C & I created this week long Jordan itinerary on our recent trip to the country. The Jordan itinerary covers Petra, Dead Sea, Wadi Rum, Aqaba, Jerash, Amman and other major tourist attractions and is perfect for road-trip aficionados. Visitors can rent a car on landing at Amman International airport. Jordan is a great country to drive except for Amman where the traffic is bad compared to western standards. C & I are used to driving in Pune, India where the traffic is horrendous so this wasn’t an issue. Our Jordan itinerary starts with Petra since it is the star attraction of the trip. The itinerary is very well-researched and covers the country at a leisurely pace.
Jordan is a land steeped in majestic ancient monuments, stunning landscapes, biblical history and religious wars. It is also a country that is slowly shedding religious conservatism, embracing progress and tourism, and filled with welcoming and friendly people. Bordering Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the West bank, Jordan has maintained its stability and encouraged tourism amidst political uprisings in the region and warring neighbors.
Day 1: Land in Jordan, Amman in the morning. Pick up rental car at the airport and drive on to Petra which is 3 hrs away from Amman via the Desert Highway. We took the ancient King’s highway (Route 35) which goes through the Jordan valley and offers beautiful vistas. Traveling via Kings Highway takes about 4.5 hrs. We stopped and saw the large crusader castle of Karak on our way, had lunch in the town and continued to Petra. We reached Wadi Musa, the base for Petra, late afternoon. We had an early dinner and slept since we had a long day ahead at Petra.
Day 2: The highlight of the trip! We reached Petra visitor center just as it opened at 6 am, bought our tickets and started the mile long hike through the Siq. We were rewarded with hard to come-by no other soul in sight views of the Treasury. We sipped on some excellently brewed Bedouin tea and then hiked the little known Treasury Overlook Trail and the rest of the ancient city. Petra has many beautiful monuments and photo opportunities; check out the 5 best ways to photograph the Treasury. Petra by night can be watched in the night. We ate some mouth-watering kebabs for dinner in Wadi Musa and slept like a log.
Day 3: We had kept this day to cover remaining Petra and then drove down to Aqaba and the Red sea via Kings highway. The journey takes about 2.5 hrs. We had excellent seafood lunch in town and then relaxed at our snorkeling and diving hostel. We snorkeled in the Red sea and saw beautiful fishes and corals. The evening offered a gorgeous sunset over Sinai Mountains of Egypt.
Day 4: We snorkeled some more, spent time on the beach and then started for Wadi Rum which is just an hour away via the Desert highway. We met our Bedouin guide at the Visitor center and then chauffeured to our camp in a 4WD truck. We had some hot tea at the camp at then went on the Wadi Rum desert safari. The safari is a beautiful experience with the chance to see and climb over various rock formations and venture deep into the red desert. Back at the camp we had a delicious Bedouin dinner cooked over the camp fire and then slept under the stars in the vast desert.
Day 5: Hearty breakfast at the camp followed by Bedouin tea and we were ready for our 4 hr long drive to our resort on the Dead Sea via Dead Sea highway. The drive is spectacular with camels grazing on both sides and the road keeps descending to reach 1300 ft below sea level. We checked out the interesting Dead Sea museum and spectacular Dead Sea Panorama Overlook on our way. We reached our resort, had a relaxing lunch and were soon ready for the second highlight of the trip – floating in the Dead sea!
Day 6: This spent this entire day at Jerash which is 1.5 hrs away from the Dead sea region. Jerash is the site of most well-preserved Roman ruins outside of Europe. The ruins are majestic with beautiful colonnaded streets, carved pillars, Roma theatres, Greek temples and a grand forum. Since it was springtime in the valley beautiful flowers bloomed over the Roman ruins and magnified the beauty of the ancient city.
We also visited Umm Qais or the ancient Roman city of Gadara which is 1.5 hrs away from Jerash. It is mere 5 miles away from the Northern border; Israeli and Syrian lands can be seen from the ruins of Gadara. It was an incredible reminder of how close yet far we were from the civil unrest and violence that had gripped the region.
We made the 2 hrs drive back to Amman and spent the night at our downtown hotel.
Day 7: We checked out the Roman ruins of the Amman citadel and Umayyad mosques and palaces, and then went to Madaba and Mt Nebo. Madaba is where the oldest surviving mosaic map of the Holy Land and Jerusalem was found and can be viewed even today. The map has excellent pictorial depictions of Sinai peninsula, Jerusalem and the Dead sea. Mt Nebo has a special place in biblical history as it is where Moses had his first view view of the Promised Land. We spent the evening sampling street foods of Amman; check out different Jordanian foods we ate here.
Day 8: All we did on our last day was wander through the Souqs of Amman and sample some more local delicacies. We ate the best falafel in the region and shopped among Gold souqs and dry fruit souqs. We drank sugarcane juice and ate kunafa, the syrupy cheese pastry. We purchased lots of souvenirs, gifts and baklavas. Then it was time to finish our packing for the midnight flight out of Amman.
The Jordan itinerary can also be extended to 10 days by spending 2 entire days in Petra and staying overnight at one of the Dead Sea Resorts.
I visited Jordan in April 2015
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