An Epic Hollywood-Like Adventure to Jordan
You may not realize, but you may have had a brush-up acquaintance with Jordan already. The city has attracted filmmakers for years. From the backdrop scenes in the film The Lawrence of Arabia filmed in real Aqaba and the archaeological site of Petra to a believable outwardly existence in “The Martian“. Blockbusters like the sci-fi “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and The Last Days on Mars were filmed in the most amazing views of Wadi Rum which has a feel of an unhabituated other-worldly planet.
Jordan continues to astound visitors with world heritage sites, lively towns, and desert landscapes. Nabataean master builders, Muslim armies, Roman legionnaires and crusaders have left their mark in form of impressive monuments and stone castles on the land.
Jordan is the home to some of the finest Roman ruins outside Rome. Most impressive of all is the are the temples in the ancient city of Jerash.
The battleground of the Christian and Muslim forces; Villeurbanne is dotted with castles.
The dramatic pieces of Wadi Rum have etched signs of the journey of Lawrence of Arabia as he traveled on the camelback through the land of Bedouin.
Jordan attracts visitors for its castles, wadis, ruins, hikes and the quintessential Middle Eastern hospitality. Windswept desert landscapes, camel caravans, bustling markets, and souqs all reflect Jordan’s rich heritage. It’s possible to get a taste of the traditional way of life staying in one of the Bedouin camps under the cliffs.
Here’s a list of things to do and places to visit in Jordan
Petra’s well-deserved spot on the New 7 Wonders of the World list was brought to the forefront of the world thanks to “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”. Famous for its rose rock-cut architecture, carved palaces, temples, tombs, and stables made from soft stone cliffs, Petra is bound to take you back in time and space. No visit to Jordan is complete without a day or two spent exploring this remarkable Ancient City.
The Ancient City is approached through the 1.2km-long, high-walled Siq leading to a breathtaking glimpse of Petra. The way leads to the famous treasury carved out of iron-laden sandstone, Greek-style pillars, and plinths. The outer Siq has a group of 40 tombs known collectively as the Street of Facades is a 40minute climb.
The Temple of the Winged Lions and Petra’s most beloved Monastery looks stunning with its beautifully drawn out colors in the sun.
Travel to the lowest spa on the Earth – The Dead Sea
The Dead Sea is almost 10 times as salty to the seawater. The bright-blue waters add to the odd feeling of floating without any effort as the body bobs instantly to the surface leaving you free to lie back, relax, and soak the sun.
After swimming, tourists slather in Dead Sea mud which is known to have restorative properties and even buy some scrubs, salts, or other products for souvenirs. Numerous luxury resorts around offer massages or special mud treatments.
Snorkel in the vibrant Reefs of Red Sea
Wash the dust off from a safari at the gorgeous reefs and beaches of Aqaba. The lustrous waters of Aqaba promise to be a true delight to the senses.
Relax on a private beach, snorkel or deep dive in clear water reef, spend a day sailing the Gulf of Aqaba from where the coasts of three countries; Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Israel can be seen in the distance.
The Red Sea boasts a veritable rainbow of marine life, including more than a thousand species of fish and animals like manta rays, sea turtles, and dolphins and 200 species of coral.
Don’t forget to visit the Aqaba Castle which has a prison, an intimidating execution chamber and the ruins of Ayla built in 650AD.
The Adventure of the Wadis and Canyons
Trekking through the lowest nature reserve in the world at Wadi Mujib’s most spectacular scenic cliffs turns out to be most thrilling. Enjoy wading in and out of a shallow stream and enjoy the waterfalls with different intensity. Rock climbing and extreme canyon tours are also available.
The stunning desert landscape of Wadi Rum is categorized as truly otherworldly resembling the rocky surface of the moon. And what else could better manifest it than countless Hollywood movies like the Red Planet, Prometheus, The Last Days on Mars, Lawrence of Arabia, Revenge of the Fallen, and The Martian. And you get to enjoy it right here on this planet.
Large orange sand dunes, oddly shaped rocks, carving of the face of Lawrence of Arabia, and the distinct carving on the rocks dating back to 2,500 years making the Wadi Rum experience authentic and unforgettable.
Hiking, desert camping, rock climbing, red sand dunes, and camel riding, among other activities, are at your disposal.
A 4X4 drive tour can take you deeper into the black mountains.
Restaurants serve traditional Jordanian cuisines such as lamb with rice, kebabs and fried fish. Friendly Bedouins operate tents, camel rides, and souvenir sales.
Step Back in time with the Roman Decapolis
Appreciate the fine architecture of the first century The city is a loose federation of more than ten Roman cities on the eastern edge. Visitors can explore remains of some of these cities scattered all through the country. The ruins include the surviving remains of a Roman amphitheater, constructed from dark, volcanic rock which has managed to be in an amazingly intact state.
