Where to travel Spring 2018? There is a whole big wide world to explore! My top 3 new discoveries for 2017 were Morocco, Russia and Jordan.  I love them so much, I’m to going  back in this year!  All 3 are not expensive countries to stay in and travel around.  You won’t feel as if you are a walking ATM machine!

  • Not Expensive
  • Unique
  • Friendly welcoming people

MOROCCO:

First up is Morocco.  Whatever you like be it Desert, beautiful beaches or fabulous old towns it is in Morocco.  One of the best things about this country is that it retains its identity.  It is still very different from anywhere else and choc full of history.

MARRAKESH:

Friends said to me ‘Oh you won’t like it, its dirty, crowded and you are hassled to buy things all the time”.  I stupidly listened and avoided Morocco for years!  Well, I was enchanted by Morocco and its people from the minute I stepped off the plane.  Marrakesh was a delight.  The first trip in February I stayed in Palmeyria about 20 minutes out of town and the second time in the old Madena in a traditional Riad.  I would recommend both.  More about Marrakesh here: http://luxurytraveldiva.com/magical-marrakesh     http://luxurytraveldiva.com/diva-road-trip

My first trip was so good, I went back a few weeks later on a girls road trip.  More about that in my blog.

Morocco is perfectly safe with good roads and careful drivers.  We hired a car and enjoyed the trip, apart from one speeding ticket all went well.  Beware, they are very hot on speeding!

AGADIR:

Stopped for lunch and it is a typical beach resort mostly dating from the ’70’s and ’80’s.  About 30 minutes north of Agadir we stayed at   Paradis Plage    on the most beautiful beach, perfect for surfers.  Read about it here:

ESSOUIRA:

Possibly my favourite place.  It can be windy but we we’re very lucky and experienced lovely sunny days without any wind in March.  A stay in a Riad in the old town was a great experience. Exploring the souks, restaurants and cafe’s I soon felt like a local.

Wherever you go in Morocco everyone is so kind and friendly, we did not meet one unfriendly person.

ATLAS MOUNTAINS:

PHOTO: Hike in The Atlas Mountains

Then it was off the the mountains! I would like to spend another couple of days hiking in the mountains, our trip was short but perfect.  Even if we did manage to get lost finding the excellent Kasbah Bab Ourika    Read about it here.

My next country to visit in 2018 is:

RUSSIA:

Where to travel 2018? An instant love affair with Russia! St Petersburg is an enormous, majestic city with beautiful museums, palaces, restaurants and cafes with very friendly and beautiful people as well.  Morocco and Russia have more in common than friendly people, they have both retained their individual identity and you will be in no doubt that you are in Russia.  Globalisation has homogenised so many other places in the world.

ST PETERSBURG

PHOTO: Church of the Spilt Blood, St Petersburg

Read my blog about it here:  luxury travel diva     Stay on the main street running through the city, Nevsky Propsect at the Corinthia Hotel, which was a wonderful choice and perfectly located right where you will want to be!  I stayed at Corinthia Hotel

PHOTO: The Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

Explore the museums, galleries, walk around this beautiful city a be captivated.  How about a night at the Russian Ballet? A traditional Russian restaurant? There is a lot to do! I liked it so much I am returning to visit Moscow.

PHOTO: River Neva in St Petersburg, Russia

JORDAN:

PHOTO: The Dead Sea, Jordan

Where to travel 2018?  Last but not least, JORDAN! Again, I had such a great time, I went back in January.  Situated in The Middle East sandwiched between Syria, Israel, Egypt Jordan is a surprisingly peaceful country.  The question I am asked most frequently : “Is it safe”.  I felt perfectly safe at all times, wandered around alone all over the country and loved the friendly and hospitable Jordanian people.

Read my blogs here:  Luxury Travel Diva      Stay at the wonderful Movenpick Hotels, they are excellent.  http://www.movenpick.com.Travel from Amman to The Dead Sea and then float on the healing waters enriched with minerals, 400 metres below sea level at the lowest point on earth.

PHOTO: Sunset over The Dead Sea, Jordan

Then travel to Petra and enjoy The Pink City, one of the 7 wonders of the world.  Below is the world famous Treasury built in 200 AD by the Nabatean people, explore the old trading route and walk through time! Stay at The Movenpick Hotel Petra

PHOTO: The Treasury, Petra, Jordan

Further south enjoy the Desert of Wadi Rum and then Aqaba, on the Red Sea perfect for diving and relaxing.  I will explore these on my next trip!

