Week eight of my loopy 52 international locations in 52 weeks journey took me to the Center Japanese gem of Jordan, the most affordable flight out of Budapest. Now don’t get me flawed, I like European cities, however after two months straight of church buildings, castles and outdated cities I used to be SO excited to be heading someplace fully completely different to the primary a part of my massive journey.
Jordan jumped onto my bucket record a few years again after seeing photographs of the beautiful 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 well worth the cash!
Listed below are 5 the explanation why it’s good to go to Jordan and the place it’s best to go, plus a information on the best way to get round when you’re there.
1. The folks
Jordanians have 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 superstar 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 way more pleasing than doing the identical in each Morocco and Turkey. I wasn’t touched as soon as, most shopkeepers say a well mannered ‘hey’, would possibly present you a few specialities after which go away 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 pleasing shock to begin our journey!), waiters have been all the time more than pleased to assist translate menus, and there was a bunch of faculty women at Ajloun Fortress who have been all determined for selfies with us simply because we regarded completely different, and so they then sang joyful birthday to my pal! Lovely folks, lovely moments.
2. The traditional ruins of Jordan
Apart from the folks and the meals, the apparent subsequent cause to go to Jordan is due to the unimaginable historic ruins it’s residence 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 virtually 1,000,000 vacationers go to every year.
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 major vacationer points of interest in the complete Center East area. It’s truly considered a king’s mausoleum from the primary century, and you’ll see bullet holes on the facade from tribesmen attacking the constructing lots of of years in the past on the lookout for (and failing to search out) treasure.
One other worthwhile website 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 may be powerful 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 an analogous type to the Treasury nevertheless it’s even larger, measuring 50m broad and 45m excessive.
And for some very completely 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 major road that’s nonetheless obtained the unique stones so you possibly can see the place the chariots used to trip over them.
3. The meals
My abdomen is rumbling simply desirous 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 to the eating places, the place they serve gigantic meals that you simply in all probability received’t have the ability to 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 for those who’re travelling in a bunch then go laborious 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, for those who’re on a funds you may positively dwell off pita, falafel and hummus if you need to (like I did!). I’d suggest testing Hashem in Downtown Amman, one of many most-loved and least expensive falafel eateries on the town.
4. The pure landscapes
Jordan isn’t simply lovely due to people, its landscapes and pure phenomena are proper up there with the ruins on the most effective matters 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 residence to huge dunes of crimson sand, big jagged rocks and bedouin tribes who run lovely camps for travellers to expertise an evening within the desert.
If you happen to’ve obtained the necessity for pace then it’s best to e book a spot on a 4WD safari, the place you’ll hit the dunes laborious 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 surroundings. 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 Lifeless 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 stage. The Lifeless Sea’s salinity is 33.7% (in comparison with the ocean’s salinity of three.5%) which suggests 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 consider it!
For an additional underwater journey the place you possibly can truly go underwater, head to Aqaba and dive within the Pink Sea. The Pink Sea is residence to vibrant corals, whale sharks, turtles and plenty of extra sea mates, in addition to some unimaginable wreck dives.
5. The protection
Jordan is definitely referred to as one of many most secure international locations within the Center East, and the 40th most secure nation on the earth in keeping with SafeAround.com.
Borders with Syria and Iraq are significantly harmful, however the remainder of the nation is seen as a little bit of a secure haven in an space that’s typically identified 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 very nice choice for you and in my private expertise was fully secure 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 notice that there have been situations of harassment of solo feminine travellers at some vacationer websites like Petra. Most consideration you obtain from locals (and for those who look completely different, you’ll obtain consideration) is totally innocent and never meant maliciously, however for those who do end up being touched, grabbed or adopted, it’s finest to keep away from contact, say or yell ‘go away me alone’ and get to an space with police and/or different vacationers.
The right way to get round Jordan
One of the best 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 received’t should cope with powerful language obstacles, and also you’ll be hanging out with a ready-made group of journey buddies.
If a tour isn’t your matter, the opposite choices are to rent a automotive or rent a non-public driver, as public transport in Jordan is extraordinarily restricted. Automobile 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 a minimum of £70 per day.