A lot of our trips are short and sweet.. but that's the reality with both of us working. That being said, we don't head on vacations just because we can. We only pick places we know we will enjoy. Mr. A mostly loves places with history.... but I love the outdoors. The places I pick usually involve mountains, treks, lots of roaming the wilderness. We would probably always stay away from the "islands" and "luxury beach vacations". It's not our style.
So why did we pick Jordan? Well the easy answer is because of it's proximity to Dubai but the truth is of course, the history and the landscape.
We finally made it here last November... while I wish we had more time to explore the other parts of the country, I am glad we did the best bits in just 2 days. If you are pressed for time - this is the itinerary I would recommend.
It was not until recently that this place became a top tourist hot spot... people have probably stayed away because of it's location in the center of a turbulent region. That's slowly changing with the rise of tourism across the globe.. and more millennial backpackers.
We had no issues while visiting this country. People are incredibly friendly and love showing their country off. Rightfully so.
Itinerary Break Down:
Day 1 - Arrival - Dead Sea - Explore Town of Madaba - Mount Nebo - Drive to Petra City Day 2 - Sunrise at Petra - desert safari afternoon Wadi Rum - night flight back
Best time to visit
The weather cools down from November to March. We enjoyed absolutely amazing weather when we visited during the second week of November.
Flights and Visa
We flew with Fly Dubai - short, direct flights all through the week. The visa - is on arrival for Indians. It will cost you JD 40 per person. Tip: The credit card machine at the visa counter may not always work, so if you do not have that amount in local currency, it would be a good idea to stop by the exchange shop inside the terminal before queuing for your visa.
Arabic - the official language. People also speak English and you should have no problem communicating when in the major tourist spots. Travel and Medical Insurance, Currency
As always, best to have medical and travel insurance. Life doesn't stop happening even when you are on vacation! Credit card machines don't work everywhere. I would recommend carrying cash in local currency.
This is another trip where I would recommend doing a tour. Picking a tour doesn't necessarily mean doing everything to their schedule.. it just means you have the flexibility to sit back and relax while someone else does the driving. Since we were pressed for time, we did not want to figure out driving around in a new country. After doing a lot of research, I went with Jordan Select Tours. The cost for two days USD 340 per person - inclusive of entrance to Petra, hotel for the night, drive to and from Amman.
Note: we paid an additional USD 200 for the two of us for the trip to Wadi Rum. More on this later.
Where we stayed
We stayed the night at Petra Moon Hotel. This hotel is literally 15 minutes from the entrance to Petra. We had an early start on our second day, so we wanted to save time. The room was spacious with a nice restaurant below. There are also other restaurants around this place - all just a quick 10 to 15 minute walk away.
Cost I would say Jordan is cheap but we just spent two days in the country, so I can't elaborate without speculating. The street food is definitely a lot cheaper than most places. For lunch and dinner, we spent the same as we would have in Dubai i.e. it's going to cost you close to $20-25 for a meal for two.
Had no issues with safety. We felt everyone we met was warm and helpful. Tip: Be weary of street vendors trying to sell you things at Petra.
Your usual middle eastern deliciousness - falafels, lentil soup, salad, mana'eesh and the works. Absolutely yum. It's super vegetarian friendly... so we tried a little bit of everything in 2 days.
What to pack
Toiletries. Medicines. Since we went in November, so the weather was chilly in the morning and at night... if you are traveling at the same time, pack a light fall jacket.
Day 1 -
We took the early morning flight out of Dubai and landed at Amman International Airport in 3 hours. Finish your immigration and your tour guide will wait for you outside the airport.
Your first stop will be the Dead Sea. The drive from the airport is about an hour. Your tour includes entrance to the Dead Sea via Holiday Inn Dead Sea hotel... you will be given towels at the hotel. There will be room to change into swim wear. We were at the Dead Sea around 9 30.. so we pretty much had the place to ourselves for about an hour (until the crowds started rushing in).
Fact: the Dead Sea sits 430m below sea level, making it the lowest point on earth and it’s also one of the saltiest places on earth....
It has a 35% salt content - to put things in perspective, that’s about 9.6 times more than the ocean. Definitely not the best idea to stay in the water for more than 15 minutes...
Did you know that it's called Dead Sea because no life can survive in it? All you can do is float. It's such a fascinating phenomenon.
Pro Tip: DON"T SWALLOW THE WATER. Whatever you do - keep your eyes and mouth shut. It will burn - like crazy. Trust us, we know! ;)
Oh and after you take a quick dip, take a break and get muddy.. if you are like me and don't particularly enjoy getting dirty, wait till you hear the benefits of this special "mud". There are minerals in the Dead Sea which are known to help alleviate the symptoms of skin problems such as psoriasis and arthritis. Don't have these diseases? Well you can at least have glowin' skin after!
After about 2 hours of lazing around.. we headed to Mount Nebo. Mount Nebo is believed to be the place where Moses was given a view of the promised land that god was giving to the Hebrews.