Week eight of my loopy 52 international locations in 52 weeks journey took me to the Center Japanese gem of Jordan, the most cost effective flight out of Budapest. Now don’t get me mistaken, I like European cities, however after two months straight of church buildings, castles and outdated cities I used to be SO excited to be heading someplace utterly totally different to the primary a part of my huge journey.
Jordan jumped onto my bucket record a few years again after seeing pictures of the beautiful Petra ruins on Instagram, however as a result of it’s notoriously costly to get to, and nonetheless not simple on the pockets when you’re there, I hadn’t managed to make it there simply but. However now after spending every week exploring all of the nation has to supply, I can say with certainty that it’s completely well worth the cash!
Listed below are 5 the reason why it’s good to go to Jordan and the place it is best to go, plus a information on methods to get round when you’re there.
1. The individuals
Jordanians have been a number of the most welcoming individuals I’ve ever met. After experiencing the craziness of souks in Morocco and bazaars in Istanbul, the place girls are pulled into retailers and yelled at (“Spice Women! Woman Gaga! *Insert different western movie star right here*!), I used to be completely ready for a similar in Jordan. Seems that was pointless!
Whereas shopkeepers nonetheless vye for your enterprise, I discovered that buying in Jordan was much more satisfying than doing the identical in each Morocco and Turkey. I wasn’t touched as soon as, most shopkeepers say a well mannered ‘whats up’, may present you a few specialities after which depart you to browse for some time, and whereas there have been individuals who stared, particularly in downtown Amman, I by no means felt like I used to be being focused or pressured.
The taxi drivers I had have been all so pleasant (together with a feminine driver who picked us up from the airport, a nice shock to start out our journey!), waiters have been at all times very happy to assist translate menus, and there was a gaggle of college women at Ajloun Citadel who have been all determined for selfies with us simply because we appeared totally different, and so they then sang glad birthday to my buddy! Lovely individuals, stunning moments.
2. The traditional ruins of Jordan
Except for the individuals and the meals, the apparent subsequent purpose to go to Jordan is due to the unbelievable historic ruins it’s dwelling to.
The apparent chief of the pack when it comes to Jordan’s must-sees is the magical historic metropolis of Petra, one of many New Wonders of the World. Town is greater than 2000 years outdated, was rediscovered in 1812 by a Swiss explorer disguised as an Arab scholar, and now sees nearly one million vacationers go to every year.
Probably the most well-known a part of Petra is Al-Khazneh, the Treasury, which featured in 1989’s Indiana Jones and the Final Campaign and is now one of many essential vacationer sights in all the Center East area. It’s really regarded as a king’s mausoleum from the primary century, and you may see bullet holes on the facade from tribesmen attacking the constructing lots of of years in the past searching for (and failing to search out) treasure.
One other worthwhile web site to see in Petra is the Monastery, though the trek isn’t for the faint-hearted. You’ll must climb 800 uneven steps to succeed in the Monastery which could be robust in the summertime warmth (I went in August, wouldn’t suggest), however you’ll be rewarded with shut up views of this magnificent third century BC tomb. It’s the same model to the Treasury nevertheless it’s even larger, measuring 50m large and 45m excessive.
And for some very totally different but in addition tremendous spectacular ruins, it’s price heading simply north of Amman to the Roman ruins of Jerash. These ruins are a number of the best-preserved ruins I’ve ever seen, and there’s a colonnaded essential road that’s nonetheless received the unique stones so you’ll be able to see the place the chariots used to trip over them.
3. The meals
My abdomen is rumbling simply excited about Jordanian delicacies. Native dishes are fairly much like different international locations within the area, with big mezze platters, hearty meat dishes, countless falafel and sugar-soaked desserts as staples on restaurant menus.
