other hotel options as well.
Wadi Rum is a vast desert landscape and one of the largest in the world. Remember Lawrence of Arabia? Well this place is also called Lawrence of Arabia-land because the film was shot here! Witness the glorious sunset here and experience the Bedouin hospitality and warmth by spending the night at a Bedouin Camp. Wadi Rum is nature’s canvas and desertscapes here are spell-binding. This desert is largely desolate and except for Bedouin settlements and desert police patrol headquarters there are no building or man-made structures here (a big relief we say!). If you wish to camp purely in the wilds then you are welcome to do so with your own tents or you could hire some from the main city.
Mohammad has suggested night walks in the wilderness of Wadi Rum where galaxies come alive in the heavens above! I am absolutely doing it but as he says, have an experienced guide by your side or you could lose the way. Noted.
Adventure Activities in Wadi Rum
Rugged Sandstone Mountains and cliffs here are a haven for rock climbers and vary from grade 3 to 5 on difficulty scale. Go Sand boarding, explore this humongous territory on a camel, horse or foot. They even have bike tours! If this adventure is not your kind, then hop on a hot air balloon and watch this magnificent place from the comfort of skies! Hot Air ballooning is available from April to June and September to December. Gliding and private plane rentals are also available in Jordan, only from Marka Airport in Amman.
This desert offers a great opportunity for hikes and treks that would take you to canyons that bear Thamudic inscriptions and drawings, natural sandstone bridges and real desert oasis. Our experts strongly recommend hiring a guide if climbing and hiking are on your things-to-do since climbing is restricted in some parts. Also, book adventure tours well in advance for an easy and comfortable experience.
Bird Watching in Wadi Rum
Vultures, we hear have gone extinct in most of the countries but Wadi Rum may get you to see some! And it is not only the vultures, but this desert also harbours myriad forms of large bird species since it is the route for migration. Spring and Autumn are two seasons when you have the best chances of spotting these majestic birds. Do carry your binoculars BTW!
How to reach:
By Road: Wadi rum is 271 kilometers (168 miles) from Amman which takes about three hours to reach. From Petra it is about 128 kilometers (79.35 miles) and 202 kilometers (125 miles) from Aqaba. You can choose between minibuses, car rentals, cabs and public transport which is available only from Petra and Aqaba.
By Air: Nearest airport is Queen Alia airport Amman which is 288 kilometers (179 miles) from Wadi Rum.
Where to Stay: There are many desert camps in Rumm region and most of them are good .Our top picks for Wadi Rum are:
This city is more than 6500 years ago and boasts of an uninterrupted human occupation since then to present day! Imagine living in a place that is THAT old! Actually the old excavated site is not the place where people live now and there is a wall that divides the old and the new city today. It has a rich history which includes that of being one of the ten great cities belonging to Decapolis league in Roman empire .
The city's golden age came under Roman rule, during which time it was known as Gerasa, and the site is now generally acknowledged to be one of the best-preserved Roman provincial towns in the world. Hidden for centuries in sand before being excavated and restored over the past 70 years, Jerash reveals a fine example of the grand, formal provincial Roman urbanism that is found throughout the Middle East, comprising paved and colonnaded streets, soaring hilltop temples, handsome theatres, spacious public squares and plazas, baths, fountains and city walls pierced by towers and gates.
Beneath its external Graeco - Roman veneer, Jerash also preserves a subtle blend of east and west. Its architecture, religion and languages reflect a process by which two powerful cultures meshed and coexisted - The Graeco-Roman world of the Mediterranean basin and the traditions of the Arab Orient. The modern city of Jerash can be found to the east of the ruins. While the old and new share a city wall, careful preservation and planning has seen the city itself develop well away from the ruins so there is no encroachment on the sites of old.
How to reach:
By Road: Jerash is very close to Amman about 65 kilometers (40 miles) only. You can take cabs, car rentals or even bus that ply frequently between Jerash and Amman.
By Air: Nearest airport is Queen Alia airport Amman which is 65 kilometers (40 miles) from Jerash. Amman is well connected by flights from all major airports across the globe
Where to Stay: Jerash does not have a lot of options when it comes to staying over so picking a hotel at Amman makes a lot of sense. Our pick for Jerash is Hadrian’s Gate hotel. Following are the best places to stay at Amman:
Without a doubt the world's most amazing place, the Jordan Rift Valley is a dramatic, beautiful landscape which at the Dead Sea, is over 400m (1,312 ft.) below sea level. The lowest point on the face of the earth, this vast stretch of water receives a number of incoming rivers, including the River Jordan. Once the waters reach the Dead Sea they are land-locked and have nowhere to go, so they evaporate, leaving behind a dense, rich, cocktail of salts and minerals that supply industry, agriculture and medicine with some of its finest products.
The Dead Sea is flanked by mountains to the east and the rolling hills of Jerusalem to the west giving it an almost other-worldly beauty. Although sparsely populated and serenely quiet now, the area is believed to have been home to five Biblical cities: Sodom, Gomorrah, Adman, Zebouin and Zoar (Bela). Quality hotels and spas at the Dead Sea and the nearby Hammamat Zarqa / Ma'in Spring allow visitors to experience several different kinds of mineral hot springs and the thick, warm brine of the Dead Sea, which are both soothing and therapeutic.
