Ideal stay: 4days for Amman and Petra, add-ons for Dead Sea
Temperature: depending on the season, between 13ºC and 38ºC
When a European talks about Jordan it is (again) often associated with a negative connotation.
If Arabs talk about Jordan – you hear plenty of positive comments. I also love it now after visiting this amazing country not too long ago.
From Abu Dhabi there are several direct flights with Etihad and Royal Jordanian which take you in 3hours to Amman – the capital.
I went there on my own to visit a friend who was living there for a traineeship/Arabic course.
Yes, on my own – as a Blondie – and I made it safely there and back – don’t worry!
I arrived at the airport and was shocked by the huge visa price: 50dollars! Wow. Quite a lot to be honest in comparison to the flight which was only AED 500… The immigration process itself was quite easy and fast. Afterwards I took the local bus to the city which is really affordable and clean and it was easy to find the departure location.
At the central bus station my friend picked me up. Of course, a Blondie is something “interesting” over there but still no one would dare to come too close or annoy you in any way.
Jordan is a country with a huge historical background but due to the civil war in the 70’s it was partially destroyed and obtained a rather negative reputation. Despite Jordan´s direct “crisis”-neighbours (Palestine, Syria, Iraq and Saudi), it is safe to travel and you will experience true Arabian hospitality.
..Looking for water pressure..? Not available in most parts of Jordan..
After unpacking my things at my friends quite “basic” flat we went for a walk through his district Jabal al Wabdeh (sahat Paris) by foot (yes it´s safe enough to walk there), went to the local market and ended the arrival day with a traditional, Arabic dinner at a very cozy place (cannot recall the name) – amazing terrace with views over the crowded and lively streets.
This day started very early since we had a long car drive waiting for us – 3hours from the capital to Petra.
Generally, it was an exhausting drive through not well constructed roads, partially through the desert where you encounter plenty of police stops / controllers. Even us with 2 locals in the car were constantly stopped and asked to show documents etc. So you better be prepared for this…
On your way down south you will see desert left and right, some villages and a lot of lovely donkeys which belong to the rather poor villagers.
We reached Petra and before we entered the area we opted for a quick lunch. My locals obviously bargained and there you go – a huge plate of rice with chicken to share among all of us for little money.
So, here we were, after a long, almost 4 hours drive & countless control points; fed and happy we reached Petra.
Wow. Just the first two sneaks into the area made my heart beat faster. The entrance fee for “maintenance” as they call it – is another 50$ for tourists and 1$ for locals.
The Italian, the German, the Saudi, the 2 Jordanians and me, the Blondie. Actually I believe it’s a great move from your own country if your “local experiences” incl. museums, monuments, culture etc. are free of charge for the inhabitants.
Take the money from the tourists rather than from the locals. Jordan leads by example!
Temperature-wise we were absolutely lucky – not too hot, not too cold else you could not do the 10km through the UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’d better wear some good shoes, shorts, sunscreen and light shirt since you are going to walk and hike quite a lot. Heels and dress are not recommended – although it’s seen a lot.
But don’t worry, in case you get really exhausted you will have to chance to “rent” a horse, donkey or camel from the very attentive and rather pushy shepherds. The whole area is about 60km2 and the walk from the entrance until the “typical” and well-known picture spot is more or less 20min downhill walk.
The exhausting part starts afterwards once you go through the old, abandoned, rock-city up to the last hill. The peak of the “misery” is the whole way back after you finally made it to the top, knowing there is no other exit but hike and walk all the freakin way back to the entrance.
But hey, I do not want to discourage you – this whole thing is totally worth it… Let the pictures talk!
To be honest, reaching here was already quite tough. I was craving a fresh, ice cooled coke – and there it was – alhamdollilah it was not a Fata Morgana but my life saver selling my coke. Yeah.
..Amira was exhausted and my poor boys had to handle my small crisis-attack..
Finally we got to the Monastery and as said, it is def. worth it. Giant, tremendous, incredible.
