Have you dreamed all your life of going to Jordan? I had, for a long time too. I felt so very lucky and privileged to be invited there last year along with a handful of other "Instagrammers" by the national tourism board. Well, its about time I documented my experience and hopefully inspire you to come to the decision to finally go there. First up my top five tips for Jordan, a kind of photo essay with some tips shared along the way. I am going to work on a more comprehensive plan and share it on the blog soon. Hold tight!
First up. Jaw dropping, mind boggling, ancient wonder... Petra, the "rose city". How could this not be number one, right?!
Petra will not disappoint. Go go go. Its one of the 7 new wonders of the world.
Established possibly as early as 312 BC the site remained unknown to the western world until 1812. Sadly due to what is going on in the Middle East Petra's tourism is very low. One benefit then would be that you can avoid crowds and feel like you are *the* explorer in 1812 that came across this site.
I could give a 101 hint and tips on Petra. That will come soon however my TOP TIPS would be:-
- Arrive at Petra early, say 6am, if you REALLY want to be the first here. We found most tourists didn't start arriving until 9am.
- See "Petra by Night" for a truly unique experience of sitting in front of 100 candles glowing and lighting up the Treasury.
- Hire a donkey and guide to get up to the Monastery. This was they most hilarious and energy saving $5 I have ever spent.
2) WADI MUJIB
Want to try something different? Are you adventurous. Do some hiking and canyoning here!
Canyoning is one of the most fun things I have done over the last few years. It's is a must try experience here. One of the best experienced I had on the trip. The scenery left our jaws agape most of the way.
This is the only canyon generally known to newcomers to Jordan. It is under the authority of the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature who organises regular visits there, which are supposedly strictly controlled and supervised - I say this as we just turned up and did the basic hour long hike on our own. So it is possible, with a little fee of course. It is a strenuous trek, with black cliffs 200 meters high, waterfalls and rock pools.
This activity requires a certain level of fitness but you can get a guide. There are climb ropes along the way and you can chill in a waterfall at the end if you need a rest. The way back is super fun as you can slide down certain waterfalls, its super fun!
TOP TIP: Make sure you wear shoes - or you will certianly cut yourself. Also be careful with ALL valuables and consider taking a "wet bag" to place your things in so you can take them along with you.
I'd also recommend starting early and definitely before 3pm so you can make it quite far in, and out again, before it gets dark.
A huge ancient site. Perfect place for taking pretty pictures.
Jerash, a city in northern Jordan, is famous for its stunning and golden Roman ruins.
Jaresh entrance, which includes the museum fee, cost just 10JOD/14USD (see costs of all sites in Jordan here or read the bottom of the ariticle for info on the "Jordan Pass") and opening times vary depending on season but its going to be around 8am to 5pm.
4) WADI RUM DESERT
You've seen the film The Martian, right? Its set here. Along with many other classic films. The whole landscape is otherworldly.
To get a better understanding though this area of Jordan is quite isolated and largely inhospitable to settled life. The only permanent inhabitants are several thousand Bedouin nomads and villagers. There is no real infrastructure, leaving the area quite unspoilt. This really adds to the appeal to me.
Here we took a camel ride, a one hour balloon ride and camped in the most gorgeous and luxury black and white tented bedouin camp or you could call it "glamping in Jordan". Here the sky is so clear that you are almost certain to see the Milky Way in the sky at night. Getting around in a 4x4 would be my top tip too.
Loads more details on how to get there etc. on wikitravel.
5) THE DEAD SEA
Float elegantly on top of a lake, perhaps read a paper whilst your at it. Enjoy stunning pastel tones at sunset and take a mud bath.
I tell all my friends that floating in the Dead Sea is one of those things you just have to try to believe. Its the most surreal of experiences. Its simply impossible not to sink. It's really kind of weird.
I recommend going to the edge and covering yourself in mud too. Once it sets you go into the Dead Sea and wash it all off. Your skin will feel 10 years younger because of it. And its a laugh. Although I was the only one in the group who was a "good sport" and did this.
My last helpful hint... If think you will want to see all these sites and more - seriously think about getting the JORDAN PASS. It will save you time, hassle and money (its around 70USD for entrance to most sites across Jordan).
And don't forget you can see the individual costs of all sites in Jordan here. Have fun!