The leading attraction at the Dead Sea is the warm, soothing, super salty water itself – some ten times saltier than sea water, and rich in chloride salts of magnesium, sodium, potassium, bromine and several others. The unusually warm, incredibly buoyant and mineral-rich waters have attracted visitors since ancient times, including King Herod the Great and the beautiful Egyptian Queen, Cleopatra, all of whom have luxuriated in the Dead Sea's rich, black, stimulating mud and floated effortlessly on their backs while soaking up the water's healthy minerals under the Jordanian sun.
How to reach:
By Road: Dead Sea is very close to Amman about 62 kilometers (40 miles) only. You can take cabs and buses to dead sea from Amman . You can check with the resort you are staying at too for the shuttle service.
By Air: Nearest airport is Queen Alia airport Amman which is 64 kilometers (40 miles) from Jerash.
Where to Stay: Though Dead sea is very close to Amman and can be managed in a day trip, yet it is advisable to stay there for the unique experience this location affords. Besides it has some of the best resorts and spas in Jordan and our picks are as follows:
- Kempinski Hotel Ishtar
- Holiday Inn Dead Sea
- Crowne Plaza Dead Sea Jordan
- Karak guesthouse for Budget travelers.
One of the great water adventures in Jordan is to hike, climb and sometimes even wade or swim through the magnificent gorge of Wadi Mujib along the east coast of the Dead Sea. It takes you to a magical pool and waterfall that emerge like a mirage from amidst the surrounding warm cliffs and barren hillsides.
One of the most spectacular natural and spiritual landscapes in the world, the Jordanian east coast of the Dead Sea has evolved into a major hub of both religious and health & wellness tourism in the region. A series of good roads, excellent hotels with spa and fitness facilities, as well as archaeological and spiritual discoveries make this region as enticing to today's international visitors as it was to kings, emperors, traders, prophets and pilgrims in antiquity.
How to Reach:
By Road: Wadi Mujib is in Dead sea region but you need a taxi or a car rental to reach the actual site. It is 94 kilometers (58 miles) from Amman.
By Air: Nearest airport is Queen Alia airport Amman which is 94 kilometers (58 miles) from Jerash.
Dana Biosphere Reserve is an area of staggering beauty, history, and biodiversity. The only reserve in Jordan that encompasses the four different bio-geographical zones of the country (Mediterranean, Irano-Turanian, Saharo-Arabian and Sudanian), it is a melting pot of species from Europe, Africa and Asia. Such a combination of natural communities in a single area is unique in Jordan and many of Dana Biosphere Reserve’s animals and plants are very rare.
So far, a total of 800 plant species and 449 animal species have been recorded in the Reserve, of which 25 are known to be endangered, including the Sand Cat, the Syrian Wolf, the Lesser Kestrel and the Spiny Tailed Lizard.
Read: You may be interested in reading about the Repetek Nature reserve that redienifes the way you see deserts. Its located in Turkmenistan and is documented in our blog post 14 reasons to visit Turkmenistan
Activities at reserve:
Such a complex and diverse environment provides a wide range of adventurous and relaxing activities. Visitors can leave their vehicles behind and escape into the beauty and remoteness of the Reserve along one of the many canyons and hiking trails. Local Bedouin guides are available for longer excursions that include hiking, canyoning, and mountain biking while many shorter trails can be explored unguided. Activities at Dana Biosphere Reserve Guesthouse include tours of the Ottoman-era Dana Biosphere Reserve Village, a gorgeous hike through the entire Reserve to Feynan Eco lodge, visits to Nabatean tombs and relaxing on your very own cliff-perched balcony surrounded by Dana’s magnificent views.
Activities available from Rummana Campsite include hikes with beautiful vistas and bird watching, excursions to a Roman well and a challenging 5 kilometer trail to Dana Biosphere Reserve Village that involves scrambling over rock faces. From Feynan Ecolodge, guests can hike or bike on one of the many trails ranging from 2 hours to a full day. Canyoning adventures include a trip to Wadi Ghwayr and its spectacular narrow gorge and stream. At Feynan, guests can also uncover the area’s archaeological treasures with visits to ancient copper mines, Byzantine churches, Neolithic villages and a Roman aqueduct. In the early mornings guests can challenge themselves on the Sunrise hike which is a great start to any day at Feynan. At sunset, guests are offered a complimentary sunset hike. By night, guests can wander around the enchanting candlelit lodge or enjoy star gazing on the rooftop terrace.
How to Reach:
By Road: By route 15 Dana reserve is 167 kilometers (104 miles) and by route 65 which is along the Dead sea it is 183 kilometers (113.7 miles) from Amman. You can take a cab or public buses from Amman. This place is quite close to Petra but there are no buses from there.
