Have you been to Jordan? Have you ever thought about going? What drew us to this wonderful destination was our quest to see all 7 of the New World Wonders. Petra, which is our fifth wonder so far, is located within the Jordanian Desert. Often an overlooked destination among travelers, we are glad we got to see this amazing country!
In addition to Petra, the other 6 wonders are:
- Chichen Itza
- Christ the Redeemer
- The Colosseum
- Taj Mahal
- Great Wall of China
- Machu Picchu
The Pyramids of Giza are an honorary member, it is the only surviving landmark from the 7 ancient wonders of the world.
After our trip to Petra, we now only have Christ the Redeemer and The Great Wall of China left to complete our quest.
In addition to Petra, Jordan also provides access to the Dead Sea.
We arrived in Amman and used that as our base because it provided easy access to both locations.
To enter Jordan currently under the pandemic restrictions, travelers need a few important pieces of information: the QR health code from the Jordan Tourism website (visitjordan.gov.jo) and coverage of health insurance during the entire duration of your stay. We have had other countries say they require this and never ask for it, Jordan, however, did want to see this so make sure you have it. Jordan also does require a visa, which as Americans, we were able to pay and obtain quickly upon our landing at Queen Alia Airport. Your country may have different requirements so make sure you know what you need before you go.
Day 1: Exploring Amman
Because we arrived late to Jordan, the Citadel was closed, so unfortunately we did not get to see this and so instead have just this one picture that we were able to take from our hotel. We hear it’s great and were disappointed we could not see it, but we only had 3 days in Jordan so we had to fit everything in within the time allotment we had.
We did, however, get to see Roman Theatre just as it was closing, which was really cool to see. This and the Citadel are the 2 most famous things to see in Amman.
Rainbow Street is another cool spot to visit. It is pretty much just a street with restaurants and shops, but it wasn’t so busy when we were there. We believe this may be due to the fact that we went during Ramadan. Still though, it was very cool to visit.
Because, as mentioned, we went during Ramadan, many places were offering Iftar buffets. Iftar is the breaking of the fast and so buffets were being offered at many of the restaurants as opposed to traditional sit-down dinners. We got to enjoy the meal below at a very delicious restaurant on Rainbow Street.
Downtown Amman comes alive at night! It was pretty busy during the day, but at night is when it really comes to life! We were blown away at how many locals were out & about on the streets, shopping & eating, and even many children who were probably out way past their bedtimes. Amman by night is a colorful paradise, where mosques like these can be found all throughout the city, with lights and spires in seemingly every color of the rainbow.
While we enjoyed our time in Amman, we were excited to visit Petra the following morning.
Day 2: Petra
Getting to Petra from Amman is pretty easy, which is why we chose to stay in Amman. While we could have stayed in Wadi Musa; as mentioned, Amman provided easy access to both Petra and the Dead sea, which is why we chose to base ourselves out of Amman rather than stay in Wadi Musa. There is a bus that leaves from Abdali Station every morning at 6:30 to bring people to Petra and it leaves at 5pm to bring people back to Amman. We found it impossible to book from the website b/c they do not accept foreign credit cards, so we asked our hotel to book the way for us to Petra and we were able to get the way back ticket right at the station. The ride takes about 4 hours. We found this to be a convenient & cheap way to get to Petra and back. The cost for the bus was 20JD (Jordanian Dinar) round trip each.
Within Petra there are many hiking trails to choose from (roughly eight). Our day began at 10:30 and ended at 17:00. Within this time period we were able to complete 3 of the hiking trails: The Main Trail (4km), The Monastery Trail (2.5km), and lastly the Al-Khubtha Trail (3.5 km). The trails you choose should be dependent on your time and ability. Also keep in mind the trail distances are one way, so double then to get an idea of total distance needed to hike them.
The site also includes many restaurants, vendors selling drinks and souvenirs, guides offering their services, and camel/horse/mule handlers offering rides through the different trails.
Trail 1: Main Trail (4km) Easy
The main trail is as the name suggests, this is the easiest of the trails and most of all the other trails branch off from this one. We were able to see the following sites from this trail:
Street of Facades
Trail 2: Ad-Dier (Monastery) Trail (2.5km) Hard
The Monastery Trail is rated hard by the Petra Map. We found it to be moderately difficult. This trail is mostly steps so if you are comfortable with a lot of steps, you will be rewarded with an amazing view of the Monastery at the end.
Trail 3: Al-Khubtha Trail (3.5 km) Hard
This trail was the hardest for us. It could have been because it was the last trail we did and we were already fatigued by the other trails. Whatever the case may be we chose this trail because it offered us a birds-eye view of the Treasury at the end of the trail. If you don’t have time for this trail and still want the chance to see the treasury from above guides will happily offer to take you up the back way (for a fee of course). The guides will approach you as soon as you exit the Siq in to the Treasury Square on the Main trail. We however will always choose the more adventurous/independent option given the chance. The trail brings you to the Royal Tombs first before forcing you to climb stair after stair to reach the view point of the Treasury.
Theater View Point
Treasury View Point
Back in Amman at night we grabbed a late dinner at Abu Zagleh
Day 3: Dead Sea
Due to our limited time in Jordan, rather than staying overnight at one of the many resorts on the Dead Sea, we opted to visit a resort and pay for a day pass to the resort. The day pass gains you access to the resorts facilities such as the restaurants, bars, pools, showers, and of course access to the Dead Sea Beach. Of all the resorts that offered a day pass we chose the Dead Sea Spa and Resort. We were very pleased with our choice and definitely recommend.
The Dead Sea itself is amazing. The salinity content is so high that with no effort at all you float at the surface. We could not sink if we tried. The downfall of this is that spending too much time in the water may start to irritate the skin. Warning, try not to get any of the water in your eyes, it stings very much (we know this from experience).
Other than floating along, another popular activity to do at the Dead Sea is to rub the mud all over your body. The mud was offered complementary in a large container right on the beach. After washing off the mud, our skin was left feeling silky smooth.
We were also amazed at all the cool salt formations and crystallizations we saw.
Another interesting fact is that just across the sea you could see Israel. It looked close enough to swim (or float) to.
Dead Sea Spa and Resort Grounds
Dead Sea Beach (Access via Resort)
Although our time in Jordan was short we felt it was worth every minute we spent there. If we had more time, we would have spent a few days in the Wadi Rum desert which is said to be awe inspiring.
We hope we have inspired you to add Jordan to your list. Thank you for reading, and as always Saif Travels!!