by Mikela Franklin
Jordan, what can I say. You were an unexpected beauty in all the ways!
Jordan is at once mythical, ancient, modern, varied and vast in its offerings. It has everything, from Beaches to mountains, to lounges. There’s something for every taste level!
We flew Business class to Amman from Cairo Egypt, via Jordanian Airlines. ($2,000 per person from Muscat.) Our particular airbus was a bit dated, but the food variety made up for it.
Once we arrived we went to our hotel, ‘W’ Amman. (Starting at $450 per night for the suites.). Every W hotel has specific cultural details and this one was no different. Beautiful pink, red and gold gilded walls were the staple of every corner of the hotel. It was giving Aladdin’s lair after his first wish. (IYKYK) We were able to stay in the Marvelous suite which was topped with a panoramic view displaying all of the city.
Couple of quick tips: if you plan on visiting several popular tour spots like Petra, Wadi Rum, DEFINITELY buy the Jordanian Pass. You can get at customs. Trust me on this one, you will save a ton as each entry point rubs about 40 to 60 JOD which is 55 to 80 bucks. The passage is about $113 and can be purchased online. The three different options cater to your specific stay.
The first tour was the Petra Treasure and Wadi Rum. From Amman, the drive to Petra was about two hours. It was a very scenic drive. Jordan is a beautiful country with rolling hills, big skies. However, unlike its GCC cousins, they legit have actual winter there. When we arrived it was COLDdddddddddd. If you are going in November to Jan, bring an overcoat, boots and scarf.
Once we arrived to Petra there’s a bit of a walk until you get to the main area. The walk is lovely and our tour guide Ahmed was fun and knowledgeable. (Tour guide $1,400. ) The walk is about 1 Km. Not bad but good to know in case of disability and limited mobility. The great thing is that there are shuttles going back and forth and you can just pay for a round trip or one way ticket. But they are a bit costly at 25 USD to 40 USD. We opted to walk and glad we did as we found quite a few photo shoots for the gram.
The ground area is complete and utter chaos. There’s hagglers and people coming at you at every second trying to get you to ride a camel and also take you up to the main viewpoints. The view point is the money shot you typically see on Instagram. All the shots look so serene and tranquil. In reality you are fighting for your life to get a mini photo shoot in while 10 other people stare at you, and guides are constantly yelling at you to hurry up. However if you are as great as ignoring white noise as we are, you can focus and get some really amazing shots.
The vibe itself was chilled, with reggae music playing and karak tea available. So typically a guide, which is basically a young boy between the ages 8 to 15, harasses you until you negotiate a rate to take you up the hill to the view and take your pictures.
Once on the ground of course, we had to get a few pics with some camels. As always with most things you have to negotiate. For one camel shoot, you shouldn’t pay more than 3 to 5 JOD for one person.
Our next stop was Wadi Rum for dune bashing and desert tour. We had an absolute blast here. To be honest, I think I preferred Wadi Rum much more than Petra. Mainly because the vibe is much more relaxed and the guides aren’t all jumping in your face. At the bottom of one of the dunes, we were able to just sit, eat dates, snacks and have some local tea. Wadi Rumis stunning and seriously looks like it could be Mars. It’s bright red and it goes on for hundreds and hundreds of kilometers. We were also able to visit some of the glamping and “Globe” tent sites. Next visit, those will be a definite must.
We didn’t have another tour scheduled that day, so we opted to do some local sightseeing. Amman is very modern and has a lot of shopping malls and stores with high end boutiques and dining. Taj Lifestyle Mall was a highlight as it had a large variety of stores to choose from.
For all of you luxury watch aficionados, we decided to visit a few boutiques. We visitedtheTime Center, Um Athaina branch on Eritrea street, located at the Luxury Vista shopping mall. This is home to major Swiss Luxury brands such as Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, Omega, Blancpain, and lots more.
For more luxe shopping, visit the Galleria Mall or TaJ lifestyle center.
Transportation wise, we just Ubered from there to our hotel. Uber is dirt cheap. Our ride was only a few bucks, (I think $1.75) for a 15 min ride.
The next day we decided on the Dead sea. For this we opted on skipping a tour guide and did the logistics ourselves. We did the math and realized that it would be cheaper and simpler. Alsoby that point between Egypt, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem, we had tour guide fatigue and just felt like not being restricted to a schedule.
We took an Uber to the Dead sea. It was about a 45 minute drive. Once we got there we went to
Dead Sea Spa and Resort. It’s a no frills. Cute space. You can also use their services. Somepeople opt to do day passes at the nearby hotels. Would suggest the Marriott. Whole the day pass is on the pricier side at about 40 JOD per person, it’s a nice little quick luxury day trip. For us, due to the cold weather, we just wanted to get into the water and go, so we didn’t really want to spend an entire day there. That day it was 70 Fahrenheit and that was the warmest it has been the entire trip as most days the highs were in the 50s.
The Dead Sea is SO much fun. Okay pro tip, don’t shave your legs before you go. Your skin will burn like purgatory. The Dead sea has absolutely no living organisms so you don’t have to worry about anything nipping at your toes. Also, you can’t sink. Like we tried. The sodium content is so thick it’s impossible. Lots of giggles and laughter were had as many of us had to relearn how to swim as the sheer loss of gravity through everyone’s coordination was off. There’s a bucket where you can go to put on the mud. Let it stay on for at least 15 mins. Your skin will thank you. Myskin felt like absolute butter for days after our trip there.
Nightlife wise, Jordan has much to offer. We visited a popular rooftop bar, District. We dined inside. It’s sexy, dark and has lots of cute dining options. (The sushi was definitely a highlight) Definitely a nice play to go for bae date night vibes. I would love to visit again when it’s warm, soI can take advantage of the rooftop.
Our last day we decided to do a local activity, and do a cooking class. We did our cooking class at Beit Sitti. Beit Sitti is a locally owned company started by three Jordanian sisters. The Cooking class takes place in their grandmother’s home. (The name Beit Sitti means “My grandmother’s home” in Arabic) The team consists of three sisters and their mother.
For our class, we had Maria and their mother Miss Sherin. Another couple was also there which made a competitive environment with the women against the men, for who can cook the best. (Everyone equally pitched in, which is definitely a win) We cooked Maaloubeh with Chicken, Farmers Salad, Mutabbal and Basbousa. The food was sooo yummy and very healthy.
Jordan is a place I would visit again and again honestly. The people were all gems. Super hospitable and sweet. Passionate about their country, and very welcoming.
Keep up with me! To see more of my travels, come visit me at https://www.youtube.com/@Blackariel31_ and remember to like, comment, and subscribe!