WHERE TO GO IN JORDAN – My Luxury Trip and What to do in Jordan
WHAT TO DO IN JORDAN:
- Amman – Amman Citadel, Roman Theatre, Stay in a top hotel
- Mount Nebo – Fantastic Views, hike at dawn
- Madaba – Church with a 6th Century Map
- Dead Sea Jordan – Enjoy the Dead Sea and the lowest point on earth
- Petra – Siq, The Treasury, Ad Deir, Hike to Ad Deir
- Wadi Rum – Explore the Red rock Desert, stay in a luxury camp
- Dana Biosphere – Stop off on your drive south
- Aqaba – Enjoy Red Sea water activities, stay in top hotels
MY TRAVEL ROUTE IN JORDAN:
- Fly to Amman – Explore Amman
- Drive to Dead Sea Jordan – Explore Dead Sea, float on the Dead sea and enjoy the mud treatments
- Drive to Petra – stay at least one night – Explore Petra
- Drive to Wadi Rum – Stay in a Luxury Camp and explore Wadi Rum
- Drive to Aqaba – enjoy the Red Sea – Dive and Snorkel on the red Sea and hire a boat
- Fly back to Amman from Aqaba
WHAT TO DO IN JORDAN AND WHERE TO STAY FOR A LUXURY TRIP:
Where to go in Jordan and what to do in Jordan. This article is written by a LUXURY blogger for other luxury travellers. My luxury 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!
PHOTO: What to do in Jordan -Wadi Rum Desert. Jordan
Best Places to visit in Jordan:
- Fly to Amman. To be honest, Amman is not my favourite place in Jordan and I would not recommend spending much time here. However, it is inexpensive and the International hotels are much cheaper than prices in most major cities. Amman Citadel is worth a visit. as is King Abdullah Mosque and the Roman Theatre.
- Mount Nebo – Truly spectacular and well worth a visit. Hike Mount Nebo at dawn.
- Dead Sea – A must visit! Float on the Dead Sea and take some Mud treatments. Great choice of top hotels.
- Petra – One of the 7 Wonders of the World. I’m not sure it would make my list but there we go!
- Wadi Rum – Red Rock desert, home to Nabateans in the past and Bedouin who are still there today. Hike, explore and stay the night in a luxury tent.
- Aqaba – Set on the Red Sea, seaside resort for rest and relaxation and Water activities. Great diving and snorkelling.
- Dana Biosphere Reserve. Stop as you drive from Amman to Petra.
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. This is a blog for LUXURY travellers looking for a LUXURY experience in Jordan. Read my 10 day Itinerary for a luxury trip:
PHOTO: Exploring Petra, Jordan
Jordan – Is it safe and pleasant for Luxury women travellers? Remember I write for the LUXURY travel market only.
Jordan is a safe country for luxury women travellers in my opinion, I am an older, experienced, luxury traveller and my experience may be different from other travellers. There are reports of some young women solo travellers experiencing harrasment in Petra and Wadi Rum.
In Petra and Wadi Rum I recommend hiring a Guide, Ask the hotel to organise for you. I always took a car and driver and a Guide when out and about exploring the country. 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. However, I was careful to dress appropriately for a conservative Middle Eastern country. DRESS CONSERVATIVELY, read my ‘What to Wear’ blog for advice.
PHOTO: Mount Nebo, Madaba Jordan
My first trip to Jordan was about 12 years ago and I went with my husband. The second time, I visited alone (he wasn’t interested in exploring more of the country). I planned everything well in advance. Use your common sense, plan to go to places like Petra with a Guide. Also take a Guide to the Desert, common sense dictates that it is not a good idea to wander around in a desert on your own!
Cover up! Cover up completely when out and about and take a guide to Petra and Wadi Rum. Look at what I am wearing, cover up arms, legs, wear a scarf over your hair. Wear whatever you like in the Western hotels and resorts but out and about cover up.
How to get around the country?
The plan was to hire 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! 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.
