If you are looking for a truly spectacular cultural experience, Jordan is your next destination. All its wonders are packed into a relatively small country so two weeks is enough time to slowly savor it’s many delights. Sure, you can do an abbreviated version in a week, but then you’ll not have the chance to accept that generous invitation to tea from a random stranger. This will happen by the way. Soft spoken and kind-hearted Jordanians are crazy hospitable. Possibly the friendliest nation I’ve ever visited.
Jordan boasts all sorts of history lessons for all denominations. But for those of the Judeo-Christian persuasion it is a blessing of biblical proportions. See Mt. Nebo where Moses left this world, dip in the river where St. John the Baptist did his best work, and take in breaktaking views of the promised land. Biblical homeland aside, one can’t help but be overwhelmed by the significance of this hallowed ground even from a purely historical perspective. One of the unexpected treasures which still lingers in my mind was a wonderfully vivid 6th century Byzantine mosaic map of the world.
Of course no trip to Jordan is complete without a visit to Petra, the lost city. Forgotten for a thousand years by all but a few Bedouin tribes, Petra was “re-discovered” in the 70s and has been a world wonder ever since. Like Jerash, much of this city lies under the sands of time and is only slowly being unearthed. Even the so-called Treasury, currently at six stories, is not completely visible. Shrouded in mystery even in it’s own time, Petra was built by the maverick Nabeteans who really gave those Romans a run for their money. The real genius of their impressive architecture was their ability to collect and control water, the most precious commodity in the desert.
Today Petra is populated by alluring real-life Jack Sparrow types riding camels and selling carpets. The visitor area is extensive, so expect to walk a lot and don’t be shy about hopping on a horse, camel or picturesque two-wheeled chariot. You must be well prepared as it’s really not the activity you do on a whim.
Travellur has all the details you need to avoid mishaps, scams or wasted time because visiting Petra is an experience beyond your expectations.
When to go:
Jordan has a mild temperate climate which welcomes tourism all year long. But I think the best time to go, especially if you’re visiting Petra and Wadi Rum is in March, April, October, and November. This is when you’ll need a light jacket for those desert nights but swimming in Aqaba or the Dead Sea is totally doable.
WHERE TO STAY
The best hotels are around the Dead Sea and Travellur can recommend the right one for your budget. It’s a good location for exploring Jerash, Amman, Mt. Nebo, Umm Ar-Rasas, and Wadi Mujib. The five-star Ishtar Kempinski Dead Sea has an award-winning spa, elegant architecture and a two-thousand year old olive tree. There are a number of hotels in Petra, but only two are worth mentioning. The Movenpick is conveniently located across the street from the main gate of the site while the Mariott commands stunning views of the alien landscape.
Do you know about the ten great Roman cities of the middle east? Located about an hour from the capital of Amman, Jerash is the easiest (and safest) to visit. Shockingly well preserved due to being buried for centuries, it is only thirty percent uncovered. Yet it is the largest Roman town I’ve had the pleasure to visit. Way more stuff than Rome. Although a provincial city, the site reveals an impressive urbane cultivation, wealth and artistic life. Majestic colonnaded streets end in spacious public squares, massive temple complexes speak of mysterious rites and passages, fountains and marketplaces reveal a colloquial human touch. After this dusty visit to ancient times you’ll want to clean up at the world’s ultimate spa; the Dead Sea. Located so far below sea level it’s almost a different planet, the Dead Sea offers unique re-mineralizing and purifying benefits with every dip. Then there’s the mud. Improving circulation, healing skin afflictions, reducing inflammatory conditions, the healing properties of the mud has been known through the ages. And it’s free.
A more mystical atmosphere is to be found in the unearthly beauty of the Wadi Rum desert. A heavenly pink sand desert with spectacular vistas, think “Lawrence of Arabia”, and speckled with genuine Bedouin camps. Some of them quite comfortable and welcoming travelers with hot water showers and real flushing toilets. Travellur knows the good ones, please ask.
If a sea swim is in order, head down to Aqaba for world class snorkeling/scuba diving and an abundance of marine life. This seaside town has enjoyed strategic importance since the time of the crusades. In fact a castle built by Saladin (frienemy of Richard the Lionhearted) still stands guard on an island off the coast. On your way back up to Amman to catch your flight home, make a chill stop at the Ma’in Hot Springs Hotel for natural mineral baths. Surprisingly hot water tumbles in a waterfall from the canyon walls into pools maintained in a variety of temperatures at this well appointed resort. Comfortable rooms and a medical grade spa make this a perfect last stop to recapture calm and reflect on a trip of a lifetime.
WE GOT THIS
Travellur is here to answer all your questions, make your travel arrangements and, with our local partners, execute the perfect survey of the Kingdom of Jordan. We know how to get there, how much it should cost, the best way to get around and what to expect along the way. Jordan is very safe, unlike some of it’s contentious neighbours. You’ll never fear bombs or kidnappings but things do work differently there. Don’t be fooled by its modern conveniences like exceptional wifi and well maintained roads. It’s a largely traditional country. That means local services are not made for tourists. You can’t just wing it.
Contact Travellur today and get a quote for a custom journey to this mythic and affordable land.