Leaving Oman was not easy for me. And unfortunately for Jordan, once I arrived I kept comparing the country to Oman. And it just couldn’t compete with Oman’s incredible hospitality.
When traveling to Jordan, there are 3 top highlights to discover: Petra, Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea. Here’s our itinerary for one week in Jordan! You can circle the country in a week easily, because the distances are not big.
For us, it is very safe to travel in Jordan, as there were no incidents on the roads. But I have to warn you – the driving styles in the capital can be difficult if you aren’t used to it. Over taking is part of their daily traffic. And I don’t even want to start about traffic jams in Amman.
The streets are in good condition and the main roads between Wadi Rum, Petra and the Dead Sea are built for tourist, therefore we had no problems with our rented car to drive around.
If you fly directly to Amman you can get your visa at the airport, which is 50 Jordan Dinars. Also in general, I wouldn’t count Jordan as one of the cheapest countries I’ve been to. Expect to pay a lot if you want to see many things in a short amount of time.
Day One: Amman
And Day Two: Jerash, Umm Qais
Then Day Three: Nebo Mountain
About Day Four: Petra
Following Day Five: Wadi Rum
Final Day Six: Dead Sea & Return to Amman
Amman, Jerash, Umm Qais and Nebo Mountain
You can easily visit in one day the Roman amphitheater and the famous citadel in Amman.
Then, head to Jerash for some more ancient ruins with its terrific oval forum and heavily colonnaded cardo maximus. There, you can see some unforgettable ruins, especially with the imposing Temple of Artemis.
Umm Qais has comparably unspectacular ruins, but you will have a view of Israel and Syria, since the ruins are perched on a hilltop above sea level overlooking the Golan Heights and Sea of Tiberias. And last but not least, Mount Nebo is mentioned in the bible as the place where Moses was granted a view of the Promised Land by God. From there, you have a view of the panorama of the Holy Land.
As fate would have it, I should have completed by this year my last of the 7 World Wonders. I decided to be at the visitor center at 6am to be amongst the first people to enter the rose-colored city. And it really worked out. Yes, it is worth getting up extra early for Petra. We did only one day, but there is an abundance to see. You can’t see everything in one day.
It’s a huge compound of a historical and archaeological city and was back then established as the capital city of the Nabataeans. They were smart because they used the city for its proximity to the trade routes in order to build up their trading hub.
Petra’s most famous and iconic part is the so called “Treasury” (Al-Khazneh). Another point we think was even better than the Treasury is “Ad Deir” or The Monastery.
It is for me the most impressive building in Petra, but not all of the visitors make their way up there. Why? It’s on top of a mountain and there are 800 steps up to the Monastery. The steps aren’t steep, so for someone who is fit, it will be very easy to climb.
There, you can even take a rest in one of the countless Bedouin tents for a cup of tea.
Guide in Petra
If you visit Petra, be prepared to walk a lot. We were crazy enough to walk from the monastery to Little Petra (2-3 hours walk) in the middle of the day – the peak of the heat lingered on us.
Also be careful who you take as your guide. Our guide was not good, not only did he not provide us with enough information, but he did way too many inappropriate jokes. He might be one of the worst guides I’ve ever had. Unfortunately, he was a guide working at the visitor centre. It would have even been better for us to read all the information by ourselves before visiting Petra.
All in all, I would definitely recommend you to put Petra on your lifetime bucket list. My mind couldn’t really cope with the beauty and amazement for the early ingenuity of humanity’s building skills and talents.
The fifth desert in my life is Wadi Rum. The first one is Thar Desert in Rajasthan, India. The second one is the Atacama Desert in Chile, then the Sahara in Morocco and the fourth is Wahiba Sands in Oman. But Wadi Rum is by far my favourite desert out of all the deserts I visited so far.
It is so extraordinary in its landscape that I totally feel like Lawrence of Arabia.
Not only is Wadi Rum famous for Lawrence of Arabia, but also as a filming location for the movie ‘The Martian’. Wadi Rum is home to many Bedouin families of the region. Most of them have their settlements in Wadi Rum Village. Nowadays, they still herd camels even though it is mainly used for tourism. I stayed overnight in one of the many desert camps. The camps are spread out across the desert, and I had a wonderful and spiritual night in Wadi Rum. It is my personal highlight of Jordan.
Our camp offers a rustic dinner at night where the food is grilled underground covered by sand.
Do me a favour and visit this extraordinary desert. Next to all the stone pillars you will get the feeling of being smaller than everything else. The rocks are massive and taller than I have seen anywhere else. I know for sure that I want to come back one day to Wadi Rum and do a hot air balloon tour at sunrise since it was fully booked this time.
Dead Sea of Jordan
At the Dead Sea, there isn’t a lot to do except float in the incredible water, wear mud masks and get spa treatments. The water feels oily and makes your skin feel like a newborn baby.
When we head back to Amman, our heads were spinning with the incredible memories we made in beautiful Jordan.
Hospitality In Jordan
I have to admit it was a little bit difficult for me in the beginning to understand the genuine friendliness of Jordanian people. But I want to tell you again not to close your heart even when it doesn’t work from the first moment to connect with the locals.
We made one friend – Saad- in Wadi Rum who showed and gave us all the hospitality we could have wished for. He was truly a genuine and kind-hearted person. The point is that he doesn’t speak a single word of English, but he was our tour guide for Wadi Rum. We communicated via gestures and mimics and it’s true, in the end a smile is still the best language in the world and it is understood everywhere.
We both enjoyed great hospitality in Jordan, but just because I didn’t give up searching for it and opened myself up every time I would meet a new person. And Jordan has definitely a lot of truly genuine and kind people.
Goodbye Jordan – Next Stop: Hello Malta
Jordan taught me different life lessons and I want to come back, especially just to have a glimpse of the majestic Wadi Rum again.
Also I don’t know if you will ever read it, Sven, but I wanted to say a BIG THANK YOU!
Happiness is everywhere and it is even better when you share it with someone. I was incredibly very lucky that my sweet soulmate friend, Sven, accompanied me in Oman and Jordan. Words can’t express how grateful I am for all the experiences with you! Thank You Again!