A Middle Eastern Gem - Jordan
You will have to bear with me on this one as this is a recap of what still remains as one of the best holidays I have ever been on. And with the help of my handsome travel partner and the memories from pictures that we took, I would like to share with you the reasons that Jordan needs to be on your Travel Checklist.
Lucky for us, being based in the United Arab Emirates, this was on the top of our Checklist and after a couple weeks of research and a window for an upcoming long weekend, we were set!
Our first tip would be to definitely visit Jordan with a Tour Guide Company – unless of course you have the time to drive yourself or you know someone in Jordan already, as what we learnt and saw by doing it this way was priceless. We went with Jordan Select Tours and so should you: - http://www.select.jo/. From initial email contact, to our Driver, our Petra Tour Guide and their choices of accommodation – it was perfect.
They gave us various options of route based on our preferences and as we only had 3 nights we went with the following:-
Night 1:- Petra by Night / Petra
Night 2:- Wadi Rum
Night 3:- Dead Sea
As the first stop was Petra, enroute we had the opportunity to stop at Mount Nebo and the biblical history of this place just blew my mind. The views, the monuments and the “feeling”. Definitely worth the detour from Amman.
We stayed at the Movenpick in Petra which is ideally 2 mins walk from the Petra gates and its nothing fancy but totally worth the breakfast!
Petra by Night is one of those “Once in a Lifetime” experiences as it only takes place on various nights of the week and as we only arrived by dark, seeing Petra first by candlelight was rather mysterious and eerie. Pretty difficult to get some good photos of this setting too but as we went in mid-March, the main thing on my mind was how chilly it was. So you have been warned on both counts: - be prepared with night-time camera skills and warm clothes as it can be a wind trap in there.
Petra by day is just outstanding! We met our guide in the morning and after a few hours with him, it felt like we had read a book. He was so passionate and scholarly and even though he had probably done this a hundred times, he still managed to capture our full attention and left us in awe of this place. One part of the tour he didn’t join us on was a further 1.5hour trek up the rocky hills to The Monastery. As not many people have the time or energy to do this, it’s quieter and totally worth the extra sweaty effort! And, it also includes an added bonus of “The Best View in Jordan”.
Once we were all Petra-d out, we rejoined our driver and made our meandering way to Wadi Rum. Think of open desert plains with blue skies, caravans of camels, Bedouin tents, jeep safari, cardamom tea, camp-fire cooking. What more could one ask for on a trip?!
Now, while we heading off to our final destination the next morning, our Driver made us realise that we have only just tipped the iceberg of tourism in Jordan, as like India’s “Golden Triangle” of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur – Jordan’s Golden Triangle includes Petra, Wadi Rum and Aqaba. He did manage to take us on a long scenic route where we had glimpse of Aqaba (which interestingly enough has views of Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia) and then drove up along the Israeli border. So together with Aqaba, Irbid, Jerash, Kerak and the Capital Ammam still to explore – it seems another trip to Jordan is required!
But… to end our trip at the Dead Sea. Wait. To end our trip at the Kempinski Dead Sea was just the cherry on the cake. These guys know what they are doing. We stayed in one of the Ishtar rooms and it was just luxury from tip to toe. So yes, not to let the team down, we treated ourselves to champagne on arrival and champagne for breakfast. The Dead Sea itself is just magical. We felt rejuvenated and our skin was so soft from lathering ourselves in the black mud. The photos opps here are second to none and there are many gorgeous pools to wash off your oily, salty skin after. So to end off with one final tip; note that Jordan is safe and the people are so friendly and welcoming and most of all - note that the Dead Sea is vanishing at a rate of 1 metre a year so please please people. Get yourselves here! The economy needs you as well as your skin and soul needs this.