Me, a life-lover sparkling with ideas and fun pictures – convinced my crew to take a rather unusual picture at this beautiful site. Make LOVE not war!
Usually people turn around at this point and start their walk back to the entrance. Not us though. We went ALL THE WAY UP to the mountain in order to be able to breath in this whole day one last time.
The lovely Bedouins on “the top of the world” received us with a tasty, traditional tea and offered us some dates which we gratefully accepted.
After our little time-consuming Photoshoot – yes, because our Saudi guy was never happy with his face or position…;) we handed a tip over and left thankfully this incredible, breath-taking place.
During your exhausting walk you will encounter several eager camel and donkey owners who will make it very tempting to you to hire one of them for an exaggerated amount of money.
The best way to get rid of them is with one of the top 10 Arabic phrases.
..“La, Suekran” (No, Thanks)..
Dusk arrived and we made our way back – the lazy ones took a camel but we walked all the way through.
..Let’s go the whole hog..
Meanwhile all tourists were gone and the employees started preparing the candles for the “night-tour”. This must also be a nice one… but honestly, once is enough!
By writing this review and choosing the pictures it comes straight to my mind how we suffered that day…
Yes, it is beautiful but the walk/hike was likewise unforgettable.
Once we were all reunited at the Entrance/Exit we went for a local bite and slept at the Valentine Inn located in Wadi Musa.
A quite cosy, affordable, basic but nice hotel where we could finally get rest.
Yes, this picture was taken in the morning. Start your day right – with a Shisha.
We had a quick breakfast and drove back to Amman. On our way we encountered some roaming camels and again we had a small photoshoot.
In the evening we went for a fresh juice and a nice, simple traditional dinner (bread, hummus, falafel, etc.) in downtown Amman Albalad.
In the morning we had a walk through the famous “Rainbow Street” where we grabbed some nice breakfast and interesting ice cream flavours. My friends emphasized that Rainbow Street would be more fun at night…
..Well, we gotta get through my “To Do”-List, shbab!..
Midday we went to do some more sightseeing and opted for Amman Citadel, the historical site in Ammans´centre. The entrance fee to the Citadel is only a few Jordanian dinars, and you can get access to the Roman, Byzantine as well as early Islamic ruins which is located at the top of Jabal al-Qala’a.
Not only are the artifacts still extraordinary, but so are the views of Amman!
If you are into culture and archaeology – Jordan is definitely the right place for you!
If you wonder what you should wear in Jordan – in general it is an open-minded country. Obviously in the countryside you should cover yourself a bit but in the city or even in Petra it is completely fine to walk in a sleeveless shirt and long skirt.
It looked like rain the whole day – but it never did actually rain.
This was actually the most fascinating thing in the whole citadel: the spoon.
What happens here? What is it all about? Go, and find it out by yourself!
Our afternoon was completed by the warm welcome from my friend’s aunt to her house – I will never forget this moment.
Not only because my Italian friend was not familiar with the local behaviour code (unmarried man should not touch married woman at the greeting) and wanted to kiss and hug my friends aunt but also her total open behaviour towards me, the Blondie, in her house.
She was happy to see me, so was I and proudly introduced me to her daughter.
She offered us homemade cookies and tea and prepared a shisha on her handmade carpet. It was soooo cool! How can an auntie prepare a shisha in the middle of her living room?
Arabian culture and her openness did totally represent the warmth of Arabian hospitality. Incredible.
By end of the day I was exhausted but happy.
Fulfilled and grateful for life.
Thankful for this local experience and in the end we were even rewarded with this splendid sunset.
Of course it was not enough for today – my boys would not let me depart without showing me their favourite coffee shop aka. Bar – “books@cafe” where we enjoyed our last yummy dinner, some drinks, completed by amazing city light views.
Jordan was simply mystical and surely not my last visit!
Dead Sea and Wadi Rum are still on my bucket list and therefore I would recommend everyone to stay a little longer than I did to be able to enjoy it all to the max.!