Let’s hope for a fabulous 2018 full of exciting adventures.  Write and tell me if you go to any of my suggestions! Spring 2018 – How about Morocco, Russia and Jordan!

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PHOTO: Beautiful Jordan!

WHERE TO GO IN JORDAN?

Where to go in Jordan – My Solo trip to a magical land! There are plenty of websites ticking off fantastic tourist sites in Jordan.  However, before my trip I struggled to find more practical information.  Can I drive around safely on my own? What are the roads like?  What should I wear? Where are the best places to stay? and so on.  Here, I will endeavour to answer these questions for those following in my footsteps!

Firstly, I want to you to know that Jordan is a lovely country with places to visit that are truly spectacular.  Put this on your bucket list for a visit at least once in a lifetime.  Already booked my return trip to explore more of this great country.

PHOTO: Exploring Petra Jordan

Jordan – Is it safe and pleasant for Solo women travellers?

Jordan is a very safe country for Solo women travellers.  It is easy to travel around with good roads and safe drivers.  It is easy to have the wrong preconceptions because it is sandwiched between Israel, Syria, Iraq and Saudi.

I don’t exactly blend in as a blue eyed, tall blonde.  However, everyone in Jordan was very friendly and welcoming.  They want visitors to come and will treat you very well.  My whole trip was wonderful, I didn’t feel uncomfortable once even though I was alone.

This might seem to be surprisingly in a conservative Middle Eastern country where only 22% of females are working in paid employment!  Slight astonishment that I was alone maybe , but a polite, respectful  and friendly welcome everywhere.

My return trip is already booked !  I will definitely return  alone to Jordan again.

How to get around the country?

I hired a car and planned to self drive around the country.  Realised my driving licence had expired the day of my trip so last minute panic!  The Movenpick Resort Dead Sea arranged a limousine and driver for me.  This turned out to be perfect, I could just sit back and enjoy the ride, snapping and videoing along the way.

However,if you don’t want the additional expense,  hiring a car is a great option.

The distances are quite long long.  The drive from the Dead Sea to Petra is over 3 hours.  Aqaba to Petra under 2 hours.  Amman airport to Dead Sea is under an hour, about 45 minutes.  Amman to Petra about 3 hours.

Take the good, modern highway from Amman to Petra.  There are 2 routes from the Dead Sea to Petra, one is the highway the other a twisty (VERY twisty) 3 hour drive with some great views along the way.

PHOTO: What to Wear?

What to Wear?

Travelling alone it is always better to be more conservative in dress and respect the local cultural traditions. I wore long sleeve Kaftan style tops with dark jeans and boots while on the road and exploring the country. Above, I am wearing Tory Burch Kaftan top and Burberry Jeans and my Louis Vuitton Neverful bag.

Wear the usual resort wear if you are staying at the International hotels.  Swimwear and sundresses are absolutely fine. Most people wore smart casual attire.

I travelled in November, so needed a wrap, jacket or long sleeve top at night when it was a bit chilly.

When to travel to Jordan?

November was perfect, because it is not too hot and not too cold!  Daytime temperatures at The Dead Sea were between 24 and 27 degrees.  Sunset is early, around 5pm and the temperature dropped to around 18 to 20 degrees.

Petra was a very pleasant 25 degrees in the day but colder at night, around 17 to 18 degrees.  November and December are high season in Petra because it is the perfect daytime temperature to explore The Lost City.

In January 2018 I stayed in Aqaba which has a pleasant winter temperature of about 20 degrees in the daytime.  This was a great time of year to visit Wadi Rum too, cold at night but lovely spring like weather in the day.  There was hardly anyone else staying in my luxury desert camp in Wadi Rum, it was like personal camp almost.  Perfect time to go!

My trip to Jordan – Where to go:

Arriving at Amman International Airport was a nice surprise.  It is an ultra modern, fabulous, efficient airport.  I bought my Jordan Visa on arrival.  Obviously, this depends on your nationality and so check on the Visit Jordan website for Visa information before you arrive.

PHOTO: View of the Dead Sea

The Dead Sea:

The Dead Sea was everything I imagined and more! It is one of the most relaxing places to stay imaginable. The drive from the airport to The Dead Sea was downhill almost all the way because it is the lowest place on earth.  How incredible is that!  My ears popped for the whole journey.

Plenty of very good International hotels to choose.  I stayed at Movenpick Resort Dead Sea 

Read my review for more information.  An excellent hotel and wonderful place to stay, Diva recommended.  I would go back in a heartbeat. Indulge in some Spa treatments.  Many visitors stay here for treatment in their onsite clinic for medical conditions.