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? Road to Petra
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 visited in November and January, so needed a wrap, jacket or long sleeve top at night when it was a bit chilly. Buy some beautiful Jordanian embroidered clothes while you are there. Read my ‘What to Wear’ blog:
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 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: The Citadel in Amman Jordan
I have written a dedicated blog post about Amman and the Top 5 things I liked, including restaurants and where to stay and what to do. Find it here:
Just the most spectacular views from Mount Nebo. Hike Mount Nebo at dawn and be rewarded by the most spectacular views (or take a car and driver to the top, that is what I did!). At the top make sure you visit the Church of Moses, it is very spiritual and has some wonderful mosaics. This is the place from which Moses saw the promised land.
PHOTO: Mount Nebo, Jordan
You can see The Dead Sea, The Jordan Valley River, Jericho, Bethlehem and the hills of Jerusalem. Very worth a trip! Combine a trip to Mount Nebo with Madaba. There are some great places for lunch in both places but do’t forget to take water with you for the trip. Mount Nebo is just over 30 minutes drive from the Dead Sea and about the same from Amman. It is easy to get around if you base yourself in The Dead Sea.
PHOTO: View of the Dead Sea, Jordan At Kempinski Ishtar Hotel
The Dead Sea:
Definitely go and stay at the Dead Sea in JORDAN, super luxury hotels, some of which I was lucky enough to stay in, including Kempinski Ishtar. The Kempinski Hotel brand is always perfection! All of the top International Hotel names are here and at very competitive prices, you will be pleasantly surprised on booking!
PHOTO: One of the Pools at Kempinski Ishtar, Dead Sea Jordan
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.
PHOTO: KEMPINSKI ISHTAR HOTEL, DEAD SEA JORDAN
Plenty of very good International hotels to choose. Above is a photo from my stay at the Kempinski Ishtar Hotel as with all Kempinski hotels, it was really lovely and I enjoyed my stay in a gorgeous suite! I also stayed at Movenpick Dead Sea Jordan.
Both excellent hotels and wonderful places 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 Jordan
A must visit in Jordan! Although one day was enough for me. 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 Petra 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.
PHOTO: 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.
There are a lot of tour parties at Petra, so avoid the middle of the day. If you stay at the Movenpick Resort Petra you can arrive later and stay late to explore The Pink City with only a few people around. Or get up very early before the hoards arrive.
PHOTO: PETRA on horseback
I paid 55 JD for a two day pass. The plan was 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.
If you are travelling alone, definitely get a Guide recommended by the hotel. I told the Guide that I wanted to enjoy Petra without being approached by Hawkers and he made sure of this (the hawkers are very annoying) Also, there were very few people around by the time I visited. So my best advice is to arrive with a car and driver, hire a guide and visit late or early. Wear very conservative dress, cover up.
There are reports of women travellers being harrassed and targeted when alone in Petra and Wadi Rum. This was not my experience but be aware of this and do not wander around alone.
Watching all the tour parties trudging exhausted along the dusty track to their buses, very 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.
PHOTO: THE LUXURY DESERT CAMP WHERE I CAMPED IN WADI RUM
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 but decided to return for another trip and spend more time in Aqaba and Wadi Rum. However, you can easily drive to Wadi Rum after Petra if you are touring the country. It is a two hour drive from Petra to Wadi Rum. There are some tented camps to stay overnight or drive up from Aqaba for the day, only an hour away. Read about my stay in Wadi Rum here:
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, some mud and Spa treatments!
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 arrive 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! Alternatively, if you don’t want to go back to the Dead Sea as I did, you can continue South for a couple of hours drive from Wadi Rum to Aqaba. Again, find lots of lovely luxury Hotels here too! I stayed in a gorgeous Suite at the Movenpick and enjoyed a very relaxing Spa day which was just the thing after a night in the desert.
PHOTO: Beach at Movenpick Resort in Aqaba, Jordan
Aqaba is set on the Red Sea and is heaven for snorkelling and diving. The sea life here is incredible. Another fascinating fact is that you can see Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt when standing on this beach (photo above). I flew back from Aqaba to Amman on Jordanian Airways. There is one flight a day in the evenings and it is ver short, 35 minutes.
As I said, my time was divided into 2 trips in Jordan (3 if you count my visit 12 years ago too!) However, it is possible to fit everything into a 10 day trip. Read about my second trip to Jordan and Wadi Rum here: