“No man can live this life and emerge unchanged. He will carry.. the imprint of the desert… and he will have within him the yearning to return…. For this cruel land can cast a spell which no temperate clime can match.’” T.E. Lawrence

What springs to mind when you think of Jordan? This was a question our local guide asked us on our first day.

Someone yells out Petra, the ancient Nabataean city. Another yells out Bedouin and the Desert. Our guide chuckles and proudly says, yes these are some of our ancient famous sites. He prods further, “were any of you apprehensive coming to Jordan?”

Most responded, no, they haven’t been to this part of the world and were curious to learn more about it and read that Jordan was one of the more progressive and neutral Middle East nations. However, their friends and family thought they were out of their mind because of the chaos we hear from mainstream media.

He said, “I’m glad to hear you did your own research and decided to visit my country. Jordan has a lot to offer from incredible landscapes, ancient wonders to a rich cultural history. I hope you will enjoy and see for yourself we respect and get along with each other irrespective of our religions. We are a quiet house surrounded by noisy neighbors. And I am excited to share with you our culture and dispel any myths and stereotypes of Arabs.”

Petra Camels

For instance, we don’t all own camels (he laughs) but we do start the morning off listening to Fairouz, a famous Lebanese singer. Would you guys like to hear a song? Sure, we responded.

This is what I love about traveling –  experiencing new things, new customs and the world in a different way.  Where you get to make your own judgment about a place and its people instead of what you hear from media. Here are the highlights of traveling for five days from North to South of Jordan.

Jerash

Jerash If you are interested in history and like Roman ruins, you will enjoy exploring Jerash. Located just shy of 50 km north of Amman, Jerash is the most well-preserved ancient Roman city outside of Italy.

Back in the day, it served as an important city on Rome’s ancient trade route. After the decline of the Roman Empire, Jerash was subjected to various invading forces and destructive earthquakes, which left the city abandoned and in ruins. The ruins were discovered buried under sand by Ulrich Jasper Seetzen in 1806 and excavation began a century later. From the ancient ruins, you can see the modern city of Jerash behind it as if it is set up against it.

Tip: Bring sunscreen, a bottle of water and wear a hat, and comfy shoes for your visit.

Mount Nebo

Mt. Nebo From Amman to the Dead Sea stop by Mount Nebo. It offers a spectacular view of the promised land. And is known to be the spot where Moses saw the promised land before he died. On a clear day, you can see the Dead Sea, Jordan River Valley, the West Bank of Israel and Jericho. And don’t miss the incredible mosaics inside the Byzantium church.

Madaba

Madame As you continue on your journey to the Dead Sea, stop in the city of Madaba. It is one of Jordan’s largest Christian communities and is known for a collection of Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics. The most famous is housed inside the Saint George Creek Orthodox Church. Here you will find the largest and oldest mosaic map of the Jerusalem and the Holy Land. 

Take a Float in the Dead Sea

The Dead Sea also known as the Salt Sea is the lowest point on earth. It contains significant amount of sodium chloride (almost nine times saltier than the ocean) and other mineral salts. These minerals provide healing qualities and leaves your skin feeling baby soft. Dead Sea

Naturally, many people take a dip in the water and book retreats to help with ailments. And with the high salt concentration you will get to experience the buoyant sensation of floating effortlessly in the water. Grab a magazine, or a newspaper and take a fun Instagram photo of you laying on your back reading in the Dead Sea. For more tips on how to float comfortably in the Dead Sea, click here.

Channel your Lawrence of Arabia Fantasy in Wadi Rum

wadi ram The landscape of Wadi Rum is spectacular. Here you can take a jeep (more like a 4 x 4 truck) tour and head deep into the desert, and enjoy tea with the Bedouins. Take a bird’s eye view on a hot air balloon over viewing the majestic mountains and desert. Or sleep in the Desert under the stars having a Real Bedouin.