Enjoy the health-giving properties of the magical Dead Sea.  Slather yourself in the mud provided in a big pot by the sea.  Then float about reading a newspaper.  Let your body absorb the Dead Sea minerals and just relax!  You will have skin as soft a silk.

PHOTO: Float on the Dead Sea Jordan

PHOTO: Cover yourself in mud and float about on the Dead Sea Jordan – Bliss!

Some interesting places to visit nearby which are great for a half day trip:

  • Jordan River Baptismal Site
  • Mujiz Nature Reserve
  • Cerak Castle
  • Dead Sea Museum

PETRA – THE LOST CITY:

PHOTO: Enjoying my visit to Petra

An absolute must visit in Jordan!  I hired a limousine and driver to take me from the Dead Sea to Petra.  An easy 3 hour journey on a modern highway.  A few police checks on the road, just to check the driver has a licence.  Nothing to worry about!

PHOTO: The road approaching Petra

I stayed at Movenpick Resort Jordan.  Slap bang outside the entrance to Petra this could not be in a better location and was a welcoming, comfortable hotel in lovely Jordanian traditional style.

Below is my photo of The Treasury. The Treasury was built in the second century AD by the Nabatean tribe.  Petra, known as the ‘pink city’ was the Capital city of the Nabateans and was a major trading route.  Explore this fascinating city, one of the seven wonders of the world! Learn about the history from your guide as you go along.

PETRA: First glimpse of the Treasury at Petra

November and December are busy times to travel to Petra.  The weather is warm but not hot and so the perfect time to travel.  There are lots of big tour groups and many tourists.  However, because I arrived in the afternoon and stayed at Movenpick Resort Petra, I visited at about 3.30pm.  Last entrance time is 4pm but you can stay all evening if you wish.

This was perfect, all the tours were leaving as I arrived and it was great light for photo’s too! Sadly, I missed the Petra by Candlelight because it was Friday. Transcend time and enter another world as you follow the old trading routes on your camel.  A truly magical experience. I recommend staying at the Movenpick Resort Petra and staying late to explore The Pink City with only a few people around.

PHOTO: PETRA on horseback

I paid 55 JD for a two day pass.  I planned to potter around on my own without a guide.  However it quickly became clear that I would be better off with a guide for a few reasons.  The hawkers and sellers will leave you alone and the guide organises everything along the way and is also very informative.  It is a LONG way to walk down to the treasury and all around the sites in The Lost City. He organised a Horse, Camel and Donkey for me and this was included in the price.

Watching all the tour parties trudging exhausted along the dusty track to their buses, I was so happy to have my special Bedouin transport!  The Princess Alia Charity ensures good animal welfare and husbandry for the animals working in Petra. The animals are well cared for and overseen by the The Ministry of Agriculture.

Where to go in Jordan? I drove back to The Dead Sea after Petra.  My plan was to stay in the desert at Wadi Rum.  My plan changed as the desert is getting cold at night late November.  There are some tented camps to stay overnight or drive up from Aqaba for the day, only an hour away.

Petra was a wonderful, not to be missed experience.  It was lovely to head back to Movenpick Resort Dead Sea to a beautiful suite for a couple of days relaxation!

PHOTO: Road back to Dead Sea from Petra

We took the twisty road down and running parallel to the Dead Sea on the return journey.  Really twisty, I felt so car sick!  Although there were some interesting bedouin camps and views along the way. The highway was the best road.  Then I loved chilling out at Movenpick Dead Sea.

PHOTO: Relaxing on my terrace of Suite W22 At Movenpick Resort Dead Sea

Then arrived at the Dead Sea in time for the one of the magical sunsets and a glass of delicious Jordanian wine.  The Jordanian wines are excellent, I was very impressed by the local wines and sampled quite a few different ones!

 

PHOTO: Sunset over the Dead Sea – where to go in jordan

The end of a magical Dead Sea day!

Where to go in Jordan – My solo trip to a magical land! My plan is to return and stay in AQABA next trip.  A gorgeous town by the sea with some good International hotels.  Perfect for diving and snorkelling in the Red Sea.  I will stay in Wadi Rum then, only and hour from Aqaba.

USEFUL INFORMATION:

Visit Jordan

My Movenpick Dead Sea Resort Review

My Movenpick Resort Petra Review

Movenpick Dead Sea Resort

Movenpick Resort Petra

 

 

 

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