Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes
While the year is barely at its halfway mark, I can easily name Jordan as one of my top 5 destinations from 2016 so far.
And I’ve been to a loooot of places this year. We started with my book tour across North America, from my alma mater at Baker University to Chicago to Toronto, then New York, Ireland, England, Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Greece, Italy, and now Switzerland where I’m currently writing this from.
There’s something special about visiting a place that you can still feel the authenticity of the culture permeating the air.
It’s magnetic, it’s piercing, and it has an unparalleled beauty that makes you crave for more.
I was so excited to experience Jordan with Abraham Tours on their Petra & Wadi Rum (3 Days/2 Nights) Tour, because let’s face it, I was a Desert Queen in another life, and I was ready to fulfill this long-lost dream of mine.
But first, here’s a few practical things to note about visiting Jordan:
– I did this tour while visiting Israel, which I recommend just as much, so to save time and money, I highly recommend combining a trip to Jordan, with one to Israel as well.
– The pick-up point is conveniently from Abraham Hostel in Jerusalem, which works in conjunction with all of Abraham Tours (hint hint: you should stay there, because they’re awesome).
– No pre-arranged visa is needed to cross from Israel to Jordan.
– Understand that Jordan is a Muslim country and they dress very conservatively. While I’m all about female empowerment and the freedom to dress however you feel like expressing yourself to the world, it’s not only an added sign of respect, but it also deters unnecessary attention when you take the additional steps to blend in and dress conservatively as well.
– The Jordanian Dinar is surprisingly strong! For context, the British Pound to Jordanian Dinar is approximately 1 to 1 on the dot. So you’ll get 70 cents to every U.S. dollar you exchange. Yes, yes, you’re allowed to cry about this later.
Our three day tour of Jordan included a visit to Jerash, the capital of Amman, the Lost City of Petra, Wadi Rum Desert, and several pit stops to explore the hidden gems along the way.
Jordan made me hungry for adventure, discovery, and cultural intimacy to learn more about not only Jordan, but the Middle East as a whole.
And it didn’t take long before I was in awe of my surroundings. Here’s my six things I loved most about Jordan:
1. The Lost City of Petra
What’s amazing about Petra, is that the iconic photo of it that you see above isn’t even the most spectacular part!
I fooled myself into believing that once I saw that grand entrance, those sandy, red pillars, and intricate detailed stone, that I would feel like “WOW, THIS IS IT!”
But you feel that the entire walk leading up to and after it!
You’re walking through a canyon for almost a kilometer, surrounded by tall cliffs in all their reddish orange glory.
Petra is MASSIVE! This Seventh Natural Wonder of the World from 312 BCE is filled with tombs, monuments, and sacred structures carved into the cliffs.
Also! Very important to mention, but you will have the most adorable kids bombard you with postcards, bracelets, and other little trinkets for souvenirs.
Please, do your best to say no, and understand that giving into their cuteness only reinforces child labor, especially when most of them should be in school.
It’s a tough call, but use your best judgement and try and support the locals who aren’t encouraging this behavior.
2. Jordanian Hospitality | “You Are Welcome!”
Oh, I could listen to them say this all day! You know how some phrases and words don’t quite translate well through Google? I think that might be the case with the phrase, “You are welcome.”
I love how often they say it and the funny context in which they use it in.
*I stop in a store and browse some bracelets*
HELLO, YOU’RE WELCOME!
*I ask for a glass of water*
OF COURSE! YOU ARE WELCOME!
*I thank them for good service*
Haha, wait — now that’s when they should say it!
At any rate, it’s apparent how happy they are that you’ve chosen to spend your tourist dollars in their country, and more than that, that you’re taking the time to chat with them.
Engage, ask questions, converse! When else will you get the opportunity?!
3. The Density
When we visited the Citadel in Amman, and stood overlooking the city, you could feel a rush from seeing the most populous city in Jordan, stacked like pancakes over miles and miles across the town.
Its scattered perfection.
It’s what makes Jordan such a magnetic country and place to experience.
4. Camping at the Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp
I have to admit, this was my first camping experience, and I own up to utter ignorance as to how it all worked.
It was 9PM when we pulled into our Bedouin Desert Camp and OH. MY. GOODNESS.
First, we were greeted by two buff and shirtless Bedouin boys who carried our luggage into the camp and insisted that our priority would be stuffing our faces with the food provided.
And that we did. Every morning and night, walking into the eating area of our Bedouin Camp I knew I’d be in for a treat.
Every night, we also had the Bedouin boys put on quite the show with their oud and drums, and all twenty of us staying in the camp got up and danced barefoot around the campfire, cups overflowing with sweet tea (except mine, because WINE, duh), and hours passed as we got lost under the night sky.
When I tell you my life had never felt more like a movie, I mean it! Oh to relive that night. One day. One day.
5. Jordanian Cuisine
Jordanian food, and Middle Eastern food in general, has some of the most sultry and tasty cuisine I’ve ever tried.
The rice, meats, salads, breads, sauces, and even the colors of Jordanian food is enough to make you want to visit here alone.
Every restaurant we stopped at, every home-made meal at the Bedouin camp, every single time, was a trip to Heaven and back.
If I gained as much weight as I feel like I consumed, I have not a single regret.
6. Wadi Rum Desert 4×4 Jeep Tour
The way the tour is structured worked perfectly to build the anticipation for everything Jordan had to offer.
While Petra was incredible, a 4×4 jeep tour was the absolute icing on the cake, as we flew through miles of brown sanded glory, stopping at dunes for photos, camel rides, and chatting with locals.
The Wadi Rum Desert takes you to through phases of surrealism as you try and grasp the amount of beauty around you.
And again, if you were a Desert Queen in another life (ME!) here’s your chance to make all your dreams come true.
Our guide was Rania, who’s a star on Trip Advisor and a tour guide favorite around Jordan. We were so lucky to have her as she’d just returned from a trip in America and it was apparent how passionate she is about tour guiding and sharing the beauty of her country. Thanks Rania!
Any lingering questions? Feel free to leave it in the comments below! Can’t wait for you all to visit Jordan and experience this for yourselves!