This desert valley is home to the Bedouins and desert dwellers where historically have inhabited this area. You’ll find this magnificent golden desert filled with narrow gorges, towering cliffs and monolithic rockscapes. Wadi Ram 4 T.E. Lawrence, Lawrence of Arabia is also linked to

Wadi Rum. This is the stomping ground of where he led the Arabs in their revolt against the Ottoman Empire. And here you can ride a camel into the sunset living out your Lawrence of Arabia fantasy. Hollywood has come to film here like The Martian, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Lawrence of Arabia and Transformers.

Go where you feel most alive! ===== #wadirum #wadirumdesert #discoverjordan

Uma publicação partilhada por happyfreelifestyle (@happyfreelifestyle) a

A beautiful rock formation known as the Seven Pillars of Wisdom was named after his autobiography. / A beautiful carving of Lawrence of Arabia.

Explore the Rose City Petra

PetraPetra lives up to its hype. This ancient city will take your breath away. Start your visit with a horse ride from the visitors centre to the entrance of The Siq. It is a natural sandstone gorge that was formed by an earthquake that stretches for about 2km, which gently winds and leads you to the ancient city of Petra. Along the way you’ll find various sandstone formations that resemble various animals like nemo, cobra.  And you’ll find a ton of carvings of the god block (baetyls) protecting the water channels back in the day and travelers passing through.

This Rose City, dating more than 2000 years ago, was built by the Nabatean in pink sandstone cliffs. It played an important part of the Silk Route to China and India. I wish I had at least two full days to explore this magnificent jewel in the Middle East. There are just so many amazing view points and some of the best and unmissable vistas are just thousands of steps, up, up, up. One day channeling your inner Indian Jones is just not enough.

This Rose City, dating more than 2000 years ago, was built by the Nabatean in pink sandstone cliffs. It played an important part of the Silk Route to China and India. I wish I had at least two full days to explore this magnificent jewel in the Middle East. There are just so many amazing view points and some of the best and unmissable vistas are just thousands of steps, up, up, up. One day channeling your inner Indian Jones is just not enough. petra

Other General Things To Note

  • Jordanian power voltage is 230 V 50 Hz; Power sockets C, D, F, G & J;
  • Jordan is a Muslim country, so expect women to be dressed conservatively. Although being one of the more progressive country compared to its Middle Eastern neighbors, you do find some women walk the streets without burkas and wearing more westernized and perhaps ‘less’ conservative clothing with their shoulders and legs still covered.
  • Best months to travel March to May or September to November when the temperature is not too extreme. Avoid June and July as it is not only hot, it may also be the months of Ramadan and many shops and restaurants are closed
  • Day Trips can be organized to visit the Dead Sea and Jerash from Amman. If you are short on time, Petra and Wadi Rum can also be a one-day trip from Amman, but it would be a very long day and you may feel overwhelmed and dazed to truly appreciate the beauty of everything. Instead break the trip up and spend a night in Wadi Musa (where Petra is located). We stayed at the Old Village Resort and really enjoyed the ambiance, the meals and the service.

Is it Safe?

Yes. Jordan from first-hand experience feels safe. The locals are friendly and respectful. As a woman, I didn’t feel harassed and unsafe like I have experienced in India where men went out of the way to follow and catcall. And for the most part people were not aggressive in trying to sell you something. But, as a traveler, you still need to do your due diligence in pay attention to your environment and things that you can do to save you from unwarranted attention.

Jerash

Packing Tips

Jordan has a range of different climates; You can expect the morning and evenings to be chilly and the days to be hot and humid.

  • Loose clothing. Think linen and tunics. Anything light weight, breathable and dri-fit are great;
  • A sweater or jacket for cold nights;
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat to protect yourself from the sun;
  • A face mask or a scarf which can double up to help also protect you from the dust and sand. In addition, it can double up to protect you from the sun or can be used as a cover up when you visit any religious places that requires you to cover up;
  • Flip flops for the beach and Wadi Rum;
  • Runners/ Sneakers for Petra;
  • Vaseline to cover up any small open wound you may have before you go for a float in the Dead Sea;
  • Swimsuits for the Dead Sea, beach or pool.

If you are looking for an unforgettable Middle East vacation experience, Jordan is it! Have you been to Jordan? Or is it on your bucket list?