The native hospitality flows proper by means of to the eating places, the place they serve gigantic meals that you just in all probability gained’t be capable of eat all of with out falling right into a meals coma. If small plates are an choice, it’s finest to get a few these to keep away from over-ordering, or should you’re travelling in a gaggle then go arduous and order as a lot as you need, sit round for a few hours to devour it, then tuck into some syrupy goodness like knafeh to wrap up a scrumptious meal.
Whereas Jordan is an costly nation general, should you’re on a funds you might undoubtedly reside off pita, falafel and hummus if it’s a must to (like I did!). I’d suggest trying out Hashem in Downtown Amman, one of many most-loved and most cost-effective falafel eateries on the town.
4. The pure landscapes
Jordan isn’t simply stunning due to people, its landscapes and pure phenomena are proper up there with the ruins on the perfect issues to see on this nation.
Wadi Rum desert appears like one other planet, a lot in order that it’s been a filming spot for The Martian, a Transformers film and Star Wars amongst others. It’s dwelling to huge dunes of purple sand, big jagged rocks and bedouin tribes who run stunning camps for travellers to expertise an evening within the desert.
If you happen to’ve received the necessity for velocity then it is best to e book a spot on a 4WD safari, the place you’ll hit the dunes arduous and quick sitting at the back of a 4WD jeep, or go for a dawn camel trip to see the desert in a extra calming atmosphere. Word that camels ought to solely ever carry one particular person, passengers shouldn’t be over 90kgs, and please report any mistreatment of the animals to the provider or native authorities.
Eager to get moist? Jordan’s one of many international locations that borders the Useless Sea, a salty lake (sure, the identify is complicated) the place the shore is the bottom level of dry land on earth, at 432m beneath sea degree. The Useless Sea’s salinity is 33.7% (in comparison with the ocean’s salinity of three.5%) which implies human our bodies actually can’t sink and simply sit on the prime of the water. It’s a loopy sensation, it’s good to strive it your self to imagine it!
For an additional underwater journey the place you’ll be able to really go underwater, head to Aqaba and dive within the Pink Sea. The Pink Sea is dwelling to vibrant corals, whale sharks, turtles and plenty of extra sea pals, in addition to some unbelievable wreck dives.
5. The security
Jordan is definitely often called one of many most secure international locations within the Center East, and the 40th most secure nation on the planet in keeping with SafeAround.com.
Borders with Syria and Iraq are notably harmful, however the remainder of the nation is seen as a little bit of a protected haven in an space that’s usually recognized globally for its instability. If you happen to’re eager to get a style of the Center East however you’re anxious in regards to the political and issues of safety that sadly taint many different international locations on this area, Jordan is a extremely nice choice for you and in my private expertise was utterly protected even for feminine travellers*.
*A disclaimer on solo feminine security: Whereas I personally had no hassle in any respect as a lady travelling in Jordan, it is very important word that there have been cases of harassment of solo feminine travellers at some vacationer websites like Petra. Most consideration you obtain from locals (and should you look totally different, you’ll obtain consideration) is totally innocent and never meant maliciously, however should you do end up being touched, grabbed or adopted, it’s finest to keep away from contact, say or yell ‘depart me alone’ and get to an space with police and/or different vacationers.
How you can get round Jordan
One of the simplest ways to discover Jordan is by leaping on a small group tour. Not solely will you get a information completely clued up on native historical past, tradition, actions and must-sees, you’ll additionally get the protection and safety of your journey being pre-organised, you gained’t should cope with robust language boundaries, and also you’ll be hanging out with a ready-made group of journey buddies.
If a tour isn’t your factor, the opposite choices are to rent a automobile or rent a non-public driver, as public transport in Jordan is extraordinarily restricted. Automotive rent begins at about £40 per day however you’ll want to grasp native site visitors legal guidelines and be ready to cope with the language barrier, and personal drivers will set you again not less than £70 per day.
Tempted? Ebook flights to Jordan and see all of our Jordan journey excursions.
If you wish to observe extra of my adventures you’ll be able to see my earlier journey guides for Paris, San Sebastian and Sofia or on Instagram to see what I’m to date!