Week eight of my loopy 52 countries in 52 weeks adventure took me to the Center Jap gem of Jordan, the most cost effective flight out of Budapest. Now don’t get me flawed, I really like European cities, however after two months straight of church buildings, castles and outdated cities I used to be SO excited to be heading someplace utterly totally different to the primary a part of my large journey.
Jordan jumped onto my bucket listing a few years again after seeing images of the gorgeous Petra ruins on Instagram, however as a result of it’s notoriously costly to get to, and nonetheless not straightforward 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 definitely worth the cash!
Listed below are 5 the reason why you might want to visit Jordan and the place you must go, plus a information on the right way to get round when you’re there.
1. The folks
Jordanians had been a number of the most welcoming folks I’ve ever met. After experiencing the craziness of souks in Morocco and bazaars in Istanbul, the place girls are pulled into outlets and yelled at (“Spice Women! Girl Gaga! *Insert different western celeb 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 purchasing 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 had been all so pleasant (together with a feminine driver who picked us up from the airport, a pleasing shock to begin our journey!), waiters had been at all times more than pleased to assist translate menus, and there was a gaggle of college women at Ajloun Fortress who had been all determined for selfies with us simply because we seemed totally different, and so they then sang blissful birthday to my good friend! Lovely folks, stunning moments.
2. The traditional ruins of Jordan
Except for the folks and the meals, the plain subsequent cause to go to Jordan is due to the unimaginable historic ruins it’s dwelling to.
The plain 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. The town is greater than 2000 years outdated, was rediscovered in 1812 by a Swiss explorer disguised as an Arab scholar, and now sees nearly 1,000,000 vacationers go to annually.
Essentially 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 most important vacationer sights in the whole Center East area. It’s truly regarded as a king’s mausoleum from the primary century, and you may see bullet holes on the facade from tribesmen attacking the constructing tons of of years in the past searching for (and failing to seek 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 have to climb 800 uneven steps to succeed in the Monastery which will be robust in the summertime warmth (I went in August, wouldn’t advocate), however you’ll be rewarded with shut up views of this magnificent third century BC tomb. It’s an analogous type to the Treasury however it’s even greater, measuring 50m large and 45m excessive.
And for some very totally different but additionally 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 most important road that’s nonetheless obtained 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 eager about Jordanian delicacies. Native dishes are fairly just like different nations within the area, with large mezze platters, hearty meat dishes, limitless falafel and sugar-soaked desserts as staples on restaurant menus.
The native hospitality flows proper via to the eating places, the place they serve gigantic meals that you simply most likely gained’t be capable of eat all of with out falling right into a meals coma. If small plates are an possibility, it’s greatest to get a few these to keep away from over-ordering, or when you’re travelling in a gaggle then go exhausting 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 total, when you’re on a funds you could possibly undoubtedly dwell off pita, falafel and hummus if it’s important to (like I did!). I’d advocate testing 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 because of people, its landscapes and pure phenomena are proper up there with the ruins on the most effective issues to see on this nation.
Wadi Rum desert seems to be 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, large jagged rocks and bedouin tribes who run stunning camps for travellers to expertise an evening within the desert.
For those who’ve obtained the necessity for pace then you must e-book a spot on a 4WD safari, the place you’ll hit the dunes exhausting and quick sitting behind a 4WD jeep, or go for a dawn camel trip to see the desert in a extra calming atmosphere. Be aware 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 nations that borders the Lifeless Sea, a salty lake (sure, the title is complicated) the place the shore is the bottom level of dry land on earth, at 432m beneath sea degree. The Lifeless 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 high of the water. It’s a loopy sensation, you might want to strive it your self to imagine it!
For an additional underwater journey the place you’ll be able to truly go underwater, head to Aqaba and dive within the Purple Sea. The Purple Sea is dwelling to vibrant corals, whale sharks, turtles and plenty of extra sea associates, in addition to some unimaginable wreck dives.
5. The security
Jordan is definitely referred to as one of many most secure nations within the Center East, and the 40th most secure nation on the planet in accordance 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 typically recognized globally for its instability. For those who’re eager to get a style of the Center East however you’re anxious concerning the political and questions of safety that sadly taint many different nations on this area, Jordan is a very nice possibility 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, you will need to be aware that there have been situations of harassment of solo female travellers at some vacationer websites like Petra. Most consideration you obtain from locals (and when you look totally different, you’ll obtain consideration) is totally innocent and never meant maliciously, however when you do end up being touched, grabbed or adopted, it’s greatest 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
The easiest way 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 take care of 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 personal driver, as public transport in Jordan is extraordinarily restricted. Automotive rent begins at about £40 per day however you’ll want to know native visitors legal guidelines and be ready to take care of the language barrier, and personal drivers will set you again at the least £70 per day.