By Air: Nearest airport is Queen Alia airport Amman which is 167 kilometers (104 miles) by route 15 and by route 65 which is along the Dead sea it is 183 kilometers (113.7 miles)
The beaches skirting Red Sea in Aqaba are always warm, balmy, and enticing for divers and other watersports enthusiasts. Aqaba offers a full range of facilities for speed boating, scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, fishing, swimming, water skiing and wind surfing. If simply lazying around and enjoying sun in the warm crystal-clear waters is your idea of vacation, then Aqaba is your holiday destination. The exotic purple mountains surrounding Aqaba are another treat for hikers who seek new adventures on an unconquered terrain.
How to Reach:
By Road: JETT and TRUST buses can be taken from Amman which is about 307 kilometers (190.7 miles) from Aqaba. Public minibuses are also available however they may not be very comfortable to travel in. Cabs and rental cars are always an option to get there.
By Sea: If you are crossing over from Egypt to Aqaba then you can take a ride on ferry.
By Air: Nearest airport is Queen Alia airport Amman which is 307 kilometers (190.7 miles) by route 15 and by route 65 which is along the Dead sea it is 365 kilometers (226.8 miles).
Where to Stay: Aqaba boasts of the best of luxury in Jordan. There are many options that you can choose from. Our top picks here are as follows:
8. Jordan: A Gastronomical Delight!
Your trip to Jordan is incomplete without pampering your taste buds. This Middle Eastern country has a lot to offer when it comes to food. Delicate flavors of spices and tenderly cooked meals should be part of your Jordan tour. The beauty of food here is not only in preparation but their community style eating too. Here we give you an introduction to Mohammad’s top pick of must-try dishes.
By far the most dominant style of eating in Jordan, Mezze is a small plate comprising of salad and appetizer consumed in a community style eating aided by dipping, chunking and otherwise scooping with bread. Mezze plates are typically rolled out before larger main dishes
These delightful little fried balls combine chickpea flour and the best of Middle Eastern spices. You can eat them on their own or dip them in every Mezze. You’ll notice that Jordanian falafel balls tend to come in smaller sizes than the falafel you are accustomed to at home or would have eaten at niche restaurants.
Foul (ful maddamis)
Crushed fava beans served with a variety of toppings such as olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, chili pepper, sumac and more. It is a hearty dish as well as super healthy dish.
Mansaf is a traditional Jordanian dish made of lamb cooked in a sauce of fermented dried yogurt and served with rice.
Places to eat at:
- Abu Jbara
- Cave Bar
- Habibah Sweets
- Tawaheen Al-hawa
- Beit Sitti
About Values & Tradition
Jordan is known for its warm and friendly people. Jordanians are usually happy to forgive foreigners who happen to break the rules of etiquette. Do not be surprised if you are invited to join local people for a cup of tea or coffee. If unable to attend, no one is going to take offence, just place your right hand over your heart and politely make your excuse.
Many families, particularly in rural areas, are very traditional and, if you visit their homes, you may well find it is divided between the men and women. Foreign women are often treated as "honorary" men.
Jordan is quite progressive in its culture when compared to rest of the Arab world. Their women are entitled to a full education, can vote, can drive cars, and they often play significant roles in business and politics too.
Now that we have given you a flavor of the social atmosphere of this beautiful country , let us take you on a ride that stems from History and blooms in the modern times!
Jordan- A complete Package indeed
Outdoor 'adventure tourism' is expanding at a fast rate in Jordan and promises to remain one of the most dynamic and innovative industry for years to come. Several Jordanian companies have started to specialize in eco-tourism and action tourism, providing a combination of safety, adventure and comfortable facilities that make action tourism such an exciting proposition today.
Jordan has a great comparative advantage in this sector based on several factors: Moderate year round climate; a base of powerful, unique cultural attractions such as Petra, Jerash, Bethany Beyond the Jordan and the early Islamic Desert Castles, a wide range of very different often stunning natural environments that are easily accessible and virtually undiscovered by the tourism industry. Quality hotels and restaurants throughout the country mean that thrill-seekers who want to pamper themselves in between adventure treks have a wide range of facilities to choose from.
Jordan already caters to the more traditional vacationer who likes to combine a visit to an ancient site in the morning with a swim, a round of golf, or a game of tennis or bowling in the afternoon. It is also a great family destination. Don't forget to read our tips on traveling with kids while you plan your family trip to Jordan. The exciting new horizons in adventure tourism allow visitors to push themselves to new levels of adventure and endurance while soaking up natural marvels and dramatic cultural attractions from the ancient world.
More on contributor and Jordan travel expert:
If you want to visit Jordan then Mohammed is the man you should get in touch with. He will take care of all your travel arrangements and will ensure that you have the most memorable holiday ever. He does : accommodation + transportation + Jeep tour and camping + Entrance fees ticket + Visa + Food and everything else. In short, he is your one stop solution for your travel to Jordan.His contact details are as below:
Name: Mohammad Nawafleh
Jordan Bedouin Style Tours & Travel
Address : Jordan - (Petra & Amman )
Mobile : +962772351227
Email : email@example.com
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