Abila also has tomb caves that were the resting place for the dead. These caves have beautifully decorated frescoes paintings.
Jerash, in central Jordan, bears the marks of ancient chariot wheels, and the impressive Hadrian’s Arch that was built to honor Roman Emperor Hadrian’s visit to the city back in the first century.
Under the stars with Bedouins
Bedouin—or the Bedu means desert dwellers are famous for their hospitality. These semi-nomadic people live in a traditional way in remote communities and rear camels and goats and making their homes from goat-hair tents.
Several tented campsites allow you to spend days exploring the protected wilderness which was inhabited since prehistoric times.
Visitors can experience the true prehistoric traditional life of the Bedouins quite comfortably in Wadi Rum, a stunning desert in southern Jordan.
Marvel the Wadi Rum’s towering cliffs and the vibrant ochre-dunes in an open 4X4 or, for the more adventurous type, explore the terrain on the back of a colorfully decorated camel. Guided Night walks by the Bedouins under the brilliant desert stars is a unique experience. Back at the campsite, you can join them in their traditional songs and dance.
Food Scene in Jordan
Jordan is a foodie’s delight and there are many local eateries and restaurants serving local traditional dishes. Their national dish is called mansaf—lamb or goat seasoned with aromatic herbs and spices, and cooked in yogurt, with a generous garnish of almonds and pine nuts served over a mountain of rice which is enjoyed traditionally. The traditional cooking of Mansaf requires several intricate steps that takes long to prepare.
Another classic variant is the stuffed lamb packed with rice, chopped onions, and nuts.
A more traditional dish is the basic Jordan’s falafel. Chickpea paste is rolled into balls, fried and paired with pita fresh and served sizzling hot. There are high chances you would see it getting made at a local eatery here. Jordan is also a major producer of olive oil which can be found almost everywhere and taken back home.
Pay respects at the holiest site
Jordan’s holiest places is Mount Nebo, where the Biblical prophet Moses lived his final days and saw the promised land. His body is said to have been buried when he died at the age of 120 here but the grave is unknown. In the year 2000, around 20,000 people gathered here to listen to a sermon by Pope John Paul II.
It’s a very popular Christian pilgrimage in the hills located in western Jordan. At the top is a stone memorial of Moses, and a Byzantine church built by the monks in 3rd and 4th century A.D.
This picture-perfect spot has a dazzling view with a vast tan- and rust-colored ridges of the Jordan’s Valley, the Dead Sea, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem.
Marvel of the Ancient mosaics
The stone map of Madaba is the oldest known mosaic map of the Holy Lands that contains the oldest surviving original cartographic depiction of the Holy Land and especially Jerusalem. The Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics have put Madaba on the world map as “The City of Mosaics”. This is the oldest display of Palestine depicting hills and valleys, villages and towns as far as the Nile Delta.
The 6th-century artwork was once made of 2 million pieces of tile that depicted major Biblical sites of the Middle East. The oldest mosaic is from the first century B.C that displays an artifact from Herod the Great’s palace displayed at the Madaba Museum.
Other mosaic masterpieces created between 542 and 570 are found in the Churches and museums depicting a rampant profusion of flowers, plants, birds, fish, animals and exotic beasts and some marvelous depictions from mythology and the every day pre pursuits of hunting, fishing, and farming.
As a tourist-friendly town has many artisan shops from where you can buy handmade mosaic masterpieces.
The best time to visit Jordan
The best time to visit Jordan is in the spring season between March & May, when the temperature is warm but not scorching. There are wildflowers everywhere making the desert look carpeted. Hills and valleys are lush and highly colorful. Rains are over by March, and humidity is pleasant, the clear sunlight draws a spectacular kaleidoscope of colors around flanked by multi-textured rocks.
Petra looks all the more beautiful in the winter sun when the sandstone offers a much more distinct color. In summer months the site looks virtually washed out.
September to February is the best time to visit the dead sea.
Travel cost can range from JOD 40 per day if you go for shared a room and local markets to as much as JOD 120 for a five-star hotel and guided activities. Hiring a car is recommended to travel to the dead sea and attractios along the king’s highway. Most hotels organize minibus services to key destinations.
Flights to Jordan
Amman Queen Alia International Airport (AMM) is the main international airport of Jordan and lies 20 miles to the south of downtown. There are great shopping facilities in this airport, which is also equipped with a medical center. The Airport has car rental facilities and ample parking, with space for over 1,300 vehicles.
Royal Jordanian is the national carrier of the Kingdom of Jordan and Amman and has partnered with American Airlines. You can earn and redeem Advantage® miles for travel on Royal Jordanian. Besides Royal Jordanian, Emirates, Turkish Airlines, British Airways, Air France also offer cheap flights from the US and European countries.
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